Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Blind Willie McTell - Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order Volume 1 (Third Man, 2013)

Quoted right at the top of the liner notes of this release is a verse from Bob Dylan’s tribute song “Blind Willie McTell.” This alone can give some indication of the vast influence that McTell’s music has gained in folk, blues and rock circles. This is a reissue of music from the Document Records vault series on on vinyl only. This album contains the opening recordings of McTell’s career, mostly on the Victor label, but also a few he did for Columbia on the sly, where he recorded as “Blind Sammy.” His delicate guitar picking is intricate and complex without being ornamental and his vocals are wry and knowing whether singing or some talking blues that seem to deliberately proceed the format that Dylan used in some of his early recordings. His best known recording (by rock and roll fans at least) “Statesboro Blues” anchors side one of the LP which also includes deep emotional music on “Mama, Ain’t Long For Day” and “Dark Night Blues.” Side two has some dazzling guitar playing on “Atlanta Strut” and the wry “Come Up to My House Mama.” I can’t tell if the music on this record has been remastered from 78’s, but the sound quality is quite solid considering the vintage of the recordings. This makes for a solid introduction to McTell’s music and vinyl fans who haven’t made his acquaintance will find this a fine acquisition. Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order Volume 1 - Third Man Records.

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