Release Date: 01/20/07
Included here are six assorted sides by Curley Weaver, plus one with Clarence Moore; the only pairing by Eddie Mapp & Guy Lumpkin; the six sides by Slim Barton & Eddie Mapp, plus one with James Moore; the Mapp-Moore-Lumpkin; and the five sides by Fred McMullen, plus the two where he accompanied Ruth Willis. The net result is a splendid anthology of Georgia blues, superbly evoking the Atlanta of the late 1920s and early '30s. These, of course were the days when giants like Willie McTell walked the earth, but a local music scene is always as much about the minor figures, and shadowy though the Mapps and Lumpkins are, they are vital components in the construction as a whole. Weaver himself was never a giant on McTell's scale, but he was an important artist, who played a significant role in shaping the city's music at the time, appearing as accompanist to several artists, as well as recording extensively in his own right. In fact, my favourite track of all his work is included here - 'No No Blues', bursting with energy, the slide guitar brilliantly rhythmic and the vocals driving the song along with an urgency he never seemed to quite match on his other records (not even on other versions of the same song). Fred McMullen did not record very much, and he is something of a mystery, but his 'De Kalb Chain Gang' is a classic prisoner's blues, and his accompaniments to Ruth Willis and others suggest that he must have been known around town, even if the evidence collected in later years tells us otherwise. Barton, Mapp. Moore and Lumpkin are minor figures, whose 15 minutes of fame occurred when they recorded all at the same time in Long Island for the QRS label. The music is never as gripping as Weaver's or McMullen's, but it is nevertheless most interesting - driving dance tunes like 'Decatur Street Drag', which has some tough guitar work from Lumpkin (although it all grinds to a bit of a standstill towards the end), old-fashioned rags like 'Hot Like That', slow blues in the solo 'Wicked Treating'. All in all, this is a useful and thoroughly enjoyable addition to the documentation of blues in Georgia, filling out what we know about Weaver, focusing on the enigmatic McMullen and shining some light in a few long-dark corners that deserve at least a little attention.
|Label: Document Records|
|Run Time: 70 mins|
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