Photographer: Dennis Lewis.
Searching for a blues collection that covers a lot of ground? You might want to opt for Down Home Blues Classics, a 100-track post-WWII anthology released in 2004 by Boulevard Vintage. Given the high percentage of urban blues in this collection, the phrase "down home" could be misleading, unless you take into account the musicians' home turf, and the producers seem to have done exactly that by starting out in Texas, moving the focus up to the Great Lakes region (Chicago and Detroit), then downriver toward the Mississippi Delta. The lineup is wonderfully diverse because each selection is performed by a different artist, and only about 25-percent of these people are really well-known to casual blues followers. Examples of individuals from this set who deserve wider recognition are Thunder Smith (an early colleague of Lightnin' Hopkins); Dr. Hepcat, also known as Albert Lavada Hurst, who was the first African American DJ in Texas; Rattlesnake Cooper, Big Charlie Bradix, Rocky Fuller, Morris Pejoe, Little Hudson & His Red Devil Trio, Silver Cooks & the Gondoliers; Stick Horse Hammond, Lost John Hunter & His Blind Bats; Seth Richard, who recorded as Skoodle-Dum-Doo; Doug Quattlebaum, Square Walton, and Lazy Slim Jim. That list barely scratches the surface of this amazing stash of blues recordings dating from the years 1943-1953. ~ arwulf arwulf