Various Artists

The Bluesville Years, Vol. 6: Blues Sweet Carolina Blues

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Piedmont blues may not be as well known among casual listeners as the more aggressive Memphis, Texas, or Chicago styles, but with its syncopated fingerpicking and sly, deceptively tossed-off vocals, it's one of the most unique and entertaining blues styles. The sixth volume of Prestige's Bluesville Years series, which documents the best of that short-lived '60s subsidiary label, hits all the high points of the Piedmont blues style, focusing on its best-known practitioners, Pink Anderson (eight tracks, including the definitive "Baby Please Don't Go") and Baby Tate (seven tracks, featuring his signature song, the sassy "See What You Done Done"). Anderson in particular is well-served by his selection, which includes four songs from 1962's excellent Medicine Show Man, Vol. 1, which has not been reissued on CD in its entirety. (All of Tate's songs are available on the highly recommended Blues of Baby Tate: See What You Done Done.) Other highlights include two fine instrumentals from the Reverend Gary Davis, three tracks by the largely unknown Larry Johnson and Hank Adins, and two each from Sonny Terry and his erstwhile partner Brownie McGhee, including a rollicking version of "Ida Mae" by Terry that makes plain the connections between Piedmont blues and the bluegrass sound that was invented in the same area around the same time.

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