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Street Car Blues

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Album Review

Sleepy John Estes wasn't the world's greatest guitar player, and his singing probably never won any awards, but he was unique among early country blues players because of his ability to fashion his own songs around the people and everyday events of his hometown of Brownsville, TN, a trait that makes his body of work feel a little bit like a blues version of Spoon River Anthology. This fine single-disc collection of Estes 78s has all the absolute essentials, including "Floating Bridge," "Divin' Duck Blues," "I Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More," and "Brownsville Blues." Subtle, wise, warm, and refreshingly unassuming, Estes is like no other player of his day, and Someday Baby Blues makes a wonderful introduction to his delightful little corner of the world.

Biography

Born: 25 January 1899 in Ripley, TN

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '60s

Big Bill Broonzy called John Estes' style of singing "crying" the blues because of its overt emotional quality. Actually, his vocal style harks back to his tenure as a work-gang leader for a railroad maintenance crew, where his vocal improvisations and keen, cutting voice set the pace for work activities. Nicknamed "Sleepy" John Estes, supposedly because of his ability to sleep standing up, he teamed with mandolinist Yank Rachell and harmonica player Hammie Nixon to play the house party circuit in...
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Street Car Blues, Sleepy John Estes
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