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Ball N' Chain

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Album Review

Arhoolie's Ball n' Chain is a terrific collection of late-'60s recordings from Big Mama Thornton. Supported on various tracks by Lightnin' Hopkins and Larry Williams, Big Mama runs through such familiar items as "Hound Dog," "Sometimes I Have a Heartache," "Sweet Little Angel," "Little Red Rooster," "Wade in the Water," and "Ball and Chain," turning in generally powerful performances. By and large, these don't necessarily rival her classic '50s recordings, but they are worth investigating if you're looking for something more.

Biography

Born: December 11, 1926 in Montgomery, AL

Genre: Blues

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

Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton only notched one national hit in her lifetime, but it was a true monster. "Hound Dog" held down the top slot on Billboard's R&B charts for seven long weeks in 1953. Alas, Elvis Presley's rocking 1956 cover...
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