Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Boogie Woogie Kings reviewed by Rick Davis

Boogie Woogie Kings
Various Artists
Delmark Records
19 Tracks

Boogie Woogie Kings is a collection of traditional boogie woogie piano masters of the day from Jazz Reports Paul Affeldt's Euphonic Sounds label. The CD offers a combination of barrelhouse boogie and early swing starting as early as 1939. Picture yourself walking into the famous Sherman Hotel in Chicago for a nostalgic look at some of famous boogie woogie kings of the late 30's. Seated a piano is the incredible Albert Ammons playing "Pinetop Blues".

The album starts with Albert Ammons in Chicago October 4, 1939 playing "Pinetop Blues". Boogie Woogie Kings continues with Pete Johnson pounding out "G-Flat Blues" in Chicago September 30, 1939.

This collection contains several of "Cripple" Clarence Lofton tunes recorded sometime between '38 and '39 in Chicago. Among those historic recordings are "Streamline Train", "Pitchin' Boogie", "Mistaken Blues", "Travlin' Blues", "I Don't Know", and "Mercy Blues". Lofton's vocals are featured on "Streamline Train" and "I Don't Know". The next boogie woogie king featured is Meade Lewis playing his tunes "Doll House Boogie" and "Whistlin' Blues".

In addition to the early Chicago recordings, this trip into the past takes you to St. Louis with Henry Brown and his boogie woogie tunes "Deep Morgan", "22nd Street Stomp", and "Pickin' Em Out Again" late August, 1960. Blues piano legend Speckled Red follows in late December, 1955 with great tunes like "Dirty Dozens", "Dad's Piece", "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie" (Clarence "Pinetop" Smith), and "Right String But The Wrong Yo Yo". Speckled Red was the first bluesman to record for Delmark Records.

This CD of historic boogie woogie piano classics concludes back in Chicago with legends Ammons, Johnson, and Lewis rockin' out with "Boogie Woogie Prayer" and Meade Lux Lewis wrapping up with "Closing Time". If you are big fan of the piano style popular in the early 1930s and 1940s known a boogie woogie, which was a important chapter in blues roots, Delmark's new collection needs to be on your list.

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