Living Blues - 6/03, p.117
"...Invaluable documentation of the years when Broonzy assumed the mantle of Blues Ambassador and spread the good word overseas with dignity and dedication....[With] plenty of pure listening pleasure that transcends the boundaries of time, genre and historical circumstance..."
Personnel includes: Big Bill Broonzy (vocals, guitar).
Recorded in 1952.
There are plenty of Big Bill Broonzy albums on the market, but this one is definitely a little special, as it's taken from his first trip to England, where a small but enthusiastic group of fans saw him play on tour. For most, it was their first live exposure to real American blues, certainly of the Mississippi Delta variety, and Broonzy didn't let them down -- although he did throw in a few surprises, like his take on the standard "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover" or a version of "In the Evening When the Sun Goes Down," which must have left the audiences a little stunned. However, his takes on "John Henry" and "House Rent Stomp" (both of which have two versions here, from different shows) are very much the real deal, while "Trouble in Mind" and "Midnight Special" are nothing less than superb. Considering that Broonzy must have been wondering about his audience as much as they were about him, he treated them like a Saturday night juke joint crowd, and gave them the real experience, rather than a concert -- which means throwing in some popular standards. The audio is surprisingly good, and about the only thing one could wish is that the disc included his trademark "Key to the Highway." Otherwise, a fine and informative document of a major tour. ~ Chris Nickson