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Album Review

Yank Rachell has long been a legend in the blues world. One of the few blues mandolin players, Rachell recorded several notable sessions during 1929-1941 and then was off record for 22 years. After spending time outside of music, he was rediscovered and in 1963 he performed the music on this CD reissue. Rachell (who was in his fifties at the time), is in excellent voice throughout the date although it is his mandolin work that makes this set particularly special. He is reunited with two notable friends from the 1930s (guitarist Sleepy John Estes and Hammie Nixon who is heard on harmonica and jug) and is assisted on some numbers by both Big Joe Williams and the up-and-coming Mike Bloomfield on guitars; several numbers find Rachell backed by three guitars. Yank Rachell would remain active until shortly before his death on Apr. 9, 1997. This comeback set (which adds six previously unreleased tracks to the original ten-song program) is one of his definitive recordings and is a perfect showcase of the great bluesman's talents.

Biography

Born: 16 March 1910 in Brownsville, TN

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

James "Yank" Rachell was the primary exponent of blues mandolin, although he also played guitar, violin, harp and sang expertly well. Born on a farm outside Brownsville, Tennessee, Yank Rachell picked up the mandolin at the age of eight, mainly teaching himself; an early encounter with "Hambone" Willie Newbern early on helped him as well. Rachell began to work dances with singer and guitarist Sleepy John Estes in the early '20s. In early 1929, he co-formed the Three J's Jug Band with Estes and pianist...
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Mandolin Blues, Yank Rachell
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