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The Sonet Blues Story: Eddie Boyd

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Album Review

Like several of the black jazz and blues players of his generation, pianist Eddie Boyd, tired of the racism in America and the general treatment afforded musicians, moved permanently to Europe in the mid-'60s, where labels like Sweden's Sonet Records were more than happy to record him. The session presented here took place in Stockholm in 1974, and features Boyd on piano and vocals performing original blues numbers backed by young Swedish players (and one American, Ed Thigpen, on drums), and while things don't have the powerful edge of a classic Chicago Chess Records session, it's close, and there is a charmingly loose and fluid feel working here, one that is perfect for the kind of easy, almost elegant blues that was Boyd's stock in trade. Things get off to a great start with the opener, "Lovesick Soul," and pretty much stay at the level through the set, with the impressive "Tell the Truth," the bubbling "Dedicated to My Baby" (an alternate version is added as a bonus track), and the refreshingly arranged "Zip Code" (which allows Boyd to cut loose on piano a little bit) being among the clear highlights. At his best, Boyd delivered a kind of light, airy, and transcendent version of the blues, one that featured as much hope as misery, and this set is a perfect example of his unique approach.


Born: 25 November 1914 in Stovall, MS

Genre: Blues

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

Few postwar blues standards have retained the universal appeal of Eddie Boyd's "Five Long Years." Cut in 1951, Boyd's masterpiece has attracted faithful covers by B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Buddy Guy, and too many other bluesmen to recount here. But Boyd's discography is filled with evocative compositions, often full of after-hours ambience. Like so many Chicago blues stalwarts, Boyd hailed from the fertile Mississippi Delta. The segregationist policies that had a stranglehold on much...
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