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Author Topic: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...  (Read 6967 times)

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Offline LeftyStrat

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Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« on: December 21, 2010, 01:28:26 AM »
I've suddenly been hit with the idea that I should add more Blind Willie McTell to my collection (not a bad idea by any stretch of the imagination), however I'm having a really hard time making up my mind as to which of the following to get.

Perhaps you, fellow enthusiasts, could give some suggestions to help me out.  It would be greatly appreciated.

I've narrowed it down to these for now:

Trying to get home (The library of Congress Sessions)
Atlanta 12-String
The Last Sessions

I'm drawn to the first one because of the "monologues" that Willie gives on a few tracks.  Suprisingly, the fact that its a Document release plays no part, despite my seeming favor toward the label and my extensive collection of CDs from them.

The others, I can't explain except for the quality of the clips I've heard .

There's honestly a part of me that wants to grab up all 3, but I'm hesitant for some reason to let go of the price, even though I know it would be well worth it.
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Offline TonyGilroy

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2010, 01:32:33 AM »
There's a Snapper 6CD set that retails in the UK for about ?10.

Apart from the odd track it has everything but the Atlantics and the Last Session. They are of course essential but another tenner will get you those.

The sound quality is nothing special but is OK.

Offline maddoggirl

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2010, 04:00:34 AM »
If you'll permit me to offer an opinion, I would suggest the Library of Congress recording. It was my first blues album ever and, obviously, my first McTell and it cemented him as my favourite bluesman of all time. It shows off his astounding range better than most recordings, giving him a chance to expand well beyond the blues - as shown by folk/traditional tracks such 'Will Fox' and 'Boll Weevil', and a few gospel numbers, too.

The monologues are short but he comes off as exactly the astute, intelligent gent that Michael Gray's biography depicts, despite a little insensitive interrogation on Lomax's part (particularly evident in the monologue on 'Accidents', which sees McTell deftly repelling Lomax's request for a song entitled 'Ain't It Hard To Be A Nigger?' with 'That's not in our times.')

It also contains the flat-out best versions of 'Delia', 'Kill-It-Kid' and 'Dying Crapshooter' that he ever laid down, which makes me put it above Atlanta 12-String, although that album does feature a few gems ('Pinetop's Boogie-Woogie' and of course 'Broke Down Engine'). Similarly, Last Sessions is a great favourite of mine these days, but it's really geared towards the devoted fan, given as it doesn't contain his most accomplished technical work. It is fun, though, and is voice rings out very deep and clear on some cracking songs. My favourites from that session are 'Pal of Mine', 'Beedle-um-Bum' and 'Wabash Cannonball'.
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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2010, 05:25:43 AM »
I've suddenly been hit with the idea that I should add more Blind Willie McTell to my collection (not a bad idea by any stretch of the imagination), however I'm having a really hard time making up my mind as to which of the following to get.
I've narrowed it down to these for now:
Trying to get home (The library of Congress Sessions)
If you click on the TAG below among the numerous BWMcT topics there's one devoted to the discussion of the LoC recording which may, or may not, be of interest.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2010, 08:09:50 AM »
I'd second maddoggirl's choice of the Library of Congress recordings (that is, assuming you have the other prewar recordings, and taking into account that I'd buy it all). The LoC recordings catch McTell playing material you don't find elsewhere, and he is fine form. Recording quality is not great but OK for field recordings. Just some great performances.

Offline CF

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2010, 08:13:18 AM »
A couple years ago I decided I had to have everything that Willie recorded. I got just about everything & I'd recommend . . . everything he recorded  :) Not many artists have such a strong catalogue from top to bottom, GET IT ALL!
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline unezrider

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2010, 09:10:58 AM »
hello friend,
check the sale section on the document site. the LOC were on sale there last i looked. & to quote cheapfeet, "GET IT ALL!"
"Be good, & you will be lonesome." -Mark Twain

Offline onewent

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2010, 09:31:39 AM »
..ditto cheapfeet's idea.  But if you're limited, I agree on the LOC, but the Atlanta 12-String would be a top contender, too.  The recording quality is likely the best of all McTell recordings ..  you can really hear and appreciate Willie's voice and the timbre of his jimbo 12-string..this one's made for loud volume!  (well, both the CD and the 12-string)
Tom

Offline jostber

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2010, 09:40:46 AM »
"Trying To Get Home" is at special price at Document right now:

http://www.document-records.com/fulldetails.asp?ProdID=BDCD-6001

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2010, 11:03:43 AM »
I'd go for the first Yazoo personally. I do love the LoC recordings though.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline LeftyStrat

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2010, 12:07:07 AM »
Thanks to all for your input.  After reading your responses, I settled on the LOC recordings and "Atlanta 12-string" as a first step toward picking up as much as possible of Mr. McTell's catalogue.  Next will likely be Vol. 2 & 3 of the Document series along with the Document McTell/Weaver disc.   Even though I passed it up this time, The Last Sessions is a definite future pickup.

But I digress.  After I purchased and downloaded these at Amazon, I listened through both and remembered what drew me to "Atlanta 12-string". I was listening to clips a few days ago and heard a snippet of the next-to-last track "Pearly Gates". After listening to the song in full, I'm at a loss for words in trying to describe it.

Thanks again for your help folks,
Lefty
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Offline oddenda

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2010, 01:26:15 PM »
The material recoded for Regal Records w. Curley Weaver in tow are the equal of the Atlantic sides. They were (mostly) on an Acrobat CD, but not sure of their availability at the moment. Mr. McTell was brilliant, even on a bad day!

pbl

Offline Johnm

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2010, 02:53:32 PM »
Hi all,
I'm a little late to the game, but I would concur with O'Muck, on selecting the Yazoo Vol. 1.  Willie McTell is one of the only Country Blues musicians whose singing I like less and less as he grew older.  Normally I much prefer the singing of older musicians to their singing as young people.
All best,
Johnm

Offline frankie

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2010, 03:16:54 PM »
I agree with everybody!

A couple years ago, I wrote a little appreciation of Atlanta 12-String.  I'll always have a soft spot for that record.

Offline unezrider

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2010, 10:42:37 PM »
hello friend,
i should also mention that document has a sale on the three disc set of mctell for a super low price. i bought it just to have everything he recorded. & at that price you can't go wrong. i live in the states & it still cost about $8 or so to my door. real cheap. but when i want to hear the early stuff sounding it's best i look to the yazoo releases. (all three, but 'best of' in particular)
'pig & whistle red' is also very enjoyable. but i still agree, "GET IT ALL."  ;)
chris
"Be good, & you will be lonesome." -Mark Twain

 


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