Blind Willie McTell

Pig 'n Whistle Red

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The 20 tracks included on Pig 'n Whistle Red were recorded in 1950 for the Regal label by Willie McTell and James "Curly" Weaver on second guitar. They share vocal duties. What's compelling about these sessions is that while some are remakes of tunes McTell cut as a much younger man in the 1930s, most importantly the A-sides "Good Little Thing" and "Talkin' to You Mama," these versions are imbued with the singer's maturity that makes them perhaps more emotionally resonant. As a musician, McTell, who was over 50 at the time of these sessions, remains an absolute guitar master, having lost none of his vitality. (Check the ringing slide on "Love Changin' Blues," the rag sprint on "Don't Forget It," the fills on "Savannah Mama," and the deft fingerstyle 12-string playing on "Brown Skin Woman" for evidence.) For many years these sides were left out of McTell's discography until they appeared from Biograph, and were later licensed by Sony. The remastered sound on this set sacrifices none of the excitement the original recording offered.

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