Often mentioned in the same breath with pianist Leroy Carr, guitarist Scrapper Blackwell was honored by Catfish Records in the year 2000 with a 21-track salute consisting of highlights from his recording career during the years 1928-1935. The original 78 rpm records, cut in Richmond and Indianapolis IN, Chicago IL, and St. Louis MO, were initially issued on the Vocalion, Champion, Decca, Varsity, Superior, and Bluebird labels. Blackwell is heard as a solo act, in duets with Leroy Carr and Dot Rice, and in a funny little hokum band featuring a hot kazoo and vocal interjections by Bertha "Chippie" Hill. "Kokomo Blues" and "Penal Farm Blues" are solo performances recorded at an Indianapolis radio station facility where Blackwell and Carr made their first records together in June 1928. "Be-Da-Da-Bum" appears to be the only recording the duo ever made with a vocal by Blackwell. When heard in succession, parts one and two of the "Trouble Blues" have a mesmerizing quality that is intensified by the six-minute duration. With more than two-thirds of the songs performed by Blackwell alone, this is an excellent survey of his best work from this time period.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf