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The Classic Years 1927-1940 [Box]
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Album: The Classic Years 1927-1940 [Box]
# Song Title   Time
1)    Writin' Paper Blues
2)    Stole Rider Blues
3)    Mama, 'Tain't Long Fo' Day
4)    Mr. McTell Got the Blues
5)    Mr. McTell Got the Blues
6)    Three Women Blues
7)    Dark Night Blues
8)    Statesboro Blues
9)    Loving Talking Blues
10)    Atlanta Strut
11)    Travelin' Blues
12)    Come on Around to My House Mama
13)    Kind Mama
14)    Teasing Brown
15)    Drive Away Blues
16)    This Is Not the Stove to Brown Your Bread
17)    Love Changing Blues
18)    Talkin' to Myself
19)    Razor Ball
20)    Southern Can Is Mine
21)    Broke Down Engine Blues
22)    Stomp Down Rider
23)    Scarey Day Blues
1)    Rough Alley Blues
2)    Experience Blues
3)    Painful Blues
4)    Low Rider's Blues
5)    Georgia Rag
6)    Low Down Blues
7)    Rollin' Mama Blues
8)    Lonesome Day Blues
9)    Mama, Let Me Scoop For You
10)    Searching the Desert For the Blues
11)    Warm It up to Me
12)    It's Your Time to Worry
13)    It's a Good Little Thing
14)    You Was Born to Die
15)    Lord Have Mercy If You Please
16)    Don't You See How This World Made a Change
17)    Savannah Mama
18)    Broke Down Engine
19)    Broke Down Engine No. 2
20)    My Baby's Gone
21)    Love-Makin' Mama
22)    Death Room Blues
23)    Death Cell Blues
24)    Lord, Send Me an Angel
1)    B and O Blues No. 2
2)    B and O Blues No. 2
3)    Weary Hearted Blues
4)    Bell Street Lightnin'
5)    Southern Can Mama
6)    Runnin' Me Crazy
7)    East St. Louis Blues (Fare You Well)
8)    Ain't It Grand to Be a Christian
9)    We Got to Meet Death One Day
10)    We Got to Meet Death One Day
11)    Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around
12)    I Got Religion, I'm So Glad
13)    Dying Gambler
14)    God Don't Like It
15)    Bell Street Blues
16)    Let Me Play With Yo' Yo-Yo
17)    Lay Some Flowers on My Grave
18)    Ticket Agent Blues
19)    Cold Winter Day
20)    Your Time to Worry
21)    Cooling Board Blues
22)    Hillbilly Willie's Blues
1)    Just As Well Get Ready, You Got To Die / Climbing High Mountains / Tryin' To Get Home
2)    Monologue on Accidents
3)    Boll Weevil
4)    Delia
5)    Dying Crapshooter's Blues
6)    Will Fox
7)    I Got to Cross the River Jordan
8)    Monologue On Old Songs / Old Time Religion / Amen
9)    Amazing Grace
10)    Monologues On: The History Of The Blues / Life As Maker Of Records / On Himself
11)    King Edward Blues
12)    Murderer's Home Blues
13)    Kill-It-Kid Rag
14)    Chainey
15)    I Got to Cross the River of Jordan
 

Album: The Classic Years 1927-1940 [Box]
# Song Title   Time
1)    Writin' Paper Blues
2)    Stole Rider Blues
3)    Mama, 'Tain't Long Fo' Day
4)    Mr. McTell Got the Blues
5)    Mr. McTell Got the Blues
6)    Three Women Blues
7)    Dark Night Blues
8)    Statesboro Blues
9)    Loving Talking Blues
10)    Atlanta Strut
11)    Travelin' Blues
12)    Come on Around to My House Mama
13)    Kind Mama
14)    Teasing Brown
15)    Drive Away Blues
16)    This Is Not the Stove to Brown Your Bread
17)    Love Changing Blues
18)    Talkin' to Myself
19)    Razor Ball
20)    Southern Can Is Mine
21)    Broke Down Engine Blues
22)    Stomp Down Rider
23)    Scarey Day Blues
1)    Rough Alley Blues
2)    Experience Blues
3)    Painful Blues
4)    Low Rider's Blues
5)    Georgia Rag
6)    Low Down Blues
7)    Rollin' Mama Blues
8)    Lonesome Day Blues
9)    Mama, Let Me Scoop For You
10)    Searching the Desert For the Blues
11)    Warm It up to Me
12)    It's Your Time to Worry
13)    It's a Good Little Thing
14)    You Was Born to Die
15)    Lord Have Mercy If You Please
16)    Don't You See How This World Made a Change
17)    Savannah Mama
18)    Broke Down Engine
19)    Broke Down Engine No. 2
20)    My Baby's Gone
21)    Love-Makin' Mama
22)    Death Room Blues
23)    Death Cell Blues
24)    Lord, Send Me an Angel
1)    B and O Blues No. 2
2)    B and O Blues No. 2
3)    Weary Hearted Blues
4)    Bell Street Lightnin'
5)    Southern Can Mama
6)    Runnin' Me Crazy
7)    East St. Louis Blues (Fare You Well)
8)    Ain't It Grand to Be a Christian
9)    We Got to Meet Death One Day
10)    We Got to Meet Death One Day
11)    Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around
12)    I Got Religion, I'm So Glad
13)    Dying Gambler
14)    God Don't Like It
15)    Bell Street Blues
16)    Let Me Play With Yo' Yo-Yo
17)    Lay Some Flowers on My Grave
18)    Ticket Agent Blues
19)    Cold Winter Day
20)    Your Time to Worry
21)    Cooling Board Blues
22)    Hillbilly Willie's Blues
1)    Just As Well Get Ready, You Got To Die / Climbing High Mountains / Tryin' To Get Home
2)    Monologue on Accidents
3)    Boll Weevil
4)    Delia
5)    Dying Crapshooter's Blues
6)    Will Fox
7)    I Got to Cross the River Jordan
8)    Monologue On Old Songs / Old Time Religion / Amen
9)    Amazing Grace
10)    Monologues On: The History Of The Blues / Life As Maker Of Records / On Himself
11)    King Edward Blues
12)    Murderer's Home Blues
13)    Kill-It-Kid Rag
14)    Chainey
15)    I Got to Cross the River of Jordan
 
Product Description
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • There are some box sets that seem like overkill, beyond the pale for all but the very most hardcore fans, and others -- a little more obvious in their justification -- that never achieve much currency beyond the ranks of the serious fans and as easy Christmas ideas for their relatives. And then there are the ones that, based on the sheer credibility of the artists involved -- Eric Clapton, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra -- become practically standard-issue for any serious music listener; you expect to find at least one, and more likely two of them on a lot of shelves. The Classic Years 1927-1940 ought to fit into the latter category, despite the fact that Blind Willie McTell never had a hit record in a recording career lasting nearly 30 years -- he also didn't make Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest guitarists of the twentieth century, even though he could play circles about three-fourths of those who did. Some music and musicians just speak too well for themselves and their genre and style, and in this case all 84 cuts have value, and a lot more value than JSP Records is asking in its retail price. From McTell's earliest session, in October 1927 to his November 1940 session for John Lomax, he is superbly represented here by his voice, guitar, and songs, and unlike many comprehensive compilations of pre-World War II blues, there are no apologies needed for the quality of most of the sources or the resulting tracks. However it happened, JSP has assembled a series of generally superbly clean and bright masters (with some exceptions, especially in the mid-'30s sides, some of which have surface noise) going back to the late '20s, which, in their current digital state, showcase McTell's dazzling finger-picking style on the 12-string guitar. Listeners will swear there's more than one guitarist playing, but there isn't on the early sides, and what he gets out of the one guitar makes it sound almost like a trio, covering rhythm as well as lead parts, but without any feeling of artifice. And when he gets teamed up with fellow blues virtuoso Curley Weaver (who also escaped Rolling Stones' net) in the 1930s, it's a collaboration between two geniuses that can spin your head if you listen closely enough to the playing. Coupled with the tracks on which Ruth Mary Willis sings or shares vocals with McTell, there's more than enough variety here to make this entertaining for 30 minutes or three hours at a sitting. Concerning the 1940 Lomax session masters, they have some moderate noise, but they're so well recorded otherwise and so valuable as musical documents and historical artifacts that the slight distraction can be ignored. These sides went unreleased for decades and slot perfectly into the period between McTell's final commercial recordings as a contemporary country blues artist during the era of the last commercial gasp of acoustic country blues and his re-emergence after World War II as a representative of a now-archaic style of blues. What's more, Lomax got McTell to talk as well as play for his microphone. The annotation is very thorough and the mere fact that this set pulls together all of McTell's various sides for Victor, Columbia, and others makes it essential listening for his fans or admirers of 1930s acoustic blues. ~ Bruce Eder
Professional Reviews
Mojo (Publisher) (7/03, p.112) - 4 stars out of 5 - "McTell was one of the very great bluesmen, his music plaintive, robust and always singular..."
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