Big Bill Broonzy

Vol. 3: The War and Post War Years 1940-51

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Mississippi-born guitarist Big Bill Broonzy had a voice that could really grow on you. The living embodiment of the rural-to-urban blues tradition, he often infused the gutsy, sometimes brutally honest immediacy of acoustic Chicago blues and good time hokum with the lonely intensity of the field holler. Vol. 3 in JSP's extensively complete Big Bill Broonzy retrospective covers his recording activity between the years 1940 and 1951, a time span that takes in the Second World War and its aftermath. His musical companions during this decade included the mighty Washboard Sam, a wonderful string bassist named Ransom Knowling, harmonica ace Jazz Gillum, blues saxophonist Buster Bennett, pianists Blind John Davis, Big Maceo Merriweather and Memphis Slim, and seasoned jazzmen Punch Miller, Don Byas and Slick Jones. This excellent set offers 99 examples of Broonzy's personalized musical responses to everything that life had to offer or snatch away. Topics include romance, jealousy and heartache; honest labor, conscription and prison, as well as betrayal, alcohol and insomnia. Big Bill was also fond of old-time folk melodies and included them regularly in his repertoire. This outstanding tribute is the perfect introduction to Broonzy; it will also delight those who already know his music, love and respect his memory, and who will hasten to track down the rest of his recordings as reissued by JSP.

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