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Leroy Carr

Unissued Test Pressings & Alternate Takes (1934-37)

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Leave it to Document to hand over the last word on Leroy Carr along with a delectable stash of rare sides by Texas pianist Black Boy Shine. Initially released in 1996 and reissued ten years later, this wonderful compilation only contains a handful of unissued test pressings and alternate takes by Carr (tracks 1-7), including "The Stuff Is Here and It's Mellow," a swinging party number made famous by the Mills Blue Rhythm Band, Cleo Brown, Eva Taylor, and Clarence Williams' Orchestra. Carr is heard in fine form with guitarists Scrapper Blackwell and Josh White. The other 16 tracks are devoted to Harold Holiday, an itinerant piano plunking Texan who is known to have cut 34 sides for Vocalion in Fort Worth and Dallas during a time period between April 1935 and June 1937 under the name of Black Boy Shine. Eighteen of these were reissued by Document on a disc together with a smattering of sides by Black Ivory King. The remainder, including seven alternate takes and composed entirely of titles not heard on the previous volume, are packed in here with the remaining recordings of Carr. Classic blues like these usually seem to reflect the artistic philosophy embedded in the phrase "I paint what I see." Subject matter is bracingly honest, realistic, and even violent at times, as is the case with the "Ice Pick and Pistol Woman Blues." Sound quality is comparatively good, and the old-time blues groove makes this a fine choice for those who enjoy music of this vintage and regard alternate takes as a blessing rather than an inconvenience.

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