The Blues Images team strike a resonant chord again this year with their annual blues calendar and CD package. The wall calendar, featuring a historic advertisement for Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “Pneumonia Blues” on the cover, displays additional photographs and graphical artwork that help bring to life the classic Pre-War blues classics included on this year’s audio selections. Beautiful photographs of Peg Leg Howell, Bertha Henderson, Ramblin’ Thomas, Victoria Spivey, and Blind Boy Fuller will help pass the months of 2021 as the calendar’s pages are turned, including a stand-out photo of Lead Belly and Martha Promise on their wedding day in the month of July.
In addition to the 12 painstakingly restored Pre-War blues tracks on the accompanying CD, the Blues Images team unearthed, digitized, and included 11 long-lost recordings by Post War legend Lost John Hunter. Hunter, the first African American blues singer to record at the Memphis Recording Service, now famous as SUN studios, cut these 11 tracks with Sam Phillips at the controls. Hunter would go on to record at MRS again with at least two cuts from his second session being released. However, since none of the first session was released at the time, this year’s Blues Images CD provides an opportunity to hear additional Hunter performances very few have ever heard before. Check out Hunter’s gravelly voice and pounding piano on tracks such as “Miss Thelma Mae,” “Lost John’s Pinetop’s Boogie,” “Trouble Everywhere,” and “Mind Your Own Business,” among others.
Reviewed by William Vanden Dries