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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



Preachiní the Blues

Original recordings 1925/27





  1. I Ainít Got Nobody
  2. Heís Gone Blues
  3. Nobodyís Blues But Mine
  4. New Gulf Coast Blues
  5. Florida Bound
  6. At the Christmas ball
  7. Iíve Been Mistreated and I Donít Like It
  8. Red Mountain Blues
  9. Golden Rule Blues
  10. Squeeze Me
  11. Money Blues
  12. Baby Doll
  13. Hard Driving Papa
  14. Lost Your Head Blues
  15. Hard Time Blues
  16. Young Womanís Blues
  17. Back-Water Blues
  18. Preachiní the Blues

That Bessie Smith was the Queen of female blues singers can never have been in doubt. She was singing the blues before the days of amplification, when as well as expertise in the genre, a powerful voice was an absolute requisite. Bessie was enormously successful for the period, commanding very large fees, compared to the average for the era. Some of the people she chose to record with were not really up to it (Bob Fuller on alto on I Ainít got Nobody for instance, has a very wide vibrato and an odd tone). On the other hand the backings from Joe Smith, a fine cornet player are fine and Fletcher Henderson, Clarence Williams and James P Johnson all come up with the goods on piano.

It goes without saying that the NAXOS team has made a superb job of re-mastering these old recordings, they always do!

Although I can appreciate that Bessie Smith set the style for the vocal blues and that style has lasted till today, for me too much of this material sounds the same and listening to it without interruption for an hour is too much of a good thing! On the other hand there are a lot of Ďback to the deltaí men and woman out there, who will find it an hour of pure joy and good on them!

Don Mather

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