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Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order, Vol. 11 (1940-1942)

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Album Review

The final of Document's prewar Big Bill Broonzy CDs (documenting all of his 1927-42 recordings) features Broonzy playing in a timeless style. Most of the performances could be considered goodtime music, with Broonzy sounding as if he were ready to party. On three of the four complete sessions that are included (plus "Rockin' Chair Blues," left over from the 1940 date otherwise included on Vol. 10), Broonzy is joined by either Memphis Slim, Horace Malcolm or Blind John Davis on piano, plus Washboard Sam (his half-brother) on washboard; Jazz Gillum sits in on harmonica during "Key to the Highway." The final set has Broonzy, pianist Memphis Slim and drummer Judge Riley joined by trumpeter Punch Miller and altoist Buster Bennett. Overall, this is a pretty strong program, with such numbers as "Sweet Honey Bee," "When I Been Drinking," "Key to the Highway," "Conversation With the Blues," "All By Myself," "I Feel So Good," "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town" and "I'm Woke Up Now" being among the 25 selections. Big Bill Broonzy fans will want all of the releases in this remarkable series.


Born: 26 June 1893 in Scott, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s

Big Bill Broonzy was born William Lee Conley Broonzy in the tiny town of Scott, Mississippi, just across the river from Arkansas. During his childhood, Broonzy's family -- itinerant sharecroppers and the descendants of ex-slaves -- moved to Pine Bluff to work the fields there. Broonzy learned to play a cigar box fiddle from his uncle, and as a teenager, he played violin in local churches, at community dances, and in a country string band. During World War I, Broonzy enlisted in the U.S. Army, and...
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