As blues legends go Charley Patton is up there with the best, and seen by many as the most important figure of the pre-war Mississippi Delta blues scene through his rich, full-bodied music.
In comparison to the likes of Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Sun House among others he may often be over-looked, but that should not be the case as this Properbox set illustrates.
While the 4-CD set is entitled The Definitive Charley Patton collection it also has a host of offerings from those he was to influence. Strengthening the set there is songs from Bessie Smith, Memphis Minnie who, alongside the above noted lend a diversity to the collection. Both staunch blues fans and new followers are likely to find something to inspire them to go out and discover more about Patton and the other acts.
Of the 26 selections by Patton those of ‘Running Wild Blues’ with its typical chugging rhythm coupled and the likes of ‘Jersey Bull Blues’ plus, the heart-felt ‘34 Blues’ are the pick from the Moon Going Down cd and there are more like it. As demonstrated by the hard working ‘Pony Blues’, the fiddle aided ‘Elder Greene Blues’ (where the recording quality is as good as on any of his cuts) and ‘Spoonful Of Blues’.
The accompanying DVD is a wonderful piece of work that greatly enlightens the listener, who admittedly, has a few tracks of suspect clarity to endure during the three audio CDS. With Luther Brown, Bob Brozman, Charlie Musselwhite, Tony Russell, Nigel Williamson and Charles Shaar Murray filling in many of the gaps regards the history of Patton and fellow blues musicians the collection is sure to be more greatly appreciated.
If dirty, roughhouse authentic blues of the late 1920s is your love then this is for you, otherwise, a sample may prove to be enough the first time around.
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