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Big Bill Broonzy Vol. 8 1938 - 1939

Big Bill Broonzy

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Album Review

Big Bill Broonzy's popularity continued to rise during the five months covered by this CD (the eighth of 11) in Document's "complete" Broonzy series. In addition to 21 studio sides (five previously unissued) made in Chicago, Broonzy is heard performing "Done Got Wise" and "Louise, Louise" at John Hammond's "Spirituals to Swing" concert at Carnegie Hall (with the backing of pianist Albert Ammons and bassist Walter Page). Otherwise, the influential guitarist/singer is featured with the Memphis Five (a group including trumpeter Walter Williams and altoist Buster Bennett) and various trio/quartets with his regular pianist of the period, Joshua Altheimer. This CD is particularly notable for including the original version of "Just a Dream," which became a standard. Otherwise, Broonzy shows off the influence of both swing and country-blues in varying combinations; his repertoire here includes "Trouble and Lying Woman," "Flat-Foot Susie With Her Flat Yes Yes," "Preachin' the Blues" and "Fightin' Little Rooster."

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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