Sunnyland Slim

1949-1951

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Mississippi native Albert Luandrew came to Chicago in 1942, and with a little help from Tampa Red began entertaining the public using the name Sunnyland Slim. This second volume in the Classics Sunnyland Slim chronology documents his steady if spotty recording career from April 1949 to early December 1951. During this time Sunnyland made records for Mercury, Apollo, J.O.B., Regal, and his own Sunny label. Working up the piano, singing and at times screaming in a voice only slightly lower than that of J.B. Lenoir, Sunnyland invariably chose the toughest available players to back him up. The first six tracks date from 1949 and feature saxophonist Alex Atkins, bassist "Big" Crawford, and guitarist Robert Jr. Lockwood. "Back to Korea Blues" and "It's All Over Now" scale the group down to a trio with Snooky Pryor blowing harmonica and Leroy Foster strumming the guitar. "Back to Korea" of course brings to mind J.B. Lenoir's songs that dealt with the subject of General MacArthur's war and how it affected the Afro-American community. The music recorded on February 1, 1951, was charged with the returning presence of Robert Jr. Lockwood and two vocals by drummer Alfred Wallace, billed as "the Fat Man." Sunnyland sang a slow and purposeful "Down Home Child," and for the flip side this excellent group cooked up a definitive walking boogie, the "Sunnyland Special." Over the next few sessions they continued to conjure blues of substantial depth and breadth, tenor saxophonist Oliver Alcorn mingling well with the leader's vocals and Lockwood's guitar. "When I Was Young," given a seething Chicago rhumba/boogie treatment, could make a dead man get up and dance.

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