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Album Review

The third volume in the Classics complete chronological recordings of Lowell Fulson presents a series of records he made for the Down Beat label in San Francisco and Los Angeles during 1948 and 1949, some of these sounding at times like rehearsal rather than master takes. The first eight tracks find Fulson in the company of a very jazzy rhythm section including bassist Arthur Robinson and Rufus J. Russell, a pianist who had made records with blues shouter Big Joe Turner. Why this take of "Highway 99" was released is anybody's guess, as 30 seconds into the tune the guitarist loses himself and generates a riff in direct opposition to that being articulated by the pianist. This results in a queasy, mutually incompatible series of notes that momentarily disrupt an otherwise majestic meditation on the blues condition. Apparently nobody felt that a second take was necessary. The lyrics describe the plight of a wandering penniless veteran of the Second World War. Fulson often indulged himself in slow meditative blues with lyrics that described loneliness and insomnia. He exercised his penchant for rocking and rolling on "Trying to Find My Baby" and "Fillmore Mess Around," subtitled "Fulson's Guitar Boogie." The next leg of the Lowell Fulson story finds him collaborating with Kansas City's master pianist and accomplished bandleader Jay McShann (with unidentified bassist and drummer), resulting in still more jazz-inflected blues. On "Black Cat Blues," Fulson sounds like he's playing an electric guitar with the juice turned off, creating a peculiarly scruffy effect. This occurs again throughout most of his next session, where he is heard backed by pianist Ellis "King" Solomon, bassist Floyd Washington, and drummer Asal "Count" Carson. On "Television Blues," Fulson outlines a creepy fantasy whereby he is able to spy on his girlfriend over a distance of three thousand miles by using what at the time was the latest technology. The compilation closes with Fulson's first two recordings of 1949. Here he is backed by an excellent quartet consisting of alto saxophonist Earl Brown, pianist Lloyd Glenn, bassist Billy Hadnott, and drummer Bob Harvey. "Rockin' After Midnight" is a joyous boogie-woogie tribute to the pleasures of partying without any police in the neighborhood whatsoever. Lowell Fulson is listed here as having composed "Every Day I Have the Blues," but this archetypal lament has also been credited to Memphis Slim (who actually did compose it) and Saunders King, both of whom recorded it earlier in 1948 under the title "Nobody Wants Me." It would soon become nationally famous when covered by Joe Williams with the Count Basie Orchestra.


Born: 31 March 1921 in Tulsa, OK

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Lowell Fulson recorded every shade of blues imaginable. Polished urban blues, rustic two-guitar duets with his younger brother Martin, funk-tinged grooves that pierced the mid-'60s charts, even an unwise cover of the Beatles' "Why Don't We Do It in the Road!" Clearly, the veteran guitarist, who was active for more than half-a-century, wasn't afraid to experiment. Perhaps that's why his last couple of discs for Rounder were so vital and satisfying -- and why he remained an innovator for so long. ...
Full bio
1948-1949, Lowell Fulson
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  • 65,00 kr
  • Genres: Blues, Music
  • Released: 22 February 2005

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