The Mississippi Sheiks – Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, Vols. 1 – 3
We have Document records to thank for originally making available all the recorded works from this unbelievably important and influential ensemble, tho Vinyl heads out there may want to take note that Jack White’s Third Man Records has recently teamed up with Document to release this catalog on vinyl.
Mainly, you need to make sure to go the Complete Recorded Works route when it comes to the Sheiks—as opposed to any of the currently available compilations—because Volume 3 is the only way to get Shake Hands And Tell Me Goodbye, which is for my money one of their very best songs.
So, of course Sittin’ On Top Of The World, easily one of the most important folks-blues songs ever recorded. But there are SO many other classics as well! The Jazz Fiddler, Stop and Listen, I’ve Got Blood In My Eyes For You, Honey Babe Let The Deal Go Down, and so many more.
The Mississippi Sheiks were like Delta royalty. The core of the group was Walter Vinson and Lonnie Chatmon, the latter of THE Chatmon family, which included Sam Chatmon, himself an important musician, and Armenter Chatmon, who under the name of Bo Carter had a very successful career as well. The Chatmons even claimed Charley Patton as a cousin!
Sonically, The Mississippi Sheiks were the roughest of Country Blues, co-mingled with the swing of early jazz and ragtime, and the hoppin’ and drawlin’ drag of string bands, the latter coming courtesy of Chatmon’s improbable “Country Blues Fiddle” …
Mainly, they were extremely talented songwriters and performers who gave so much to the canon of American music, and they should be honored as artists of massive stature, and national treasures to boot.
Get all three volumes, and just listen in order, and don’t stop for a stretch until after Shake Hands And Tell Me Goodbye!