Various Artists

Rare Paramount Blues (1926-1929)

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In 1994, the Document label reissued 26 old-time Paramount blues recordings that originally appeared during the years 1926-1929. The word "rare" in the title of this compilation is doubly appropriate, as the artists represented here exist in the dusty margins of blues history where they have been eclipsed by more familiar names like Ma Rainey, Little Brother Montgomery, Roosevelt Sykes, Papa Charlie Jackson, Charley Patton, and Charlie Spand. With a couple of exceptions, most of the people heard on this disc are represented (along with the famous names just mentioned) on JSP's affordably priced four-CD set The Paramount Masters, and obtaining all five discs might ultimately be a really wise move. Document's edition features what must be the largest number of recordings by kazoo handler Charlie "Dad" Nelson ever assembled on one collection, in addition to uncommon examples by Freddy Brown, Ruby Paul, Lonnie Clark, Smoky Harrison, someone who went by the name of Jack O'Diamonds, the Too Bad Boys, the Paramount All-Stars (who perform authentic early skiffle music), and Sweet Papa Stovepipe, a singer from New York City who probably got the nickname by wearing a top hat and whose "All Birds Look Like Chicken to Me" taps into the minstrel tradition of the 1890s. This individual's given name was McKinley Peebles, and for obvious reasons, people mix him up with Daddy Stovepipe, also known as Johnny Watson, and Stovepipe No.1, whose less illustrious name was Sam Jones.

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