Monday, July 23, 2012

Previously Unissued Otis Spann Someday - Great Music & Poor Packaging

An album of previously unissued Otis Spann performances, Someday (Silk City), is welcome, but alas the cheap packaging does not match the quality of the music. This is a collection of band and solo performances by the piano blues legend. Unfortunately the sparse packaging lacks any discographical information and the biography of Spann appears like it was copied from a second rate on-line website and incompletely discusses his recording career (the notes totally omit his Bluesway and BluesTime albums as well the terrific Super Black Blues recording with T-Bone Walker and Big Joe Turner). The cover graphics are simple and hardly stand out.

Compensating for the mediocrity of the packaging is the music which is very good. It opens with Spann leading an unidentified band through Chicken Shack, followed by terrific solo renditions of Country Boy, and Worried Life Blues, mis-titled as Someday. I find it hard to believe the producer of this disc did not know the correct song title. Also appealing is the solo rendition of Walter Davis’ classic Come Back, Baby, and a nice slow blues Blind Man.

In addition to Chicken Shack, band selections include the congenially rocking Meet Me In The Bottom; a solid rendition of Worried Life Blues; and a cover of T-Bone Walker’s Cold, Cold Feeling. These also have nice harmonica and guitar in addition to Spann’s piano. There is also a rollicking instrumental, Back Bay Shuffle. Spann Blues, with sparse rhythmic backing is a lively boogie based track, while the closing Blues Don’t Love Nobody, is a medium tempo-ed blues with the recording makes Spann’s vocal sound a bit muffled.

There is some very fine music on Someday, and many fans of Otis Spann will likely want the music here, which is represented as previously unissued. There is only about 37 minutes of music on this and as stated, the presentation of the material is pretty shoddy. This is not an essential release, but the music here deserved better packaging than it received.

I purchased this CD.


Gert Jan Kuiper said...

I agree with everything you said.

Gert Jan Kuiper (The Netherlands)

Gert Jan Kuiper said...

Muddy Waters and his band (including Otis Spann (piano), Paul Oscher (harmonica), Pee Wee Madison & Luther "Snake Boy" Johnson (guitar), Lawrence Wimberley (bass) and S.P. Leary (drums) did a session on November 24, 1966 for Silk City Records, which was produced by Robert A. Messinger.

First, Muddy did a few numbers with Otis op piano, where they interchanged vocals.
Tracks 2, 3, 4, 6 & 8 from this CD are from this session.
With the band, tracks 1, 5, 7 & 9 were recorded (featuring Otis).
A total of 18 tracks were recorded that day, the other ones with Muddy singing (I have no idea whether they were released as well).

Number 10 from this CD was recorded on July 3, 1960 in New Port [CD Muddy Waters & Otis Spann - Live at New Port]
Number 11 from this CD was recorded on October 27, 1968 in Copenhagen (Denmark) [DVD Muddy Waters - Classic Concerts]
Number 12 from this CD was recorded on October 22, 1963 in Manchester (England) [DVD American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1966, Volume One]
Number 13 from this CD was recorded on January 28, 1966 in Toronto (Canada) [DVD Colin James Presents: The Blues Masters]