Various Artists

Barrelhouse Blues & Boogie Woogie, Vol. 2

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Karl Knudsen, a dedicated jazz fan, founded his Storyville Records label in Copenhagen in 1952 just as the groundswell for a blues and jazz revival began to sweep through Europe. Initially, the label simply reissued archival material from the States, but as more and more veteran blues and jazz players began touring Europe (and in many cases, relocating there permanently), Knudsen began setting up recording sessions with them, and Storyville ended up with an impressive catalog of original jazz and blues sessions from master performers, many of whom were at the end of long careers full of amazing productivity but little or no financial gain back in the U.S. Knudsen's list of expatriate piano players, for instance, is almost a who's who of the blues and jazz genre, and while many of these pianists have critical legacies that rest largely on earlier recordings, their sessions with Storyville were always delightfully casual and offhand, and most importantly, well recorded. This is the second volume in Storyville's valuable series of blues and boogie-woogie piano greats, and includes gems like Speckled Red's wonderful "Why Don't You Practice What You Preach?," Sunnyland Slim's classic "The Devil Is a Busy Man," and Eddie Boyd's smooth "Hurry Down, Sundown," along with sides by Champion Jack Dupree (who recorded extensively for Storyville) and Little Brother Montgomery, among others. Tracked in Denmark and Switzerland in the 1960s and 1970s, these sides are simply worth their weight in gold.

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