Blind Pig Records has announced a March 29th release date for two traditional blues albums. The label will re-issue long out of print titles from Henry Gray and Yank Rachell that were originally released as LPs. Both CDs will carry a $9.98 list price as part of Blind Pig’s midline budget series.
The lustrous Chicago blues scene of the 1950s was predominated by great pianists, and Henry Gray was one of the finest. His rolling two-fisted keyboard work graced countless Chicago blues recordings during the ’50s for leading labels like Chess and Vee Jay. He recorded on classic sides by Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley, Little Walter, and Jimmy Rogers, among others. Starting in 1956, Henry spent twelve years as pianist for the legendary Howlin’ Wolf. The sessions for Lucky Man, his first solo American album, were recorded in 1988, and marked something of a comeback for Henry, who had recorded only sporadically in the previous two decades. Audio magazine said that on the album, “Gray performs as if the heyday of Chicago blues never ended.”
“BLUES MANDOLIN MAN”
Yank Rachell began his recording career in the late 1920’s. Through the ensuring decades, he established himself as the finest and most revered mandolinist the blues ever produced, performing regularly with Sleepy John Estes and Sonny Boy Willaimson, among many others. Rachell drifted away from the music scene in the ’40s, but resumed performing during the folk-blues revival of the late ’60s and early ’70s. These sessions from 1986, where Yank is joined for the first time by a rhythm section (his accustomed way of playing for many years), find Yank in fine form, his voice and instrumental skills still strong and compelling. Downbeat magazine called the LP “a fun, effective presentation of old-timey music in a fresh, contemporary setting.”