Various Artists

Piano Blues, Vol. 1: Paramount 1929-30

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This 16-song U.K. LP, from the Sussex-based Magpie label, was one of the better overviews of American piano blues of the late 1920s that one could find, back in the '70s -- a time when few US labels wanted anything to do with archival releases of this sort. The relatively well-known figures such as Charlie Spand, Will Ezell, and Little Brother Montgomery are the bait, to draw us into the joys of such relatively obscure players as Wesley Wallace, James Wiggins, and Blind Leroy Garnett. Blind Blake and Louise Johnson are also featured in this good overview of one corner of the Paramount Records legacy, which is also nicely annotated and handsomely packaged.