CD Blues With a Message (CD 687258),
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Blues With a Message

  • 1. I Have to Paint My Face - Sam Chatmon
    2. John Henry - John Jackson
    3. Walked Down So Many Turn Rows - Mercy Dee
    4. Tom Moore's Farm - Mance Lipscomb
    5. Tom Moore Blues - Lightnin' Hopkins
    6. River Blues, Pts. 1-2 - Lowell Fulson
    7. Levee Camp Blues - Mississippi Fred McDowell
    8. 1919 Influenza Blues, The - Essie Jenkins
    9. Why I Like Roosevelt - Willie Eason
    10. Little Soldier Boy - Doctor Ross
    11. Prisoner's Talking Blues - Robert Pete Williams
    12. I Got to Climb a High Mountain - Johnie Lewis
    13. Depression Blues - Herman E. Johnson
    14. Stockyard Blues - Johnny Young/Big Walter Horton
    15. What Will I Tell the Children - Juke Boy Bonner
    16. It's Enough - Juke Boy Bonner
    17. Things Gonna Get Better - Bee Houston
    18. Back Home Blues - Joe Lee Williams
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 510

  • Credits
    ProducerChris Strachwitz (Compilation); Paul Oliver (Compilation)

    Liner Note Author: Paul Oliver.
    Editors: Chris Strachwitz; Paul Oliver.
    Blues With a Message isn't just about lost love and the toils of specific lives, the blues (particularly within the folk-blues traditions) spent some time dealing with sociopolitical issues on the side, primarily before the rise of electric blues. Here, Arhoolie has compiled a set of pieces related to a surprisingly large number of issues. Among them: Minstrel shows, the mechanization of cotton farming, and its related exodus to the North, sharecropping, segregation, the Korean War, the influenza epidemic, the New Deal, civil rights movements, Chicago employment opportunities -- all are given a song or two here. The music quality is roughly equivalent to many of the folk-blues recordings available, though the "big name" artists are largely absent from this one (Lightnin Hopkins does make an appearance singing about sharecropping, however). The songs are deliberately focused on the issues more than the music, but the music can still carry its soul. This one probably won't be on many highest-sales lists in the blues, but it's both historically important and musically enjoyable. ~ Adam Greenberg

  • Critic Reviews
    Dirty Linen (p.54) - "[A]ll are composed by the feature artists and show a strong and passionate interest in social issues of the time."
    Mojo (Publisher) (p.142) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "This riveting CD beckons the listener to another viewpoint, to stare in fascinated disquiet at the actual, rather than the imaginative, landscape of the segregated Old South."
    Mojo (Publisher) (p.60) - Ranked #2 in Mojo's "Top Ten Blues Albums Of 2005."
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