Various Artists

Female Blues Singers, Vol. 11: J/L (1921-1931)

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Vol. 11 of this 14-CD series that includes the complete recordings of quite a few obscure classic blues singers of the 1920s is a varied affair. Four of the vocalists (Flo Johnson, Ruth Johnson, Josephine Jones, and Eliza Christmas Lee) only cut two songs apiece and one can understand, listening to these rare performances, why there were no encores! Better is Genevieve Jordan (whose only recording went unissued until now), Florence Lowery's four selections and the 11 performances by Mandy Lee, whose name might have been used for two different singers! The backup groups are often unidentified (lost to history) but pianist Casino Simpson does what he can to uplift Ruth Johnson's two numbers, and Ladd's Black Aces (with cornetist Phil Napoleon) is on the first five Mandy Lee numbers. Intriguing music, well worth hearing by fans of 1920s blues-oriented singers, despite being a bit erratic!

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