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The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions

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Album Review

Including some of Jimmy Witherspoon's finest performances, the Definitive Black & Blue Sessions is a handsomely compiled 14-track set of Witherspoon's tenure with bandleader Panama Francis. Often neglected in the artist's impressive body of work, the release of this disc calls for a reappraisal. Although nearing the end of his career, Witherspoon is in fine voice, and his work on "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," in particular, is astonishing. Panama Francis' Savoy Sultans provide fine musical accompaniment, intuitively knowing when to hold back and when to dominate. As befits such great music, the disc is handsomely annotated and packaged.


Born: August 8, 1920 in Gurdon, AR

Genre: Blues

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

One of the great blues singers of the post-World War II period, Jimmy Witherspoon was also versatile enough to fit comfortably into the jazz world. Witherspoon was born on August 8, 1920, in Gurdon, AR. As a child, he sang in a church choir, and made his debut recordings with Jay McShann for Philo and Mercury in 1945 and 1946. His own first recordings, using McShann's band, resulted in a number one R&B hit in 1949 with "Ain't Nobody's Business, Pts. 1 & 2" on Supreme Records. Live performances of...
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The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions, Jimmy Witherspoon
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