Margaret Lewis

Lonesome Bluebird

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This 27-song anthology combines a dozen songs that came out on Ram between 1959 and 1961 with previously unreleased material. Dates aren't given for the previously unreleased stuff, not even general ones, but from the sound of things they probably also date from the 1960s, although one, "Reconsider Me," has 1980 noted on the track listing. Although a woman singing earthy, occasionally raunchy, rockabilly, and swampy pop/blues/country/gospel sounds intriguing, Lewis is no Bobbie Gentry or Tony Joe White. Her voice is enthusiastic, but average at best, and the material (much of which she wrote or co-wrote) would have benefited from performance by better singers. The production sometimes lets down the songs (which aren't so outstanding anyway), either because of a demo thinness or, in the case of the previously unissued 'Raggedy Ann and Player Piano," a ragged arrangement that veers close to Hasil Adkins territory in its erratic sense of time. A reasonable amount of stylistic ground is covered, from sax-driven rock and fairly raw rockabilly (the 1959 single "Shake a Leg") to spare, underproduced numbers with reverb swamp guitar, and country-pop tunes that probably date from well after the 1959-1961 Ram sides ("And There Was No You"). Johnny Winter and his band are on the previously unreleased "Bow Wow Puppy Love" and "Lover's Land," given an early-1960s New Orleans rock production, which is no surprise given that it was done at Cosimo Matissa's studio in New Orleans. One should also note that this version of "Dust My Blues" is one of the less effective treatments of that blues standard.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
3 2:26
4 2:26
5 2:20
7 2:06
8 2:04
9 2:13
10 2:29
11 2:37
12 2:21
13 2:52
15 2:12
16 2:43
17 3:13
18 2:54
19 2:59
20 1:51
21 3:45
22 3:15
23 3:01
25 2:04
26 2:54
blue highlight denotes track pick