Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Complete Blue Horizon Sessions
Genres: Blues, Pop
U.K. two CD collection featuring Spann's recordings for the Blue Horizon label. 28 tracks total, including previously unreleased recordings, alternate takes and false starts. Also features the original versions of 'Can't... more »
U.K. two CD collection featuring Spann's recordings for the Blue Horizon label. 28 tracks total, including previously unreleased recordings, alternate takes and false starts. Also features the original versions of 'Can't Do Me No Good', 'Bloddy Murder', 'Someday Soon Baby' and 'Hungry Country Girl'. Sony/BMG. 2006.
£100 UK Vinyl LP Blues Rarity Re-issued With A Huge Trawl Of
Mark Barry at Reckless Records, Lon | UK | 10/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Released in May 1969, "The Biggest Things Since Colossus" is Otis Spann's sole LP on the cult Blue Horizon label of the UK and has long been a notoriously difficult to find vinyl rarity - clocking in at a ton sterling - if you can locate one! This superlative 2CD remastered 2006 re-issue is roughly based around that album. Here's the breakdown:
Tracks 1 and 2 are the non-LP A & B-side of his 1st UK 7" single on Blue Horizon Records (57-3142) from 1968
Tracks 3 and 4 are on the 20-track 2LP set "Blues Jam At Chess" on Blue Horizon Records (7-66227) from 1969
Tracks 5 to 14 are the entire LP "The Biggest Thing Since Colossos" on Blue Horizon Records (7-63217) from 1969 (false starts, studio talk are included along with the master takes)
The band line-up on Tracks 1 and 2 is Otis Spann (vocals and piano), Walter "Shakey" Horton (harmonica), Johnny Shines (guitar), Willie Dixon (Upright Bass) and Clifton James (Drums)
The band line-up on Tracks 3 and 4 is Otis Spann (vocals and piano), Peter Green and Danny Kirwan (guitars), John McVie (Bass) and Mick Fleetwood (Drums)
The band line-up on Tracks 5 to 14 is Otis Spann (vocals and piano), Peter Green and Danny Kirwan (guitars), John McVie (Bass) and S.P. Leary replacing Mick Fleetwood (Drums)
Tracks 1 to 14 are all previously unissued versions with studio chatter and false starts included (with the same band line-up as "The Biggest Thing..." sessions).
There's a couple of niggles worth mentioning. "Someday Baby", the last track on Disc 1, is credited as being written by Otis Spann, but I'm sure it's a cover of a Sleepy John Estes and Hammock Nixon song from the 1940's (an admin error no doubt). Second is the title of the set itself - "The Complete...Sessions" - when it actually isn't complete! Tracks 3 and 4 on Disc 1 are from the 2LP set "Blues Jam At Chess" as I've already pointed out, but there are in fact 7 more tracks on that double featuring Otis Spann (with Fleetwood Mac accompanying). You'll have to buy the 2 volumes now titled "Blues Jam In Chicago Volume One" and "Blues Jam In Chicago Volume Two" to truly get a 'complete' picture of that hugely productive year - 1969. Third, there's also his work on the Johnny Shines Blue Horizon LP "Last Night's Dream" again from 1969 - not featured at all on this release (and unfortunately, still unavailable on a BH CD). And fourth is his fantastic piano contributions on the hard-hitting Chicago blues of Johnny Young on his lone BH album "Fat Mandolin" (contained in "The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions" CD - see separate review). All in all, it could have been a 3CD set, but would probably have been commercially unviable as such. Besides, as I say, the tracks are available on seperate releases if you really want them. If anything, the absences on this 2CD set only wet the appetite for more.
Anyway, back to this issue. Spann was clearly as enamoured with Peter Green and his motley British crew as they were with him, both singing each others' respective praises between takes and clearly enjoying the whole recording process. Tragically Spann was taken ill in early 1970 and died of cancer in April of that year, criminally robbing the blues world of a legend at only 40 years of age. The liner notes explain that because of non-payment of musician union dues, for the lack of $1000, his plot remained without a headstone for years - until an internet campaign was launched - and in June 1999 - a headstone was finally dedicated to him reading "Otis Played The Deepest Blues We Ever Heard. He'll Play In Our Hearts Forever". Mike Vernon, producer of this re-issue and leading light at Blue Horizon, contributed to that campaign - and it's clear from his detailed and affectionate liner notes - that this project was a labour of love for him. Luckily it's been so for us too.
Complete with a card-wrap on the outside, this is a classy release for a bluesman who has remained in relative obscurity for way too long. Fantastic sound, beautifully presented, wads of unheard gems - a masterful release - and one I urge you to purchase pronto."
This is the stuff
James Mann | Decatur, GA United States | 10/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the stellar piano and vocals of Spann to the brilliant guitar work of Peter Green, this is a must have for fans of both Chicago and British blues. Truly, they ain't making music like this anymore."