No Depression - 5-6/00, pp.101-2
"...This collection is important for 2 reasons. First, it serves as a repository of American vernacular music sung by the son of a sharecropper who came up singing [these songs] and feels them in his bones....[Secondly] it anticipated the Freedom Movement..."
Includes a 28-page booklet.
Solo performer: Big Bill Broonzy (vocals, guitar).
Compilation producers: Jeff Place, Anthony Seeger.
Recorded in 1956 & 1957. Includes liner notes by Jeff Place, Anthony Seeger.
Personnel: Moses Asch, Studs Terkel (recorder).
Editor: Kip Lornell.
Photographer: David Gahr.
This is something of a best-of for Broonzy's Folkways recordings, done in 1956-57 near the end of his life, all featuring just his voice and his acoustic guitar (although Pete Seeger adds banjo to a live version of "This Train (Bound for Glory)"). Although Broonzy, who died in 1958 of throat cancer, was likely not in peak physical shape by this time, you wouldn't suspect that from the quality of the performances. His vocals are still rich and moving on a relaxed selection of originals and standards, including such well-known favorites as "Trouble in Mind," "Key to the Highway," "Digging My Potatoes," "It Hurts Me Too," and "C.C. Rider." Especially good is his version of "Louise," where the intensity rises to a level higher than most of the other tracks approach. Occasionally Broonzy gets into racial and social comment, as on "When Will I Get to Be Called a Man" and the more controversial "Black, Brown and White Blues." ~ Richie Unterberger