One of the great things about blues music is that I always discover something to listen to; I’ve been listening and playing the blues for 17 years and I still am dumbfounded by the sheer amount of music that is available, albeit some harder to come by than others.
This album, appropriately titled ‘Old Friends’ is one such gem. I’ve been on a binge listening to the likes of Floyd Jones, Eddie Boyd, and others in the early 50’s Chicago blues as of late, and while researching music by Floyd Jones, who doesn’t have much on record, I found a little album that was difficult to find on CD (but (but Amazon can print it for you), but easily available on cdbaby for a $9.99 download.
And boy, I could not be happier with the internet.
In 1981, five of the biggest legends in Chicago blues got together in the studio, also in the city, and recorded 17 tracks. Everyone of these artists would get a few songs to lead on vocals; some new material and some old. What is the result? An unabashed, raw, in your face collection of the old-school blues in it’s purest form, just that it’s 30 years older.
The assembled cast, Kansas City Red, David ‘Honey Edwards’, Sunnyland Slim, Floyd Jones, and Big Walter Horton, represent a certain legacy in post-war Chicago blues. Many have played with other legends like Muddy Waters, and also became legends of their own. Horton is one of the staples of blues harp, Sunnyland is a pillar of blues piano, Honeyboy Edwards of delta style acoustic guitar, Kansas Red for his drumming, and Jones, while possibly the most obscure of the bunch, had his own unique dark songwriting.
Mashing this band altogether makes for over an hour of honest to truth blues; while many of them nearing their 60’s at this point, their singing and playing remains loyal to the formula. While you will not hear anything out of the ordinary, you also shouldn’t expect to.
I love the fact that this is all a live recording, as many times the band would go in and out of bars or end off time from one another, but this adds to the improvised flavor of the genre.
If you want to add an album to your whiskey drinking collection, I highly advise you get this one. Not only is it rare, but it’s also like a piece of music history.
01 – Apron Strings
02 – Gamblin’ Man
03 – 43rd Street Jump
04 – The War Is Over
05 – When I Came In
06 – Banty Rooster
07 – Mr. Freddy Blues
08 – Over The Seas Blues
09 – I’m a Prisoner
10 – Freedom Train
11 – Lightnin’ Struck the Poor House
12 – Linda Lu –
13 – Lula Mae
14 – That’s All Right, I’ll Be Around
15 – Heartache
16 – Sometimes I Worry
17 – I’m Going Back Home
This is the only video of the album on Youtube; you can listen to samples of each track in the cdbaby link above: