Jewell "Babe" Stovall

The Old Ace: Mississippi Blues & Religious Songs

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The late Babe Stovall, who died in 1974, was one of music's colorful characters, an excellent and adaptable blues guitarist who could move from Delta blues to folk to gospel. With some stunning picking, he was a New Orleans fixture. Indeed, he was the Mr. Bojangles of the Jerry Jeff Walker song. This album, recorded live in the Crescent City in 1968, gives a good indication of his talents. He could be wonderfully soulful, as on "Big Road Blues," but also quite playful, as his ragtime version of "Candy Man" proves. As the booklet reveals, he was obviously a showman -- playing guitar behind his head, for example. But he also offered plenty of more sacred material, like "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" and "The Ship Is at the Landing." This is a great historical document, made even more valuable by the inclusion of interviews with Stovall, who reminisces about the past, his family, and his career.

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