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Bag Full of Blues

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Album Review

The former Muddy Waters drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith turns in an enjoyable, but unremarkable, set of Chicago blues with Bag Full of Blues. Supported by Pinetop Perkins and Fabulous Thunderbirds harpist Kim Wilson, Smith runs through a set of mid-tempo blues, combining some competent originals with covers like "Baby Please Don't Go." There's not many solos — Wilson mainly shines, while guitarists James Wheeler, Nick Moss, and Gareth Best all contribute small, pithy leads — but the grooves are nice and relaxed. Bag Full of Blues may not be a jaw-dropper, but it does have some fine moments.


Born: 25 November 1910 in Charleston, SC

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s

In the 1930s, Willie Smith ranked third among alto saxophonists, just behind Johnny Hodges and Benny Carter. He had a distinctive sound and a swinging style that was a major asset to Jimmy Lunceford's orchestra. Smith also contributed occasional vocals ("Rhythm Is Our Business" was his best-known recording) and some effective clarinet solos during the era, in addition to writing some fine arrangements for Lunceford. Willie Smith started on clarinet, gained a chemistry degree at Fisk University,...
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Bag Full of Blues, Willie Smith
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