Various Artists

O Blues, Where Art Thou?

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Legendary producer Bob Shad formed his own label, Sittin' In With, in 1948, and recorded a number of blues and R&B artists through the 1950s, several of which are included in this collection. These were essentially modern field recordings, tracked on a Magnecord tape machine, and the sound is generally pretty good, if a bit rough in places, all of which is made up for by the high level of immediacy and intimacy on display here. While the title recalls the Coen Brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, these are mostly electric recordings, and represent an era at least a couple of decades down the road from the time period covered in the film. Listeners expecting rural acoustic blues may be disappointed, but the charm of these recordings is everywhere evident. Highlights include the bouncy "Junco Partner" by Wayne James, and an ominous version of "Bad Boy" by John Lee Hooker.

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