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Cairo Blues

Henry Townsend

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Album Review

A veteran of the St. Louis blues scene, Henry Townsend is a true marvel, having recorded in each of the last eight decades, a truly astounding achievement. Blessed with an easy, natural blues voice, a string-snapping acoustic guitar style he learned from old running mate Henry Spaulding, and a down to earth piano approach, Townsend is a living, breathing national treasure. Cairo Blues was originally released in 1969, and this reissue has been long overdue. Working with veteran guitarist Mike Stewart, Townsend delivers a sprightly set of acoustic gems, including a nod to his old friend Spaulding, whose only known recordings, 1929's "Cairo Blues" and "Biddle Street Blues," are covered here. "Deep Morgan Stomp" is another highlight, while the two piano tracks, "She Just Walked Away" and "Heart Trouble," are charming and intimate, even though the piano is slightly out of tune. Townsend has never made a bad album, but Cairo Blues has a wonderful and intangible warmth that makes it a good introduction to this absolute last of the great country blues players of the 1920s.

Biography

Born: 27 October 1909 in Shelby, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Influenced by Roosevelt Sykes and Lonnie Johnson, Henry Townsend was a commanding musician, adept on both piano and guitar. During the '20s and '30s, Townsend was one of the musicians that...
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Cairo Blues, Henry Townsend
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