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American Primitive - Volume 2 - Pre-war Revenants 1897-1939

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American Primitive - Volume 2 - Pre-war Revenants 1897-1939 album cover
Disc 1 of 2
01
I Want Jesus to Talk with Me
Artist: Homer Quincy Smith
2:51
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02
Deal Rag
Artist: Walter Taylor
2:51
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03
Motherless Child Blues
Artist: Elvie Thomas
3:21
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04
Big Bed Bug (Bed Bug Blues)
Artist: Tommy Settlers and His Blues Moaner
2:37
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05
I Got Your Ice Cold Nugrape
Artist: Nugrape Twins
2:55
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06
Molly Man
Artist: (Red Hot) Old Mose
3:08
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07
Black Dog Blues
Artist: Bayless Rose
3:09
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08
Workhouse Blues
Artist: Mattie May Thomas
2:00
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09
Bo-Lita
Artist: Kid Brown and His Blue Band
2:42
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10
My Mama Always Talked to Me
Artist: John Hammond
2:30
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11
Ballin' the Jack
Artist: The Salty Dog Four
3:06
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12
Friday Moan Blues
Artist: Alfred Lewis
3:15
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13
Pick Poor Robin Clean
Artist: Geeshie Wiley
3:14
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14
It's Cold in China Blues
Artist: The Mississippi Moaner
2:50
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15
Black Sheep Blues
Artist: Pigmeat Terry
3:08
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16
Old Hen Cackle
Artist: The Two Poor Boys - Joe Evans & Arthur McClain
2:43
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17
Frisco Blues
Artist: Bayless Rose
3:08
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18
Hot Time Blues
Artist: WIlliam Harris
2:56
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19
Take a Look at That Baby
Artist: The Two Poor Boys - Joe Evans & Arthur McClain
3:17
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20
Skinny Leg Blues
Artist: Geeshie Wiley
3:13
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21
Little Birdie
Artist: John Hammond
2:47
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22
Little Girl in Rome
Artist: Otto Virgial
2:37
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23
Dangerous Blues
Artist: Mattie May Thomas
1:35
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24
Mean Low Blues
Artist: Blues Birdhead
3:14
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25
Be My Kid Blues
Artist: Elizabeth Johnson
3:01
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Disc 2 of 2
01
Last Kind Words Blues
Artist: Geeshie Wiley
3:02
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02
Poor Mourner
Artist: Cousins & DeMoss
1:59
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03
Jamestown Exhibition
Artist: Bayless Rose
2:48
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04
There's a City Built of Mansions
Artist: Nugrape Twins
2:58
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05
Cairo Blues
Artist: Henry Spaulding
2:40
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06
Two White Horses in a Line
Artist: The Two Poor Boys - Joe Evans & Arthur McClain
2:51
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07
Shrimp Man
Artist: (Red Hot) Old Mose
2:54
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08
Don't Mistreat Your Good Boyfriend
Artist: The Bubbling Over Five
3:16
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09
Bull Frog Blues
Artist: WIlliam Harris
3:10
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10
Purty Polly
Artist: John Hammond
3:08
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11
Go Down Moses
Artist: Homer Quincy Smith
3:05
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12
Over to My House
Artist: Wiley and Thomas
3:28
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13
Shaking Weed Blues
Artist: Tommy Settlers and His Blues Moaner
2:42
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14
Big Mac from Macamere
Artist: Mattie May Thomas
2:38
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15
Moaning the Blues
Artist: Pigmeat Terry
2:50
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16
Original Blues
Artist: Bayless Rose
2:46
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17
John Henry Blues [Take 3]
Artist: The Two Poor Boys - Joe Evans & Arthur McClain
2:46
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18
Sobbin' Woman Blues
Artist: Elizabeth Johnson
3:18
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19
Bad Notion Blues
Artist: Otto Virgial
2:43
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20
Eagles on a Half
Artist: Geeshie Wiley
3:04
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21
Mississippi Swamp Moan
Artist: Alfred Lewis
3:17
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22
Red Cross the Disciple of Christ Today
Artist: Moses Mason
3:10
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23
Kansas City Blues
Artist: WIlliam Harris
3:03
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24
As Free a Little Bird as Can Be
Artist: John Hammond
2:32
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25
No Mo' Freedom
Artist: Mattie May Thomas
0:51
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Album Information
EDITOR'S PICK

Total Tracks: 50   Total Length: 143:07

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Genius and Hidden Gems

patrick.sj

If you're into old blues there are tracks here which are essential in both meanings of the word. Inspirational ones include Cairo Blues and Little Girl in Rome - outstanding guitar you can't do without, but then there's Mattie May Thomas' unaccompanied blues in the raw and, if you like something unusual, you MUST hear Tommy Settlers' Blues Moaner - who needs a guitar?! William Harris' Bullfrog is a classic which appears all over, but there are so many obscure gems here. If you like Bluegrass/Old Time check out the John Hammond selections, there's a range of Geeshie Wiley I'd not heard before, Alfred Lewis' stunning falsetto and harmonica, a string band really ripping it up on Ballin' the Jack and some cracking Gospel sounds. A rich and intriguing album.

They Say All Music Guide

In the early days of the recording industry, many folk performers made just a few records, or only one record, before vanishing, their life stories and basic biographical data untraceable to this day. American Primitive, Vol. 2 assembles 50 tracks from such performers on this two-disc set, most from the late ’20s and early ’30s (the sole cut predating 1926 is Cousins & DeMoss’ “Poor Mourner,” from 1897). On one level, then, this is an incredibly valuable compilation for serious collectors of early American folk and blues music — “names too obscure even for Harry Smith” (overseer of the revered Anthology of American Folk Music collections), as the liner notes declare. That’s true — not a one of these names will be familiar outside the hardcore collector circle. Mississippi blueswoman Geeshie Wiley is about the most “famous,” and that’s about as much for the unavailability of hard information about her as for her music. On a more general level, however, the anthology’s of great value to anyone with an interest in such material, not just serious collectors, on several accounts. The level of the performances is almost up to par with those of the more famous early blues and folk musicians. The variety, from rural blues and Appalachian folk to gospel, ragtime, and minstrel-ish novelty, is much greater than it is on most such anthologies. The mastering, courtesy of the fine folks at Revenant, is about as good as it’ll get for such aged discs, and the whole lot is given Revenant’s usual scrupulous yet entertaining annotation. What you’ll find particularly engaging will depend upon your particular tastes, but some of the more ear-opening digs into this archive include the sharp, pinching acoustic blues guitar of Henry Spaulding’s “Cairo”; Homer Quincy Smith’s penetratingly funereal “Go Down Moses”; the disconsolate humming of Pigmeat Terry; and the masterful blues-folk guitar picking on Bayless Rose’s instrumental “Frisco Blues.” Overall, it’s a testament to the variety of expression picked up on record at a time when deciding what to record, and how to perform what was recorded, was a much more spontaneous exercise than it would usually be in later eras. – Richie Unterberger

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