Various: Matchbox Bluesmaster Series Set 5

The fifth instalment in the epic blues series includes Blind Lemon Jefferson, Bill Broonzy, Lonnie Johnson and Blind Blake


Readers of my previous reviews of the Bluesmaster Series will know how much I admire what Saydisc is trying to achieve with this monumental project.

This journey started back in 1968, when Saydisc created the well-known and much respected Matchbox label with the primary objective of releasing material by contemporary British country blues artists as well as LPs of classic pre-war US country blues.

Matchbox folded in 1977 but returned in 1982 to concentrate on classic pre-war US blues, creating the well-received 42-album Bluesmaster Series. Saydisc is currently making this available on CD, and this is set 5 of that planned seven-set series.

Whilst each volume has been hugely enjoyable, I believe this volume could be the best yet – with recordings by Blind Lemon Jefferson, Big Billy Broonzy, Lonnie Johnson, the Mississippi Sheiks, Blind Blake and (probably the least well known) Frank Stokes. As always, each volume is enriched by the notes of blues historian Paul Oliver. These volumes are not just for the die-hard blues collectors. They are a superb way of learning about the DNA of all modern music.

CD1: The Remaining Titles, Blind Lemon Jefferson 1926-29 (52.11)
CD2: The Remaining Titles, Frank Stokes 1927-29 (63.01)
CD3: The Remaining Titles, Blind Blake 1926-29 (54.34)
CD4: Mostly New To LP, Big Bill Broonzy 1927-32 (47.17)
CD5: Mostly New To LP, Mississippi Sheiks 1930 (Vol.1) (58.37)
CD6: Mostly New To LP, Lonnie Johnson (Vol 1) 1926-28 (53.45)
CD1: Blind Lemon Jefferson (v, g, tap dancing). Atlanta, Chicago & Richmond 1926-29.
CD2: Frank Stokes (v, g); Dane Sane (g); Will Batts (vn). Chicago and Memphis 1927-29.
CD3: Blind Blake (v, g); Johnny Dodds (cl); Jimmy Bertrand (whistle/woodblocks). 1926-29.
CD4: Big Bill Broonzy (v, g); Georgia Tom Dorsey (p); John Thomas (g); Frank Brasswell (g); Chicago, New York, Richmond 1927-32.
CD5: Mississippi Sheiks (v); Walter Vincson (g); Sam Chatman (v, g); Bo Chatman (v, g, vn); Lonnie Chatman (v, vn) San Antonio, Jackson, Shreveport 1930.
CD6: Lonnie Johnson (v, g, acc); James Johnson (p, vn); De Loise Searcy (p); John Erby (p) New York, St Louis, San Antonio, 1926 -28.
Matchbox MSESET 5