Primitive Piano [Sirens]
The reissue of Primitive Piano, a blues piano anthology originally recorded in 1956 and 1957 and released by the long-defunct Tone label, proves to be a treasure trove for blues fans. Not only are long unavailable tracks by Speckled Red (older brother of Piano Red), Doug Suggs, and James Robinson present, but additional material by Suggs and five songs by Billie Pierce make their debut. Speckled Red incorporates a fair amount of boogie into his style, and is less percussive than his younger brother, but sings in the same friendly way, as heard in "Early in the Morning," though his vocals are a bit more rough-hewn. Suggs was supposedly a bit rusty at the time of his session, though his slowly swaying "Doug's Jump" suggests the rhythm of a train winding around the curve through the outskirts of a town. Robinson's pair of songs include a pair of originals. "Bat's Blues" is a typical song that begs for the wronged woman to stay, while "Four O'Clock" proves to be an extended blues where he throws in a few twists. Billie Pierce was recorded on a well-worn upright piano, but she doesn't let it hinder up as she sings with passion in "Keep a Knockin'." Her husband, cornetist De De Pierce, is on hand for two takes of the spiritual "Bye and Bye," though he sticks to providing harmony vocals behind his wife's lead vocal. Two previously unknown tracks by Suggs and an interview with him are also among the bonuses added to this valuable compilation, which was produced by pianist Erwin Helfer near the beginning of his career.
- Release Date:
Technical CreditsErwin Helfer Producer
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