Search - Lonnie Johnson, Howard Armstrong, Mississippi Sheiks :: Violin, Sing the Blues for Me: African-American Fiddlers 1926-1949

Violin, Sing the Blues for Me: African-American Fiddlers 1926-1949
Lonnie Johnson, Howard Armstrong, Mississippi Sheiks
Violin, Sing the Blues for Me: African-American Fiddlers 1926-1949
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, Jazz, Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #1

"A top-notch compilation of classic performances with superb booklet and photos as well. This is an essential album for anyone interested in blues or string band music." Terry Zwigoff - film director Art School Confidentia...  more »

      
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"A top-notch compilation of classic performances with superb booklet and photos as well. This is an essential album for anyone interested in blues or string band music." Terry Zwigoff - film director Art School Confidential, Bad Santa, Ghost World, Crumb, Louie Bluie - oldhatrecords.com/ZwigoffInt.html The violin played a significant role in the early history of recorded blues, with its crying vibratos and sliding notes creating a dramatic and soulful sound. Violin, Sing The Blues For Me offers 24 tracks of this rare music, played by many of the greatest black fiddlers who recorded before mid-century. From the sophisticated style of Lonnie Johnson to the raw Delta blues of Henry Sims to the rollicking tunes of the Memphis Jug Band, these musicians demonstrate the depth and diversity of African-American fiddle music. Included are two early instrumentals by the multitalented Howard Armstrong, also known as "Louie Bluie," whose career in music spanned seven decades. This unique collection presents 73 minutes of vintage fiddle music carefully remastered from original 78rpm records. In addition to blues, the album contains country dances, rags and stomps, folk songs and medicine show music. The CD comes with a 32-page, full-color booklet with detailed history, complete discography, and a host of rare photographs and illustrations.

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CD Reviews

Simply magnificent
07/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I don't believe this release can be improved. The song selection is terrific from both a musical and historical perspective. Sound mastering is excellant. The notes, artwork and photographs were not an after thought. They are very well done. OLD HAT has now released two top notch volumes and I really hope there is a lot more in the pipe. This is a mandatory disc for all blues and old timey fans. About the only negative is the sad fact that it probably won't get out to a wider audience. A reissue done by people who love and respect this music. Just superb."
Great music - great supporting documentation
AfroAmericanHeritage | Wisconsin | 02/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As early as colonial times, free and enslaved blacks were widely known for their virtuosity on the fiddle, so it was only natural that the instrument would eventually find a home in the blues...even though most people probably don't tend to think of it there. And that's the beauty of this CD. It contains samples of the blues and many of the traditions that preceded it: country dances, rags and stomps, folks songs and medicine show music, all lovingly remastered from early recordings to create 73 minutes of vintage fiddle music. The 32-page full-color booklet alone is worth the price. This is a must-have for any student of African American culture in general, or anyone who just enjoys good music."
Some not so pretty, but mostly Great. I want more from Old H
Pharoah S. Wail | Inner Space | 07/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Inspired by my recent review of Sam Ku West's cd of Hawaiian steel guitar from 1927 and '28, and his version of Memphis Blues contained therein, I decided I need to review this disc which contains a killer Memphis Blues by the Mobile Strugglers.

What you get here is a very fine collection of mostly pre-war fiddle musics, covering a wide range of styles and abilities. From the abysmal toned, a-rhythmic atrocity of Alma Waltz (the very rare bad track) by the Mississippi Mudsteppers at the low end of the spectrum, to the bluesy drawl of Broonzy's fiddle, all the way up to the utter brilliance of the great Lonnie Johnson.

Still, the lesser-knowns are what this is about. Sure the titles of this and the "Folks, He..." disc put the emphasis on violins/fiddles but the music doesn't stop there. There are some seriously great bands here. Full-on killin groove units that will have you dancing on the couch as you listen... Memphis Shakedown and the "train impersonation" song, Moore Girl, for example. I've always found the latter interesting because, at least in my experiences thus far, I'm more familiar with black train-sound songs being done with harmonica, while whites seem to favor fiddle trains. A very cool track.

Also though, for me, Frank Stokes' Right Now Blues and the Alabama Sheiks' Travelin Railroad Blues give this disc a more pensive, vulnerable feeling than the "Folks, He..." disc.

Lots of stylistic variety, lots of great songs and playing. Had I reviewed this when it first came out I'd have probably given it 5 stars, but with the subsequent release of "Folks, He..." I do have to say that the "Folks, He..." disc has a touch better sound. A little less muffled. When I listen to these 2 right in a row, I listen to this one a few clicks louder to make it sound as good.

My continued thanks to all the collectors out there who saved this stuff, and to labels like Old Hat who've allowed people like me to enjoy!

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