Various Artists – The Introduction To Living Country Blues (2008)

FrontCover1In 1980 two young German blues enthusiasts, Axel Küstner and Siegfried Christmann, came to America with the idea to document the remaining country blues tradition. With their station wagon and portable recording equipment they hit the dusty road spending a couple of months documenting blues, gospel, field hollers and work songs throughout the South. As the notes proclaim: “Traveling 10,000 miles by car in 2 1/2 months, they used 180,000 feet of tape and took hundreds of photographs to document various aspects of Country Blues, as well as work songs, fife and drum band music, field hollers and rural Gospel music, performed by 35 artists, some of whom appear on record for the first time.” The prep work for the project was done in 1978 when Küstner came over alone for a six month survey of the blues scene and made some final arrangements in June 1980 before hooking up with Christmann three months later. If this project reminds you of the recording trips of John and Alan Lomax, that’s exactly what the duo had in mind. Where the Lomax’s had the Library of Congress to back them, Küstner and Christmann had the backing of Horst Lippman who had just started the L+R label with Fritz Rau (the same duo who were responsible for the American Folk Blues Festivals). The project was called Living Country Blues as Alligator had just issued their acclaimed Living Chicago Blues series. As for the sound quality, don’t let the field recording aspect scare you, the sound is exceptional, recorded with a ten-channel mixer and reel-to reel tape. (by Jeff from the Big Road Blues blog)


CD 1:
01. Guitar Frank:  Lonesome Road Blues (Franklin) 5.27
02. Memphis Piano Red: The Train Is Comin’ (Williams) 4.26
03. Flora Molton & The Truth Band: What’s The Matter Now (Molton) 3.13
04. Lottie Murrell: Trouble Late Last Night (Murrell) 4.12
05. Sam Chatmon: Sittin’ On Top Of The World (Vinson/Chatmon) 3.00
06. Cleveland Jones & James “Son” Thomas: Rock Me, Mama (Crudup) 2.08
07. Hammie Nixon: Corinna, Corinna (Traditional) 1.53
08. Ola Mae Bell & Cora Fluker: Talkin’ ‘Bout Jesus (Fluker) 10.48
09. Walter Brown: So Hard To See (Brown) 2.49
10. Archie Edwards: Bear Cat Mama Blues (Jefferson) 3.00

CD 2:
01. Cephas & Wiggins: Reno Factory (Traditional) 4.45
02. Lonnie Pitchford: My Babe (Dixon) 4.03
03. Sam “Stretch” Shields: Bluebird Blues (Williamson) 2.49
04. Flora Molton & The Truth Band: The Titanic (Traditional) 3.46
05. Joe Savage: Mean Ol’ Frisco (Crudup) 1.25
06. Arzo Youngblood: I Can’t Be Successful (Hopkins) 3.04
07. CeDell Davis: I Don’t Know Why (Davis) 2.40
08. Rising Star Fife & Drum Band & Othar Turner: Tango Twist (Turner) 3.20
09. Guitar Slim: Come On In My Kitchen (Johnson) 3.19
10. Guitar Slim: Lula’s Back in Town (Stephens) 4.59
11. Boyd Rivers: You Got To Move (McDowell/Davis) 3.19
12. Bill “Boogie Bill” Webb: Big Road Blues (Johnson) 2.32