Jo Ann Kelly- Black Rat Swing (Disc 1)
"This double CD by the best blueswoman England ever produced isn't new; it's actually a compilation from material already available on the Mooncrest label. But it's hard to criticize the recycling (unless you already own the other discs), as it provides a superb introduction to her raw style. Helped out by a number of others, this is a varied set, ranging from the unaccompanied "Levee Camp Moan," to several live cuts, or her cover of Big Bill Broonzy's "Key to the Highway." Listening to the 45 tracks here (actually a condensation of the other CDs), the first question has to be: Why is she so unknown? In many ways, Kelly was everything Memphis Minnie aspired to be, an excellent guitar player, blessed with one of the most affecting voices in blues, and a huge compositional talent (her own "Love Blind," for example, sits perfectly naturally next to the traditional "Death Have Mercy"). Recorded between 1964 and 1968, she was still in her ascendancy -- dying at the young age of 46 -- and acoustic blues still seemed like a way forward. To call this a vital album of British blues isn't overstating the case at all. Jo Ann Kelly was one of the best, and this is all the proof anyone needs."
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