Various Artists

Piano Blues, Vol. 2: 1927-1932 [Magpie]

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Twenty stunning barrelhouse piano blues from the legendary Paramount label -- need more be said? OK, there are three performances by the brilliant and chaotic Jabo Williams; two from the irrepressible and salacious Louise Johnson, whose upfront vocals are as much a treat as her piano pounding; the 1927 original of "Lux" Lewis's influential "Honky Tonk Train Blues"; Skip James's explosive and inimitable "22-20 Blues"; a fine 1929 boogie, "Walking Blues," from the obscure Raymond Barrow, and at least a dozen other treats from Charley Taylor, Will Ezell, and Barrel House Welch, among others. The dismal sound of Paramount 78s is almost as legendary as the blues the label recorded, but these transfers are remarkably clean, and the set is nicely annotated.

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