Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm A-Goin' Fishin'

Henry "Ragtime Texas" Thomas- Texas Worried Blues: Complete Recorded Works 1927-1929

Album Review:
"These recordings, dating between 1927 and 1929, are a unique body of work: work songs, minstrel numbers, rags, and what we now define as the blues, all offered in an unpretentious form that would have been every bit as compelling had Henry Thomas cut them this way 40 years later. Songs such as "Arkansas," "Fox and the Hounds" (featuring the reed pipes that Thomas also excelled at playing), and "Little Red Caboose" represent a brand of upbeat dance music associated with late-19th century entertainment, a tradition already largely lost or becoming lost when Thomas cut these numbers. Yet Thomas, who was already in his 50s when he recorded these tracks, sings and plays them with a beguiling ease and honesty, not to mention a dexterity on the guitar that makes him sound every bit as vital and urgent as Big Bill Broonzy or any of the other up-and-coming blues legends just starting out at the time these sides were laid down. The blues numbers, including "Shanty Blues," "Woodhouse Blues," "Honey, Won't You Allow Me One More Chance?," and "Bull Doze Blues" are compelling in their own right -- they display musical and lyrical virtuosity and, in the latter two cases, offer a chance to hear the sources for classic works by Bob Dylan and Canned Heat, respectively. Luckily for historians, Henry Thomas recorded for Vocalion and not for one of the truly lost labels like Paramount, and all 23 surviving sides of his work sound very good on this CD."

Download Link:


johnnyhoodoo said...

Hi.I didn't download this as I have had it for a few years on Cd.It is one of my all time faves of old time music.A great collection.I especially like "Texas Easy Street" and "Shanty Blues".

metal clarinet said...

Any idea who played flute. I am assuming that this was a cane flute, and so probably there was one flute per key.

Also, it sure sounds like Henry Thomas would have been an influence on Leadbelly. Any known connections between them?

Hard Luck Child said...

I agree, Hoodoo!=)

Clarinet, Henry Thomas is playing the guitar and the panpipes. I'm not sure if he knew Leadbelly. Thomas was born in 1873 and Leadbelly in 1885 or 1888, so they may have run into each other. Texas Alexander was born in 1880, and Blind Lemon in 1893, I think. "Funny Papa" Smith was born around 1880. These are the early Texas guys. Mance Lipscomb and a bunch of pianists should be included, too!=) What an awesome jam they might have had!