243

Scrapper Blackwell: Bad Liquor Blues

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Scrapper Blackwell was a pioneering blues guitar genius possessing a technique that made most of his peers green with envy. Sadly, as if living the lyrics of one of his song, his career took a mortal blow with the passing of his musical partner Leroy Carr. Carr and Blackwell were the earliest and most successful blues duo regularly charting hits on the race records sales circuit. When Carr died of liquor-related illness Blackwell’s similar demons caught up with him and caused him to drop out. Fortunately numerous forays as a solo artist coupled his years with Carr, as this colorful collection from Catfish makes clear. While these records never came close to matching the popularity of his more celebrated sides with the pianist they do offer an undiluted aperture into his incredible fretwork.

Blackwell’s arsenal of string effects celebrated the full range of his instrument from deep bass string plucks to skillful treble runs and near virtuosic solos were a regular part of his repertoire. His vocals favored a wizened warble well suited to the directness of his string play. The 21 tracks contained here run the gamut of his talents ranging from the enigmatic hokum of “Be-Da-Da-Bum” to the purely instrumental fireworks of the “D Blues.” Several of the tunes also feature Blackwell on piano, an instrument he had no reason to play on his more popular recordings, but which he shows himself adept at just the same.

An added bonus is the relatively clear sound of the transfers, taken from original Vocalion, Varsity and Champion acetates. Virtually all of Blackwell’s numerous and nimble turns of phrase are audible in the resulting mix. Whether he was a more talented performer than his partner Carr is moot, what matters most is the music they made together and apart. Catfish has done blues fans a great service by compiling this important facet of the both the duo and Blackwell’s legacy.

Catfish on the web: www.catfishrecords.co.uk

Track Listing: Kokomo Blues/ Penal Farm Blues/ Be-Da-Da-Bum/ Back Door Blues/ Morning Mail Blues/ Down South Blues/ D Blues/ Blues That Make Me Cry/ Wayback Blues/ A Blues/ Motherless Boy Blues/ Alley Sally Blues/ Blue Day Blues/ Texas Stomp/ Trouble Blues, pt. 1/ Trouble Blues, pt. 2/ Non Skin Tread/ Hard Time Blues/ My Old Pal Blues/ Bad Liquor Blues/ Rambling Blues.

Personnel: Scrapper Blackwell, vocals, guitar & piano; Leroy Carr- piano; Dot Rice- piano; Bertha

| Record Label: Catfish Records (UK) | Style: Blues


Shop

More Articles

Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read One Minute Later CD/LP/Track Review One Minute Later
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 28, 2017
Read JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800° CD/LP/Track Review JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800°
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Ephimeral CD/LP/Track Review Ephimeral
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Fly or Die CD/LP/Track Review Fly or Die
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Nine Dances Of Patrick O’Gonogon" CD/LP/Track Review Nine Dances Of Patrick O’Gonogon
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 25, 2016
Read "Fun with Notes" CD/LP/Track Review Fun with Notes
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 10, 2017
Read "The Beast" CD/LP/Track Review The Beast
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "Boss Tenor" CD/LP/Track Review Boss Tenor
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: July 20, 2016
Read "Convallaria" CD/LP/Track Review Convallaria
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 22, 2016
Read "I'm Gonna Tell You Somethin' That I Know" CD/LP/Track Review I'm Gonna Tell You Somethin' That I Know
by James Nadal
Published: August 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!