Various Artists

When the Sun Goes Down, Vol. 1: Walk Right In

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Walk Right In was the first compilation that Bluebird/RCA assembled for its blues-oriented When the Sun Goes Down series, which examines the role that RCA Victor played in documenting American roots music. To a large degree, this 79-minute CD focuses on acoustic blues of the '20s, '30s, and early '40s. Walk Right In spans 1926-1941, and the most recent recording is Robert Petway's moody "Catfish Blues" (which had a major impact on John Lee Hooker and Lightnin' Hopkins). The disc offers a variety of blues styles, and they range from pre-World War II, pre-Muddy Waters Chicago blues (Big Bill Broonzy's "Mississippi River Blues") to Southern country blues (Big Joe Williams' "Baby, Please Don't Go," Bukka White's "The Panama United") to jazz-influenced classic blues (including Albert Hunter's 1927 recording of W.C. Handy's "Beale Street Blues," which boasts Fats Waller on pipe organ). But Walk Right In isn't strictly a blues disc; this compilation also gets into everything from old-time country (the Carter Family's "Worried Man Blues") to a Cajun/Creole blend (Amédé Ardoin and Dennis McGee's "Les Blues de Voyage"). Anyone who expects every song on the CD to have 12 bars will be disappointed; the thing that ties all of the material together isn't a 12-bar format, but rather the feeling of the blues. In the 21st century, blues feeling enriches everything from hip-hop and dance music to alternative rock, and Walk Right In demonstrates there was a similar situation before World War II. Not everything on Walk Right In is a 12-bar blues, but everything on this compilation has the feeling of the blues. This compilation is enthusiastically recommended to anyone who is seriously interested in American roots music.

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