Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Old Grizzly Bear
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 09/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Prestige record of this Japanese CD was issued in 1963 in the United States on vinyl. It says that Geoff Muldaur was 20 years old at the time. Elsewhere, his birth date is listed as 1945, which would make him 18 at the time it was recorded. Regardless of his actual age, his raw blues record shows young Geoff borrowing a vibrato from Sleepy John Estes and pulling material from a host of blues greats. "Jelly Roll Baker" is a rolling blues that opens the set, written by Lonnie Johnson who was born in 1899 in New Orleans and died in 1970 in Toronto, Canada. Muldaur's vibrato is strongly in evidence on Blind Willie Johnson's "The Rain Don't Fall on Me," a slow lament that Johnson recorded in 1930. One of Muldaur's favorites according to Walt Crane's liner notes is Bukka White. White contributes the title track with Muldaur singing, "I feel trouble in my mind; and I'm trying to keep from crying." Jim Jackson who lived from 1890 to 1937 in Mississippi wrote "This Morning She Was Gone." The track is a raw blues with Eric Von Schmidt's mandolin lending a high plaintive background as Geoff churns out the lyric, "The more you do for people, the less they think of you. She left town & she throw me down. She left town & she's gone. She loved to dance that old Grizzly Bear. I guess she gone to Frisco to dance it there." "I Have Had My Fun" is a slow burning blues, "Write my mother; tell her the shape I'm in; Tell my mother, I'm in my sin." Bukka White's "Good Gin Blues" is another strong track. Robert Hicks lived 29 years, from 1902 to 1931. His "Motherless Child Blues" has Geoff sounding like a higher-pitched cousin to Leon Redbone, "I done more for you gal than your daddy ever done. I give you all my jelly roll & he ain't give you none." Peg Leg Howell's "Georgia Skin Game" has the "N" word in the lyric with Geoff's vocals slow, sweet & sad, "Police came to arrest me; they didn't know my name." Bukka White's "Aberdeen, Mississippi Blues" has a slow steady guitar progression from Dave Van Ronk with the lyric about women who "told me they'd buy my gasoline." "Trouble in Mind" has a lovely melody with a classic blues lyric, "I'm going down to the river; I'm going to take my rocking chair. If the blues don't get, I'm going to rock away from here." Sleepy John Estes' upbeat blues plays well, "I changed homes; I changed towns; I changed, baby, all the way around." The set concludes with Sleepy John's classic "Drop Down Mama." "Sleepy Man Blues" is an excellent set that was part of a re-discovery of the blues. Muldaur's enthusiastic rendering is well worth a search for this rare recording, either with the Prestige vinyl or this Japanese reissue. Enjoy!"