For the real McCoy, check out 18 Classic Blues Songs From the 1920’s, Vol. 6 (Blues Images) — a CD with accompanying 12 x 24-inch 2009 wall calendar.
Each month’s illustration reproduces the art for an original ad for a song on the CD. Performers include Charlie Patton, Blind Blake, Skip James and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Here’s R. Crumb’s artistic and musical inspiration. (www.bluesimages.com)
Kickin’ Hitler’s Butt: Vintage Anti-Fascist Songs 1940-1944 (Buzzola/Koch) includes Leadbelly, Josh White and Son House tracks alongside Spike Jones’ madcap “Der Fuhrer’s Face” and the a cappella Golden Gate Quartet’s sublime “Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’.”
Like Blues Images’ set, it was lovingly compiled from collectors’ 78s. Just forgive the occasional surface noise.
Piedmont blues from the Virginia-to-Georgia Appalachian foothills is more relaxed and low-key than other regional styles. Cephas & Wiggins’ Richmond Blues (Smithsonian Folkways) recalls Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee’s duets.
Guitarist John Cephas uses an alternating thumb-bass technique beside Phil Wiggins’ harp.
Clear, close-up camera work makes sweating Byther Smith’s Blues On The Moon (Delmark) far stronger on DVD than on CD.
Here’s a 12-bar, post-war Chicago blues quintet taped in a South Side social club. Now, that’s authenticity.
Also from Chicago, Lil’ Ed And The Blues Imperials’ high-speed Full Tilt (Alligator) offers discreetly screaming guitars, blustery vocals and droll lyrics.
Katrina and its aftermath fuel the justifiable anger of Dr. John And The Lower 911’s City That Care Forgot (429 Records). He’s never been so political.
Of course, being New Orleans music, its message is delivered with a strut.
Irma Thomas, another Crescent City act, creates a sophisticated supper-club mood on Simply Grand (Rounder).
Covers of Dinah Washington’s “This Bitter Earth” and Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today” enjoy fresh timeliness.
For roadhouse Texas music, there’s an expanded 213-minute DVD Rocking The Boat: A Musical Conversation And Journey Starring Delbert McClinton (Burnside). The musical cruise concert footage includes Marcia Ball, Al Anderson and Wayne Toups. The substantive talk generally avoids rockumentary clichés.
Los Fabulocos’ Cali-Mex sound blends accordion-driven Mexican Norteno with California ro