This interesting box set packages 103 sides of vintage Texas blues, jazz, and early R&B recorded in Houston studios immediately after WWII between 1947 and 1951, a boom time when clubs and independent labels were flourishing in the city, and it ends up being both a musical snapshot of a particular place at a particular time and a fun and varied playlist to listen to -- the box set version of a hat trick. Full of rare sides of boogie piano, uptown blues, and swinging little jazz-blues orchestras, Houston Might Be Heaven
has some delightful gems, Carl Campbell
's swirling, clarinet-led "Goin' Down to Nashville," L.C. Williams
' blues piano ballad "Louise," Smokey Hogg
's reckless, loose, and yet somehow endearingly lovely "She's Always on My Mind," and Peppermint Harris
' sparse and stately take on "Rainin' in My Heart" among them, all of which show what a fine and bright music scene Houston had going in the postwar period. There's a nice groove to this whole set.