Takoma Blues Various Artists (Takoma)


World excluding USA & Canada
Catalogue Id:
CDTAK 8907

The Takoma acoustic blues/folk recordings have been extensively reissued and written about in these pages for several years, making available once again those seminal sides by guitar geniuses such as John Fahey and Leo Kottke. To continue with this reissue programme, Takoma now presents a collection of recordings made in Chicago in the early 1960s by performers who, at the time, represented the predominant traditional blues sound of the city.

Recorded in various locations, from small apartments and tucked-away basements to intimate clubs and tiny studios, the selection demonstrates an easy and natural union between the musicians. There is no sense of formality, just a sense of trying to please one another, evoking a very personal and unusual compilation.

Little Brother Montgomery is best known for his dixieland playing in Chicago's larger and noisier clubs. But on Hestitating Blues and Michigan Water Blues, accompanied by Michael Bloomfield, was a rare occasion where he played traditional tracks at a smaller club called the Fickle Pickle - the music he loved best. John Lee Granderson was in his 50s when he recorded his solo contributions. A Tennessee man who had travelled and played all over the South during his younger days, here he recorded in a Chicago apartment were he worked as a janitor. Using the most basic guitar he displays a mastery of the instrument. Dr Isaiah Ross acquired his nickname "The Doctor" because he obsessively read medical books during his military service. He played guitar and harmonica at the same time, and occasionally interjected with his own vocals. Both Chicago Breakdown and Hobo Blues were recorded in concert at the University of Chicago in 1965.

Big Joe Williams plays in the harsh Delta tradition and is best known for playing the 9-string guitar. Here he plays 6-string and is accompanied by Paul Butterfield on harmonica. Recorded in 1965 in a small film studio the two improvise a session reminiscent of the 1941 Bluebird sessions with Big Joe and Sonny Boy Williamson. Harpist James Cotton was a pupil of Sonny Boy Williamson. He came to Chicago after a recording stint alongside Howlin' Wolf for Sun Records and joined Muddy Waters' band then went solo. Here he plays with Paul Butterfield, alongside guitarist Elvin Bishop. Maxwell Street Jimmy's real name was Charles Thomas. He was discovered playing outside his restaurant on Maxwell Street, in his cook's apron. Here he was recorded at the Fickle Pickle on the traditional blues night in 1963. Finally, Eddie Boyd arrived in Chicago having followed the same route as Cotton, but playing the piano. He left Waters' band saying Muddy didn't play sweet enough for his taste. Having recorded for many small Chicago labels, including J.O.B and Chess, he recorded his blues classic Five Long Years in 1952. This version was recorded 11 years later.

Track listing

Side 1

  • 01
    Hesitation Blues - Little Brother Montgomery

  • 02
    Minglewood Blues - John Lee Granderson

  • 03
    Chicago Breakdown - Dr Ross

  • 04
    I Feel So Worried - Big Joe Williams

  • 05
    V 8 Ford Blues (Going To Your Funeral In A V-8 Ford) - James Cotton

  • 06
    Crying Won't Make Me Stay - Maxwell Street Jimmy

  • 07
    Michigan Water Blues - Little Brother Montgomery

  • 08
    Good Morning Little Schoolgirl - John Lee Granderson

  • 09
    Hobo Blues - Dr Ross

  • 10
    Stack O'Dollars - Big Joe Williams

  • 11
    Polly Put The Kettle On - James Cotton

  • 12
    Five Long Years - Eddie Boyd

  • 13
    Good Morning Little Schoolgirl - Dr Ross

  • 14
    Alberta - Maxwell Street Jimmy

  • 15
    I Ain't Got Nobody - Big Joe Williams

  • 16
    Preachin' Blues - Son House

  • 17
    I Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down - Rev Robert Wilkins

  • 18
    Pleadin' Blues - Little Brother Montgomery

  • 19
    Lend Me Your Love - Sunnyland Slim

  • 20
    Two Trains Running - Maxwell Street Jimmy

  • 21
    Whistlin' Pines - Big Joe Williams

  • 22
    O Lord I Want You To Help Me - Rev Robert Wilkins

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