Various Artists

Vintage Toledo Blues 1950-1980

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Blues fans don't normally think of Toledo, Ohio as a haven for blues artists or recordings, but this independently produced disc collects some fairly astonishing recordings, both issued and unissued, that originated in that town or feature artists who plied their wares in the Toledo area. The only big name here is Calvin Frazier, a guitarist whose chief claim to fame was being a running buddy to Robert Johnson and lead guitarist in the Baby Boy Warren band in nearby Detroit. Although his "Rock House" features patented Delta lines pushed through heavy amplification, his other three tracks here (including his playing behind vocalist Barbara Brown on "I Need Love") show him playing in an astonishing approximation of T-Bone Walker's style. Other highlights feature three sides from Little Walter Jr. taken from a previously unissued session for Detroit's J.V. B. Records in 1954, three sides by Eddie Carson, and two late entries (1970s and '80s vintage) from the Griswold brothers. Just when you think you had heard it all in rare recordings, a compilation like this proves that there are more gems to be unearthed.