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.”

The new remastering process, originally used for the American Epic documentary, continues to be used for the Blues Images CD releases. This year’s CD includes new remasterings of Charley Patton’s “Oh Death” and “Troubled ‘Bout My Mother,” as well as rare tracks by Otto Virgial (“Got the Blues About Rome” / “Seven Year Itch”). The remastered dynamic vocals of Lottie Kimbrough on “Don’t Speak To Me” and Memphis Minnie on “Ma Rainey” reveal two standout performances.

The artwork included in the calendar pairs closely with the recordings, reproduced from a rescued collection of original promotional advertisements from Paramount Records’ hometown— Port Washington, Wisconsin. Each calendar month includes photographs and advertisements reproduced from the originals, along with notable birth and death dates for blues masters you’ll hear on this compilation and past Blues Images CDs.

Reviewed by William Vanden Dries