Lowell Fulson

The Original West Coast Blues

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Although Lowell Fulson went on to exhibit tremendous versatility in his various approaches to the blues, incorporating elements of both country and urban styles, often tinged with jazzor funk, his early sides for West Coast labels like Big Town and Swing Time (many of which are collected here) didn't really vary that much. That sameness is very apparent throughout this collection, and while the songs here are pleasant, full of a kind of laid-back jazzy swing, only a couple really stand out when all is said and done. "Fulson's Blues (Bad Luck and Trouble)," and "San Francisco Blues" are both gentle classics, with Fulson's clear, unadorned vocals and guitar runs meshing wonderfully, but too much of this material, recorded between 1946 and 1948, falls into that same groove. Fulson signed with Chess Records soon after these recordings were made, and novice listeners should seek out his work for that label first.

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