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Fourth & Beale

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Album Review

Recorded in Memphis on March 5, 1969, with Furry Lewis in bed — essentially an impromptu concert for the microphone and whoever happened to be there — these nine tracks show Lewis to fairly good advantage. They're more laid-back than his work at the other end of the decade for Prestige/Bluesville, with Lewis playing more slowly and singing more roughly than those earlier sessions. However, his slide work is still stingingly effective, his voice is still highly expressive, and he knows how to put over a song even at this late date, playing with an almost hypnotic intensity. The songs include new renditions of "John Henry" and "Casey Jones," as well as "When the Saints Go Marching In" and W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues."


Born: March 6, 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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Fourth & Beale, Furry Lewis
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