Big Bill Broonzy

1927-30, Vol. 1

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During the second half of the 1990s the Masters of Jazz historical reissue label brought out five compact discs devoted to the first eight years of guitarist Big Bill Broonzy's well-documented recording career. Volume one investigates his earliest works, beginning with four titles recorded in Chicago between November 1927 and October 1928. On these scruffy old Paramount sides Broonzy duets with tenor guitarist John Thomas, whose speaking voice may be heard on the "House Rent Stomp." On tracks five through nine Big Bill is heard as a sideman for pianist Georgia Tom Dorsey and guitarist Frank Brasswell. While some may feel that it's perfectly OK that the producers of this series thought it was appropriate to present the original pressings complete with authentic 78 rpm surface noise, tracks eight and nine sound degraded enough that one might become distracted and pine for a sharper needle, if such a thing would make any difference. Let not this minor imperfection drive you away, because the real "meat" of this collection is to be found on tracks ten through eighteen, which were harvested from various sessions for several different record labels that took place between January and April 1930. This portion of the chronology is a series of rags, rubs, stomps and struts performed by the Famous Hokum Boys, a group usually numbering only two or three players and almost always including Broonzy. These rascals played good-time music and sometimes garnished the tunes with smutty lyrics. These entertainments went over well with members of the African-American public seeking music suitable for carousing and partying. Tracks 19 through 21 were recorded in New York City for the Perfect record label on April 9, 1930. With Broonzy on that day was Brasswell once again; the records were issued under the pseudonym of Sammy Sampson. Note that "Skoodle Loo Doo" is a tasty cover of Blind Blake's magnum opus "Skeedle Loo Doo."

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:46
2 3:00
3 3:30
4 3:17
feat: Georgia Tom
feat: Georgia Tom
feat: Georgia Tom
8 3:01
9 2:48
10 2:49
11 3:02
12 2:49
13 2:53
14 2:56
15 2:44
16 2:35
17 3:01
18 2:47
19 2:47
20 2:25
21 2:43
blue highlight denotes track pick