The original Sings the Blues LP, recorded by Witherspoon for Crown in 1960, ended up being one of those discographers' nightmares. Two different versions of the LP, Crown CST 215 and Crown 215 X, were released, each of them with songs not on the other, and its year of release has been listed incorrectly by major record guides. Sings the Blues Sessions is something of an expanded CD version of the album(s), on which Ace has taken the opportunity to clear up this unpleasantness by putting all 13 songs that appeared on the two versions of the LP together. Not only that, they've effectively doubled the length of the whole shebang by adding 13 bonus titles that were recorded for Modern around the same time, half a dozen of them previously unissued. As for the material that appeared on the original Sings the Blues LPs, it's a pretty standard easygoing, pleasant Witherspoon small-combo blues session with a tinge of jazz. The program's devoted to covers of tunes by B.B. King, T-Bone Walker, Billy Wright, Billy Eckstine, Joe Turner, Leroy Carr, and others; Witherspoon's own "Cain River Blues" is the only original. The bonus tracks are mostly in the same mood, but are dotted with some less standard items, particularly a two-part version of "Ain't Nobody's Business" with strings, an almost rock & roll cover of Jody Reynolds' late-'50s death-rock hit "Endless Sleep," and a cover of Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart."
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger