Downhome Blues Sessions, Vol. 5: Back in the Alley 1949-1954

The Downhome Blues Sessions, Vol. 5: Back in the Alley 1949-1954

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While the first four volumes of this series focused on just-post-World War II blues recorded at various locations in the south, this fifth installment turns its focus to somewhat more citified blues cut between 1949 and 1954 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Most of the sides found their way to releases on the Modern family of labels, though some of them appear here for

Overview

While the first four volumes of this series focused on just-post-World War II blues recorded at various locations in the south, this fifth installment turns its focus to somewhat more citified blues cut between 1949 and 1954 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Most of the sides found their way to releases on the Modern family of labels, though some of them appear here for the first time. But the main common denominator is record label owner/manager/songwriter Bob Geddins, who was involved in the careers of all of the artists who recorded these 26 tracks. Two of the performers, Lowell Fulson and Jimmy McCracklin, had pretty successful careers; one, Roy Hawkins, had some success and notoriety (primarily for doing the original version of "The Thrill Is Gone"); and the others (Johnny Fuller, Walter Robertson, and James Reed) aren't even known to most blues collectors. A collection of such rare cuts -- even the ones by Fulson, McCracklin, and Hawkins will be unfamiliar to most of their fans -- has pretty specialized appeal, as the songs are average to the verge of being clichéd. But it's an acceptable reflection of earthier California blues styles of the era, if hardly the best introduction to the subgenre. A few of the McCracklin tracks (most of which are previously unissued) count among the liveliest items, especially "Josephine" and "I'll Get a Break Someday," which are rawer than the subsequent recordings with which he'd attract most notice. The 1949 Fulson single on the CD is barely urbanized rural blues, and while much of the rest of the disc is more in line with the more refined, more jazzy ballad-tinged form of West Coast blues, it often has a gloomier aura than most such music.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/16/2008
Label:
Ace Records Uk
UPC:
0029667033626
catalogNumber:
1194
Rank:
201339

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