"Folks, He Sure Do Pull Some Bow!" is the third release on the Old Hat label maintains the excellent standards set by its predecessors. So as well as 24 tracks of quality fiddle music, you also get a highly informative 32 page booklet which includes some vintage photographs of the bands featured on the CD. There is an obvious care and attention to detail here that other reissue labels could learn from.
If you want to know what to expect, the by-line on the liner notes ("Blues, Jazz, Stomps, Shuffles & Rags") sums up the contents nicely. In other words, there is plenty of variety here, which will please those with broad tastes. Although the album is ostensibly vintage fiddle music, in most cases the band line-ups include guitar too. The role of the violin varies from lead instrument on tracks like "I Got A Gal" by James Cole's String
Band, whilst on others, such as the excellent "Throw Me In The Alley" by Peetie Wheatstraw and His Blues Blowers the violin sound is evident, but is merely part of the ensemble.
There are plenty of artistes here who might not normally be associated with the violin. This only goes to show that there was a closer association between the violin and the blues in the pre-war period than most people think. Among the better known blues musicians on "Folks..." are Big Joe Williams, Peetie Wheatstraw, Frank Stokes, Lonnie Johnson, and Big Bill Broonzy, as well as the Chatmon/Carter family.
It is just about impossible to do an album like "Folks..." justice within the space limitations of a normal review. Suffice to say that just about every track here has something to recommend it, with "Rukus juice and Chittlin'" by the Memphis Jug Band, the two tracks by Joe Williams' Washboard Blues Singers ("Wild Cow Blues" and "Worried Man Blues"), and Henry Williams and Eddie Anthony's "Georgia Crawl" all being particular favorites.
"Folks, He Sure Do Pull Some Bow!" is another excellent release from the Old Hat label. They may not be prolific, bit every one appears as a real labor of love. If you do not like the sound of the fiddle, then you should probably avoid this album, but anyone with an interest in pre-war blues should be rushing down their local store to buy it. The sound quality is very high indeed, and there is enough variety here to keep everybody
satisfied. The Old Hat web site (www.oldhatrecords.com) has more details about it, and its highly acclaimed predecessors. "Folks, He Sure Do Pull Some Bow!" has to be a contender for the best re-issue album of the year.
This review is copyright © 2001 by Gordon Baxter, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.