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Lil Johnson & Barrelhouse Annie Vol. 3 1937

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Album Review

This CD has the final 20 recordings by the good-time hokum/blues singer Lil Johnson, including eight performances that were previously unreleased. It seems strange, considering how much she recorded, that virtually nothing is known about her. Backed by a variety of partly unknown combos (with Black Bob, Aletha Robinson, or Blind John Davis mostly on piano), Johnson digs into such risqué numbers as "You Stole My Cherry," "Take Your Hand Off It," and "Snake in the Grass." Her very last recording, "Buck Naked Blues," was released for the first time on this CD, and it is taken from a private acetate that might have been from the early 1940s. Wrapping up this CD are four numbers (two previously unreleased) by the equally unknown Barrel House Annie, whose identity has never been established but whose style is complementary to Lil Johnson's. Vintage blues collectors will want this enjoyable music.


Born: 1900 in United States

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s, '30s

Lil Johnson made use of one thing that always sells in music, everytime: sex. She eventually toned down her lyrics somewhat, since record company censorship was beginning to plague her as well as shifting public taste. Nonetheless, she recorded quite a few sides between the late '20s, when she first appeared in the recording studios, and 1937, when she performed on her last known songs. Like many pianists and singers from this period, her recordings fell into a state of copyright limbo in which just...
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