On August 29, 1984 a pair of veteran blues pianists-vocalists were recorded in New Orleans at separate sessions. Henry Gray is best remembered as Howlin' Wolf's pianist during 1956-1968 and he also worked with other top Chicago blues musicians before deciding to return to the Baton Rouge area in the late '60s. His solo performances are quite effective, featuring repetitive but creative blues piano and his own straightforward and expressive singing. Cousin Joe was on the borderline of jazz throughout much of his career and he was a fixture in New Orleans from 1948 on. His lyrics on "I Wouldn't Give a Blind Sow an Acorn" were often used by Dizzy Gillespie. Cousin Joe was a better pianist than Gray but not as strong a singer. He is in solid form during his performance which was cut five years before his death. These two otherwise unrelated sessions are musically complementary and together they make for an enjoyable set of traditional-style blues.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow