Sunday, January 10, 2016

Blind Willie Mctell Pig ‘n Whistle Red

Blind Willie Mctell
Pig ‘n Whistle Red

This just-issued compact disc compiles McTell’s 1950 recordings for Regal Records. These were his first commercial recordings since 1937, and he was joined at the session by fellow Atlanta bluesman, Curley Weaver, who contributes lead vocals on several songs. These recordings stylistically are unchanged from his earlier recordings, and show little diminution in his guitar skills or his warmly expressive singing.

Highlights include the jaunty Talkin’ to You Mama, an updated version of Ticket Agent, and East St. Louis - a lively performance using a melody familiar from Red River Blues and Crow Jane. Other songs by McTell, including the sentimental Pal of Mine, and several religious songs that close this disc, give an indication of the breadth of his repertoire. The twenty selections include a couple of alternate takes, and the sound is fine.

This splendid reissue is attractively packaged with a lovely cover illustration, and Don Kent provides concise and informative liner notes, although no photo of McTell is included (although the current ediion of this has a McTell Photo on cover).

I likely received the review copy from Jazz & Blues Report (the review originally appeared in the November 1993 issue (Issue 186)). This is available as a download or used.

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