Alberta Hunter

Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1921-1923)

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The first volume in Document's Complete Recorded Works series of Alberta Hunter compilations includes her earliest recordings from the '20s. Along with a 1922 version of her own song, "Downhearted Blues," which became a hit in the hands of Bessie Smith, the disc includes the classic performances "You Gotta Reap What You Sow" and "Chirpin' the Blues," plus sides recorded with help from some outstanding sidemen: Fletcher Henderson, Eubie Blake, and Don Redman, among others. For less-dedicated listeners, the long running time and poor fidelity will be hard to digest. The serious blues listener will find all these factors to be positive, but casual listeners will find that the collection is of marginal interest for those very reasons.

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