Document's grab bag of vintage country-blues recordings released in 1993 as the Tommie Bradley-James Cole Groups taps into six different sessions which took place at the Gennett studios in Richmond, IN during the years 1928-1932. It's a real discographical pastiche, marbled through with uncertainties. James Cole might well be the guitarist accompanying Alura Mack, and both men may have been in the group backing Clara Burston. The fact that Burston and vocalist Walter Cole recorded on the same day, and the existence of coexisting contradictory personnel listings on Burston's session add to the confusion. Bradley sang and played guitar as did James Cole, who was also an accomplished fiddler. Additional guitarists were Buster Johnson and Bayless Rose. The mandolin heard throughout much of the collection was handled by one Eddie Dimmitt, piano is credited to either Ralph Miller or Sam Soward, and sometimes Roosevelt Purifoy can be heard blowing across the mouth of a jug while an unidentified washboard player doubles on kazoo. True to form, Document posts the bold statement that "the jump groove on track 10 is on the original 78." This means that what you hear in some cases is an exact replication of the 78 rpm playback experience. There are plenty of high points in this collection. "Mama Keep Your Yes Ma'am Clean" is worthy of Bo Carter, Lovin' Sam Theard or the Hokum Boys, and "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" is as satisfying as a visitation from the Mississippi Sheiks or Charlie McCoy. The most upbeat and entertaining numbers, "Runnin' Wild" and "Sweet Lizzie" (which is instantly recognizable as a retitled "Sweet Sue") are performed by James Cole's Washboard Four, and bring to mind the Memphis Jug Band. "Nobody's Business If I Do," on the other hand, is more akin to the work of Blind Boy Fuller or Mississippi John Hurt.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf