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Tampa Red Vol. 12 1941-1945

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Album Review

One of the more interesting installments in Document's attempt to release all of Tampa Red's recorded works in chronological order, this 12th volume covers the years 1941 to 1945. Red was playing electric guitar by this point, and most of the tracks here are proto-templates for the electric Chicago blues sound, although a bit more reined-in and refined. The lead track, "Georgia Georgia Blues," is perfect Tampa Red, with solid guitar, an easy-rolling vocal, and — of course — a kazoo break. "Detroit Blues" is another highlight, and this disc also features two of Red's best hokum pieces, the risqué "Let Me Play With Your Poodle" and the equally as daring "She Wants to Sell My Monkey." You can tell the musicians are having fun here, and even the gloomier blues cuts are sung with a wink and a grin. This is what country blues sounded like after moving to the city and settling in, and Tampa Red's urbane tone balances perfectly between the old and the new.


Born: 08 January 1904 in Smithville, GA

Genre: Blues

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

Out of the dozens of fine slide guitarists who recorded blues, only a handful -- Elmore James, Muddy Waters, and Robert Johnson, for example -- left a clear imprint on tradition by creating a recognizable and widely imitated instrumental style. Tampa Red was another influential musical model. During his heyday in the '20s and '30s, he was billed as "The Guitar Wizard," and his stunning slide work on electric or National steel guitar shows why he earned the title. His 30-year recording career produced...
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Tampa Red Vol. 12 1941-1945, Tampa Red
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