MUSIC OF USA: THE BLUES

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO HILLBILLY BLUES (RGNET1357CD)

"Race" music was an African-American form aimed at the "black market" in the 1920s, but also garnering fans among white listeners, and just as with rap and hip hop later the inevitable happened: white imitators cottoned on. But white hillbilly musicians, sharecroppers and coal miners, already identified with the struggle in black music and there was an exchange of songs and musical ideas (everyone is black down a coal pit, after all). Listening to this disc it's clear white men can sing the blues: Larry Hensley rips into Blind Lemon Jefferson's "Match Box Blues"; Bayless Blues (race unknown), who was on RG2Bottleneck Blues, renders a jamming "Black Dog Blues." Country duo Darby & Tarleton return from that great compilation also. This is another excellent set from Rough Guide and they keep expanding our knowledge of the regional and stylistic varieties of this form. There are a couple of familiar titles on here ("Stackalee"; "If the river was whiskey"; "Buck dancer's choice") but in versions I didn't know. Dick Justice's uplifting "Cocaine" was anthologized decades ago on various dope madness compilations. Tom Ashley's "Haunted Road Blues" ("I'm worried now but I wont be worried long") even prefigures Hank Williams Jr in an oblique way. You don't need to hear Chris Bouchillon's "Born in Hard luck" more than once -- he plays well but his jive patter is tiresome. Nevertheless there are plenty of gems on here: "Blue Grass Twist" by the South Georgia Highballers has virtuoso guitar. And let's not forget the effect of Jimmie Rodger's yodelling on some Kipsigi girls in Kenya in 1952. When Hugh Tracey played it to them they declared he must be a faun: half-man and half antelope. Such is the mythical power of music. Another dense and rich slice of blues compiled by Neil Record.

ROUGH GUIDE TO DELTA BLUES (RGNET1353)

Those of us who were raised on rock and roll were keenly aware that the music owed a lot to a major predecessor in the shape of Mississippi delta blues. Bands like Canned Heat, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, the Yardbirds, and so on padded their repertoire with gems from the likes of Son House, Robert Johnson and Bukka White. The Rolling Stones were formed because Mick and Keith discovered this kid Brian who had a way cooler record collection than them and the only way to get access to his vinyl was to invite him to join the band. Rough Guide continues their exploration of the Blues and they have slowly and methodically built an indispensable library. For this outing, from the rich soil of the delta, instead of the predictable "greatest hits" like "Spoonful," "Roll & tumble blues," "Goin' up country" or "Prodigal son," we have a refreshingly new set of music. Yes we have to have Skip James, whose "Hard time killin' floor blues" is chilling even today, but Robert Johnson is absent. This avoids duplication since everyone in the known universe must have his recordings, but also avoids the controversy over whether his entire oeuvre was mastered at the wrong speed. Recently rediscovered Geeshie Wiley, subject of a great piece of investigative journalism in the New York Times, shows up with the outstanding, if worn-down, "Eagles on a half," one of her handful of recordings, and we hear Memphis Minnie and Mattie Delaney also representing the ladies. That these songs evolved from slave songs and field hollers is evident in the pain with which some of them are delivered with simple strummed guitar, but artists such as Tommy Johnson or the jauntily named Mississippi Sheiks give virtuoso performances on their instruments. On the other hand there is a mesmerizing machine-like monotony to the playing of Rube Lacey. Threadbare poverty and hard lives seep out of the fabric of the songs, "Pack up my suitcase, give me my hat, no use to ask me baby, 'cos i will never be back..." sing the Mississippi Sheiks. "You spent all my money for whisky and gin, mama, don't know how you carry on," adds Jelly Jaw Short. Arthur Pettie, who finds his woman is two-timing him, sings, "That won't do." This music was rediscovered in the 1960s when most of the artists were long dead and it would have all passed into myth were it not for the survival of Skip James and Son House who were lauded, got to perform and reap some of the benefits of their late fame. The songs borrowed from one another also: you will hear Johnnie Temple's "Evil Devil Blues" which is closely related to "Devil got my woman" by Skip James; Charlie Patton's "Poor me" has lyrics which were borrowed for "Sittin on top of the world" by the Mississippi Sheiks; Garfield Akers' chugging "Dough Roller blues" shares phrases with "Roll & tumble." ("I twisted and I tumbled, rolled the whole night long," adds the sublime Miss Wiley.) Beale Street in Memphis was the home of many of these performers until the great migration took them to Chicago where the music evolved into rhythm and blues. It's a fascinating journey.

BOTTLENECK BLUES (Rough Guide RGNET1346DD)

If there is one American musical form that is truly imbued with magic it is the Mississippi Delta Blues. While every other form has its hagiographers, its explainers and apologists, the Blues remains a secret society of immutable dark secrets, Shakespearean levels of intrigue and even murder. Alone among American musics that have existed in the recorded era, it still has near-metaphysical puzzles hanging over it. The latest mystery is a third (second to be debunked) purported photo of Robert Johnson. You'd think this would be a minor issue, but fortunes hang on authentication. From the deepest depths of mythology scholars dredge up tales of artists like Geeshie Wiley, a black lesbian guitarist in the Depression who only left a handful of haunted songs. Then another was found, then someone conjectured a connection to another recording and so the legend, worthy of a Brecht opera, is erected. Now, the deck is shuffled again and the devil deals. Here's a shuffle and cut from the top of the deck laying out an incredible run of aces and diamonds (OK, I am gonna squelch this metaphor before I have to bring in spades 'n clubs). Each of these tunes is three minutes long and there are 25 of them here, giving a wide spectrum of styles, all using slide tools on the necks of their guitars. The effect is not unlike some single-stringed West African instruments (& like our beloved African music some of it is in terrible audio shape). Blind Willie Johnson (first of three Blind Willies on here!) kicks off with his gruff delivery of "Nobody's fault but mine"-- the slide echoes his words perfectly as he blends country blues and gospel. The giants of the style are included -- Charley Patton, Bukka White and Son House -- but you will also hear the immensely talented Curley Weaver and a personal favorite, Barbecue Bob. One notable omission is Mississippi Fred McDowell. I remember playing his 1969 album, I Do Not Play No Rock'N'Roll, where he explains how his guitar talks, countless times when it came out. Kokomo Arnold's "The Twelves" was included on the first iteration of this compilation (RGNET1151 2005), here he appears under the moniker Gitfiddle Jim. From the whine of a human voice to a train whistle perfected by the black players, the white country exponents (like also notably absent Roy Smeck) of the slide soon adapted the sounds of the Hawaiian guitar. As well as country duo Darby & Tarleton some real Hawaiians (Jim & Bob) are here: they moved to the mainland seeking fame and fortune. This more expansive style was soon evident in the work of Kokomo Arnold, Casey Weldon, Tampa Red and, new to me, Black Ace. Another nice surprise is Bayless Rose and his "Frisco Blues" from 1930. A quick web search suggests another mystery, no one is even sure of his race. There's room for many noted exponents of the potent form, from Blind Willie (Joe) Reynolds (author of "Outside Woman Blues") to Leadbelly ("C. C. Rider") and Gus Cannon ("Poor boy, long ways from home").

BARBECUE BOB
ROUGH GUIDE TO BLUES LEGENDS (RGNET1328)

Barbecue Bob had a short brilliant career. He first recorded in March 1927, laying down a few sides; more followed in 1928 and 1929 and a dozen in 1930 the year he died (aged 29, from pneumonia). Fifty years later he was rediscovered when the Dutch label Agram released an LP titled Brown-Skin Gal. In the late 70s I met Ray Funk, now a leading authority on Calypso, but in those days Ray was into Blues and Gospel and turned me onto some great stuff including the early Barbecue Bob album. Apart from the clever lyrics, full of double-entendres, Bob (Robert Hicks) had a unique sound because he was playing a 12-string guitar: slide gives way to a wild attack, called "frailing" adapted from claw banjo playing. He became popular because his lyrics were smart, he was a handsome devil (who worked as a BBQ chef, singing to his customers, which is how he became noticed by a Columbia Records talent scout), and his style was more upbeat than contemporaries like Skip James or Son House who sang about the hard times. More songs have surfaced since the 18 sides compiled by Guido van Rijn, and now the count is at 62 or so. Document Records put out a three-volume "Complete" set in 1991. "Motherless Chile Blues" is an important addition, found on the new Rough Guide, but we lose my favorite "Monkey & the Baboon," which is on the "Complete" set with other gems like "She Shook her Gin" (which also appears on the Yazoo compilation Chocolate to the Bone). If you are a blues fan you probably have the Yazoo disc, which is fantastic. Nevertheless this Rough Guide is a great introduction and the sound is wonderful. The Bibliothèque nationale in Paris has digitized some old recordings and these include both sides of a Barbecue Bob 78, so you can compare the quality to those found here. Interestingly the original version of "Honey you're going too fast" (found in Paris) has the same tune on the B-side with different lyrics, "It's a funny little thing." While I like the Rough Guide set I can do without "Jesus' Blood can make me Whole" and certainly some others could have been sacrificed to make room for the cream of his output. But if you don't know Bob this finger-licking set will have you seeking out more of his work, like his duets with his brother Laughing Charley or his final session with Curly Weaver and the Georgia Cotton Pickers (Curly's eerie "No No Blues" -- another take on "Motherless Chile"-- can be heard on the Rough Guide to East Coast Blues). BBQ Bob plays some fast tunes, with a percussive attack, snapping the bass strings and dipping a tasty slide on his little finger into the lead, sounding like two guitars playing at once. "Spider and the Fly" and "Yo Yo Blues" are among the best blues ever recorded, though they may be better characterized as hokum and are full of trebly pop gusto you wouldn't associate with blues.

BLIND BOY FULLER
ROUGH GUIDE TO BLUES LEGENDS (RGNET1330 CD)
ROUGH GUIDE TO UNSUNG HEROES OF COUNTRY BLUES (RGNET 1334 CD)

We've heard the Roots of Led Zeppelin, Stoned Alchemy (the roots of the Rolling Stones), even The Roots of Robert Johnson, now Rough Guide seems to be doing an R Crumb-inspired series of American blues. From "Diddy wah diddy" of Blind Blake (RGNET 1303), we now get "Keep on Truckin, mama / truckin my blues away" as the lead cut on the new Blind Boy Fuller release. The 25 remastered tracks here sound (mostly) crisp and clean. Fuller was only 33 when he died in 1940 (reportedly of excessive drinking). However he was a very influential musician in the pre-WW2 era, releasing some 120 sides, including familiar titles like "Get yer Ya Yas out." His finger-picking style was influenced by ragtime and he had some of the tricks of the "hokum" artists up his sleeve too. Born in North Carolina in 1907, Fuller went blind in his teens and took to playing on the streets to survive. He had a tough time, even going to jail for shooting his wife in the leg ("Blind Man with a Pistol" indeed)! In 1935 he was spotted by a record store owner and sent to New York to record. Lines like "I aint had no lovin since my little girl been gone," "I'll give you anything in this whole round world / let me lay it on you," and "You got great big legs and little bitty feet / something about you is sweet sweet sweet" are characteristic of his work and of course survive in Robert Plant and other appropriators' work. He has much in common with Blind Blake both musically as well as in his tragic life story, with a rougher delivery, both in his hoarse vocal style and his brash approach to the National steel resonator guitar. He plays as if he wants to be sure the strings are all there but is capable of ripping out a surprising trilled and pulled ornamental flourish. There is washboard accompaniment (by Bull City Red?) on a few tracks. The style Fuller plays is known as Piedmontese or East Coast Blues, as opposed to Delta Blues. I am glad Rough Guide is pursuing this series as so far it has been a wonderful introduction to some of the lesser-known blues masters of the 1930s.

Simultaneously Rough Guide launches the Unsung Masters disc (appropriately they do not identify the subject of the cover photo!). There are 24 tracks and I had only heard of 4 of the performers before. One of them, Geeshie Wiley, only recorded three discs! I bought the Crumb soundtrack album in order to get her sublime "Last Kind Word" blues. (The B side of that, "Skinny Leg Blues," is also on Crumb.) I have her "Eagles on a half" (1931) on a 1967 Belzona LP compilation called Mississippi Blues 1927-41 that is a fantastic introduction to the Delta. I suppose Geeshie could go in a set of artists with short but brilliant careers like Sir Lord Comic (I think I have 5 by him). This is a stellar compilation (with one or two harsh-sounding cuts) and a lot of variety, though you had probably only ever heard Hambone Willie Newbern before. Here he is with the original "Roll and Tumble Blues" from 1929. "Married Man Blues" by Blind Willie Reynolds is another classic that was covered many times in the rock era by bands like Cream, Blodwyn Pig and Canned Heat. I have it as "Outside Woman Blues" on another crucial vinyl compilation (credited to Blind Joe Reynolds!), Roots of Rock (Yazoo 1063 from 1979), which also features "Roll and Tumble" and other old favorites. I miss the expansive liner notes of the LP, but then who doesn't? These two discs contain some really great and, to me, new music from the interwar years when American "race" music was in the crucible that led to R&B and rock.

ROUGH GUIDE TO EAST COAST BLUES (RGNET1335)

I was idly spinning the dial on my TV recently and lighted on a program about Eric Clapton. They had a young talking head who was expounding about Clapton's career. "He created a new sound called 'The Woman Tone,'" he said portentously, with the voice of Revelation. --Yes, I replied to noone, as mentioned in the documentary about Cream which we have all seen. "And he was very influenced by the early Blues masters, such as Robert Johnson ... and Blind Willie Dixon." Oh no, I exclaimed. Willie Dixon is blind, how did this happen? as I changed the channel. Unfortunately musical history is often written by ill-informed chumps (Blond Boy Scribbler) like this who write for trade magazines and postulate on the tube. The "woman tone" is a setting which you can hear in Junior Wells and many others' playing, although they didn't give it such a fanciful name. So Rough Guide is here with a proper lesson and once again shade the count on our understanding of the Blues. We all, who don't read SPIN or watch AXS, know about the Mississippi Delta blues and how some of the exponents migrated to Chicago and went electric. The Mississippi Delta blues was born of strife, racial segregation and hard times. The coastal Piedmont region, on the other hand, which spans the Appalachians and runs from Virginia through the Carolinas down to Atlanta, was less segregated, so in this relaxed atmosphere musicians borrowed from one another: ragtime and minstrel or medicine show music informed the blues, as well as a touch of what is known as Hokum music. The big names of this genre are Blind Blake, Blind Boy Fuller and Barbecue Bob and not far behind them are Blind Willie McTell, Rev Gary Davis, Curley Weaver and Brownie McGhee (along with his harp-playing partner Sonny Terry). Blind Willie, in this case McTell, turns in a sensational dialogue with a young lady, called "Mama, let me scoop for you," recorded in 1932, though she assures him she is strictly a 1933 type gal. The restoration on these tracks is superb: a cut above the usual hairy oldies you commonly find in the marketplace. Sighted Willie Moore is new to me and has a nice easy strut (on a 12-string?) that reminds me of Barbecue Bob, who is up next. There are a few familiar tracks on here (some repeated from other recent compilations) but it is always good to hear "She's coming back some cold rainy day" by the Georgia Cotton Pickers, with its rough-sawn rhythm and jagged harmonica counterpoint.


ROUGH GUIDE TO BLUES LEGENDS: BLIND BLAKE (RGNet 1303)

I wish somebody would tell me what "diddie-wah-diddie" means! That line is guaranteed to bring a smile to anyone who remembers R Crumb's ZAP comics. Crumb was famous for his love of early American folk music, he even had a band, the Cheap Suit Serenaders, and drew album covers and collector cards for his favorite old-timey artists. Arthur "Blind Blake" was one of the legendary American bluesmen of the 1930s. Apart from being blind, he died young (at 38), was a hard drinker and had a unique guitar style, which is often compared to ragtime piano. His voice is pleasant and although he was quite popular, recording something like 80 sides for Paramount, there is only one known photo of him (appropriately blurry!). But his songs were his ticket to fame and his style influenced the generation of the 1960s who rediscovered vintage blues, including Ry Cooder, John Fahey and others. "Good to the last drop -- like Maxwell House coffee!" he says of his own playing. It is part of an odd monologue where he discusses his music while performing "West Coast Blues," the B-side of his first record. Right from the start his picking is relaxed, his songs urbane, his delivery conversational. Though when he wants to he can rip it out, like "Southern Rag," where his delivery is astonishingly fast and complex and again he is concentrating so hard his "lyrics" are interjected comments. "I Was Afraid of That" returns to the "Diddie wah Diddie" tune, which is a dancing rag, this time with piano accompaniment. In fact most of his tunes are simple 12-bar blues so you can play along, however, his picking is complex and inventive. There are 26 sides on the Document CD, 23 on the Yazoo "Best of" CD, 23 on the Snapper UK release; there's even a 5-disc box set on JSP that includes all the alternate takes (back-to-back which I find irritating) and his sessions accompanying other singers. I guess that means the music is public domain: some labels clean up the tracks, but one of his greatest songs, "That will never happen no more," always sounds as beat-up as my Kenyan 45s. Rough Guide offer you this as a 25-song download or a 12-track LP; there is a bonus disc called Ragtime Blues & Hokum. Hokum songs are famously double-entendres about sex, like Dave Bartholomew's "My Ding-a-Ling" or songs that suggest grinding meat, boiling hambones or squeezing lemons. This is a good mixture of famous and obscure artists and you will hear familiar songs, like Robert Johnson's "They're red hot," in a new light. And how about this gem: "Say boy can you sing?" "No, I lost my voice in jail. I was always behind a few bars and could never find the key." This disc ends with Blind Lemon Jefferson, who has his own Rough Guide, also in this series (RGNET1298). The sound is so poor though I couldn't listen to it. Again there is a great bonus disc, this one Country Blues Pioneers, a sampler that includes Big Bill Broonzy, Skip James, Tommy Johnson, Robert Wilkins' "That's no way to get along," Memphis Minnie and many others.

Completing their trilogy of sightless Southern singers, Rough Guide gives us the lesser-known Blind Willie Johnson, a Texas preacher who used slide guitar to aid his message. His songs are all of a religious bent and he sings like he could use a bottle of cough syrup. His hits were "Nobody's fault but mine" (No need to mention who covered it) and "John the Revelator," notably covered by Son House. The accompanying bonus disc is less appealing to me personally, being Gospel Blues Legends. I get a little weary of songs like "Jesus' blood can make me whole," even when delivered by the great Barbecue Bob, or Charley Patton's "Oh Death." Again you will recognize the familiar "Jesus gonna make up my dying bed," which I think is called "In my time of dying" by the Zeppelins. The best of these is "Jesus is a mighty good leader" by Skip James which you doubtless already have.


SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON
KEEP IT TO OURSELVES (APO/CAPB 036 SA)

Sonny Boy Williamson II (that is, Rice Miller, the second artist to use this name) was a Mississippi-to-Chicago blues singer and harmonica player, like his namesake who died in 1947. Sonny Boy Two died in his early fifties in 1965. He had minor hits with "Your Funeral and my Trial," and "Eyesight to the Blind," which the Who covered. His "One Way Out" was covered by the Allman Brothers, "Help Me" by Canned Heat; Led Zep remade his wonderful take on Muddy Waters' "Bring it on Home," leading to a lawsuit from Chess records. A couple of years before his death, Sonny Boy toured Europe, recording with both the Yardbirds and the Animals in England. He loved England, where he was adored, and took to wearing a bowler hat and carrying an umbrella, quintessentially English accessories. Famously he said, "Those English boys wanna play the blues real bad -- and they do!" In Copenhagen he recorded two albums which are considered among his best, and a distillation of them has just been reissued by Apo. The very sparse backing musicians are Matt Murphy on acoustic guitar and Memphis Slim on very sporadic piano (who however does sing "Same Girl" with Sonny's harp accompaniment). If you grew up on the aforementioned rock bands who leaned heavily on the real blues, you will find yourself at home with Sonny Boy. He kicks off with Elmore James' "The Sky is Crying," a much more soulful version than those you probably know (The Yardbirds' version was call "The Sun is Shining"). The sound on this is phenomenal, which is great since a lot of it is just his harmonica playing and his gravelly vocals, or Murphy's tastefully discreet acoustic guitar. I could use more Memphis Slim but am grateful for what's here. The main attraction is Sonny Boy sucking and blowing his mouth harp and by jove you are right there.


ROUGH GUIDE TO THE BLUES (RGNET 1180CD)

British journalist Nigel Williamson wrote a book called The Rough Guide to the Blues and here is the CD he compiled to distill it to an hour. We've already had Rough Guides to Chicago, Delta and Bottleneck Blues. The Blues squirms around and flows in all directions so there's sub-genres like Oakland Blues and who knows maybe even Big Leg Blues! The Blues we all know and love comes from the Mississippi delta and migrated north to Chicago before blossoming out into popular consciousness in the 1960s in the hands of British rock 'n' rollers like John Mayall and my homeboys the Animals. At first the Blues was the province of female singers and the album opens with Mamie Smith, a red-hot mama for sure, belting it out from 1920. There are four kings and a queen from the delta: Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charlie Patton, Blind Willie McTell, and Robert Johnson, plus Memphis Minnie. McKinley Morganfield [left] was first recorded on the plantation in 1940 by Alan Lomax who was on a field trip for the Library of Congress. Morganfield was confident enough to move to Chicago and start a musical career that became legendary, as he changed his name to Muddy Waters. The killer live version of "Mannish Boy" (a.k.a. "I'm a man") here is definitive proof. In the fifties the sound became thoroughly urban with electric guitar backed by bass, drums and piano as Howlin Wolf and other Chess artists scored hit after hit. (With Willie Dixon on bass and Otis Spann on piano how could you miss?) Significantly artists like Elmore James and Sonny Boy Williamson had a bigger impact on the young white kids of Europe and I was one of those who got exposed to their music as it was covered by rock bands of my generation and then I got to see Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and many others of that cross-over generation as they toured the English provinces. John Lee Hooker, B.B. King and Buddy Guy began to have a major impact on the popular music of the sixties scoring hits themselves or having their sound covered by the white bluesmen like Clapton, Peter Green, Van Morrison and Long John Baldry. I have a lot of blues albums and compilations (including, of course, my own, with Barbecue Bob, Skip James, Sister O.M. Terrell, Hambone Willie Newbern, Geechie Wiley, etc) but this one really cuts to the essence. Sonny Boy Williamson backed by the Animals takes me right back to cold nights on Percy Street outside the Club A Go-Go before it was all bulldozed to build indoor malls. I won't quibble but the long introduction of the band by B.B. King is a waste of time; but the gratuitous inclusion of Ali Farka Toure is okay. Indeed the "back to Africa" tack has been tried before, for example by Rhino on their Blues Masters vol 10 which opens with Jali Nyama Suso. While I prefer the discoveries you will make if you get the Rhino compilations, this Rough Guide hits all the highlights and is eminently listenable.


ROUGH GUIDE TO BOTTLENECK BLUES (RGNET 1151CD)

One of the most purely American sounds is bottleneck blues. Despite all the claims to the Malian origins of the Blues there is a uniquely down and dirty sound to music of the Mississippi delta with jangling dobro guitar, scrappy moaning vocals and stinging ringing tones of the glass slide on the neck of the steel-stringed guitar. The meandering tone has an affinity to Hawaiian slide and even Calcutta guitar styles, but then there's the poetry which inspired the rock and rollers of my generation. When the hurricane disaster hit New Orleans I remembered the lyrics of Led Zeppelin's "When the levee breaks" (the original was by Kansas Joe McCoy & Memphis Minnie) & I thought how song lyrics often embody eternal truths in ways you can't get from everyday communications like news or e-mails. And with the ongoing disasters in the American South and the transparent governmental racism toward the poorer coloured folks, these old songs ring truer than ever. The popularity of the guitar among black musicians goes back a century to when the banjo was shunned, being associated with minstrel shows. The appeal of slide guitar is that you don't have to learn chords, you can slide anything -- a knife, a bottle, a comb -- across the open-tuned strings and create a kazoo- or theramin-like rising and falling zooping sound. As the style developed, artists like Fred McDowell would pluck the strings in finger-picking style and keep the slide (a metal tube) on their pinkie which would brush the strings to add grace notes, almost like adding a second instrument. And as you can hear, the talented bottleneck players could use this fluidity of pitch changing to imitate train whistles or even talking! Slide guitar did enter vaudeville, and one of the wonders on here is the dazzling version of "St Louis Blues" by Jim & Bob, the Genial Hawaiians, who were actually a couple of white guys from Chicago. There's a fabulous Bottleneck Masterpiece album on Yazoo (L-1046) called THE VOICE OF THE BLUES which has my favourite novelty slide number, Roy Smeck's 1926 "Laughing Rag." (Actually of the fourteen artists on that LP not one is represented here, which shows you how vast this musical arena is. Two of the Rough Guide tracks, Charlie Patton's "Spoonful" and Hambone Willie Newbern's "Roll & Tumble" which were made famous by Cream, do appear on another Yazoo compilation ROOTS OF ROCK [Yazoo 1063].) This is a great collection of gems from the bottleneck blues repertoire, from Hambone Willie Newbern, Son House and Robert Johnson up to Stefan Grossman and the less-interesting contemporary practitioners Martin Simpson & Bob Brozman. There's enough to engage even a devotee like yours truly.