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Big Bill Broonzy Vol. 1 1927 - 1932

Big Bill Broonzy

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Album Review

This is a particularly fascinating CD, for it has the first 26 selections ever recorded by Big Bill Broonzy as a leader. The beginning of Document's complete reissuance of all of Broonzy's early recordings, the set starts with four duet numbers that Broonzy cut during 1927-28 with fellow guitarist John Thomas. Although his style was already a bit recognizable, the young guitarist/vocalist really started coming into his own in 1930. There are 15 selections from that year included on this set, with Big Bill often using the pseudonyms of Sammy Sampson or Big Bill Johnson; in fact, even the final seven numbers (from 1932) had him billed as the latter. The CD finds Broonzy evolving from a country-blues musician who already had strong technique into a star of hokum records. Among the many highlights are "Big Bill Blues" (different versions in 1928 and 1932), "I Can't Be Satisfied," "Pig Meat Strut," "Beedle Um Bum" and "Selling That Stuff." Pianist Georgia Tom Dorsey helps out on three numbers. Big Bill Broonzy fans have a right to rejoice about the existence of this wonderful series.

Biography

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....
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