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Some Recent Recording Purchases


Hi All:

I Recently purchased six CD's from CD Baby, all were artists that I had never heard of (we don't get much "thru traffic" here in Western Canada) before. I'm sure that some of these guys will be familiar to most of you but here goes. From best to worst;

(1) Little Toby Walker - Back in the Groove (a compilation of his early work.) Fantastic, what a great player, good musician too. His bottleneck stuff is obviously highly influnced by John Hammond. I immediately want to learn two or three of his pieces. Are this later two albums as good? I'll soon find out. Rating 8.5/10

(2) Ernie Hawkins - Blues Advise. I already had two of Mr. Hawkins CD's Mean Little Poodle (terrific) and Bluesified (OK). Blues advice is pretty good, with a much stronger Gary Davis influence than his other two. Being "Piedmont"-orientated myself (I hate that description) I love his style. Whereas he's not the greatest singer his guitar playing makes up for it. Rating 7.5/10

(3) Bradley Litwin - I'll Give you the Bus Money, Honey. Another great guitar player, not as Blues-orientated as Little Toby Walker. In this album he mostly plays older blues material; some of this takes are pretty good. He's a good singer, but too "fancy" for the blues sometimes. Rating 7/10

(4) Ed Teja - The Travelling Ed Teja. First off the recording sound is terrible, there is conciderable tape hiss on every cut. I do like his playing but he's a little rough, not as skilled as the above three. His original pieces are quite good, but some of his adaptations of older songs are, in my opinion, inferior to the originals. Rating 6/10

(5) Peter May and Terraplane. First off a personal predjudice; I don't like the sound of a resonator guitar except on bottlneck pieces (BBFuller should have played wood) Mr. May almost exclusively uses a resonator. He is mostly a pick-strum sort of player. I really like the string bass sound in their tunes. I like his choice of material, but his rather simple playing and that resonator.... Rating 5.5/10

(6) Bradley Litwin - You Rascal You. First off he is a really good guitar player, excellant tecnique. And he's got a great voice, best in this group. That said I disliked this CD a lot. Why? Because he is too fancy. By heavily ornamenting his guitar-playing and trying some mind-bending (-altering) vocal inflections he trys to impress you with his virtuosity and forgets he's trying to craft a musical entity, a song! Listen to what he does in the CD's first cut Blakes Ditty Wah Ditty. Trying (I assume) to differentate his version from that of Blake he so heavily ornaments the guitar part and inflects the vocal that It renders the song arythmic is spots, a travisty for a ragtime tune. Rating 3/10.

I'd love to here your comments, Weenies. Maybe I'm totally off base.


Hi Alex - I have the three Ernie Hawkins CDs that you mention.? Of the three, I like Mean Little Poodle the least...? I felt that Bluesified and Blues Advice made pretty coherent artistic statements and MLP was a little more diffuse - not bad, but it doesn't stay in the player for very long.? I really do like his take on Police Dog Blues - Blake but not Blake if you know what I mean - and his Hawkins Rag is brilliant!? I cajoled him into playing that at a house concert a few months ago - brought the house down!

Brad Litwin - he's from Philadelphia.? We used to run into each other at open mikes and whatnot a few years ago.? He's an intelligent guy (the self-made madman!) and designed a collapsing travel guitar - I've seen him assemble it on stage and then play a tune on it....? funny!

It seems to me that he's crafted his take on blues in such a way as to make it appealing to the contemporary folk crowd.? He's also not the kind of guy that would concern himself overmuch with figuring out exactly how any one of the old guys might have played a tune.? He is a good singer, especially when he does jazzier material, but that can be a little rococo when applied to blues, imho.


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