Bukka White Aberdeen Mississippi Blues
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Along with Son House and Skip James, Bukka White was one of the major Mississippi bluesmen to be re-discovered during the great blues revival of the 1960’s. His early recordings made between 1930 and 1940 are among the most creative and dynamic blues ever recorded. These early sessions have always been revered as being among the finest in blues history with his last recording date being referred to as the last great pre-war country blues recording session.
Booker’s unique sound was a combination of solid, rocking, rhythms interspersed with vigorous guitar breaks, his ability as a bottleneck slide guitarist and his gritty, heavy voice. He favoured the steel bodied National guitar as it’s volume allowed him to be audible over the noise of a good-time crowd. His songs were almost always personal and are among the most creative and descriptive to found on blues records. Before slipping into nearly twenty years of obscurity Bukka had made twenty eight recordings; twelve for Victor in 1930 of which only four released, eight for the Vocalion label and six which were released on the Okeh label. It is very likely that it is Memphis Minnie, listed as “Miss Minnie”, who lends her voice to two of the Victor titles. Apart from these commercial recordings he made two recordings in 1939 for the Library of Congress, recorded in a make shift recording studio provided with the courtesy of the American penal system at their State Penitentiary, Parchman, Mississippi. (The L. of C. Recordings are presented here for the first time with the speed corrected to something like that of the original performance). The following year and Booker was a free man with every intention to start where he left off, recording in Chicago. This time he was in the Vocalion recording studios in the company of Washboard Sam who was able to enhance Booker’s strong rhythmic delivery. Many regarded this as being the last great country blues recording session of the pre-war blues era.