JAZZ AND BLUES
Saturday 10 January 1998
For those stuck in a hangover mood, this is a good time to catch up on the blues. Rounder, the hyperactive independent roots label, has lately added new titles to its budget-priced Easy Disc range. Mostly culled from its own Bullseye Blues imprint, recordings by former associates at Black Top and releases by Britain's own JSP, albums such as Lone Star Blues, Blues Guitar Duels and Blues Cruise - featuring artists as varied as Buddy Guy, Phillip Walker and Smokey Wilson - offer an economical glimpse of the modern scene.
Much of the material is rather slick fare that would not go amiss on the playlist at Jazz FM. But practitioners of a more earthy style are still active and recent weeks have brought new releases from Mississippi's Fat Possum label as well as re-releases of material in the same vein by MC Records (via Direct Distribution). Off Yonder Wall is one of the best releases by the Jelly Roll Kings - the on-off juke joint trio comprising Big Jack Johnson, Frank Fost and Sam Carr. Such a sound is kept alive at the shack operated by fellow Fat Possum artist Junior Kimbrough, whose own new release, Most Things Haven't Worked Out, will enthral anybody with a penchant for the mesmerising feedback-laden guitar solos and hard- to-decipher vocals that have brought a rock following to the door of kindred spirit RL Burnside. Acoustic Stories (just out on MC Records) is - as its title suggests - a more restrained affair recorded by Burnside nearly a decade ago and demonstrating a clear link with the likes of John Lee Hooker and Son House.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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