This is a unique 3 CD volume series of recordings recently uncovered that present live and studio recordings spanning the time from the late 1950’s to the 1980’s. Some of the songs never recorded and release before and all a treasure trove of blues and jazz history.
Volume One (23 tracks) features live recordings of Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee along with the Chris Barber Band & Ottilie Patterson that date from 1957 and 1958 in England. This volume also features some studio recordings of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee from that same period.
The live recordings of Sister Rosetta Tharpe were a hoot. She was backed by a Dixie Land Jazz band style with the tinny brass and strumming’ banjos, as she was belting out spirituals like Peace in the Valley and Old Time Religion, and of course, When the Saints Go Marching In – it was something remarkable to hear, very entertaining. The live recording portions here must have taken place in a large auditorium because there was quite a bit of applause at the end of the songs. Some of that could have been edited out, but I guess by leaving it in you get more of a sense of what it must have been like at that show 50 years ago. And Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee were in fine form with spot on harmonies and that classic guitar and harp sound of theirs.
Volume Two (23 tracks) features more Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee plus Muddy Waters & Otis Spann, Champion Jack Dupree and Louis Jordan.
The Muddy Waters and Otis Spann tracks were recorded live in 1958 at the Manchester Free Trade Hall. There is even a classic solo performance by Muddy singing Rollin’ Stone. After hearing that rolling piano work of Otis Span we get even more classic keyboards with Champion Jack Dupree and his story-telling vocals. This 2nd CD closes out with just one track from Louis Jordan’s band doing T’ain’t Nobody’s Business.
Volume Three (29 tracks)features Sonny Boy Williamson (live from 1964), Jimmy Witherspoon (live 1964 & 1980), and Howlin’ Wolf & Hubert Sumlin (1964).
There are some introduction cuts throughout the CDs that preview the next artists and give some background on those particular recordings. The CD jackets also have additional background information on the recordings that is quite interesting.
This historic series is a rare addition to the recordings of some classic blues and jazz performers in their prime. Although not essential recordings from these performers, they certainly offer some rare treats we may not have heard before. Note that the 3 volumes are each sold individually.