Down Beat - 8/92, p.514 Stars
- Very Good - "...the main action is Lemon's finely nuanced delivery of lyrics and licks on "Matchbox Blues," "That Black Snake Moan," "Please Keep My Grave Clean"--classics of real folk blues..."
Personnel: Blind Lemon Jefferson (vocals, guitar), George Perkins (piano).
Recorded between 1926-29.
Personnel: Blind Lemon Jefferson (vocals, guitar); George Perkins (piano).
Liner Note Author: Pete Welding.
Recording information: Chicago, IL (04/??/1926-09/24/1929); Richmond, IN (04/??/1926-09/24/1929).
The scratchy, crackly records that preserve Blind Lemon Jefferson's music have been subject to endless audio treatments and restorations. The sound on this Milestone compilation proves to be quite good, and gives Jefferson's intricate, fleet-fingered guitar technique and plaintive, soulful tenor a clarity and power missing on other collections.
The material and performances are, of course, superlative. Jefferson's reputation as one of the most important and influential blues musicians in history is not overstated. A pioneer in every sense of the word, Jefferson is a consummate artist--his highly ornamental playing creates elaborate accompaniment that is at once purely fluid and rhythmically adventurous (he often shifts meters within a song or phrase). His voice typifies the "high lonesome" sound--a keening, often desperate cry. Performances here--including "Broke and Hungry," "Match Box Blues," and "Rabbit Foot Blues"--go beyond expressions of despair to engage the true function of the blues--they offer solace and a deeper understanding of being human.