CD Easy Rider [Alexis Korner] [CD Boxset] [2 discs] (CD 7048098),
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Easy Rider [Alexis Korner] [CD Boxset] [2 discs]

  • 0. DISC 1:
    1. Leaving Blues
    2. Rotten Break
    3. Alberta
    4. Roundhouse Stomp
    5. Skip To My Lou
    6. Good Morning
    7. Boll Weevil
    8. Ella Speed
    9. Ain't Gonna Worry No More
    10. County Jail
    11. Kid Man
    12. Easy Rider
    13. Sail On
    14. National Defence Blues
    15. Go Down Sunshine
    16. Death Letter
    17. Kansas City Blues
    18. Casey Jones
    19. This Train
    20. Rock Me
    0. DISC 2:
    1. Streamline Train
    2. Casey Jones
    3. Midnight Special
    4. KC Moan
    5. Take This Hammer
    6. Down By The Riverside
    7. Go down Old Hannah
    8. Streamline Train
    9. Jolly Roving Tar
    10. Long John
    11. Git Along Little Dogies
    12. Jesse James
    13. John Crossed The Water
    14. Boll Weevil, The
    15. Old Shoes And Leggings
    16. Grey Goose, The
    17. Po' Lazarus
    18. Tee Roo
    19. Darlin' Corey
    20. Frankie
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): NOT2CD402

  • Credits

    If Alexis Korner were here in 2011 to see this double-CD set, he likely would be astonished -- the British blues pioneer did become well known in the '60s, putting together amplified blues outfits that spawned the likes of the Rolling Stones, the Pretty Things, Cream, et. al, and becoming a familiar exponent of blues on the BBC. But this set is devoted to Korner's early acoustic work from the mid-'50s, when he labored -- often teamed with his longtime music collaborator Cyril Davies -- in near-complete obscurity. At that time, homegrown blues barely existed (and then mostly in an American folk context), and while Big Bill Broonzy had paid some celebrated calls on the British public in mid-decade, it wouldn't be until three years later (when Broonzy was already gone) before a real audience was established in England for the music. And here is Korner strumming seemingly for dear life, trying (and succeeding to a surprising degree) to sound authentically African-American -- the first disc has the bracing directness of a soul finding liberation in this sound -- and not just Korner, either, Cyril Davies, who is featured on much of this, is similarly exuberant. On a technical musical level, much of it might sound primitive or overly clean and polite, especially compared to what some American bluesmen were doing with this repertory ("Boll Weevil," "Ella Speed," etc.) at the time, but there's a verve and excitement in the playing and, to a lesser degree, the singing that bridges those gaps and makes this essential listening, even for those who may take a jaundiced view of British blues. And some of it may sound too close to folk music, especially to those who associate Korner exclusively with his relationship to the Rolling Stones et. al. But this is how and where it all started, 16 tracks worth that have just enough raw honesty in the man's own expressiveness to justify the purchase. Disc One closes with -- and Disc Two is made up of -- Korner and Cyril Davies as accompanists for other artists (Beryl Bryden, Ken Colyer, Guy Carawan). Those recordings are more derivative and commercial, and less interesting, though they retain some entertainment value, and they do fill in the picture on Korner's early years very handily. The annotation is a bit thin, but the sound quality is excellent, and considering the sheer rarity of many of these sides, this set is a bargain several times over. ~ Bruce Eder

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