This review is from the September 1993 Jazz & Blues Report and while this CD has been discontinued, it is still available from some sellers at Amazon Stores.
The many Specialty blues reissues of note include Mercy Dee Walton’s One Room Country Shack. The title track, one of Mercy Dee’s two top ten R&B recordings, may be familiar from versions by Buddy Guy or Mose Allison, but Dee’s dry vocal really captures the starkness of his blues poetry. While compiler Billy Vera notes Mercy Dee’s sophisticated lyrics bear some comparison to Percy Mayfield, his themes and some of his lyrics reflect the rural sharecropping life he grew up in. His three Specialty recordings are included here along with 18 other sides, some of which served as demos perhaps. Sides like Love is a Mystery show a bit of versatility as he is in the club blues mode of a Charles Brown, while Winter Blues almost sounds like a remake of One Room Country Shack, although with totally different lyrics. A similar accompaniment is heard on Dark Muddy Bottom with its powerful depiction of a sharecropper’s life getting up at 4:30 to hit up his beat up team. A boogie backing is found on other songs like Pauline while Get to Gettin’, a duet with Lady Fox, is a New Orleans flavored rocker. The unissued sides are a welcome addition to his sparse recorded legacy, and while there may be a certain sameness to some of the songs here musically, the wit and imagery of his songs, his understated vocal delivery and Texas blues piano make Mercy Dee’s recordings a treasure to his fans.