Thursday, December 15, 2005

Various Artists - The Devil Is a Busy Man (Empire, 2005)

This collection subtitled 20 Scorching Blues Tracks From the Early Electric Era brings together a nice group of songs from the late 40's and early 50's, some genuine blues classics and some more obscure songs. The classic title track leads things off, Sunnyland Slim's classic piano rolling number and tale of the fellow with the horns collecting the souls of all those cheatin' women and lyin' men. Another classic included on this collection that has gone on to become a blues standard is J.B. Lenior's "Mama Talk to Your Daughter," which features Lenior's distinctive high-pitched voice and ripe guitar playing. Some early cuts by other well known blues men like Albert King, Lightnin' Hopkins and Snooky Prior are available here as well.

It's interesting to hear an early single called by Jody Williams (recording under the nom de plume Little Papa Joe) who is in the midst of an excellent comebacks right now after many years off the scene. Guitar is not the only focus here, although it takes center stage most of the time as piano-pounder Henry Gray plays the well know "Watch Yourself." Overall, this is an interesting blues collection, well recommended to both fans and neophytes who are long for a good dose of the real blues.

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