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Texas Songster, Vol. 4: Mance Lipscomb Live! (At the Cabale)

Mance Lipscomb

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Album Review

All but three of the 21 tracks on Texas Songster, Vol. 4: Live! At the Cabale were previously unreleased; all but two of them recorded live at the Cabale in Berkeley in 1964 (the other two were done live in Sacramento in 1972). Mance Lipscomb made many albums, and it was a wise decision on compiler Chris Strachwitz's part to focus on songs that were not available on previous CDs by the singer. Repertoire aside, this is very much of a piece with the "songster" style Lipscomb projects on other recordings: good-natured acoustic tunes that draw from boogie, ragtime, and folk, with a warm vocal delivery and accomplished guitar picking. Some of the songs, in fact, will be pretty familiar to most blues fans, if not always duplicated by Lipscomb on other CDs: "Meet Me in the Bottom," "Trouble in Mind," "Key to the Highway," "Rock Me Mama," and "Baby Don't You Lay It on Me" (which sounds close to the folk standard "Baby Let Me Follow You Down"). One of the tracks, incidentally, is largely a 12-minute spoken story, "Early Days Back Home."

Biography

Born: 09 April 1895 in Navasota, TX

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '60s

Like Leadbelly and Mississippi John Hurt, the designation as strictly a blues singer dwarfs the musical breadth of Mance Lipscomb. Born on April 9, 1895 in Navasota, TX, Lipscomb was a sharecropper/tenant farmer all his life who didn't record until 1960, "songster" fits what Lipscomb did best. A proud, yet unboastful man, Lipscomb would point out that he was an educated musician, his ability to play everything from classic blues, ballads, pop songs to spirituals in a multitude of styles and keys...
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Texas Songster, Vol. 4: Mance Lipscomb Live! (At the Cabale), Mance Lipscomb
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