Various Artists – 23 Classic Blues Songs from the 1920’s, Vol. 16

 

Title: 23 Classic Blues Songs from the 1920’s, Vol. 16
Artist: Various
Label: Blues Images
Format: CD + Calendar
Release date: September 25, 2018

 

The 16th annual Blues Images calendar and CD reproduces classic, rare, and recently rediscovered artwork and recordings of pre and post-war blues songs from blues masters such as Charley Patton, Memphis Minnie, Leola B. Wilson, William Harris, Papa George Lightfoot, and others. While a copy of Papa George Lightfoot’s debut disc on Sultan Records (“Winding Ball Mama” / “Snake Hipping Daddy”) has been rumored to exist for decades, it recently surfaced and came to the attention of John Tefteller and his Blues Images team. The disc has been remastered and is included on this compilation along with other rare tracks such as William Harris’ “I’m a Roamin’ Gambler” / “I Was Born in the Country—Raised In The Town.” Continue reading

Various – 24 Classic Blues Songs from the 1920’s, Vol. 15

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Title: 24 Classic Blues Songs from the 1920’s, Vol. 15

Artist: Various

Label: Blues Images

Format: CD + Calendar

Release date: September 25, 2017

 

Has 2017 given you the “bougie” blues? Add these twenty-four classic blues songs from the ‘20s to your collection to help ease the pain.

The 15th annual calendar and CD release from Blues Images brings another well-selected set of remastered pre-war blues music to new generations through a combination of vintage and modern playback technologies. The songs are paired with the artwork circulated to promote the original commodities, reproduced as a 2018 wall calendar.

This year’s CD includes two recently discovered songs by Jab Jones and The Memphis Jug Band: “My Love Is Cold” and ”Poor Jab Blues.” There are also fresh remastered versions of Tommy Johnson’s recording, “Slidin’ Delta”/”I Wonder To Myself” (Paramount 12975) as well as Johnnie (Geechie) Temple’s “Evil Devil Blues”/”Jacksonville Blues” (Vocalion 02987) taken from newly discovered, cleaner copies of the original 78-rpm discs.

War, wage work, food scarcity—a century ago blues artists were writing and singing about the problems we still face in the world today. Someday perhaps we’ll liberate ourselves from the economic system that connects us to these voices from nearly a century ago. As we keep pushing, we have their words and music to remind us that liberation is fraught with peril, and there’s no better way to communicate this struggle than through the blues.

Reviewed by William Vanden Dries

Classic Blues Artwork from the 1920’s, Vol.14

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Title: Classic Blues Artwork from the 1920’s, Vol.14

Format: Calendar + CD

Publisher: Blues Images

Release date: September 2016

 

If your annual holiday gift to the 78-rpm collector on your list is the Blues Images calendar and CD, rest assured this year’s package is as good as ever. Blues Images paired up with the AMERICAN EPIC team for the second consecutive year to digitally restore the 78s included on Volume 14. The end result is not only the CD included with your beautiful new calendar. Songs restored for the CD will also be included in the AMERICAN EPIC documentary on rural American music from the 1920s and 1930s. The first episode of the series premiered at Sundance 2016. The series is scheduled to air on PBS and the BBC Worldwide in 2017.

The care and skill applied by John Tefteller, Peter Henderson, and Nick Bergh during the digital transfer and restoration process is readily apparent when listening to the 23 tracks on the CD. Two recently discovered songs by Big Bill Broonzy – “I Can’t Be Satisfied” and “Western Blues” – are included alongside freshly remastered recordings of Skip James’ “Illinois Blues”/“Yola My Blues Away” (Paramount 13072) and Blind Joe Reynolds’ “Outside Woman Blues”/“Nehi Blues” (Paramount 12927). Tracks “How Long How Long Blues” (Jed Davenport), “Ain’t Gonna Lay My ‘Ligion Down” (Frank Palmes), and “Mr. Devil Blues” (Joe Williams) include acoustic blues harp for the harmonica player on your gift list. Other artists featured on Vol. 14 include Garfield Akers, Memphis Minnie, Charley Patton, Blind Leroy Garnett, Mobile Strugglers, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Gussie Nesbitt, and Ishman Bracey.

Consistent with years past, the calendar’s artwork features original advertisements that pairs with the recordings. Many of these advertisements, thought to be lost, were found in 2002 in Port Washington, Wisconsin by Blues Image owner and longtime collector John Tefteller. Additional advertising images were added to his archives in 2015, several of which appear in this 2017 calendar.

The 2017 calendar and CD are available at select music and book stores, several internet sites, and can always be purchased directly from the Blues Images website.

Reviewed by William R. Vanden Dries

 

Classic Blues Artwork From the 1920s, vol 13

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Title: Classic Blues Artwork from the 1920’s, vol.13

Format: Calendar + CD

Publisher: Blues Images

Release date: September 2015

 

 

For the calendar-loving, pre-war blues addict in your life, can there be any better holiday gift than John Tefteller’s annual Blues Images calendar? The 2016 calendar/CD combo offers an excellent track line up, paired with (as usual) a year’s worth of beautiful historic images. All-time blues classics are mixed with rare and long thought-to-be-lost recordings. Hattie Hyde (aka Hattie Hart) and members of the Memphis Jug Band ask “all you women” a question about love in “Special Question Blues” and go to town on a long-lost version of the classic “T & N O Blues.” Also reissued for the first time are Jaydee Short’s renditions of “Tar Road Blues” and “Flaggin’ It To Georgia,” with Short’s fabulous guitar and voice cutting through what must have been a challenging digitization and remastering process.

Here’s an example of a month from the calendar:

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Speaking of transfers and remastering, the tracks on this year’s Blues Images release were digitally restored by a team working on the upcoming AMERICAN EPIC documentary – a four part documentary on rural American music from the 1920s and 1930s that will air on PBS and the BBC in early 2016. As stated by Blues Images, the AMERICAN EPIC team used “original, vintage 1920’s studio playback equipment, combined with highly specialized ultra-modern technology” to digitally restore these Blues 78s.

It’s not too late to order your copy of the 2016 Blues Images calendar and CD from BluesImages.com. If you hurry, it could make it in time for the holidays, giving that blues loving gift recipient of yours time to sit back and listen to “Atlanta Moan,” “Georgia Cake Walk,” “My Monday Blues,” “The High Cost of Sin,” “Vampire Women,” “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” and more through the New Year Holiday and well into 2016!

 

Reviewed by William R. Vanden Dries