Blind Willie McTell and Curley Weaver worked together on and off for many years, worrying their guitars and singing the blues. Aside from "My Baby's Gone," "It's My Desire," and "Hide Me in Thy Bosom," most of their Regal recordings of 1949-1950 remained unissued for decades and took a long time to become generally available. It wasn't until 2008 that the 1990 Document edition was reissued with the addition of three long lost selections for a total of 28 titles, and expanded liner notes by one David Evans. The newly amended titles are "I Got to Cross the River Jordan," "How About You," and an alternate take of "It's My Desire." If you want those additional tracks, go directly to the 2008 edition. Blind Willie's voice is easily identifiable, and Weaver is clearly audible as the singer on "Ticket Agent" and "My Baby's Gone." The Regal material bridges the temporal gap between McTell's Library of Congress recordings of 1940 and his last session, which took place in 1956. The Regals are more or less contemporaneous with his prized Atlantic recordings of 1949. Subject matter touches upon the usual spectrum of real life issues, with the "A to Z Blues" standing out as a nasty, violent, misogynistic remnant of minstrelsy and vaudeville. Recorded twice during the autumn of 1924, first by Butterbeans & Susie, then by Josie Miles and Billy Higgins, it is a longwinded tirade during which the singer threatens to mutilate every inch of a woman's body with a straight-edged razor. Despite anyone's intentions, it is not funny. When McTell for some ungodly reason chose to revive the tune in 1950, he turned it into a bouncy little strut which seems harmless enough until you start to absorb the meaning of the words.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf