Otis Spann

Complete Blue Horizon Sessions

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Although Otis Spann will always be known as the piano player in the Muddy Waters Band, his solo work should not be overlooked. Possessing a beautifully expressive voice, Spann was also a facile songwriter, and freed of the restrictions inherent in a working electric blues band, his solo sides find him stretching out on piano as well. This two-disc set is a true treasure, containing a badly needed remixed version of 1969's The Biggest Thing Since Colossus LP plus several alternate takes, false starts, and unreleased songs. The Colossus sessions took place in January 1969 (there are a couple tracks here that date from late in 1968), a little over a year before Spann's death in 1970, and found him working with Blue Horizon label owner Mike Vernon and the Peter Green-era version of Fleetwood Mac (who Vernon managed). Spann is in fine voice here, delivering artful blues numbers that are just this side of jazz in execution, and the Fleetwood Mac boys are surprisingly sympathetic to it, making this a delightful release and one that no real fan of Spann should be without.

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