Various Artists

Texas Piano, Vol. 1 (1923-1935)

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There are several very valuable performances on this CD from two of blues singer Sippie Wallace's brothers and a woman who was raised by the Thomas family. In February 1923, pianist George W. Thomas (under the name of Clay Custer) recorded the first boogie-woogie performance, "The Rocks," a rather eerie original. That selection and Thomas' two 1929 selections (which have him singing too) lead off this disc. Hersal Thomas was a talented pianist, who unfortunately died quite young. His complete output is on this CD, other than his recordings with Louis Armstrong. He is heard on his only two piano solos ("Suitcase Blues" and "Hersal Blues") plus five numbers backing the singing of his niece Hociel Thomas (George Thomas' daughter). Moanin' Bernice Edwards recorded 16 selections during four sessions in 1928 and 1935, all of which are included. Most of these selections are solos in which she sings and play piano, or duets with a guitarist. Edwards, who is completely obscure, is an excellent low-down blues singer who deserved to be better known. Overall, this CD is highly recommended; "The Rocks" belongs in every blues collection.

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