Mississippi Blues Vol. 1 (1928-1937)
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Complete Recorded Works Vol.1: 1928-1937
Featuring the recordings of:
Uncle Bud Walker, vocal / guitar. Big Road Webster Taylor (The Mississippi Mule Skinner), vocal / guitar. Mattie Delaney, vocal / guitar. Louise Johnson, vocal / piano; Son House and / or Willie Brown, speech (except on 8, 10). Mississippi Bracy: Caldwell Bracey, vocal / guitar; Virginia Bracey, 2nd guitar (except on 13). Geechie Wiley, vocal / guitar. Elvie Thomas, vocal / guitar; Geechie Wiley, guitar. Wiley and Thomas: Elvie Thomas, Geechie Wiley, vocal duet; accompanied by Elvie Thomas Geechie Wiley, guitar. Geechie Wiley, vocal / guitar; Elvie Thomas, vocal added on 19. The Mississippi Moaner: Isaiah Nettles, vocal / guitar. Mose Andrews, vocal / guitar.
Genres: Mississippi Country Blues, Country Blues Guitar, Country Blues Piano, Country Blues Guitar, Female Blues, 12-string Guitar, Bottleneck-slide Guitar, Delta Blues,
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. This collection brings together the complete recordings of a handful of obscure musicians associated with the Mississippi Delta. . . through their musical style, biographical information, or both. The music on this disc shows that African-American men, typically thought of as solely responsible for the Delta tradition, were only one – albeit vital – piece of the puzzle. The contributions of individuals on the periphery of blues, specifically women, and to a lesser degree, whites, have been largely ignored. Essentially nothing is known about Big Road Webster Taylor, making his recorded legacy, as well as his race, rather perplexing. Originally credited The Mississippi Mule Skinner, this yodellers two titles were intended for Vocalions 5000 hillbilly series. Paul Oliver attributes his odd vocal style to the influence of Jimmie Rodgers, but maintains that Taylor was black. Mattie Delaney, Geeshie Wiley, Elvie Thomas, and Louise Johnson are fascinating in that they managed to record at all. Few women who truly represented the rural sound of the Delta ever made commercial recordings, so the samples offered here deserves special attention. Especially striking is the fact that three of these singers accompany themselves on guitar. Add to that the piano playing and singing of Louise Johnson, and this collection represents quite forcefully the legacy of Mississippi blues women. Perhaps paying greater attention to Delaney, Thomas, and Wiley will dismiss the persistent tendency of blues fans to imagine Memphis Minnie as the only female guitarist in pre-war secular blues. Louise Johnson is the subject of a controversy generated by the divergent memories of Son House and Cripple Clarence Lofton, centring on who played piano behind Johnsons vocals. Johnson was a member of the historic blues caravan that made the trip from Mississippi to Grafton, Wisconsin, to record for Paramount in May, 1930. The group consisted of Charley Patton, Son House, Willie Brown, and Louise Johnson. Louise Johnson was credited at the time with vocals and piano, but Clarence Lofton, who did not record until 1935, claimed late in life that he had accompanied Johnsons vocals, and that these Paramount sessions were actually his first records. Son House, on the other hand, consistently credited Johnson as pianist, as did Paramount. What shouldnt be obscured by these competing claims is the raucous energy and amazing depth that Johnson creates with her piano and voice. Though Son House and Willie Brown had other opportunities to record later in life, Louise Johnsons output was limited to that one day in 1930. Despite having only four titles to her credit, Louise Johnson is one of the most electrifying pianists of the period. Mississippi Bracys four songs were recorded at the same time as four unreleased gospel titles which were credited to Caldwell Bracey and Wife. The available information leads one to assume that Mississippi Bracy was in fact Caldwell Bracey. Isaiah Nettles, The Mississippi Moaner, was yet another discovery of talent scout H. C. Speir, who had previously brought Charley Patton and Tommy Johnson before the microphone. Nettles recorded at the same session with Robert Wilkins and Will Shade and would reportedly embellish his live performances with barefoot tap-dancing. There is little or nothing known for certain about most of the artists here. Perhaps it is these mysterious figures who best fit into the shadowy Delta mythology.John H. Vanco Copyright 1993 Document Records