Engineer Robert Parker has the ability to turn music from the 1920s and '30s into stereo, or at least what sounds like a modern recording on a technological level. This particular set has him working his magic on 16 blues-oriented recordings from the 1923-33 period. The music is excellent but the programming is fairly random (not in chronological order); classics alternate with obscurities and there is no logical "plot" to the set. Included is one selection apiece from Ida Cox, Cleo Gibson, Rosa Henderson, Frances Hereford ("Midnight Mama" with Jelly Roll Morton), the Memphis Jug Band, Ma Rainey, Issie Ringgold, country pioneer Jimmie Rodgers ("Blue Yodel No. 9" with Louis Armstrong helping out), Bessie Smith ("Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out"), Mamie Smith, Victoria Spivey, Eva Taylor, Ethel Waters, Margaret Webster, Margaret Whitmire, and Lena Wilson (1923's "He Used to Be Your Man"). Excellent music, but the programming could be much more logical.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow