Sunday, October 18, 2009

Curtis Jones' Lonesome Bedroom

Curtis Jones- Complete Works, Vol. 1 (1937-1938)

Album Review:
"Texas-born Curtis Jones came up in agrarian poverty, and most of his music conveyed residual undercurrents of that reality in its pacing, texture, and subject matter. Like many singing blues pianists of the 1930s and early '40s, he tended to use the same melodies over and over again, leaving behind a trail of recordings that when compiled sound either like multiple forays over well-trampled ground or sequential episodes in a blues oratorio that seems like it could continue indefinitely. When during the 1990s Document set out to compile all of his known recordings, the producers included alternate takes without making any effort whatsoever to doctor up the sound quality through the use of noise reduction technology. All of this could make the first volume of Curtis Jones' Complete Works a challenging assignment for those who expect melodic variety, upbeat entertainment, and crystal-clear sound in their blues. Yet that's not what this kind of a listening experience is about. Like his competitor Walter Davis, Jones found a direct way of expressing himself and seldom varied the formula. He told his stories with earthy honesty, half singing and half speaking the words while kneading the piano in a very personal manner that is quite different from more exacting conventional techniques employed by flashier performers. Jones sings of love and life, death and solitude. His companions during this segment of his story were guitarists Big Bill Broonzy and Willie Bee, early jazz trumpet legend Punch Miller, the mighty Washboard Sam, and drummer Fred Williams."

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