Bumble Bee Slim

Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3: (1934-1935)

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The opening six songs on this volume, which covers the period from November 1934 until April 1935, are decidedly different in texture from much of the material that preceded them in Slim's output. With no more than a guitar or two and perhaps a mandolin backing him up, his music leans less toward the kind of urban R&B sound that his early Vocalion tracks did. The playing is superb, with Carl Martin and Ted Bogan showing off a special virtuosity, while Slim's vocals are brilliantly expressive. The sound is rather rough on some of the material here, leading one to believe that there aren't many copies around of several of these songs -- "Way Down In Georgia" and "There You Stand" would not pass muster for release on most labels, being nearly inaudible amid their extreme surface noise. When Slim resumed his piano-based recording in early 1935, he took on a more sophisticated and less rural sound, and his voice became stronger in this mode, far more expressive and involved, alternately playful, sly, or mournful. The guitar accompaniment on some of the late February 1935 tracks, however, are notable as they include Big Bill Broonzy in the session -- one of these, "Milk Cow Blues," will prove a major frustration, a magnificent, classic piece of Chicago blues with great playing all around, but almost unlistenable because of the surface noise on the master source, which, one assumes, was irreplaceable. But "Everybody's Fishin'," which follows, is so clean and delightful that it almost makes up for the sonic sins of the earlier song.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:59
2 3:08
3 2:58
4 3:18
5 2:57
6 2:53
7 2:58
8 2:55
9 2:46
10 2:32
11 2:52
12 2:58
13 3:11
14 2:55
15 2:29
16 3:09
17 3:05
18 3:07
19 3:13
20 3:06
21 3:06
22 3:09
23 2:42
24 3:07
blue highlight denotes track pick