Various: Down Home Blues – New York, Cincinnati & The North Eastern States


This is the third box set in Wienerworld’s blues series that explores the different regions of the black American blues scene. (The first two covered Detroit and Chicago). This smart four-CD set features the postwar blues from 1945 to 1962 of the north-eastern States encompassing the cities of New York and Cincinnati. The black artists in these territories had mostly migrated from the south-eastern states of Georgia, Alabama, Virginia and the Carolinas and were more comfortable playing in the tough little bars and out-of-town juke joints than the bigger R&B and jazz-oriented venues that had become established in the cities.

Their music was stylistically different to that of their counterparts who had migrated from Mississippi and Louisiana and had tended to end up in Chicago or Detroit. As a general rule of thumb the latter’s rough, hard-edged music resulted in the tough electric blues coming out of those cities whereas the music of this box set originated from the gentler, sensitive pre-war blues of the south-east – a style that became known as the Piedmont Blues.

The collection features 37 artists and 110 tracks. Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee (recorded here before combining as a folk blues partnership) are probably the better-known musicians. Many are relatively obscure but the quality of the musicianship is none the worse for this. Some tracks have never been issued since their original release and all have been digitally remastered. The fold-out box set comes with an 80-page booklet by Chris Bentley with biographies, photos, a sessionography and pictures of the original labels. It’s a top quality production.

CD1: Various tracks (74.56); CD2: Various tracks (76.09); CD3: Various tracks (75.05); CD4: Various tracks (77.28)
110 tracks from 37 artists, including “Guitar” Crusher, Allen Bunn, Alonzo Scales, Betty James, Bob Gaddy, Brownie McGhee, Cousin Leroy, Curley Mays, Doctor Gaddy And His Orchestra, Doug Quattlebaum, Eddie Riff with Orchestra, Emright And Mattie, Gabriel Brown, Guitar Nubbit, Jack Dupree, Jesse And Buzzy, Jimmy Newsome, John Tinsley And Fred Holland, Kine Morgan, Lick, Slick And Slide, Little L. Boyd, Little Luther, Little Red Walters, Mojo Watson, Morris Bailey And The Thomas Boys, Otis Hinton, Robert Henry, Rosita (Chicken) Lockhart, Sonny Terry, Square Walton, Sunny Jones, The Bees. USA, early 1940s to the early 1960s. Full track listing.
Wienerworld 5104