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The Complete 1959 Folkways Recordings

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Album Review

In the mid-'60s blues fans, collectors, and scholars began to realize that some of the artists who sang on their favorite old country-blues 78s from the 1920s and '30s might well still be alive and playing, and any number of deep South blues players found themselves "rediscovered" and rolled out to perform and play for mostly white audiences at folk clubs and festivals, including Skip James, Booker White, Mississippi John Hurt, and the two singers whose rediscovery sessions for Blue Horizon Records are combined here in one package, Walter "Furry" Lewis and Mississippi Joe Callicott. Both Lewis and Callicott were recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis in July of 1968, and if neither could be said to be at their absolute peak as musicians at these sessions, they were still quite able to perform, and the clear sound quality, relaxed atmosphere, and intimate feel of these recordings makes them wonderful historical documents, plus there are numerous alternate takes and previously unreleased tracks that weren't on the original LPs when they were released in the '60s. For Lewis, the highlights include a trio of great train songs, "Waiting for a Train," "Casey Jones." and "John Henry," while Callicott shines on "Dough Roller Blues," "Poor Boy Blues." and "Worried Now in a Tennessee Town." Wonderfully intimate, these two discs give real meaning to the term "living history," which, of course, is what everyone, musician or not, is really doing in their lives. In this case, tape was rolling, and we're the luckier for it.


Born: 06 March 1893 in Greenwood, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Furry Lewis was the only blues singer of the 1920s to achieve major media attention in the '60s and '70s. One of the most recorded Memphis-based guitarists of the late '20s, Lewis' subsequent fame 40 years later was based largely on the strength of those early sides. One of the very best blues storytellers, and an extremely nimble-fingered guitarist into his seventies, he was equally adept at blues and ragtime, and made the most out of an understated, rather than an overtly flamboyant style. Walter...
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The Complete 1959 Folkways Recordings, Furry Lewis
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