Blind Lemon Jefferson's blues 78s were popular in the late '20s, and those who owned copies played them frequently. That very popularity, however, is the reason that the sound quality on the Jefferson 78s that survived into the 1960s, when blues scholars and collectors seriously entered the fray, is so poor: people played them to death, and no amount of mastering voodoo can change that. This release offers listeners something called Sonic Depth Technology, and while the sound of these recordings is somewhat clearer than what has been heard in the past, the attendant crackles and omnipresent hiss are still there, and ironically, they're even more noticeable than before, when Jefferson's vocals and the sound of stylus damage at least merged into a kind of ambient hailstorm. Now the performance is clearer, but so is the white noise. Short of reanimating Blind Lemon Jefferson and handing him a guitar, this situation is not going to change. The lyric transcriptions in the CD booklet are interesting, since Jefferson's words are often indecipherable at any speed, but in spite of the liner notes, which offer slightly ridiculous comparisons to Hogarth, Breugel, and Schubert, the fact remains that these are blues songs about women and the down-and-out side of love, and while it's nice to know more definitively what Blind Lemon Jefferson was saying, listeners knew what he was saying all along anyway.
Long Lonesome Blues: Lemon's Texts Revealed Review
by Steve Leggett