Various Artists

The Essential Recordings of Piano Blues and Boogie: Strut That Thin

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For once the word "essential" actually applies. Track for track, Indigo's Strut That Thing is without question one of the best single-disc compilations of its kind ever made available to the public. It is an outstanding core sample of well-chosen chestnuts from the great piano blues and boogie-woogie tradition. Dating from the years 1928-1943, the 22 recordings here document the style and technique of 22 exceptionally fine pianists. There's enough undiluted juju to fix anybody up, and the names of the participants should inspire further research into this extraordinary region of musical history. Straightforward ruminative blues are delivered by Roosevelt Sykes, Little Brother Montgomery, Big Maceo Merriweather, Whistlin' Alex Moore, and Leroy Carr. Boogie-infused ambulations are executed by Albert Ammons, Walter Roland, Charlie Spand, and Champion Jack Dupree. Full-blown tear-‘em-up boogie-woogie (a style that originated in Southern U.S. turpentine camps and absorbed extra momentum right up through the ground alongside the nation's locomotive railways) is the main course on this portable anthology. The upbeat rocking examples are delivered by Jimmy Yancey, Pete Johnson, Meade "Lux" Lewis, Turner Parrish, Skip James, Wesley Wallace, Speckled Red, Romeo Nelson, Montana Taylor, William Ezell, Cow Cow Davenport, and Clarence Pinetop Smith. The title track, one of the collection's hottest, is the work of Cripple Clarence Lofton. This album will get you where you're going and bring you back again.

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