Jimmy Witherspoon is among my favorite singers in the blues and jazz realms, who was able to sound good in a variety of settings. His earliest recordings were made on the West Coast with Jay McShann in strong little big band combos while in latter years his recordings with Robben Ford impressed in their own vein. Few could handle material made famous by his hero Big Joe Turner as well as that of Jimmy Reed with equal conviction. The following review appeared in the April 2007 Jazz & Blues Report (issue 292).
Among the most recent releases in the Mosaic Singles series this classic 1957 recording by Jimmy Witherspoon with Jay McShann and His Band, Goin' to Kansas City Blues. Originally on RCA, I believe this has been on CD but undoubtedly deleted. Mosaic has made available the entire album with three other recordings from the sessions that had been issued on a French vinyl reissue.
Opening up with Jumpin’ the Blues from the pen of McShann and Charlie Parker, Witherspoon handles other McShann classics as Hootie Blues and Confessin’ the Blues, along with Until the Real Thing Comes Along, the classic ballad made famous by Andy Kirk’s Clouds of Joy along with the Joe Turner-Pete Johnson Piney Brown Blues. Witherspoon contributed a couple of originals, Rain is Such a Lonesome Sound and Blue Monday. He shines throughout backed by the swinging big little band McShann led. Others on the session included Kenny Burrell on guitar, Hilton Jefferson on alto sax, Seldon Powell on tenor sax, Al Sears or Hayward Henry on baritone sax, Emmett Berry or Ray Copeland on trumpet, J.C. Higginbotham on trombone, Gene Ramey on bass and Mousey Alexander on drums. Stereo masters were found for all but two of the thirteen songs heard here.
This is a most welcome reissue and available directly from mosaic at http://www.mosaicrecords.com/.