The Carter Family – The Carter Family: 1927-1934
Americana 101. Enroll now.
p.s. JSP remaster!
Americana 101. Enroll now.
p.s. JSP remaster!
If you’ve been following along at all, you’ll have noted that I favor JSP remasters.
In case you don’t want to buy 5 CDs worth of any one artist, I’m recommending this lil’ package for ya. It’s as advertised, Legends of Country Blues. All done up in a JSP bow.
This is pretty much the textbook if you want to study the prewar recordings of some of the most important figures ever to be recorded. A vast amount of early Skip James, and all far better sonically than the Yazoo versions we used to have to rely on. (Don’t get me wrong, I am SO grateful to Yazoo for keeping me alive for so long! But, JSP has straight up outdone ’em here …).
Plus, pre-war Son House (which, in my opinion, isn’t actually as mesmerizing as his later recordings, but still, it’s fucking Son House!), pre-war Bukka White (ditto vis-à-vis mesmerizing, ditto vis-à-vis it’s fucking Bukka White!), the eerie, eerie, eerie magic of Tommy Johnson, and even a slew of Ishman Bracey.
In short, legends of country blues, indeed.
Oh, JSP remasters, are you the gift that keeps on giving? Oh, yes you are!
We recommended Disc A back in about March, and now, finally, we get ourselves on to the almighty Disc B!
Which is a tour de force, right from the start. Check out song 1-3
Pretty much the history of the blues in a nutshell, right there. And if that weren’t enough, check out the 3 songs Disc B concludes with!
21. See That My Grave’s Kept Clean
22. One Dime Blues
23. Lonesome House Blues
Hopefully needless to say by now, but Disc B is a motherfucker.
“Important Recordings” is a bit of an understatement, to say the least.
But anyhow, as long as we’re on the subject of how much I love JSP remasters, let’s have some Leadbelly then.
This is an impressive overview of the man’s music—it starts in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, and ends with a live track recorded in Texas just 6 months before he passed on.
In between, you’ve got a massive crop of Library of Congress recordings, joint performances with everyone from Sonny Terry to Willie “The Lion” Smith, and everything from gospel to blues to folk, and all points in between.
There never was a Leadbelly before Leadbelly, and there never will be again.
Bob Dylan said it. I agree with it. That settles it.
No one can sing the blues like Blind Willie McTell
And, no one can remaster the blues like JSP.
I think I own every single country blues remaster project that JSP has ever done. I love ’em that much.
And yes, I’m reviewing the set a disc at a time, cuz there’s just too much good stuff on each one.
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
Yeah, everybody knows Statesboro Blues, because of the version by The Allman Brothers. But that version sucks. At least, as a “version” it does. On its own, it’s a personally reasonable song. But as a “version” of the Willie McTell song, it sucks. If you get my drift.
And anyhow, what about Mama, ‘Tain’t Long Fo’ Day? If that song don’t break your heart, your heart must be dead.
If there is an official “sound” of the acoustic blues, it’s the sound of Blind Lemon Jefferson.
Blind Lemon Jefferson’s music is the well from which all subsequent artists must ladle.
The imagery in the lyrics, the lyric form—these words and forms are canonized with the recordings of Blind Lemon Jefferson.
The long first vocal syllable, the tumbling melodic descent—these sounds are canonized in the recordings of Blind Lemon Jefferson.
The irregular bar counts, the idiosyncratic melanges of single-string runs, chordal moves, and bass line thumps—these brilliant eccentricisms are all canonized with the recordings of Blind Lemon Jefferson.
These recordings are remastered by JSP—my favorites.
These are Blind Lemon Jefferson’s first recordings.
If you do not know these recordings, you do not know blues music.
Pro tip: When you take your first ride through this album, skip the first two gospel songs. They’re anomalies. They’re important, and you will listen to them. But skip them the first time. Start on track #3: Got The Blues. Suddenly, every other blues song you’ve ever heard will suddenly make a whole lot more sense.