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Ace (CDCHD1378)

This is a real curio, featuring some serious bluesmen in what was considered in 1969 to be a more contemporary setting.

With hindsight we now know that contemporary settings in the late 1960s usually led to disastrous results. This however is different as the impetus for the recordings came from the sympathetic ear of Bob Thiele, a ABC Bluesway executive who bailed out in 1969 to set up his own Flying Dutchman label, with Bluestime planned as an imprint for his blues roster.

Coming with Thiele from ABC were T-Bone Walker and Otis Spann and these were initially supplemented by the involvement of Big Joe Turner, George ‘Harmonica' Smith, Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson and  Big Mama Thornton plus a few hopefuls such as Harmonica Slim, Malcolm & Chris and Leon Thomas.

While the venture was not to last more than a year, interesting recordings were made; the best of which are included in this collection. 

The star turn, T-Bone Walker, gets 3 tracks plus a leading role in the 14 minute jam on Paris Blues where Otis Spann's sparkling piano also features strongly. Elsewhere, T-Bone's For B.B. King is a beautifully controlled guitar led instrumental and Cleanhead Vinson's after-hours vocals on I Needs To Be'd Wid is very good indeed.

Very much of its time but a surprisingly enjoyable find.

Review Date: October 2013

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