Blues Legacy: Lost and Found Series, Vol. 2

Blues Legacy: Lost and Found Series, Vol. 2


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The second volume of this series of tapes made in Britain between the late 1950s and the mid-'60s, largely of visiting American blues performers (though Britain's Chris Barber Band is also sometimes heard backing the musicians or playing on their own), features recordings by Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Champion Jack Dupree, Louis Jordan, and Muddy Waters. The 11 Waters songs (recorded live in Manchester on October 26, 1958) are by far the most historically significant of these, as they're from Muddy's first tour of the U.K., often reported in later years to have been hugely controversial due to his use of electric guitar. As it turns out, this particular Waters recording is a little underwhelming, in large part because the sound balance seems to muffle the background instruments, though Muddy's vocals come through OK. That makes it far from the best Waters recording, concert or otherwise, and for all the furor his use of electricity supposedly caused with the purists, what electric guitar you can hear on these tracks sounds quite tentative and weedy. Fortunately Muddy sings well and presents (with Otis Spann in the band on piano) some of his most outstanding songs, like "I Can't Be Satisfied," "I Feel Like Going Home," "Walkin' Thru the Park," "Long Distance Call," "Rollin' Stone," and "Hoochie Coochie Man." The five Terry & McGhee tracks are identified as 1958 broadcast recordings, three of them performed with the Chris Barber Band and Ottilie Patterson, which makes for a rather uncomfortable combination of country folk-blues and Dixieland jazz. Dupree plays and sings reliably decent piano blues with the Chris Barber Band on three live songs cut in a London jazz club on December 3, 1959. A trad jazz-flavored December 1962 studio recording of Louis Jordan doing "T'ain't Nobody's Business" with Barber's band, and Patterson taking some of the vocals, concludes a set that's arguably more notable for its documentation of the impact of American blues on U.K. audiences than it is for its purely musical merits, though it certainly possesses some of those.

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