Mississippi John Hurt: Library Of Congress Recordings

Summary

Format: CD (2 discs)mjh-congress-cover

Genre:  Blues/Folk blues

Tracks: 35

Playing time:  108 minutes

Availability (out of 3): **

Related website(s):  http://mississippijohnhurtfoundation.org; for footage and tutorial material: http://www.guitarvideos.com

My rating: 10/10

I like…  The warm, gentle singing and nimble guitar playing, the upbeat feel

I’m less keen on…  –

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Not all acoustic blues will appeal to a newcomer to the genre. I feel that Mississippi John Hurt is a great starting place.

Firstly not all his music was, strictly blues, but came from a wider range of material. Many of the songs he recorded are upbeat and melodic rather then melancholic and strident. Secondly, as the great Doc Watson and Stefan Grossman described them, even Mississippi John’s blues had a happy feel to them!

He recorded a few songs in 1928 and was rediscovered in the 1960s American folk revival, where he endeared himself to a new generation of fans, many of whom learned to play and sing some of his songs.

I love Mississippi John’s guitar playing. It’s tuneful, often mirroring the melody line, and generally gentle and nimble. He plays a steady, alternating bass and weaves the melody over it, with some nice syncopation and bass runs. I play a number of his songs on guitar myself.

Who?

I’ve already given away part of the game. John passed into obscurity Continue reading “Mississippi John Hurt: Library Of Congress Recordings”

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Kelly Joe Phelps: Brother Sinner And The Whale

Summary

Format:  CDProduct Details

Genre:  Blues (acoustic)

Tracks:  12

Playing time:  51 minutes

Availability (out of 3):  ***

Related website(s):   http://www.kellyjoephelps.net;   (unofficial) http://riverratjimmy.pagesperso-orange.fr/pages/gear.htm

 My rating:  9/10

I like: Minimal arrangements, upbeat and more plaintive songs and moods, interplay of voice and guitar

I’m less keen on :  Minimal sleeve notes

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Soon after seeing TV footage of Kelly Joe Phelps at the Cambridge Folk Festival years ago I bought his debut album, “Lead Me On.” In my opinion Continue reading “Kelly Joe Phelps: Brother Sinner And The Whale”

Big Bill Broonzy: The Bill Broonzy Story

 Summarybll-broonzy-story-cover

Format:  CD

Genre: Blues (Acoustic)

Tracks: (for 3-CD set) 67 (including “chat”)

Playing time: (for 3-CD set) 202 minutes

Availability (out of 3): 3-CD set: * / 2-CD set: ***

Related website(s): http://www.broonzy.com

My rating: 10/10

I like…   The strong voice, the driving but melodic guitar, the strong blues lyrics, the “chat” between songs, the sound quality

I’m less keen on…   At times I skip some of the “chat” tracks – but only at times! 

n.b. this review is of the earlier 3-CD set that I own, but much of it will apply to the current 2-CD edition

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I first came across Big Bill Broonzy’s name Continue reading “Big Bill Broonzy: The Bill Broonzy Story”