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Housefire

Byther Smith

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Album Review

An unheralded gem that fell through the cracks during its initial issue in 1985 and definitely deserved its higher Bullseye Blues profile six years later. Except for a stinging cover of Detroit Junior's "Money Tree" that leads off, Smitty wrote the entire disc, and it's typically singular stuff: a paranoid "The Man Wants Me Dead," a promise to "Live On and Sing the Blues," all solidly backed by a sympathetic combo.

Biography

Born: 17 April 1933 in Monticello, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Strictly judging from the lyrical sentiment of his recordings, it might be wise not to make Chicago guitarist Byther Smith angry. Smitty's uncompromising songs are filled with threats of violence and ominous menace (the way blues used to be before the age of political correctness), sometimes to the point where his words don't even rhyme. They don't have to, either — you're transfixed by the sheer intensity of his music. Smitty came to Chicago during the mid-'50s after spending time toiling...
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Housefire, Byther Smith
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