Various Artists

Broke, Black and Blue [Box]

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AllMusic Review by

This four-disc, 100-track box set differs from most blues compendiums on a number of fronts. For openers, it focuses on the first 20 years of blues recordings, from 1924's "Barrelhouse Blues" by Ed Andrews to 1946's "Rhythm Mama" by Johnny Temple. Second, even though there are entries from artists like Blind Blake, Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Skip James, Big Joe Williams, Bukka White, and Lonnie Johnson, the box is not overloaded with big-name artists. Instead, the set leans toward more obscure names, like Big Boy Cleveland, Kid Brown, Chicken Wilson, Skeeter Hinton, "Mooch" Richardson, and Isaiah Nettles, "the Mississippi Moaner." Also noteworthy is the inclusion of some of the rarest of all country-blues titles, by everyone from Tommy Johnson to Rube Lacy. Covering all the bases -- from vaudeville to barrelhouse, boogie to Delta blues -- this is an oddball set, for sure, but one loaded with great music, solid annotation, and an interesting perspective. Well worth picking up.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:51
2 3:27
3 3:25
4
2:51
5 2:41
6
3:15
7 3:13
8
2:41
9
2:58
10
2:42
11
2:25
12 3:17
13
3:03
14
3:24
15 2:54
16 3:00
17 2:45
18
2:32
19 3:03
20 3:00
21 3:15
22 3:26
23 3:21
24 3:12
25 3:22

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:52
2 2:38
3 3:09
4 2:55
5 3:19
6 2:56
7 2:57
8 2:49
9 2:56
10 2:42
11 2:56
12 2:31
13 2:50
14 2:50
15 2:37
16 2:45
17 2:43
18 2:52
19 2:37
20 2:53
21 2:45
22 2:50
23 2:45
24 2:46
25 2:38
blue highlight denotes track pick