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JSP (JSP77160)

Through Train Blues, It's Tight Like That, It's Red Hot, You Can't Come In, Jelly Whippin' Blues, What Is It That Tastes Like Gravy, Worried Man Blues,  You Rascal You, Bumble Bee Blues, Dead Cats On The Line That Stuff Is Here, Black Angel Blues & more

Hudson ‘Tampa Red' Whittaker and Thomas 'Georgia Tom' Dorsey were significant contributors to the emergence of Chicago as the focal point for the urbanisation  of blues music in the 1930s. 

In these years the city was acting as a magnet for significant numbers of black people looking to escape the hardships of the rural life in the south, and inevitably they were looking for Chicago to offer a version of the musical fulfilment they had left behind.

Tampa Red was an early slide guitar pioneer with a gift for writing songs that were more inventive and lyrical than the standard blues compositions of the day. This gift helps explain why he is remembered today not only for his own recordings but also for the blues standards that carry his name - including It Hurts Me Too, Crying Won't Help and Black Angel Blues (the prototype for what became Sweet Little Angel). Georgia Tom was a talented blues pianist who later renounced blues altogether, embraced the church and went on to a considerable gospel career as Thomas A Dorsey.

Reading Neil Slaven's studiously-researched and well-written notes, the two of them must have been a peculiar pair. They seemed to have little in common beyond the shared intelligence to see the emerging opportunities of the move from the country to the city and its impact on the musical tastes and demands of a growing black community in Chicago. Together and separately they achieved commercial success and influence in the evolution of Chicago blues unrivalled at the time.

Many of the sides they created in these years are included here, separately and together and with the involvement of a host of others (most notably singer Frankie Jaxon). Either under their own names or as bands such as The Hokum Boys, Tampa Red's Hokum Jazz Band and The Black Hillbillies, they recorded loads of great blues, hokum and novelty songs that sound just as wonderful today as they must have then. Most notably they were popular for their risqué lyrics and love of a good time - such as the wonderful It's Tight Like That, What Is That Tastes Like Gravy, You Can't Get That Stuff No More, You Rascal You and loads more.

Another superlative set from JSP, a comprehensive 100 tracks guaranteed to  entertain from start to finish.


Review Date: October 2012

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