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Big Bill Broonzy Sings Folk Songs

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01
Backwater Blues
2:50
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02
This Train
3:00
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03
I Don't Want No Woman (To Try To Be My Boss)
3:08
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04
Martha
5:00
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05
Tell Me Who
3:41
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06
Bill Bailey
1:57
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07
Alberta
2:13
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08
Goin' Down This Road
2:22
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09
Tell Me What Kind Of Man Jesus Is
2:16
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10
John Henry
4:44
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11
Glory Of Love
3:23
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Album Information
EDITOR'S PICK

Total Tracks: 11   Total Length: 34:34

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Wondering Sound

Review 0

04.22.11
Big Bill Broonzy, Big Bill Broonzy Sings Folk Songs
Label: Smithsonian Folkways

On this 1956 recording, the Chicago-born bluesman Big Bill Broonzy provides arguably the greatest performance of "John Henry" ever. Broonzy, a Carnegie Hall performer and favorite of the legendary John Hammond, absolutely steamrolls this traditional, hammering at his six strings so ferociously that they sound industrial, its 4/4 gait chugging like a locomotive, his voice — which changes in volume as his picking sends him reeling from the microphone — soaring and insatiable. Halfway… read more »

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FYI... born Bradley Lee Conley in Arkansas

wrongwaydr

just a friendly correction for another blues fan.

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Big Bill Broonzy Sings Folk Songs

zaw333

BIG BILL AND THIS TRAIN, can I say more?

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Born in Mississippi

kjc

Friendly reminder - He was born in Scott, Mississippi on the banks of the Mississippi River. He moved to Chicago after his service in the Army, and Chicago was his home, but he was born elsewhere. Feel free to remove this "review" after someone, hopefully, makes the correction in above eMusic review. Otherwise, love the collection.

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Big Bill'f Folk Years

RayC

Big Bill carried the blues to the white folks during the folk years it seems. I've been hunting for something of this quality for years, subsisting on Mickey Baker's renditions of Bill's songs. It's a pleasure to hear the clear tuff voice of the big guy.

eMusic Features

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Big Bill Broonzy: The Blues Ambassador

By John Morthland, Contributor

Consider Big Bill Broonzy. Here's a guy who wrote such blues standards as "Key to the Highway." As a writer-producer-sessions player for '30s blues A&R man Lester Melrose, he shaped the sound of blues in Chicago before there was a recognized Chicago blues style. He was one of the first bluesmen to be taken in by – and to shape his music for – white audiences, and he opened up the European market for postwar… more »

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The Black Fiddler’s Unlikely Home in Blues

By John Morthland, Contributor

In the 19th century, the most popular instruments played by black musicians in America were the banjo and the fiddle, and black and white string bands had virtually indistinguishable sounds. By the early days of the recording industry, though, both were on the way out. Yet the fiddle in particular was still prevalent enough that a fair number of black players were recorded, particularly in blues and jazz, and that's a good thing. With its… more »

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Outre Limits (And Then some)

By Lenny Kaye, Contributor

The Concept Album, enshrined in such epic meisterworks as Tommy and The Wall, not to mention Styx's Kilroy Was Here, is often given short (about the only thing short about them) shrift in the instant d-load of a favored track. But ever since the invention of Long Playing discs allowed rock musicians the same four dimensions enjoyed by classical symphonists and operatic composers and jazz improvisers, there will be artists who think on a scale… more »

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Early Electric Guitarist George Barnes Mixes It Up

By Kevin Whitehead, Contributor

So who was the first electric guitarist on a Bob Dylan single? Well, duh, you can read a headline — not Mike Bloomfield, not Robbie Robertson, but George Barnes, in 1962. The record was Mixed-Up Confusion, the band skiffling like Bill Black's combo behind Elvis. Producer John Hammond's idle comment about cutting the tune, that they even tried it with a Dixieland band, sent collectors scurrying for a lost take. But Hammond may have meant… more »

They Say All Music Guide

Often ranked with such blues greats as Robert Johnson, Son House, and Elmore James, Big Bill Broonzy was for many years the last surviving practitioner of the “Delta” style of blues. This record, cut for Smithsonian Folkways in 1956, captures Broonzy late in his career but still during the peak of his power. Indeed, a more magisterial performance could not be imagined. While born and raised on the Mississippi, Broonzy takes this opportunity to demonstrate the range of musical influences he’s successfully mastered over the course of his career. Proving to be equally at home in both country-folk and straight blues idioms, Broonzy offers sparkling renditions of both “Alberta” and “John Henry,” where Broonzy sings an interesting set of uncommon lyrics, bending the melody with an inspired blues shift. On “This Train,” Broonzy works the call and response with a gospel choir and scathingly delivers the line, “This train carries both white and black now.” Perhaps simply to prove a point, he closes with the slightly more contemporary standard “Glory of Love,” sweetly inflecting the chorus with a tender bit of jazz lyricism. While this is not considered “the” Broonzy album to own, it is, nonetheless, a very good one, and has the obvious advantage of being kept continuously in print by Smithsonian Folkways. – Brian Whitener

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