Various Artists - Newport Folk Festival: Best of the Blues 1959-1968 : 3 x CDs (special)

SKU 02-015707019323
Great price on this 3 CD box of just marvelous blues performances by some of the greatest names who were still alive and kicking at the time they were recorded; it doesn't get much better than Misssissippi John Hurt, Son House, Skip James, Muddy Waters, Mance Lipscomb, Reverend Gary Davis, Lightnin' Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, etc. etc. etc.

" If there is a better collection of live blues than this Newport 3 CD set, I haven't heard it. This stunning CD covers 10 years Newport performances during the height of the folk blues revival in the early 60's. Many of the artists were rediscovered by blues enthusiasts like John Fahey, Al "Blind Owl" Wilson and Sam Charters by canvassing remote areas of the south and locating the M.I.A.s of the 1920-30s "race" records. Some of these performers were presumed to be dead, and Newport was their first time in front of an audience in decades. There is not a single throw-away among 16 performers and the 51 (count 'em!)cuts here.
Vanguard Records is to be commended for making the right artistic choices in thier production of this CD. Many of these performances had been floating around for years on other Newport collections. Producer Tom Vicker devoted an entire disc to each of these three categories: delta blues, country blues and urban blues. There is a sense of continuity on each disc without any jarring segues. Engineer Jeff Zaraya captures the warm analogic glory of the orginal performances and wisely chooses not to edit out foot stomping, hand clapping and crowd noises. Zaraya's mastering work captures the passion of the living blues and he avoids the mistake of reducing the performances to sterile museum piece curiosities.
The scope of performers is staggering. Son House, self proclaimed mentor of Robert Johnson, whose piercing slap-time steel guitar was the alter-ego to his gritty emotional baritone. Skip James, ghost of the delta, sings in his haunting falsetto with his mastery of complex right hand poly-rhythymic bassline fingerpicking. Jesse Fuller, San Francisco's one man band, plays his ramshackle ragtime blues. Mississppi John Hurt demonstrates his wry humor and his delicate five finger picking of his brillant orginal music. Polished performers like Muddy Waters and Brownie McGee know how to pace a show and work the crowd. Harlem's Rev. Gary Davis' does "old time religion" gospel shouting and precision ragtime picking. The suprise is an obscure ex-con, Robert Pete Williams with his eerie "stream of consciousness" lyrics and elliptical song structures. Robert Pete Williams, more than any of the performers, is connected to the roots of West African folk music. By my own count, John Lee Hooker was the last performer on these recordings to die(June 21, 2001). These astounding Newport performances are, at once, a historical document, a tribute to the diverse artistry of American blues, and some of the most passionate and riveting music I've ever heard. An essential for anyone collecting blues or roots music."
  • LabelVanguard
  • UPC015707019323
Your Price $15.00

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