Release Date: August 17, 1993.
Recording Time: 52 minutes.
Release Info: Studio Recording.
Styles: Memphis Blues, Regional Blues, Acoustic Memphis Blues, Early R&B, Electric Memphis Blues, Jug Band, Pre-War Country Blues, Soul.
Memphis Blues documents the rough and tumble growth of a genre called the blues on a street called Beale in the late '20s and into the early '50s. There are selections from two of the best early jug bands -- the Memphis Jug Band and Cannon's Jug Stompers -- along with cuts from familiar figures like Memphis Minnie and Fury Lewis. Following "Highway No. 61 Blues" by Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band, the collection takes a quantum leap to the late '40s and early '50s, jumping from prewar acoustic to postwar electric blues. B.B. King weighs in with "When Your Baby Packs Up and Goes" while Howlin' Wolf offers "Moanin' at Midnight." There's a particularly energetic take on "Cotton Crop Blues" by James Cotton, with some of the most down-and-dirty guitar (by Pat Hare) one would be likely to hear in 1954, and a really screeching version of "Bear Cat" -- an answer to Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog" -- by Rufus Thomas Jr. The names of the record labels, including Chess and Sun, show what an important role these independents played in the development of modern blues and, subsequently, rock & roll. - Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
Credits: Kokomo Arnold - composer; The Beale Street Sheiks - performer, primary artist; Beale Streeters - performer, primary artist; Bobby "Blue" Bland - performer, primary artist; Cannon's Jug Stompers - performer, primary artist; James Cotton - composer, performer, primary artist; Sleepy John Estes - performer, primary artist; Rosco Gordon - composer, performer, primary artist; Big Walter Horton - composer, primary artist; Howlin' Wolf - composer, performer, primary artist; Jim Jackson - composer, performer, primary artist; Kansas Joe & Memphis Minnie - performer, primary artist; Jack Kelly - performer, primary artist; B.B. King - performer, primary artist; Riley King - composer; Furry Lewis - performer, primary artist; Noah Lewis - composer; Little Junior's Blue Flames - primary artist; Joe Hill Louis - composer, performer, primary artist; David Mattis - composer; Kansas Joe McCoy - composer, performer; Memphis Jug Band - performer, primary artist; Memphis Minnie - performer; Mumbles - performer; Willie Nix - composer, performer, primary artist; Herman Parker - composer; Sam Phillips - composer; Don Robey - composer; Dan Sane - composer; Will Shade - composer; Frank Stokes - composer; Rufus Thomas - performer, primary artist; Traditional - composer; Ernest Tubb - composer.
Tracks: 1) Mr. Crump Don't Like It - Beale Street Sheiks (Stokes & Sane); 2) Memphis Jug Blues - Memphis Jug Band; 3) Viola Lee Blues - Cannon's Jug Stompers; 4) Jim Jackson's Kansas City Blues, Pt. 1 - Jim Jackson; 5) Kassie Jones, Pt. 2 - Furry Lewis; 6) Bumble Bee - Kansas Joe & Memphis Minnie; 7) Milk Cow Blues - John Estes; 8) Highway No. 61 Blues - Jack Kelly & South Memphis Jug Band; 9) We All Gotta Go Sometime - Joe Hill Louis; 10) When Your Baby Packs Up and Goes - B.B. King; 11) Try Me One More Time - Willie Nix; 12) Jumpin' Blues - Mumbles; 13) Moanin' at Midnight - The Howlin' Wolf; 14) Cotton Crop Blues - James Cotton; 15) Feelin' Good - Little Junior's Blue Flames; 16) Bear Cat - Rufus "Hound Dog" Thomas, Jr.; 17) Booted - Rosco Gordon; 18) Lovin' Blues - Bobby "Blue" Bland with The Beale Streeters.