You have to hand it to the former bassist of the “The Rolling Stones” for immersing himself into this comprehensive and meticulously annotated project that started with a 400-page book and two-hour film documentary. Bill Wyman’s Blues Odyssey is about those who furthered early American roots music. This production features a 24-page booklet filled with photographs and Wyman’s often-insightful observations and mini-bios on a per artist basis. Needless to state, Wyman’s offering serves as an admirable payback to a genre that seemingly provided him with good fortune.
Wyman traces the popularity of the Blues, hearkening back to folks such as vocalist, Mamie Smith and her 1926 recording, “Goin’ Crazy With The Blues.” Whereas, the great Bessie Smith’s 1927 recording of “Lock and Key” is included along with Wyman’s brief iteration of the legendary singer’s boozing and sexual inclinations. Furthermore, some of these musicians only cut anywhere from three to ten sides. For example did you know that guitarist; Blind Blake was a big star for the “Paramount” record label? Also featured are pieces by one of the few Bluesmen from the State of Montana; hence, the excellent yet under-recorded boogie woogie, pianist Montana Taylor who cut only four sides prior to World War II. Wyman also gives us a glimpse of relatively obscure musicians: Frankie “Half-Pint” Jackson, Texan, Rob Cooper and many others. However, the auteur traces the lineage in chronological order while consummating the set with some of the early works of B.B King, Elmore James, Joe Turner, Muddy Waters and many more. Overall, Blues Odyssey is an important document and should be considered a must-have for the astute observer of the Blues, while this release also looms as a significant educational tome. Recommended.
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!