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Now For Some LPs That Definitely Are All About The Music

I’m always hearing or reading about people in this hobby who say, “it’s all about the music.” I don’t buy that for a minute, but I do agree it should be mostly about the music. Here are a few LPs that I would only buy for the music and for me that was reason enough to buy them.

 

Joe Williams At Newport ’63

LPReview2016-5-1

Musicians:

Joe Williams – vocals, arranger
Bob Cranshaw – double bass
Mickey Roker – drums
Clark Terry – flugelhorn, trumpet
Junior Mance – piano
Coleman Hawkins, Zoot Sims, Ben Webster – saxophone
Thad Jones, Howard McGhee – trumpet

Tracks:
Side 1
  1. Without a Song
  2. Spoken Word Introduction by Joe Williams
  3. Gravy Waltz
  4. She's Warm, She's Willing, She's Wonderful
  5. Come Back Baby
  6. Medley: All God's Chillun Got Rhythm/Do You Wanna Jump, Children?
  7. Wayfaring Stranger
  8. Every Day I Have the Blues
Side 2
  1. Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere
  2. April in Paris
  3. In the Evening When the Sun Goes Down
  4. Some of This 'N' Some of That
  5. Roll 'Em Pete"

 

Yes, this LP sounds like it was recorded outside and it sounds like it was recorded in 1963. There were some great recordings in the late 50s and early 60s, but this isn’t one of them. Still, the recording is plenty good to let me enjoy some beautiful music. Joe Williams is a real gem when it comes to great jazz singers; I hope you know him for his voice and not just for being Clair Huxtable’s father on the Crosby Show.

That voice never sounds better than on this live album, but you get more than just Joe Williams singing. You get to hear the great Clark Terry on both trumpet and flugelhorn. Coleman Hawkins has a couple of great solos on tenor saxophone, along with bandmates Zoot Sims and Ben Webster. To me, this is an LP worth having. Give it a listen on your streaming service of choice (mine’s Tidal). If you like the music as much as I do, I bet you’ll buy the LP.

 

Reverend Gary Davis/ At Newport

LPReview2016-5-2

180g High Quality Pressing
Re-mastering by Ray Staff at Air Mastering

Side A:

  1. Samson and Delilah (If I Had My Way)
  2. I Won’t Be back No More
  3. Buck Dance
  4. Twelve Sticks
  5. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
  6. You Got To Move

Side B:

  1. Lovin’ Spoonful
  2. She Wouldn’t Say Quit
  3. I’ve Done All My Singing For the Lord
  4. Twelve Gates To the City
  5. I Will do My Last Singing In This Land Somewhere


I had never heard of the Reverend Gary Davis, also known as Blind Gary Davis until I was at a Blind Boys of Alabama concert and they were talking about him. He was a guitarist, blues and gospel singer. He was also proficient on the banjo guitar and harmonica. Musicians who list him as a major influence are Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, and Keb’Mo.

So when I saw this LP had been reissued, I jumped at getting it. This is one of the few recordings of the Rev. Gary Davis in concert. These songs were documented at the Newport Folk Festival in July of 1965. We get to hear his solo vocals as well as his accompanied playing of his own six- and 12-string guitars and his mouth harp. The LP has a wide selection secular blues and sacred gospel songs.

I found this LP to be a real jewel of music I love. No, it doesn’t sound that great, but man it is emotionally moving music. I am thankful to be able to add it to my collection.

 

God Don’t Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson

LPReview2016-5-3

Side 1

  1. The Soul of a Man – Tom Waits
  2. It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine – Lucinda Williams
  3. Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning – Derek  Trucks & Susan Tedeschi
  4. Jesus Is Coming Soon – Cowboy Junkies
  5. Mother’s Children Have A Hard Time – Blind Boys of Alabama
  6. Trouble Will Soon Be Over – Sinead O’Connor

Side 2

  1. Bye and Bye I’m Going To See the King – Luther Dickinson feat.
  2. The Rising Star Fife & Drum Band
  3. God Don’t Never Change – Lucinda Williams
  4. John the Revelator – Tom Waits
  5. Let Your Light Shine On me – Maria McKee
  6. Dark Was the Night – Cold Was the Ground – Rickie Lee Jones

 

Unlike the first two LPs in this article, some of the numbers on this LP are really well recorded, other not so much. Still, like the first two LPs it’s not about the sound. This is an LP of songs that the great Blind Willie Johnson sang. He was born in Pendleton, Texas near Temple in 1897. When he was five, he told his father he wanted to be a preacher, and then he made a cigar box guitar for himself. He remained poor until the end of his life, preaching and singing in the streets of several Texas cities. Yet, his music is considered by many to be some of the most influential in the blues genre.

The two numbers by Lucinda Williams were just incredible; it seems like Blind Willie’s music is just right for her. I also really liked “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning” performed by Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. Tom Waits has two numbers, I loved his version of “John the Revelator” but not so much the opening number, “The Soul of a Man.” I think the biggest surprise on this album for me was Sinead O’Connor’s rendition of “Trouble Will Soon Be Over.” This may be my favorite cut on this great and highly recommended LP.

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