- Number of Discs: 5
- Released: January 27, 2004
- Label: Jsp Records
Of all the pre-war Delta bluesman, no one achieved the popular status of Big Bill Broonzy. Indeed, as Neil Slaven states in his liner notes to Volume One of this collection, Broonzy had been issuing recordings for over 20 years before his last name was attached to the labels; only "Big Bill" appeared under the track listing. This five-CD collection by JSP is astonishing in its scope. There are 128 tracks here from the first decade of Broonzy's recording career, featuring every 78 recorded during the period, for labels such as Paramount, Jewel, ARC, Perfect, Romeo, and others. His sides with Frank Brasswell and Georgia Tom, as well as other incarnations of his own band, called the Famous Hokum Boys, the Chicago Black Swans, or the Midnight Ramblers (Broonzy is listed as Bill Williams, Big Bill Johnson, Sammy Sampson, etc.) are all here, and many more. The great irony here is that Broonzy had been recording for a decade before his big hits ever came to be. The material here is a prologue of what was to come until his death in 1958. These sides are for hardcore fans certainly, but they are also for those who have been taken with the '40s and '50s material by Broonzy when he was a living American folk-blues legend. These tracks, then, are a treasure-trove, a journey into a largely unnoticed but stunningly creative archive of Broonzy, who arrived fully formed onto the scene. The audiophiles might have trouble with the sound quality of some of this material, but for those with less discriminating sonic palettes, this is an essential purchase, one rooted in history, mystery, and enjoyment -- and its' budget price makes it even more so. ~ Thom Jurek
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- Sales Rank: 115,132
- UPC: 788065771829
- Shipping Weight: 1.14/lbs (approx)
- International Shipping: 5 items