Esther Phillips

Confessin' the Blues

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Confessin' the Blues has translated to CD beautifully. The first seven numbers show off Esther Phillips doing sophisticated, big-band blues, backed by a small orchestra led by Onzy Matthews, giving direct and pointed yet elegant performances of "Confessin' the Blues," "I'm Gettin' 'Long Alright," and "C. C. Rider." The last four numbers, which comprise nearly 24 minutes, have Phillips doing a jazzier set to start with, backed by a leaner band (most notably Jack Wilson on piano), in a set produced for record by King Curtis -- the final medley of "Bow Top Blues"/"Jelly Roll Blues"/"Long John Blues" is the highlight of the set, showing Phillips in a bluesy setting. The quality of the recording from both years is excellent and comes out well here. Phillips and her principal accompanists, Herb Ellis (guitar) and Lou Blackburn (trombone), are in excellent form on this 1966 set.

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