Various Artists

Territory Singers, Vol. 2 (1928-30)

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The complete output of eight different singers is reissued on this single CD. The music was recorded in Dallas, Atlanta, Memphis, Richmond, Indiana, and Grafton, WI, with the personnel sometimes overlapping. Ollie Ross and Hattie Burleson both recorded on the same day in 1928 with similar personnel that includes either Don Albert or Willie Long on trumpet. Ross is decent but Burleson is powerful and fortunately she received a second chance, recording three additional numbers with just the backing of a pianist in 1930. Also from Dallas was Jewell Nelson who is heard on two songs. The biggest find of this CD is Cleo Gibson, an Atlanta singer who on "Nothing But Blues" and especially "I've Got Ford Movements in My Hips," sounds like a dead ringer for Bessie Smith. Trumpeter Henry Mason is a strong asset on her two numbers. Nothing at all is known about Cleo Gibson and one can only wonder why she was not given another opportunity to record. David Pearson also has Henry Mason in his backup group but is less memorable, as is Mel Parker. Trumpeter Syd Valentine and his Patent Leather Kids, a trio that recorded some hot instrumentals, are heard behind the inflexible singer Horace Smith and the preferred Hattie Snow. Overall, this CD is a mixed bag with no shortage of rarities.

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