Various Artists

An Introduction to Texas Blues

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If one thinks of this set as truly an introduction to Texas blues, then it isn't really a very good one, but if one thinks of this as a collection of interesting mid-period modern blues sides from Texas, then it fares a good deal better, because there are several little gems preserved here. The leadoff track, Goree Carter's "Rock Awhile," originally released in 1949 by Freedom Records, is vibrant and fun, while Little Willie Littlefield's "Little Willie's Boogie" blisters along like a rampaging rocket (pianist Littlefield was only 17 years old when he tracked this scorcher for Eddie Henry's Eddie's Records in 1948). Clarence Green's gently funky instrumental "Walking the Baby," released originally on Bright Star Records, is another lost treasure, although it comes closer to being a soulful R&B strut than it does to being an actual blues. No Texas blues collection would be complete without a track from T-Bone Walker, and the one used here, a crisp and elegant minor-key version of Big Joe Williams' "Baby Please Don't Go" from 1970 is a re-imagined masterpiece. Does this little anthology tell the whole story of Texas blues? Without even a single cut from Blind Lemon Jefferson or Henry Thomas, no it doesn't. Does it feature an interesting set of rarely heard tracks from several different Texas blues players in several different styles and approaches? Yes, it does, and that's why it works more than it doesn't.

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