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Author Topic: Furry Lewis on Fat Possum, FP80374-2  (Read 2119 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Furry Lewis on Fat Possum, FP80374-2
« on: February 26, 2004, 04:32:27 PM »
PROGRAM:  Good Morning Judge; Worried Blues; Blues Around My Bed; Why Don't You Come Home Blues; Don't You Wish Your Mama; Furry Lewis Rag; Roll And Tumble Blues; Old Hobo; Farewill I'm Growing Old; Furry Lewis's Careless Love

I just picked up a new Fat Possum release of Furry Lewis, recorded by George Mitchell, who also recorded the recent Fat Possum releases of Joe Callicott, R. L. Burnside and Fred McDowell w/Johnny Woods.  The front cover boldly announces, "Recorded by George Mitchell in 1962", but when you look at the recording info on the back of the CD it turns out that only two cuts were recorded in '62, the rest were recorded in '67.

This turns out not to be a problem at all.  Furry is in really fine form here throughout, and not playing slide exclusively as he often did towards the end of his career.  He does several pieces in Spanish, with and without slide (more often with), tuned at concert pitch on some, and quite low on others.  One low-tuned E standard piece is outstanding, out of the "Mistreating Mama" or "Mean Old Bedbug" mold.  [Edited to add, 7/4/17:  The piece is actually played out of the EAEGBE tuning, as were "Mistreating Mama" and "Mean Old Bedbug"]  He even plays a couple of pieces in C standard, one of which reminds me of Robert Wilkins' "Police Sergeant".  A lot of the songs are mainstays of his repertoire, re-named, I would assume, to avoid having to pay publishing on the songs under their more commonly known, and previously copyrighted, titles.  "Judge Boushay" becomes "Good Morning Judge" here, as "Pearlee" become "Why Don't You Come Home Blues", and "One Kind Favor" is re-named "Furry Lewis's Careless Love".

Throughout, Furry plays and sings exceptionally well, and his playing abounds with cool licks and rhythmic changes I do not recall having heard him do elsewhere.  He really kept the capacity to surprise with his playing right through this period.  I prefer his singing as an older man to that on his early recordings--his voice is deeper and darker later on.  His lyrics are outstanding, too.  I can't recall any Bluesman with so many funny lyrics.  One of the songs opens with, "Don't you wish your mama had named you Furry Lewis?"  He does a neat version in Spanish of Jimmie Rodgers's "Waiting For A Train", which John Jackson used to love to sing.  The recording is quite clear--good and plain I would say.  All in all, a strong release of a re-discovered Bluesman who still had a lot to say.
All best,
John 
« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 02:25:42 PM by Johnm »

Offline frankie

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Re: Furry Lewis on Fat Possum
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2004, 09:08:22 PM »
That's great!  In a strange bit of synchronicity, we were watching Blues Up The Country a couple of nights ago.  There's a fair amount of Furry on that tape, and though he 'clowns' a lot, the playing is pretty clean.  I should say that some of the stuff he did, like fretting over the top of the neck and 'playing' with his elbow had both my wife & daughter in stitches.  Furry certainly knew how to make an impression!