Various Artists

Raggin' the Blues: Essential East Coast Blues

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Raggin' the Blues: Essential East Coast Blues Review

by Steve Leggett

Blues musicians from the southeastern U.S. in the 1920s and '30s had a regional guitar sound that prominently featured a driving thumb on the bass strings, while melody was picked out on the high strings, a pattern that may have evolved from earlier Appalachian banjo styles. In general, these so-called Piedmont guitarists seldom used the slide techniques of the Delta players and worked a repertoire heavy with rags and re-constituted string-band tunes. This two-disc collection from Britain's Catfish Records has tracks from some of the more familiar East Coast names, including Blind Boy Fuller ("Shake That Shimmy"), Blind Willie McTell ("Georgia Rag"), Blind Blake ("Champagne Charlie Is My Name"), and Sonny Terry ("Harmonica and Washboard Breakdown"). The real strengths here, however, are the tracks from relatively obscure artists like Pink Anderson ("Gonna Tip out Tonight"), Luke Jordan ("Won't You Be Kind"), or the improbably named Skoodle Dum Doo & Sheffield ("Tampa Blues"). Other highlights include Peg Leg Howell's desperate and pleading "Please Ma'am" and Willie Walker's jaunty "Dupree Blues." While not as deep and ominous sounding as the more famous Delta players, the best of these musicians display dexterity on guitar that was unequaled elsewhere in country blues.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Wilbert Andrews / Julius Daniels 03:37 Amazon
2 Blind Blake 02:45 Amazon
3 Luke Jordan 03:09 Amazon
4 Luke Jordan 03:19 Amazon
5 Luke Jordan 03:25 Amazon
6
William Moore 02:57 Amazon
7 William Moore 03:03 Amazon
8
William Moore 03:00 Amazon
9 Pink Anderson / Pink Anderson & Simmie Dooley / Simmie Dooley 02:54 Amazon
10
Harry Gay / Tarter & Gay / Stephen Tarter 03:00 Amazon
11
Harry Gay / Tarter & Gay / Stephen Tarter 03:05 Amazon
12 Sam Brooks / Willie Walker 03:30 Amazon
13 Sam Brooks / Willie Walker 03:09 Amazon
14 Josh White 03:04 Amazon
15 Josh White 02:54 Amazon
16 Josh White 02:48 Amazon
17 Rev. Gary Davis 02:50 Amazon
18 Rev. Gary Davis 03:03 Amazon
19 Roland Armstrong / Carl Martin 03:06 Amazon
20 Roland Armstrong / Carl Martin 03:10 Amazon
21 Carl Martin 02:55 Amazon
22 Roland Armstrong / Carl Martin 02:44 Amazon
23 Brownie McGhee / George Washington 02:45 Amazon
24 Brownie McGhee / George Washington / Jordan Webb / Robert Young 02:34 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick