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Things We Like: He Is My Story: The Sanctified Soul of Arizona Dranes

Though there has been a Document issue of the 16 Arizona Dranes tracks this is a very welcome round-up of them, well-mastered off available sources and packaged and annotated as these vital recordings should be. The notes are in a small hardback book and given that Arizona Dranes comes as ‘file under: not a lot is known about’, the annotation is excellent. As it has been licensed from Okeh’s successors in title (Sony) I presume that is how they gained access to the two letters addressed to Ms Arizona Dranes from the Consolidated Talking Machine Co. that make for fascinating reading. And while you are reading that there is some stirring late 1920s piano and vocal gospel music to raise the roof and inspire you. The occasional mandolin accompaniment complements Arizona’s intense performance.

The blind Arizona Dranes was an inspiration to many who followed despite the slight canon of recorded works. Among those was Madam Ira Mae Littlejohn, who coincidently turns up on the recent Ace CD ‘Beating The Petrillo Ban - The Late December 1947 Modern Sessions’. Her tracks were recorded some 20 years after Arizona Dranes ground breaking work.

So we thoroughly recommend this beautifully assembled release. 

He Is My Story: The Sanctified Soul of Arizona Dranes is publised by Tompkins Square and is available here.