Jimmy Reed

Jimmy Reed Plays 12 String Guitar Blues

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This release added yet another wrinkle to Jimmy Reed's mystique. Even most of his fans would concede that Reed's guitar skills were far short of virtuoso level. Yet, Jimmy Reed -- not a celebrated 12-string guitar player like Leadbelly or any of the other renowned instrumentalists who came up in Leadbelly's wake -- cut this acoustic 12-string instrumental album, which has become an enduring classic of the genre. Reed was as skilled at presenting his guitar work as he was as a singer, and his playing on 12 String Guitar Blues is smooth, sinewy, lean, and lyrical, with a tight band behind him. Consisting of recognizable Reed originals and a couple of other blues standards thrown in, the music comes off very well, mixing electric guitar with acoustic 12-string and Reed's harmonica substituting for the vocal parts. The harmonica is on a separate track, making use of a natural sounding stereo separation that keeps the sound of the band -- featuring Eddie Taylor and Lefty Bates on guitar, Marcus Johnson on bass, and Morris Wilkerson and Earl Phillips on drums -- unified. The result is yet another classic album by Reed, and one of the more straightforward and accessible bodies of blues played on 12-string that one can find. This fall 2000 Collectables reissue, licensed through Rhino Records, features impeccable sound and recreates the original album art and jacket notes.

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