Various: Matchbox Bluesmaster Series Set 10 – Home Time Skiffle

Matchbox's 10th features Blind Boy Fuller and Sonny Boy Williamson as well as 'country girls' and such 'home time skiffle' as the Hokum Boys


The story continues. This is set 10 of what was intended to be a seven-set series. To be fair to Matchbox they did always say that once they had re-released the original vinyl Bluesmaster Series in digital format (and it being favourably received) then some of the other 1960s and 1970s Matchbox releases might also see the light of day.

Set 10 consists of six CDs, each having previously been released by the Saydisc label between 1969 and 1970. The subtitle “Home Time Skiffle” is partially applicable as it is the title of one of the six discs contained in this set, that being a collection of early folk blues featuring artists such as the Hokum Boys, the Beale Street Sheiks and the Paramount All Stars. It doesn’t apply to the whole collection though, since traditional blues players such as Blind Boy Fuller and Sonny Boy Williamson together get the biggest share.

As always, the production is exemplary, despite most of the Bluesmaster Series having been derived from LP using high-end transcription techniques. The master tapes for the vinyl releases apparently vanished long ago, although there is a suspicion they may have been donated to an American University. The sleeve notes, by David Harrison and Tony Russell, are from the original 1969-70 vinyl releases and are highly informative and detailed.

The set consists of two albums devoted to Blind Boy Fuller and the singers he influenced, Sonny Boy Williamson in various combinations, an album of “country girls” and the fascinating two albums of early folk blues which shows the blues development and tradition in a new light.

I understand that another two sets are planned. The final set will be devoted not to American artists, but Matchbox’s central role in the 1960s British blues boom. I have been a fan of the series since the beginning and believe Saydisc/Nimbus are owed a great deal of praise for their intrepid work in preserving for posterity and sharing these remarkable historic recordings.

CD1: Blind Boy Fuller On Down – Vol.1 (40.10)
CD2: Blind Boy Fuller On Down – Vol.2 (47.54)
CD3: Sonny Boy And His Pals (41.46)
CD4: Those Cakewalking Babies From Home (48.31)
CD5: Skoodle Um Skoo – Early Folk Blues – Vol.1 (55.47)
CD6: Home Town Skiffle – Early Folk Blues – Vol. 2 (50.25)
CD1: Blind Boy Fuller (v, g). Unspecified dates and locations in the USA, 1937-1938.
CD2: Blind Boy Fuller, Julius Daniels, Blind Gary Davis, Bull City Red, Sonny Jones, Jammin’ Jim (Ed Harris), Dan Picket, Curley Weaver (v, g); Jordan Webb (hca); Pete Sanders (wb). Unspecified dates and locations in the USA, 1927-1952.
CD3: Sonny Boy Williamson (v, g, hca), Joshua Altheimer, Blind John Davis (p); Big Bill Broonzy, Ted Summit, Elijah Jones (g); Yank Rachel (md); Fred Williams, Armand Jump Jackson (d). Chicago and Aurora, 1939-1944.
CD4: Sara Martin, Bernice Edwards, Madly Davis, Lulu Jackson, Mae Glover, Gladys Bentley, Lucille Bogan, Annie Turner, Memphis Minnie (v). Unspecified dates and locations in the USA, 1924-1941.
CD5: Sam Jones, Charlie Jackson, Gus Cannon, Winston Holmes, Charlie Turner, Joe Linthecombe (v); Lonnie Chatman, Bo Chatman (vn); Blind Blake (g). New York, Chicago, Richmond, San Antonio and Grafton, 1924-1932.
CD6: Various groups including the Beale Street Sheiks, Excelsior Quartet, Mississippi Sheiks, Hokum Boys, Paramount All-Stars, Tampa Red and The Chicago Five, The Delta Boys. New York and Chicago, 1922-1941.
Matchbox MSESET10