Georgia Blues (1928-1933) by Various Artists

Label: Document Records.
Release Date: September, 1992.
Recording Time: 70 minutes.
Release Info: Studio Recording.
Releases: June 2, 1994; April 12, 2005.
Recording Date: October 26, 1928 - January 18, 1933.

Styles: Country Blues, Piedmont Blues, Pre-War Country Blues, Regional Blues.

Featured Artists: Guy Lumpkin, Eddie Mapp, Fred McMullen, Slim Barton, Curley Weaver, Ruth (Mary) Willis, Slim Barton and Eddie Mapp, Slim Barton, Eddie Mapp and James Moore, Curley Weaver and Clarence Moore, Eddie Mapp and Guy Lumpkin, Eddie Mapp, James Moore and Guy Lumpkin.

The Atlanta blues scene of the 1920s was among the most fertile in all the South, with a steady stream of rural musicians converging on the city hoping to gain exposure playing the local club circuit, with any luck rising to perform at Decatur Street's famed 81 Theatre; Georgia Blues 1928-1933 assembles sides from some of the era's most prominent artists, among them Curley Weaver, Fred McMullen and harpist Eddie Mapp. Far and away the best-known of the featured artists, Weaver is captured at the dawn of his career; on his first sides, among them "No No Blues," he sounds remarkably like fellow Atlanta bluesmen the Hicks brothers. The little-known McMullen is the wild card here, a slide guitarist also noted for his picking finesse; of his seven tracks, the best is "DeKalb Chain Gang," a cut so vividly harrowing it seems undoubtedly autobiographical. - Review by Jason Ankeny

Informative booklet notes by Keith Briggs.
Includes detailed discography.

Document Records: Six assorted sides by Curley Weaver, plus one with Clarence Moore; the only pairing by Eddie Mapp & Guy Lumpkin; the six sides by Slim Barton & Eddie Mapp, plus one with James Moore; the Mapp-Moore-Lumpkin; and the five sides by Fred McMullen, plus the two where he accompanied Ruth Willis. The net result is a splendid anthology of Georgia blues, superbly evoking the Atlanta of the late 1920s and early '30s. These, of course were the days when giants like Willie McTell walked the earth, but a local music scene is always as much about the minor figures, and shadowy though the Mapps, Lumpkins and McMullen's are, they are vital components in the construction as a whole.

Weaver himself was never a giant on McTell's scale, but he was an important artist, who played a significant role in shaping the city's music at the time, appearing as accompanist to several artists, as well as recording extensively in his own right. Possibly the most stunning of all his work is included here - "No No Blues", bursting with energy, the slide guitar brilliantly rhythmic and the vocals driving the song along with an urgency he never seemed to quite match on his other records (not even on other versions of the same song). Fred McMullen did not record very much, and he is something of a mystery, but his "De Kalb Chain Gang" is a classic prisoner's blues, and his accompaniments to Ruth Willis and others suggest that he must have been known around town, even if the evidence collected in later years tells us otherwise. Wait and Listen a reworking of Tommy Johnson's 'Big Road Blues', probably filtered through the Mississippi Sheiks with it's strange stop-start timing and simple yet confident, well executed bottleneck-slide, reveals no ordinary musician. Slim Barton, the much respected harmonica player Eddie Mapp, James Moore and "Guy" Lumpkin are minor figures, whose 15 minutes of fame occurred when they recorded all at the same time in Long Island for the QRS label. In various combinations they worked their way through a series of recordings that have been compared with those of the later groupings The Georgia Browns and Georgia Cotton Pickers for verve and skill. There are driving dance tunes like "Decatur Street Drag", which has some tough guitar work from Lumpkin, old-fashioned rags like "Hot Like That", slow blues in the solo "Wicked Treating". All in all, this is a useful and thoroughly enjoyable addition to the documentation of blues in Georgia, filling out what we know about Weaver, focusing on the enigmatic McMullen and shining some light in a few long-dark corners that deserve at least a little attention.

Personnel: Curley Weaver - vocals, guitar; Eddie Mapp - harmonica; Guy Lumpkin - guitar; Slim Barton - guitar; Clarence Moore - vocals; Fred McMullen - vocals, guitar; Ruth Willis - vocals.
With contributions by Buddy Moss, guitar.

Credits: Keith Briggs - liner notes; Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey - composer; W.C. Handy - composer; Martha E. Koenig - composer; Guy Lumpkin - guitar, performer, primary artist; Eddie Mapp - harmonica, performer, primary artist; Eddie Mapp - primary artist; Fred McMullen - composer, guitar, performer, primary artist, vocals; Clarence Moore - performer, primary artist, vocals; James Moore - harmonica, performer, primary artist; James C. Moore - harmonica; Buddy Moss - guitar; Don Nix - composer; Johnny Parth - compilation producer, composer, producer; Curley Weaver - composer, guitar, performer, primary artist, vocals; Hudson Whittaker - composer; Henry "Rubberlegs" Williams - composer; Spencer Williams - composer; Ruth Willis - vocals; Ruth Mary Willis - accordion, vocals.

Tracks: 1) Sweet Petunia - Curley Weaver; 2) No no blues (14705) - Curley Weaver; 3) No no blues (Curley Weaver with Eddie Mapp) (464-A) - Curley Weaver; 4) Decatur Street drag - Eddie Mapp and Guy Lumpkin; 5) Riding the blinds - Eddie Mapp and Guy Lumpkin; 6) Dirty deal blues - Curley Weaver; 7) It`s the best stuff in town - Curley Weaver; 8) I`m hot like that - Slim Barton, Eddie Mapp and James Moore; 9) Careless love - Slim Barton, Eddie Mapp and James Moore; 10) Wicked travelin` blues - Slim Barton, Eddie Mapp and James Moore; 11) It`s tight like that - Slim Barton, Eddie Mapp and James Moore; 12) Poor convict blues - Slim Barton, Eddie Mapp and James Moore; 13) Ta ta blues - Curley Weaver; 14) Where you been so long - Eddie Mapp, James Moore and Guy Lumpkin; 15) Fourth Avenue blues - Slim Barton and Eddie Mapp; 16) Baby boogie woogie - Curley Weaver and Clarence Moore; 17) Wild cat kitten - Curley Weaver and Clarence Moore; 18) Wait and listen - Fred McMullen; 19) Rolling mama - Fred McMullen; 20) Just can`t stand it (Duet with Ruth Willis) - Fred McMullen; 21) I`m still sloppy drunk (Ruth Willis, vcl) - Fred McMullen; 22) Man of my own (Duet with Curley Weaver) - Fred McMullen; 23) Poor stranger blues (Duet with Curley Weaver) - Fred McMullen; 24) Dekalb chain gang - Fred McMullen.