Blues Roots Are More Than Just Robert Johnson
acnoth | Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada | 07/11/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This CD contains seven tracks each by two currently obscure blues performers (Casey Bill Weldon and Kokomo Arnold) of the 1930s. Meaning no disrespect to Robert Johnson, but it's a bit of a mystery why Arnold is obscure and Johnson is famous, given that Arnold sold more records than did Johnson at the time. Maybe it's because Arnold didn't have the good fortune to die at his prime in mysterious circumstances that has made his memory fade in relation to Johnson's. No matter. Arnold picks it up on this collection of his tunes with some of the fastest blues playing you'll ever hear. The second half of the CD (the first half is dedicated to Weldon) starts off with "The Twelves (The Dirty Dozen)" roaring at you with a blazing pace, and while he never quite matches that tempo in the other tracks, neither does he slow down much. His "Sagefield Woman Blues" is as important an early blues track as you'll find, introducing the "I believe I'll dust my broom" line. Weldon's material seems subdued in comparison to that of Arnold, but his playing is also worthy of note. The themes in his tunes (and Arnold's as well) are surprisingly raunchy and semi-explicit, and there's both a celebration and a mocking bitterness to be found in the lyrics, from the self-confidence of "You Just as Well Let Her Go" to the demi-tragedy of "You Shouldn't Do That." Also, it's not the best song on the CD, but Weldon's "Hitch Me to Your Buggy and Drive Me Like a Mule" has got to be one of the best country blues song titles ever coined."
Five stars don't begin to do it justice, try 25 stars!!!!!!!
Ding-Dong-Girl | Seattle, WA | 06/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This cd is the finest cd of bottleneck slide guitar ever! The two most essential and underrated blues guitarists split this cd in half. Weldon's recordings are particularly interesting, because he plays the blues, but also straight swing(almost gypsy swing), western swing, and Hawiian combo music. He plays his steel as though it were a Hawaiian steel guitar, but with blues feeling, he is truly unique. Weldon certianly was influenced by Sol Hoopii and other hawiian jazz players of the 20's, and he in hurn influenced a lot of the lap steel players in the 40's in western swing. Kokomo Arnold is a trendsetter in his own way influencing every rock'n'roller in the 60's on. He plays something fierce, and if you though Robert Johnson sang the blues good, listen to Kokome, who at least sings as good as Johnson or better. These two great are well featured in thsi Yazoo essential collection. This cd is a perfect introduction to the slide greats, and for further lsitening pleasre try Kokomo Arnold Complete Recorded Works Vol 1, unfortionately there isn't much on cd by Casey Bill Weldon, so grab what you can find, till then this is the best way to acquire thier best sides on one great quality cd, perfect sound quality is a must, and this cd offers that, and great notes, and a cool R. Crumb cartoon artwork!!! If you wanna play something while cruisin' in you 1956 Chevy bel Air coupe, this is it!"