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Aristocrat of the Blues: The Best of Aristocrat Records
     

The Aristocrat of the Blues: The Best of Aristocrat Records

 
The 51 songs here represent some of the highlights from the vaults of Aristocrat, the precursor to the Chess label, but to get the rarities by St. Louis Jimmy, Forest City Joe, Little Johnny Jones, and Robert Nighthawk, listeners should be prepared to buy 25 Muddy Waters songs they likely already

Overview

The 51 songs here represent some of the highlights from the vaults of Aristocrat, the precursor to the Chess label, but to get the rarities by St. Louis Jimmy, Forest City Joe, Little Johnny Jones, and Robert Nighthawk, listeners should be prepared to buy 25 Muddy Waters songs they likely already own. Actually, despite that drawback, this collection is fascinating for the perspective it gives to the history of Chess Records and the development of Chicago blues between 1947 and 1950. The earliest tracks are '40s big-band-influenced R&B: the Five Blazes, featuring pianist/singer/songwriter Ernie Harper; the ominous "Ice Man Blues" and the raunchy "Fishin' Pole" by Tom Archia, fronting a sax-dominated outfit with Jo Jo Adams and Sheba Griffin on vocals, respectively; "Boogie Woogie Blues" by Clarence Samuels; and "Bilbo Is Dead" by Andrew Tibbs. The Chess sound as we've come to know it arrives with Sunnyland Slim, and the guitar blues that Chess became famous for doesn't show up until the Muddy Waters tracks "Gypsy Woman," "Little Anna Mae," etc. Waters is nearly omnipresent, represented by 25 songs of his own here, and playing on many of the others. Of the rest, Robert Nighthawk, a one-time mentor to Waters, has six songs represented here, while Forest City Joe has one ("Memory of Sonny Boy"). Forrest Sykes has one song, a rip-roaring piano instrumental, and St. Louis Jimmy Oden gets two. The quality throughout is crisp, sharp, finely detailed, and loud, with each song remastered in 20-bit high-definition sound, making them superior to any other CD package of this material. Given the familiarity of the Waters' songs, however, it might have been wiser to just do a three-CD Aristocrat box with a broader cross-section of the label's output.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/26/1997
Label:
Mca
UPC:
0076732938720
catalogNumber:
9387

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Willie Dixon   Bass
Robert Nighthawk   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Johnny Jones   Piano,Vocals,Track Performer
Oliver Alcorn   Tenor Saxophone
Tom Archia   Tenor Saxophone,Track Performer
Alex Atkins   Alto Saxophone
Dallas Bartley   Bass
Ernest "Big" Crawford   Bass
William Evans   Drums
Leroy Foster   Guitar,Drums,Vocals,Track Performer
Freddie Jenkins   Saxophone
St. Louis Jimmy Oden   Vocals
Forest City Joe   Track Performer
Ernest Lane   Piano
Muddy Waters   Guitar,Track Performer
Pinetop Perkins   Piano
Jimmy Rogers   Guitar
Bill Settles   Bass
Sunnyland Slim   Piano,Vocals,Track Performer
Andrew Tibbs   Vocals,Track Performer
Prentice Butler   Bass
Ernie Harper   Piano,Vocals
William "Shorty" Hill   Guitar
Clarence Samuels   Vocals,Track Performer
Dave Young   Tenor Saxophone
J.C. Cole   Guitar
Andrew Gardner   Saxophone,Alto Saxophone
Pee Wee Jackson   Trumpet
Rudy Martin   Piano
Joe Bennie Pugh   Harmonica,Vocals
Forrest Sykes   Piano,Track Performer
Curtis Walker   Drums
Floyd McDaniel   Guitar
Hurley Ramey   Guitar
Bill Owen   Piano
Wayman Atkinson   Tenor Saxophone
Jo Jo Adams   Vocals
Five Blazes   Track Performer
Duke Jenkins   Piano,Vocals
Armand Jump Jackson   Drums

Technical Credits

Johnny Jones   Composer
Mary Katherine Aldin   Liner Notes
Leonard Chess   Producer
Phil Chess   Producer
Muddy Waters   Composer
Joe Bennie Pugh   Composer
Robert McCollum   Composer
Minister David J. Fairley   Composer

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