Friday, November 27, 2009
Paramount Records Complete Recordings 1929-1934 Disc A & B June 1929 & October 1929.
This music was recorded exactly 80 years
ago for the Paramount Records Company
based in Grafton and Port Washington,
Wisconsin.There's several of these box
sets floating around,of Charley Patton,
but I think this one sounds the best,
basically for keeping the original sound,
and not stripping away the music,
because the music comes off of old
original 78's this is all they can work
from,since this music was never recorded
on tape or the "newer" technology.
They didn't record and think this music was going to
be around all these years later,and technology wasn't as
caught up with music,as it is now.So keep that in mind
when you listen to this,some of it is rough, but some
of it is very contemporary and listenable.
Charley is "The Acknowledged King of The Delta Blues".
The originator,the father of blues,he made music that
was his own, and impossible to compare with anyone
else of the time.Charley blends all of the music near him
to form the blues tradition: local traditional
songs of the field workers,African American tradition,
white country music,and music from the
currently recorded 78's of the time. He blends these styles
to form a music made,and then handed down to others:
his near contemporaries Robert Johnson,Honey Boy Edwards,
Johnny Shines,and most likely every beginning black blues
musician knew of his work,and blended it into their own
music.You can argue this with me,but this music is
the essence of Mississippi Delta blues.Patton's lyrics are
not always easy to understand, the voice is gruff,
the phrasing eccentric, and heard through a Mississippi
accent that came about 100 years ago. His slide guitar
work was either played in his lap like a Hawaiian guitar,
and he struck the frets with a pocket knife or a conventional
brass pipe for a bottleneck. He also beat his guitar like a
drum and stomped his feet to reinforce a certain beat.
One of the first to record like this. Charley was 5'5"
tall and a spartan 135 pounds, but sounded like a man
twice his size! His gruff voice directly inspired the blues giant
Howlin' Wolf, and his guitar playing directly inspired
John Lee Hooker. Charley was also important for hooking
up other musicians to be recorded,he brought forward
fellow players Willie Brown and Son House.Charley became
within a year the most successful blues artist,thanks to
Paramount for having open ears and marketing his music.
Charley didn't live long,and his final session was done
only a couple of months before his death in 1934.These discs
I present to you, fine music fan,are thee best sounding
Paramount Records I could find.When the company went out
of business,the metal masters were sold off as scrap,some of it
was used to line chicken coops. All that's left are the original
78's rumored to have been made out of inferior pressing
material commonly used to make bowling balls (at the time)
and all of them are scratched and heavily played,making all
attempts at sound retrieval by the current noise reduction
processing a tall order indeed.
I think this label JSP did a fine fine job of making this excellent
music listenable,and I haven't been able to stop playing this
since I got it... I'm hooked on it,trying to follow his
singing,his lyrics and how it inspired countless other musicians.
Here he is, haunting my mind Disc 1 and 2 with all of the
artwork,track listings(and even with the exact Paramount
matrix numbers) When and where recorded,and even other
musicians along with Charley who recorded those same days.
(Louise Johnson,Willie Brown,a very young Son House,
The Delta Big Four,Bertha Lee,Edith North Johnson,
and Henry Sims) This is a 5 disc set,and I start you off
with discs 1 & 2. Listen to it and tell me what you think.
Charley Patton Disc 1
Charley Patton Disc 2