Sam Collins

King of the Blues 11

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22 songs, mostly clean and well transferred, make this one of the better bargains among Japanese imports, especially at a $14 list price. The first 15 songs date from 1927, and most of them feature Collins solo, playing some lively and dexterous blues accompanied by some very expressive vocals. "Lion's Den Blues," "Yellow Dog Blues," "Riverside Blues," and "I'm Still Sitting On Top of the World" (just two of the songs that refer to more familiar later songs) are highlights on this very fine disc, which includes some major surprises -- on "Lovely Lady Blues," for instance, one actually gets a real sense of room ambience from the 1927 disc, done for the Gennett label; and there are places where Collins' playing is so animated that it sounds like two guys. The notes are in Japanese, but it's the music that counts here.

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