Various Artists

Barrelhouse Piano 1927-1936

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Since Yazoo released their 14-track Barrelhouse Piano collection in 1991, historic recordings like these have come into unprecedented availability through an abundant range of similarly specialized compilations. As one of the first vintage barrelhouse piano samplers to appear in the digital age, Yazoo's offering still stands as an excellent abbreviated index of examples culled from the heart of the tradition. Geographically, it covers many thousands of miles, with Art "Montana" Taylor (a native of Butte) alongside Texan Bob Call and Jesse James from Cincinnati; William Ezell from Shreveport and Eurreal Wilford "Little Brother" Montgomery from Kentwood, LA; Charles Edward "Cow Cow" Davenport from Anniston, AL; and Jabo Williams and Joe Dean from St. Louis, whereas Ishman Bracey's buddy Charley Taylor, and Charley Patton's friend Louise Johnson came from somewhere in the Deep South. Like many of these pianists, Raymond Barrow and Nolan "Barrelhouse" Welsh recorded mainly in or near Chicago, and George Noble appears to have been born there. Unfortunately, although that looks like Jimmy and Mama Yancey on the cover, neither of them seem to have been included on this collection.

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