Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Some Choice Savoy Blues On Retrospective Anthology

The following brief review of a compilation of blues recordings, mostly classic tracks from the forties and fifties from the Savoy label, appeared originally in the March-April 2004 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 267) and is still available.

The historic Savoy catalog has been reissued numerous times over the past few decades, making available seminal reissues of blues, jazz, and rhythm and blues. The catalog may now be in new hands and it seems the label is being mined yet again. One of the new releases is Savoy Blues 1944-1994 which is a three disc sampler that not only includes classic recordings by Joe Turner, Johnny Otis, Little Esther, Little Miss Sharecropper (Lavern Baker), John Lee Hooker and Big Maybelle, but also recordings by Eddie Kirkland, Robert Lockwood and Charles Brown that reflect the acquisition of the Muse and Trix catalogs to supplement the Savoy classics.

Opening with Hot Lips Page’s Uncle Sam’s Blues and closing with Charles Brown’s I Got a Right to Cry, the three discs cover a wide spectrum of music including Billy Eckstine’s classic Jelly Jelly, Gatemouth Moore’s Walking My Blues Away, Billy Wright’s Stacked Deck, Doc Pomus’ cover of Joe Turner’s Hollywood Bed, Turner’s My Gal’s a Jockey, John lee Hooker’s Miss Pearl’s Boogie, Joe Williams’ In the Evening, Nappy Brown’s The Right Time, Big Maybelle’s Blues Early, Early (Parts 1 & 2), Eddie Kirkland’s Snake in the Grass, and Robert Lockwood Jr.’s Selfish Ways.

A review of these titles should give an idea of the range of material presented here from the swing and uptempo mood of Hot Lips Page and Gatemouth Moore, to John Lee Hooker’s delta blues boogie and Eddie Kirkland’s mix of soul and delta blues. With good sound and good notes on the performers by compiler Billy Vera, this serves as a solid overview of the riches of the Savoy Catalog and is value priced as well.

I do not recall if I was sent a review copy from Jazz & Blues Report or the record company.

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