15.Goodnight Irene / All By Myself / Sunny Side Of The Street
Liner Note Author: Steve Saperstein.
Recording information: 1977.
New Orleans pianist James Booker is captured live on these previously unreleased 1977 solo tracks recorded in the Crescent City. Many of these titles were standards in Booker's repertoire and similar versions have previously been released on disc by Rounder. Spread out over two discs are multiple versions of "A Taste of Honey," "Junko Partner," "Please Send Me Someone to Love," and "Tico Tico/Papa Was a Rascal." The revealing "Classified ('Version 1')" contains almost ten minutes worth of the bizarre rants Booker became known for on "bad" nights. While it provides insight into the unfortunate mental condition of this brilliant pianist, it becomes thoroughly depressing with repeated listening. Throughout his career, Booker consistently demonstrated a capacity to provide emotional renditions of these songs no matter how many times he had played them or what his mental shape happened to be at the time. This disc doesn't provide any revelatory renditions of these songs; it simply uncovers another sampling of this genius of New Orleans piano. ~ Al Campbell