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I like to fuss and fight... and get sloppy drunk offa bottle in bond, and walk the streets all night - Charlie Patton, Elder Greene Blues

Author Topic: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...  (Read 6788 times)

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Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2010, 03:37:24 AM »
For more years than I like to admit, McTell has been one of my favourite country bluesmen, if not my absolute favourite: a beautiful voice and everything happening on the guitar (slide or fingerpicked). The first Yazoo LP has always been one of my all-time favourite albums.  Last night I dug out the LoC LP and, apart from the great music, I find the interviews fascinating. McTell was clearly a very intelligent man.

You simply can't have too much Blind Willie McTell.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2010, 03:38:50 AM by Parlor Picker »
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline maddoggirl

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2010, 10:55:59 AM »
Last night I dug out the LoC LP and, apart from the great music, I find the interviews fascinating. McTell was clearly a very intelligent man.


I've always felt that this was what was responsible for the tangible moments of tension between McTell and Lomax in the interviews. I get the impression that Lomax preferred his singers to be more of the raw, countrified type who were a little more easily led, shall we say. Although McTell was born in the country, he was very well travelled and also had a much more thorough education than most of his contemporaries (including being able to read and write Braille and Braille music). He was very well regarded amongst his associates as a intelligent and independent man who clearly spots Lomax's game very quickly and dodges it with tact but determination.

He just wasn't the kind of Black man that Lomax felt comfortable with. Although he had a fairly progressive attitude for his time and undoubtedly had sympathy with the plight of the prisoners and sharecroppers he recorded, I think deep down he liked the sound of a Black man calling him 'boss' and anything else made him uneasy.
rambling about movies, from 1930 on up at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com/

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2010, 01:59:09 PM »
I don't think its fair to say that about Lomax. He was a staunch progressive and his failings as a person seem to lean heavily in the direction of being cheap and neglectful of his obligations towards some people he recorded rather than racist. Your choice, but these distinctions are meaningful.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline RobBob

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2010, 02:59:49 PM »
If you go through the Amazon link on Weenie you will arrive at this link which is the best buy of Blind Willie IMHO

http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Years-1927-1940-Willie-Mctell/dp/B00008Y3UT/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1293145111&sr=8-1

But go through the Weenie link so they get the benefit of the purchase.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2010, 03:31:45 PM »
I second the JSP set. Cf. disc 4 and the LoC tracks.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #20 on: December 24, 2010, 07:32:37 AM »
Quote
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

Interesting point John and one I hadn't been consciously aware of. But yes the vocal quality on his early sides is really spectacular, haunting, and unique and it doesn't improve with age. There is something about the song choices on that first volume Yazoo (The Early Years) and the way they build a coherent picture that is rare with this music I think. It really works as a start to finish listening experience..an album in the best sense. Maybe even a desert island album.

01. Broke Down Engine          
02. Mama, 'Tain't Long Fo' Day          
03. Georgia Rag          
04. Love Changing Blues          
05. Statesboro Blues          
06. Stomp Down Rider         
07. Savannah Mama          
08. Travelin' Blues          
09. Drive Away Blues          
10. Warm It up to Me          
11. Three Women Blues          
12. Writing Paper Blues          
13. Southern Can Is Mine          
14. Talkin' to Myself

Visting the Yazoo site I'm not finding it listed anymore so good luck
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline frankie

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #21 on: December 24, 2010, 07:45:23 AM »
There is something about the song choices on that first volume Yazoo (The Early Years) and the way they build a coherent picture that is rare with this music I think.
....
Visting the Yazoo site I'm not finding it listed anymore so good luck

It's still available as a download from emusic:

The Early Years (1927-1933) by Blind Willie McTell

They're just mp3s, but better than nothing!

Offline oddenda

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #22 on: December 24, 2010, 06:53:47 PM »
It was the thirteen unissued McTell sides that got me to be unusually assertive and beard Ahmet Ertegun in his office regarding some blues vault LPs. I succeeded in getting six out, including "Atlanta Twelve String", but none of the next half dozen planned... six is better than none!

pbl

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2010, 02:45:38 AM »
The Rockwell LP "Atlanta Strut" is a fine selection. Inevitably there are are omissions, but all in all, it works well as a compilation. The sound quality is great as well. (Mine came from Honest Jon's Records in London - via Santa Claus, of course.)
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2010, 05:35:05 AM »
Quote
It was the thirteen unissued McTell sides that got me to be unusually assertive and beard Ahmet Ertegun in his office regarding some blues vault LPs. I succeeded in getting six out, including "Atlanta Twelve String", but none of the next half dozen planned... six is better than none!

pbl

And the six unissued ones were..................?
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline oddenda

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #25 on: December 27, 2010, 05:20:29 PM »
There were only two issued... on a 78 back in '49/'50; "Broke Down Engine"/"Kill it, Kid" if memory serves me right. None of the other sides saw the light of day until I put together the "Blues Originals" series of LPs on Atlantic back in the day. McTell was the lynch-pin to all that work for me.

pbl

Offline LB

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2011, 05:02:42 AM »
(1) My vote, an absolute MUST OWN in any McTell collection will be the Pig and Whistle Red with him and Weaver as a SUPER duo.

(2) The Library Congress 1940 archive is priceless and the last sessions for the same reason, all the interviewing is crucial stuff.

(3) Of course it would be crazy to buy McTell and not have the Ga artists that surrounded him but the best collection for that is the JSP 4 CD boxset for Atlanta Blues which has killer track notes and details along with the Ga Browns stuff.

That would give you a taste of most Ga blues connected with McTell and then him in many eras. Ga Browns era, 1940, 1949 and 1950s. The only thing left would be the 1920s which others have made excellent recommendations. I have a number of old LPs I have captured to MP3 but not sure which is the best without examining them. Maybe Atlanta 12 or Death Cell would be that other one to get.

None the less I wouldn't live without the Pig and Whistle CD.



 

Offline Blind Arthur

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2011, 09:29:33 AM »
I got the "Blues Collection" CD in the mid-nineties first, which has all the Victor titles (minus one alt. take "Mr. McTell?s Got The Blues"), plus the excellently packed Sony/Columbia 2CD box, which [naturally] has all the Columbia/Okeh and ARC tracks. Then came the wonderful LC document and only years later I stumbled across the suberp "Atlanta Twelve String". Hard to tell which is my favourite!

The Decca titles I like less much TBH. "Last Sessions" is good but does not reach the stellar status of any of the above CDs IMO.

Time for me to look out for the Regal sessions it seems :) especially since I am a fan of Curley Weaver?s singing and second guitar acc. on so many great duets with McTell.
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Offline LB

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Re: Trying to decide which Willie McTell CDs to buy...
« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2011, 02:15:45 PM »
Not sure if this helps but the Pig and Whistle release I bought had somehow been mastered in some award winning way and suppose to have super sound quality. Make sure you get that one if there are more than one.

Offline JohnLeePimp

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