In 1998, the Wolf label released a four-CD set packed with 94 examples of pianist and Decca session man Sammy Price's wide-ranging recorded interactions with blues singers during the years 1929-1950. That compilation was useful but randomly sifted, like a shuffling iPod. When Document revisited a modest number of these recordings in 2001, the tunes were arranged a bit more carefully so as to spotlight half a dozen vocal acts and bring Price's collaborative works into clearer focus. Sammy Price and the Blues Singers: 1938-1941 zooms the lens down to 24 titles, opening with two spirituals and two blues sung by the Ebony Three and featuring clarinetist Buster Bailey. Other seasoned instrumentalists who pop up on this collection are trumpeter Charlie Shavers, trombonist J.C. Higginbotham, guitarists Lonnie Johnson and Leonard Ware, bassist Richard "Dick" Fullbright, and drummer O'Neill Spencer. The singers who make this collection resound with bracingly honest reflections on human behavior are Bea Foote; Hester Lancaster (backed by the Harlem Stompers); a woman who billed herself as Sweet Georgia Brown; Yack Taylor; and Bessie Smith's niece, Ruby Smith.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf