The new Blues Images calendar for 2017 was released a couple of months ago and, a “cliché but true,” it’s just wonderful. The sound reproduction on the accompanying CD is the best I’ve heard yet for many songs I’ve known and loved for decades. (And I’m sure the ones I’m not so familiar with have never sounded better either!) A number of reviews have noted the presence of the music, beyond the noise of the often battered 78s they were transferred from, sounding “like the artists are in the room with you.” Some of the notable tracks are Charley Patton’s “Lord I’m Discouraged,” “Outside Woman Blues” by Blind Joe Reynolds, my all-time favorite Blind Willie Johnson tune, “Let Your Light Shine on Me.” Also notable for both sound restoration and terrific performances are Skip James’ “Illinois Blues”/“Yola My Blues Away,” Garfield Akers’ fabulous two-part “Cottonfield Blues,” “Chain ’Em Down” and “Louisiana Glide” from Blind Leroy Garnett, and this week’s Blue Monday offering, Memphis Minnie’s “I’m Talking About You” and its flip “Bumble Bee.” Both have never sounded better. Smart listeners will head straight over to the Blues Images website and buy the new calendar and accompanying CD right now, post haste, schnell!
“Temperature risin’, the jukebox blowin’ a fuse.” Volume 11 of Blue Monday is here, and it’s a hot mess however you may construe the term. Swampy midnight-to-sunrise bottleneck piano-rompin’ spo-dee-o-dee rhythm & blues. Blue Monday as you like it. “And that’s it.”