Release Date: 08/20/21
From Mississippi to Chicago, Tommy McClennan bring us his hard hitting, stomping Country Blues.
Tommy McClennan's hoarse, shouted vocals, often with spoken asides, and rudimentary guitar style, worked from an intriguing palette. The diminutive singer managed to turn out a handful of country blues classics, including 'New Shake Em On Down,' 'Bottle It Up and Go,' and his signature tune, 'Whiskey Head Woman,' all of which are included here. Such is the excellence of the fidelity of the two volumes from Document that you can now enjoy Tommy McClennan almost as a living presence in your room or your car. They Chronicle his five sessions for Bluebird between November 1939 and February 1942. Born in Yazoo City in 1908 Tommy McClennan's story is stereotypical before he fell in with Honeyboy Edwards, Robert Petway and Tommy Johnson. Diminutive in stature but blessed with a loud hoarse voice, he came across as big, mean and ferocious - his guitar playing had a direct no-frills ability. The best of his compositions, 'Whiskey Headed Woman' provides best illustration of those gifts. He returned to the theme just over a year later and he was not afraid to mine other artist's seams ('Shake 'Em On Down', 'Bottle It Up'/ 'Shake It Up And Go', 'Sugar Mama'). Both takes of Hacksaw Harney's 'Cross Cut Saw' are included. On 'Deep Sea Blues', he offers up his reading of the blues standard 'Catfish', while 'Baby Don't You Want To Go' is, as you'd expect, his version of 'Sweet Home Chicago'; showing the range of his voice and featuring a brief hint of scat singing during the coda. More nonsense lyrics litter 'I'm Going Don't You Know', and his gravel throat is put to good use with 'Highway 51'. In contrast to his usual harsh delivery, 'My Little Girl' makes good use of atmospheric changes in volume - an approach to dynamics not often associated with McClennan. Though not regarded as one of the innovative originals of country blues, his interpretations are very enjoyable - as are the handful of songs credited to his pen. Taking any track at random always yields a treat.
|Label: Document Records|
|Run Time: 59:22 mins|
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