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Guitarist and singer John Cephas and harmonica player (and songwriter) Phil Wiggins have been playing together as an acoustic duo since they met in 1976, releasing their first recording in 1981, and throughout that long association they have been faithful to the Virginia Piedmont blues tradition, a tradition that owes more to the local Appalachian foothills than it does to the Mississippi Delta. A gentle mesh of ragtime, gospel, and string band reels, with traces of pop, country, and R&B as well, the Piedmont version of the blues is as easy to recognize as it is hard to accurately define. It is, in a nutshell, the folk music of Appalachian blacks from two generations ago, and this duo's mission has been to preserve and represent it. Richmond Blues is fairly typical of how Cephas & Wiggins have done that since they joined forces, and it is an easy flowing listen, steady as an Appalachian breeze, with no jarring moments. Among the high points are a gently pulsing take on the folk nugget "John Henry," a moving version of "Careless Love" (the perfect example of how a non-blues ballad with blues themes ends up being a blues song when all is sung and done), a solid "Going to the River" (originally recorded by Fats Domino in 1952), and Wiggins' own composition, "Dog Days of August." There's nothing new or revelatory about anything here. It's just Cephas & Wiggins doing what they've always done, sticking to their roots, and that's a good thing, and undeniably affirming and pleasant.
Performance CreditsCephas & Wiggins Primary Artist
John Cephas Acoustic Guitar
Phil Wiggins Harmonica
Technical CreditsBig Bill Broonzy Composer
Dave Bartholomew Composer
Carl Martin Arranger
John Cephas Arranger,Author
Fats Domino Composer
Bill McElroy Engineer
Phil Wiggins Arranger,Composer
William Lee Conley Broonzy Composer
Charles Segar Composer
Fulton Allen Composer
Barry Lee Pearson Producer,Liner Notes,Audio Production,Annotation,Photo Courtesy
D.A. Sonneborn Executive Producer
Mark Gustafson Marketing
Toby Dodds Management
John Smith Marketing