Various Artists

Bloodstains On the Wall: Country Blues From Specialty

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Southern country blues is hardly the first style that one associates with Specialty Records, which was much better known for jump blues, gospel, early R&B, and early rock & roll (most notably, Little Richard). But in fact, Art Rupe's label did dabble in country blues, and Bloodstains on the Wall focuses on some of the country blues that Specialty recorded in Los Angeles and Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1952-1953. The best-known artist on this collection is Big Joe Williams (not to be confused with jazz singer Joe Williams), who is at his rawest on "Ride My New Car with Me," and Lucille Bogan's "Rather Be Sloppy Drunk." But most of the artists heard on the CD -- including Little Temple, Country Jim Bledsoe, Pete McKinley and Clarence London -- are undeniably obscure. Pine Bluff Pete, in fact, is so obscure that when Billy Vera wrote the liner notes for the collection in 1994, he was unable to find out his real name or learn anything about his background. The title song, meanwhile, was a minor hit for Frank "Honeyboy" Patt, whose "Bloodstains on the Wall" single sold about 50,000 copies, according to Vera. (Born in Fostoria, Alabama on Sep. 1, 1928, Patt shouldn't be confused with Mississippi Delta bluesman David "Honeyboy" Edwards). Generally decent and occasionally excellent, this album isn't for casual blues fans but is worth picking up if you're a serious blues collector.

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