CD Reviews

MusicWeb International

Webmaster: Len Mullenger

Reviewers: Tony Augarde, Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

[ Jazz index ] [Nostalgia index]  [ Classical MusicWeb ] [ Gerard Hoffnung ]

AmazonUK   AmazonUS



MATCHBOX MSESET 4 [6 CDs: 310:52]



Atlanta Blues 1927-30

Julius Daniels - Lil McClintock

Julius Daniels

- My Mamma Was A Sailor (377931- )

- Ninety-Nine Year Blues (37932-1)

- I'm Gonna Tell God How You Doin' (37933-3)

- Slippin' And Slidin' Up The Golden Street (37934-3)

- Can't Put The Bridle On That Mule This Morning (40347-2)

- Richmond Blues (40348-2)

- Crow Jane Blues (40350-2)

- Ninety-Nine Year Blues (37932-2)

- Slippin' And Slidin' Up The Golden Street (37934-1/2)

- Can't Put The Bridle On That Mule This Morning (40347-1)

- Richmond Blues (40348-1)

Lil McClintock

- Furniture Man (151016)

- Don't Think I'm Santa Claus (151017-2)

- Sow Good Seeds (151018)

- Mother Called Her Child To Her Dying Bed (151019)


Texas Alexander Vol. 3 1929-30
- Gold Tooth Blues (402645-B)
- Johnny Behrens Blues (402646-B)
- Rolling Mill Blues (403356-B)
- Broken Yo Yo (403357-A)
- Texas Special (403358-B)
- When You Get To Thinking (403359-B)
- Tirty Day Blues (403360-B)
- Peaceful Blues (403361-A)
- Days Is Lonesome (40111- )
- Seen Better Days (40112-B)
- Last Stage Blues (40113-A)
- Stealing To Her Man (40114-B)
- She's So Fair (40115- )
- Rolling And Stumbling Blues (40116- )
- Frost Texas Tornado Blues (40117-B)
- Texas Troublesome Blues (404118-A)


Peg Leg Howell Vol.1 (1926-27)

- Coal Man Blues (143116-2)

- Tishamingo Blues (143117-1)

- New Prison Blues (143118-2)

- Fo' Day Blues (143119-1)

- New Jelly Roll Blues (143941-1)

- Beaver Slide Rag (143942-1)

- Papa Stobb Blues (143944-2)

- Shadie Blues (143945-2)

- Too Tight Blues (145062-1)

- Moanin' And Groanin' Blues (145063-2)

- Hobo Blues (145064-2)

- Peg Leg Stomp (145065-2)

- Doin' Wrong (145184-2)

- Skin Game Blues (145185-2)


Sanctified Jug Bands 1928-30

Elder Richard Bryant, Brother Williams, Holy Ghost Sanctified Singers

Elder Richard Bryant

- The Master Came And Called Me (41860-2)

- Saul, A Wicked Man (41861-2)

- Come Over Here (400369-B)

- How Much I Owe For Love Divine (400370-B)

- Lord, Lord, He Sure Is Good To Me (400371-B)

- Watch, Ye, Therefore, You Know Not The Day (400372-A)

- A Lie Was Told, But God Know'd It (47045-2)

- A Wild Man In Town (47046-1-test)

- He Shut The Lion's Mouth (47047-1-test)

- A Lie Was Told (47045-1)

- A Wild Man In Town (47046-2)

- He Shut The Lion's Mouth (47047-2)

- Everybody Was There (47048-1)

Brother Williams Memphis Sanctified Singers

- He's Gotthe Whole World In His Hands (Mem-788)

- I Will Meet You At The Station (Mem-789)

Holy Ghost Sanctified Singers

- Thou Carest Lord, For Me (Mem-796)

- Jesus Throwed Up A Highway For Me (Mem-797)

- A Wild Man In Town (Mem-798)

- When I Get Inside The Gate (Mem-799)


St. Louis Bessie (Bessie Mae Smith) 1927-30

- Cryin' For Daddy Blues (82021-A)

- High Water Blues (82022-A)

- Creepin' Eel Blues (82044-B)

- Ghost Creepin' Blues (82045-B)

- Boa Constrictor Blues (82048-A)

- Dead Sea Blues (82049-B)

- Sneakin' Lizard Blues (82050-B)

- My Daddy's Coffin Blues (82051-B)

- Mean Bloodhound Blues (82052-A)

- Death Valley Moan (402165-B)

- Sweet Black Woman (402166-B)

- Good Feelin' Blues (402167-A)

- St. Louis Daddy (l-78-1)

- Farewell Baby Blues (l-90-2)

- Sugar Mama Blues - Part 1 (C-6167)

- Sugar Mama Blues - Part 2 (C-6168)

- He Treats Me Like A Dog (C-6490)

- Meat Cutter Blues (C-6491)


Texas Alexander Vol. 4 (1934-50)

- Blues In My Mond (Sa-2158-A)

- Mistreatin' Woman (Sa-2159-A)

- Polo Blues (Sa-2160-A)

- Normangee Blues (Sa-2161-A)

- Worried Blues (Sa-2162-A)

- Prairie Dog Hole Blues (Sa-2163-A)

- Justice Blues (Fw-1130-1)

- Katy Crossing Blues (Fw-1131-1)

- Lonesome Blues (Fw-1132-1)

- Lonesome Valley Blues (Fw-1133-1)

- One Morning Blues (Fw-1134-1)

- Deceitful Blues (Fw-1136-1)

- Easy Rider Blues (Fw-1138-1)

- Good Feelin' Blues (Fw-1139-1)

- Bottom's Blues (1604)

- Crossroads (1605)

With this volume we are at the mid-point in the Matchbox Bluesmaster reissue programme. The original LPs from which these CDs derive were issued between 1982 and 1988 and its rubric was blues, hokum and gospel 78s made between 1926 and ’34. For an introduction to the series and its ethos, have a brief look at a previous volume ( review ).

The first CD focuses on Julius Daniels and Lil McClintock and their Atlanta 78s. Daniels was an archaic songster and had an astute selection of songs, such as the intriguingly titled ‘My Mamma a Sailor’, and shows a real appreciation of Gospel, a couple of which he sings, deftly self-accompanied. There’s a Country feel to one or two of these songs and it’s valuable to have no fewer than three alternative takes. Lil McClintock, a man not a woman, is a gruffer voiced and older sounding musician than Daniels, though equally obscure biographically speaking. There are only four sides by him here, all recorded in December 1930, but the song choice is intriguing, the delivery confident and one senses in his use of the slide in his accompanying guitar playing on the gospel Mother Called Her Child To Her Dying Bed that he is mining a tradition far older and more venerable than the date of the recording.

Texas Aleander has made two appearances thus far in the series and here’s No.3. Three of the sides he made in San Antonio, Texas in November 1929 – all the sides were made in that town – are tough to listen to, suffering from surface wear and other imperfections. But one listens anew to the stylish guitar accompaniment of Carl Davis and to the appearance of that phalanx of good timers, the Mississippi Sheiks, in the June 1930 tracks. Here too there is some wear and occasional blasting on the discs, though nowhere very damagingly, and certainly not enough to efface the swinging elan of the Sheiks.

CD3 examines the Atlanta, Ga sides made in 1926-27 by Peg Leg Howell. You’ll find his later 1928-29 recordings in the first volume of this series. There ‘26-27 sides were Columbia’s first rural blues discs and as such marked a shift in the music’s propagation, or potential propagation. His first forays, on standard blues, show how capable he was, how in tune with the current of contemporary taste too, but it’s when he’s joined by the excitingly rough and ready violinist Eddie Anthony in April 1927 – always a galvanizing presence – that things really take off. These three tracks, with His Gang, are marvellously vivid, as are indeed the recordings they made later in the year. He shows in Doin’ Wrong, taken solo, just how penetrating are his bass strings and that he knows all the old tropes in Skin Game Blues. Howell is the standout artist in this box.

Sanctified Jug Bands defines the title of disc four, an important but problematic one for even the lover of blues and hokum because one has to confront sermons too, and here we have a disc full of sermons, all recorded in Memphis. Richard Bryant was a stentorian figure and touches hysterical heights at various points; it’s only when his sermonizing has ended that the congregation – the singers – can let loose. It’s really only the last few tracks that are devoid of sermons; possibly the great Will Shade is playing harmonica in them.

St Louis Bessie dominates CD5. Her rather lugubrious delivery doesn’t elevate the 1927 St Louis 78 much above the ordinary but once in Chicago things improve. On a couple of sides she is joined by Lonnie Johnson, whose guitar playing is, for him, quite discreet but whose fiddle playing is exciting on Boa Constrictor Blues, one of those phallic numbers St Louis Bessie enjoyed singing. De Loise Searcy is a nondescript piano accompanist but there’s an unknown pianist on the 5 December 1928 session and he is something else. He sounds classically trained to me but can Stride hard and gets down with Boogie braggadocio too. In fact, this whole session is very impressive; three fine songs, intriguing lyrics, superior accompaniments. If you know the name of the pianist – no one seems to – drop me a line.

The final CD returns to Texas Alexander but this time we move on to 1934. He’s accompanied by an anonymous little jazz ensemble known as His Sax Black Tams, which sounds like wordplay to me. The band manage to bring some regularity to Alexander’s rambling metrics at the expense of a whole heap of messy playing. The pianist’s solo on Worried Blues is bizarre, whilst the clarinetist - who doubles alto - may have passed through New Orleans from the sound of things. But this is largely good time music, every one a blues (in the title at least). A better representation of this important figure comes in the later sides he made with two-guitar accompaniment. These crisp stylish sides are impressive, especially Easy Rider Blues. As a pendant there are two titles from 1950, far beyond the stated rubric of the series as a whole and reveal, in poor sound, a much older man with Benton’s Busy Bees.

It seems superfluous to commend the late Paul Oliver’s wonderful notes, but I won’t miss the opportunity to praise the continuing relevance and value of this series of reissues.

Jonathan Woolf

Return to Index