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Various Artists - Barbecue Any Old Time – Blues from the Pit
Old Hat Records
24 songs; 68 minutes
Styles: Pre-War Blues (1927-1942): Country Blues, Jazz, Washboard Bands, String Bands, Jug Bands, and Vaudeville Blues
There's a trifecta of blues music and its perfect accompaniments: “blues, brews and barbecues,” as the old saying goes! What is it about barbecue that makes blues extra-delicious to the ear? Various enthusiasts of blues and 'cues are featured on “Barbecue Any Old Time: Blues from the Pit,” an appetite-inducing album of “Music for Carnivores!” As typical with blues, there are plenty of double entendres and sly nods to other appetites. One's mouth will chuckle and/or water as one savors these 24 songs, each one a tasty treasure from before World War II and the 1950's.
Each song on “Barbecue” is short and sizzling, performed by ravenous mavens such as Barbecue Bob, Bessie Jackson, Brownie McGhee, Bo Carter, Georgia White and Blind Boy Fuller. Instrumentation variously and gloriously includes the banjo, violin, 6 and 12 string guitars, steel guitar, piano, celesta, jug, harmonica, cornet, trombone, trumpet, clarinet, saxophone, string bass, brass bass, tambourine, washboard and drums.
The CD comes with a 20 page, full color booklet that chronicles the spread of Blues and barbecue across America. It is complete with rare photographs, artist and song descriptions, and a full discography.
three of the album's most select “cuts”:
Track 10: “Gimme a Pig's Foot and a Bottle of Beer”--This 1940 mid-tempo jazz quintet jewel will take one back in time to Bessie Smith’s “Gimme A Pigfoot.” In the midst of the Great Depression, Frankie “Half Pint” Jaxon’s version takes perplexing pleasure in telling one to “shake your switchblades and your gun. Get yourself ready for a barrel of fun!”
Track 17: “I Heard the Voice of a Pork Chop” (1928)--In a parody of the Scottish “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” hymn, “Bogus Ben” Covington, solo on banjo and harp, lets one and all know that he's more concerned about his stomach than his soul. Letting his appetite take over his higher-reasoning capabilities, Covington complains: “A chicken tried to peck me because I stepped on its wing. That chicken caused me to go to jail. I don't let no chicken do that!” Ignore the muted tone quality—this song is hilarious.
In the early 20th century, millions of Southerners moved from hard-luck farms to the cities of the North and West. Jazz, blues and barbecue would eventually sweep the nation. In the Midwest, blues from the Mississippi Delta traveled Highway 61 to Memphis, then on to the Windy City, while the Piedmont blues of Georgia and the Carolinas rode the rails to New York City. Producer Marshall Wyatt has creatively chosen representative songs from this 15 year Pre-war era.
Expertly remastered for digital clarity and coming with a 20-page full-color chronicle booklet, this CD package collection will make one crave “Barbecue Any Old Time!”
Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 32 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.