The latest volumes in Yazoo's piano blues reissues maintain the standard set by the earlier releases in this series.
Dallas Alley Drag collects 23 selections of pianists and vocalists associated with the notorious Deep Ellum District. Whistlin’ Alex Moore is perhaps the best known performer here, and is heard on several selections including Heart Wrecked Blues, where his whistling is employed along with a loping piano accompaniment. While vocalist Billiken Johnson’s vocal train whistle effects may get tiresome, the accompaniment by Neal Roberts is fine and Frisco Blues is one of several train blues here. Several classic blues verses can be heard on Billiken’s Weary Blues, with stride-flavored piano from Texas Bill Day. Jack Ranger’s Window Blues, celebrating the Texas and Pacific is another fine track. Two fine vocalists, Ida Mae Mack and Bessie Tucker, benefit from K.D. Johnson s fine playing. Tucker was a particularly powerful singer and her three performances are quite compelling. Overall, this is a solid compilation with solid piano and singing.
Both albums featured informative booklets by Bob Hall.
I wrote this review for the DC Blues Calendar in late 2000 and it appeared in either late 2000 or early 2001. I received review copies from Shanachie which at the time operated Yazoo. One may have to track down used copies of these but they are available as downloads.