Monday, January 21, 2008

Leroy Foster - 1948-1952 (Classics R&B, 2005)

Moving to Chicago from rural Mississippi in 1945, guitarist and singer "Baby Face" Leroy Foster was one of the architects of post-war electric blues in Chicago. This very valuable collections traces Foster's sides for a number of labels including Aristocrat, which would soon morph into the legendary Chess outfit. Also legendary are some of Foster's accompanists including Muddy Waters, Sunnyland Slim and Jimmy Rogers. Highlights abound, but the two part "Rollin' and Tumblin'" ratchets up the ominous intensity to extraordinary levels. You know he's going to get a few shots in at those cheatin' females like in the great "Bad Actin' Woman" and the oft-covered "Loudella." But there isn't a bad cut to be found on this disc. Along with the early recordings of Muddy Waters, this is one of the Ur Texts of modern Chicago blues. The recording quality is a little rough around the edges, but this does nothing to to distract from this raw and potent music which is highly recommended to all blues fans. This is the birth of electric Chicago blues and would influence all whom came after.

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