Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Ain’t but the one thing nowadays worries my mind

Really the Country Blues Classics

“Of all [Charley] Patton associates, none is more of an enigma than Kid Bailey. . . . Bailey is remembered as having played around the Delta from the early 20s to the mid 50s but no acquaintance knew much about him. . . . [‘Mississippi Bottom Blues’] uses traditional lyrics with a vocal inflection that conveys sadness and poignancy. His guitar accompaniment is straight forward. The second guitar contributes episodic bass notes with a resulting effect that increases the emotional starkness of the tune.”
—Don Kent, from sleeve notes to Masters of the Delta Blues: The Friends of Charlie Patton, Yazoo, 1991


Kid Bailey • Mississippi Bottom Blues • 1929

Monday, March 30, 2020

Sing this song to ease your trouble in mind

Really the Country Blues Classics

“The most distinctive style in all blues was developed by Skip James; it seemed to match the brooding, introspective personality of the man himself. In a short early career replete with masterpieces, one of his greatest is [‘Special Rider Blues’]. His only guitar work in Spanish (Open G) tuning, James’ arrangement and vocal are spellbinding.” —Don Kent, booklet notes to Times Ain’t Like They Used to Be, Vol. 4, Yazoo, 1999


Skip James • Special Rider Blues • 1931

Saturday, March 07, 2020

Someone gives me consolation when I’m all alone

Greatest Gospel Gems

Of all the great gospel quartet leads, and there’s quite a few, I don’t think any of them moves me as much as Archie Brownlee of the Five Blind Boys.


The Original Five Blind Boys • Someone Watches • 1959

Thursday, March 05, 2020

The love of God guides me along my way

Greatest Gospel Gems

When Sam Cooke left the Soul Stirrers to sing pop music, Johnnie Taylor was drafted in from the Highway QCs to replace him, just as Cooke had been similarly picked from the QCs to take over for R. H. Harris when he left the Stirrers. One of my long-time favorite Soul Stirrers sides is “The Love of God,” with a gorgeous Johnnie Taylor lead. I saw this record described in print once as a pedestrian pop ballad; I only wish the Taylor incarnation of the Soul Stirrers had done more of them. . . .


The Soul Stirrers • The Love of God • 1958

LP cover: Discogs