Various Artists

Takoma Blues [1998]

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This combines two impossibly rare Takoma vinyl albums (Chicago Breakdown and Rare Blues) that consisted of field recordings produced by Norman Dayron, the archivist noted for various live recordings in Chicago in the mid-'60s. These two albums draw from the same wellspring, delivering largely acoustic performances from John Lee Granderson ("Good Morning Little Schoolgirl," "Minglewood Town"), the totally obscure Maxwell Street Jimmy (live concert renditions of "Crying Won't Make Me Stay," "Two Trains Running" and "Alberta"), Big Joe Williams ("I Ain't Got Nobody," "I Feel So Worried" and "Whistling Pines" with Paul Butterfield), Doctor Ross (live concert takes on "Chicago Breakdown," "Hobo Blues" and "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl"), Son House (an extended "Preachin' Blues") and the Reverend Robert Wilkins ("I Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down" and "O Lord I Want You to Help Me"). The real hidden highlights are two hotel-room tracks with James Cotton on vocals, with Paul Butterfield and Elvin Bishop cast in rare acoustic roles on their respective instruments on "Polly Put the Kettle On" and "V-8 Ford Blues." Selections from Little Brother Montgomery and Sunnyland Slim complete the package.

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