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St. James Infirmary

Label: Sirens, The
Released: 2003
Track listing: St James Infirmary/ Trouble in Mind/ These Foolish Things Remind Me of You/ Ain


Primitive Piano

Label: Sirens, The
Released: 2003
Track listing: Speckled Red: Dad


Article: Album Review

Skinny Williams & Erwin Helfer: St. James Infirmary

Read "St. James Infirmary" reviewed by Derek Taylor

Chicago sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of rhetoric over New Orleans, Kansas City and New York as jazz focal points past and present. That's an egregious error and one that Skinny Williams and Erwin Helfer, two Windy City regulars, aim to redress. Together, they share the tools necessary to right the wrong and put their ...


Article: Album Review

Various: Primitive Piano

Read "Primitive Piano" reviewed by Derek Taylor

The title of this disc is something of a misnomer, but one with the best intentions. Recorded in 1957 by pianist Erwin Helfer and jazz historian William Russell, it presents a modest sampling of blues and boogie-woogie practitioners. Listening reveals music that is ‘primitive’ in a manner more akin to John Fahey’s breed of Primitive Guitar. ...


I'm Not Hungry But I Like to Eat - BLUES!

Label: Sirens, The
Released: 2002
Track listing: Swanee River Boogie; Please Send Me Someone to Love; Dirty Dozens; Sweet Substitute*; The Sheik of Araby*; Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans; Homage to Pete Johnson; Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out*; See See Rider; In a Sentimental Mood; Stella*; Pooch Piddle; I'm Not Hungry But I Like to Eat - Blues; After Hours; Day Dreaming


Article: Album Review

Barrelhouse Chuck/Detroit Junior/Erwin Helfer/Pinetop Perkins: 8 Hands on 88 Keys: Chicago Blues Piano Masters

Read "8 Hands on 88 Keys: Chicago Blues Piano Masters" reviewed by Dave Nathan

The Chicago label The Sirens has been issuing (or reissuing, as the case might be) compilations of piano blues and Boogie Woogie by the Windy City's leading exponents of that pianistic art. The cuts on this album come from a November 2001 session when the label gathered these extraordinary artists in the studio and turned them ...


Article: Album Review

Erwin Helfer: I'm Not Hungry But I Like to Eat - BLUES!

Read "I'm Not Hungry But I Like to Eat - BLUES!" reviewed by Dave Nathan

Erwin Helfer has been delivering his own brand of barrelhouse, boogie-woogie, blues piano for more than 40 years. Helfer works in Chicago and that is an appropriate venue to say the least since that city as much as any can lay claim to this unique form of piano jazz/blues. After all, two pioneers, Albert Ammons and ...


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