Various Artists

Down Home Slide

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Although slide guitar compilations at times seem to proliferate like kudzu, this particular collection has much to recommend adding it to the collection. For openers, there's the inclusion of three previously unreleased live performances from Robert Nighthawk. Playing in a 1964 Chicago concert accompanied by Johnny Young on guitar and mandolin, and Little Walter on acoustic harmonica (a rarity), Nighthawk turns in stellar readings of Jimmy Rogers' "That's All Right" (a number he apparently never recorded anywhere else), Little Walter's "Everything's Gonna Be Alright" (set to a "Dust My Broom" arrangement), and his standard "Anna Lee," all in highly relaxed versions that add much to his meager discography. Other highlights include a track of Eddie Taylor making a rare appearance on slide with Nighthawk's "Jackson Town," four tracks by Big Joe Williams, two from Fred McDowell, a Johnny Littlejohn instrumental with Jimmy Rogers on rhythm guitar ("Slidin'"), and Homesick James guesting behind vocalist George Coleman on "Mad and Evil." Selections from David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Arthur Weston, Blind Connie Williams, John Henry Barbee, Elijah Brown and Johnny Shines complete this excellent collection.

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