Reaching Volume Four of The MODERN DOWNHOME BLUES SESSIONS represents the realisation of a long-held dream for this writer. There have been many happy experiences in putting this series together, not the least being the excellent working relationship that series supervisor and co-compiler John Broven, annotator Jim O'Neal and myself have achieved during its preparation. More or less creating our own little web chat room, discussion and thoughts have flowed back and forth and many surprising discoveries have been made in the process. But by far the happiest aspect has been the enthusiastic reception with which the series has been greeted. The aim has been to present the unique downhome blues music that Modern Records recorded in programmes that entertain as well as preserve vitally important music.
The series has predominantly concentrated on collecting the results of Joe Bihari and Ike Turner's early 50s field trips, together with sides that emerged out of Sam Phillips' legendary studio. There is more to follow but this volume concentrates on guitar-based country blues plus a couple of very fine small combo sessions, basically covering the territory attempted on Kent's 12-track LP Blues From The Deep South" but realised here in its entirety. We are finally able to include a take of each piece recorded by Big Charley Bradix at his 1948 Dallas, Texas session, as well as Alexander Moore's complete session recorded in the same city three years later. The latter's original RPM 78 is so obscure that it was one of the very few omitted from the pioneering Blues Research listing. Moore recorded in the 30s and later reached a folk and blues audience but his one post war commercial session represents the finest that he ever recorded. The storming Neglected Woman is followed by a superior unissued version of If I Lose You Woman and the unissued Carolina. Smokey Hogg's supporting guitar shows his capabilities in a new light with riffs and boogie patterns on the fast pieces and a wonderful walking bass on the slower ones.