Sunday, August 07, 2011

Josh White and Big Bill Come Visiting and Singing

Empire Musicwerks issued back in 2007, Josh White Comes A-Visiting Big Bill Broonzy Comes A-Singing, which makes available on CD music originally issued on two 10-inch LPs originally issued on the Period label. The album notes calls the two among the greatest exponents of the folk-blues idiom and that would not be unfair description of these discs as both artists are quite urbane in their presentation.

White, who had gone from a Piedmont blues and gospel singer-guitarist to a member of the emerging folk scene in the post-World War II era is heard backed by a small rhythm combo as well as a vocal chorus that included his daughter Beverly. Material ranges from the opening Bonbons, Chocolates, and Chewing Gum; Bury Me High and She’s Too Much For Me, which are very ably performed with deft musicianship and very appealing vocals.

The Big Bill Broonzy selections were recorded in Paris and include a rendition of Baby, Please Don’t Go (miscredited to Broonzy) along with Do Right Blues, Backwater Blues, and Hollerin’ and Cryin’ the Blues, all wonderfully sung and played with some crisply delivered guitar, if perhaps the vocals are taken with a certain self-consciousness.

I suspect no one call these performances by either essential, but certainly there is quite a bit that is very enjoyable.

This review originally appeared in the August 2007 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 296) and that publication likely sent me the review copy of the CD. This is shown as still available on amazon.

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