Big Bill Broonzy

1932-34, Vol. 5

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Volume five in the Masters of Jazz anthology of Big Bill Broonzy's early works covers a time line from March 29, 1932 to October 18, 1934. The records he made during this period were issued on the Banner and Bluebird labels under the names Big Bill, Big Bill & His Jug Busters (tracks eight and nine) and the Memphis Nighthawks (tracks six and seven). The Jug Busters were fortunate to have Jimmy Bertrand plying the washboard in their presence; the Memphis Nighthawks were an unusually large group for Broonzy in those days, and included trombonist Roy Palmer, an unidentified violinist, and the great Buddy Burton on drums and washboard. (If you want to hear more out of Buddy Burton -- in fact, he'll sing for you -- seek out a number called "Buddy Burton's Jazz" recorded a few years earlier with clarinetist Johnny Dodds.) The simpler, often slower and more straightforward performances by Big Bill (either alone or accompanied by pianist Black Bob) are each to be cherished and savored for their warmth and sincerity. Fortunately, this volume in the series appears to be relatively free of the audio distortion caused by worn grooves that plagued earlier installments.

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