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Classic Blues from Smithsonian Folkways

Classic Blues from Smithsonian Folkways
Mp3 @192

Label Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Orig Year 2003
All Time Sales Rank 76210
CD Universe Part number 5572461
Catalog number 40134
Discs 1
Release Date Feb 25, 2003
Studio/Live Studio
Mono/Stereo Mixed
Recording Time 73 minutes

A living and dynamic tradition, blues is forged in hard times but is also powerful enough to bring on the good times!

Legends such as Lead Belly, Memphis Slim, Big Bill Broonzy, Elizabeth Cotten, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGhee, among others formed the “blues backbone” of the great Folkways Records.

This compilation from the Smithsonian Folkways collection spans half a century and features Delta, St. Louis, Southwest, and Chicago styles performed by some of the best-known figures in blues history.

From boogies to ballads, full of innuendo and irony, this classic collection is a jukebox in a jewel case.

Starting in the 1940s, Folkways made significant blues recordings, particularly of important artists who might not have had the easiest time getting or keeping contracts with more commercial labels, but still had something to say artistically.

This expansive 26-track compilation assembles material recorded between the 1940s and 1990s that showed up on various Folkways releases.

Unfortunately, the liner notes don’t name the exact dates of all the recordings, but certainly the substantial majority of them predate 1970.

Overall, it’s a rather good compilation of many major and minor mid-20th century blues with numerous diverse performers and styles.

The bigger names include Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee (whose “Old Jabo,” with drums, almost verges on Bo Diddley-styled rock & roll), Reverend Gary Davis (represented by a 1957 version of his famous “Candy Man”), Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon (performing together), Lightnin’ Hopkins, Leadbelly, Roosevelt Sykes, Son House, Champion Jack Dupree, Elizabeth Cotten, Lonnie Johnson, and Josh White.

While acoustic guitar blues (including a field recording of K.C. Douglas’ “Mercury Blues,” later covered by Steve Miller) gets a fair amount of airtime, so do boogie piano, a cappella singing (Vera Hall), and some actual Delta blues (Son House, from a 1942 field recording).

Amazing music!

Grab it now!


1. Old Jabo – Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee
2. Mule-Ridin’ Blues – Big Bill Broonzy
3. Joggie Boogie – Memphis Slim & Willie Dixon
4. Black Woman – Vera Hall
5. Mercury Blues – K.C. Douglas
6. Ran the Blues Out of My Window – Roosevelt Sykes
7. Leaving Blues – Leadbelly
8. One Dime Blues – Etta Baker
9. County Farm Blues – Son House
10. Clog Dance (Stomping Blues) – Champion Jack Dupree
11. Boll Weevil – Pink Anderson
12. Nickel’s Worth of Liver Blues – Edith North Johnson & Henry Brown
13. Don’t Leave Me Here – Big Joe Williams
14. Jimmy Bell – Cat Iron
15. Candy Man – Reverend Gary Davis
16. Beer Drinking Woman – Memphis Slim & Willie Dixon
17. Come Go Home With Me – Lightnin’ Hopkins
18. Careless Love – Josh White
19. I Asked Her If She Loved Me – Henry Townsend
20. Rising Sun – Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee
21. Pony Blues – David “Honeyboy” Edwards
22. Vicksburg Blues – Little Brother Montgomery
23. Vastapol – Elizabeth Cotten
24. Drifting Along Blues – Lonnie Johnson
25. Oh Baby, You Don’t Have to Go – The Original Chambers Brothers
26. Don’t Lie Buddy – Leadbelly/Josh White

Here she be!

Big thanks to Bakra

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September 17, 2008 Posted by | Big Bill Broonzy, Brownie McGhee, Leadbelly, Lightning Hopkins, Memphis Slim, Music_Blues, Reverend Gary Davis, Roosevelt Sykes, Son House, Sonny Terry, Willie Dixon | Leave a comment