The Piedmont area of North Carolina and Virginia may not be as famous as Texas or the Mississippi Delta when it comes to blues musicians, but it produced more than a few great ones and few were more influential or popular in their time than Fulton Allen, aka Blind Boy Fuller. This nice collection is an introduction to the recorded music he made during his short 1935 - 1941 career. Fuller's music was full of life, featuring spritely guitar and knowing vocals on his own compositions and adaptations of standards and covers. His guitar playing is quite advanced, sometimes sounding like he is playing a bass beat and lead guitar simultaneously. He also adds some very nice slide guitar accents on "Homesick and Lonesome Blues." The dazzling guitar playing adds an extra dimension to the music when he steps away from the strict blues idiom on poppier dance tunes like "Jivin' Woman Blues" and small band hokum like "I Crave My Pigmeat." Tracks like this show that Fuller was a well rounded musician, able to adapt both his music and his lyrics to whatever type of music his audiences were asking for. Illness shortened his life and career, but it is interesting to speculate on the impact he would had if he had lived to participate in the blues revival of the 1960's. His pre-war work shows him to have been a thoughtful and innovative musician, and his music is definitely worth checking out by those interested in the roots of today's sounds.
Truckin' My Blues Away - amazon.com
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Jack DeJohnette - Made in Chicago (ECM, 2015) *****
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