Baby Boy Warren

Baby Boy Warren

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This may be a bootleg vinyl album (issued at various times with different covers ranging from a mocked up newspaper headline to a grotesque, sloppy cartoon impressionistic rendering of the bluesman) taped off of old scratchy 78s, but it's the only place you're going to hear the recorded output of this marvelous Detroit bluesman. Recording for JVB, Excello, Drummond, Staff and Gotham, Warren's sense of song structure owes a strong debt to Robert Johnson and his lyrics are full of wry humor and mordant wit. As the leader of the first great band to emerge from the Detroit blues scene, the lineup of players on these sides include Boogie Woogie Red on piano, Calvin Frazier (another running buddy of Robert Johnson) on lead guitar, the self describable Washboard Willie and on four tracks, Sonny Boy Williamson, moonlighting away from the King Biscuit Boys. Highlights include "Not Welcome Anymore," "Baby Boy Blues," the stomping instrumental "Chuck-a-Luck," "Mattie Mae," "Hello Stranger" (a different version of "Mattie Mae" from a later session) and a driving take on Robert Johnson's "Stop Breaking Down." Next to the early work of John Lee Hooker and a stray anthology, this is Detroit blues at its finest.