Bee Houston

The Hustler

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Long before soul and R&B rolled down different paths, they were comfortable cohabitants. Artists like the self-satisfied and energetic Bee Houston contain such elements. Houston can treat his guitar like a T-Bone Walker as quick as he can be a B.B. King. This exhorting and emphasizing vocalist was found suitable as a backing musician for Little Willie John, Junior Parker, Little Johnny Taylor and Bobby Bland. His guitar work is not about flash, but brash support for soul shouting. Familiar with Big Mama Thornton's "Ball and Chain?" Well, Houston backed Big Mama on her classic 1968 recording of that song and Thornton shows up here singing on "Woke Up This Morning." This is a reissue of Bee's only previously issued album (also on Arhoolie) and another previously unissued album. Bee proves himself to be a consummate showman, stellar guitar stylist and creator of a superb, original songbook of blues-and-soul material.

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