VA - Virginia Traditions: Western Piedmont Blues (2013)

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VA - Virginia Traditions: Western Piedmont Blues (2013)
Title Of Album: Virginia Traditions: Western Piedmont Blues
Year Of Release: 1981/2013
Genre: Piedmont Blues, Acoustic Blues
Label: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Format: MP3
Quality: 320 kbps, 44.1 Khz
Total Time: 45:33
Total Size: 113 MB
Covers: Full

01. Clayton Horsley - My Little Woman (3:14)
02. John Tinsley - Penitentiary Blues (4:01)
03. James Lowry - Tampa Blues (2:11)
04. Marvin Foddrell - Who's Been Fooling You (2:00)
05. Luke Jordan - Won't You Be Kind (3:06)
06. Rabbit Muse - Jailhouse Blues (1:42)
07. Turner Foddrell - Slow Drag (3:49)
08. James Lowry - Karo Street Blues (3:07)
09. Luke Jordan - My Gal's Done Quit Me (3:19)
10. Turner Foddrell - Going Up To The Country (2:54)
11. Rabbit Muse - Rabbit Stomp (2:14)
12. Marvin Foddrell - Looking For My Woman (2:14)
13. John Tinsley - Red River Blues (3:13)
14. Clayton Horsley - Don't The Moon Look Pretty (3:28)
15. James Lowry - Early Morning Blues (3:25)
16. Herb Richardson - Tell Me Baby (1:28)

Another entry in the impressive Virginia Traditions series assembled by the Blue Ridge Institute for Appalachian Studies at Ferrum College in Ferrum, Virginia, Western Piedmont Blues brings together field recordings from the mid-'50s and late '70s with a pair of commercially released 78s from the 1920s to make a listenable, historical portrait of blues in the region. The playing here is sharp, smooth and detailed, displaying the melodic excellence that has come to distinguish East Coast (or Piedmont, or 'Tidewater,' as the style is variously known) blues from the rougher, more cathartic styles of Delta or Texas blues. The 1929 recordings ("Won't You Be Kind," "My Gal's Done Quit on Me") by the enigmatic Luke Jordan (probably best known for "Church Bell Blues," which unfortunately is not included here) are particularly striking, both selections displaying his warm, elegant tenor vocals over solid and intricate acoustic guitar work, traits that are echoed by brothers Marvin Foddrell and Turner Foddrell years later on their tracks from the late '70s. Lewis "Rabbit" Muse is a delight as well, playing striking Piedmont ukulele on "Jailhouse Blues" and "Rabbit Stomp," even adding kazoo on the latter track, essentially turning himself into a one man jug band. The clear vocals and delicate guitar work on Western Piedmont Blues makes it an uplifting and soothing listen, not attributes generally associated with country blues, and while the album is assembled largely for archival and scholarly use, general listeners will find a lot here to like. ~Review by Steve Leggett

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Tags: Virginia, Traditions, Western, Piedmont

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