This collection of Big Bill Broonzy's Vogue recordings showcase his vocals and guitar talents from the 1950s.
Big Bill Broonzy's Vogue recordings were originally issued on 10" LPs, a format that visually resembled the standard 78 rpm single but had room for considerably more music per side as the platter rotated at a majestic 33 and 1/3 revolutions per minute. The artful cover illustration from one of these little albums is reproduced on Broonzy's Complete Vogue Recordings as reissued by Vogue in 2005. Thirty five master takes from his Parisian recording dates which took place between September 1951 and March 1952 fill two CDs with nine alternate takes thrown onto a third disc. That's a total of 44 tracks, a quantity which would have fit comfortably onto two discs, so the addition of the third is puzzling unless the producers wanted to physically emphasize the distinction between primary and secondary versions. Most of these recordings feature Broonzy singing while accompanying himself on the guitar. Disc two ends with a cluster of performances recorded live at La Salle Pleyel on February 7, 1952. On "Feelin' so Good," "How Long Blues," and "It's Your Time Now," Broonzy was joined by pianist Blind John Davis. The concert excerpts include "Get Back," an outspoken critique of racism here titled "Black, Brown and White." Broonzy recorded "Get Back" for Emarcy in Chicago a few months earlier, and must have been gratified by the positive response he received from the empathetic French audience. In late March 1952, Broonzy would perform at a concert in Antwerp Belgium before going back to Chicago to make records with his old friend Washboard Sam. Wherever he made music, particularly during the last decade of his life, Big Bill sang with disarming honesty and unforgettable warmth. These qualities are present throughout the Vogue recordings which are now available in one set. ~ arwulf arwulf