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 Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Reflections CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Back In Your Own Backyard CD/LP/Track Review Back In Your Own Backyard
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin' CD/LP/Track Review Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin'
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Through The Glass CD/LP/Track Review Through The Glass
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 25, 2017
Read Circles CD/LP/Track Review Circles
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Swallowed by the New" CD/LP/Track Review Swallowed by the New
by Doug Collette
Published: November 5, 2016
Read "Madjafalao" CD/LP/Track Review Madjafalao
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 19, 2017
Read "Confidences" CD/LP/Track Review Confidences
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 3, 2017
Read "Lockout Station" CD/LP/Track Review Lockout Station
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 1, 2017
Read "Big Wheel Live" CD/LP/Track Review Big Wheel Live
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 17, 2016
Read "Tipico" CD/LP/Track Review Tipico
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 7, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

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!