This release is a tie-in with the book New York City Blues by
Larry Simon and edited by John Broven.
? The compilation has a dual purpose: not only to enjoyably
complement the book but also to present an overview of the
New York blues scene in all its variety from the post-World War
II years through its golden age into the 1960s. There is also a
look at the city's 1980s-90s revival with author Larry Simon's
Killing Floor NYC Band backing many pioneering bluesmen.
? On our journey, we travel from the early Piedmont country
blues of Blind Boy Fuller through to the tough street sounds of
Harlem blues and R&B. New York's hitmakers and songwriters
are not forgotten, either, nor are the label owners.
? The standout studio musicians are a real bonus, featuring top
guitarists "Wild" Jimmy Spruill and Mickey "Guitar" Baker.
? The two later recordings here are first-rate. 'New York City
Blues', by guitarist Larry Dale (written by Brit blues author
Dave C Williams) supported by Bob Gaddy (piano) and Jimmy
Spruill (guitar), could easily have been cut by Harlem record
man Bobby Robinson in his prime. 'I Wanna Get High', by
veteran Rosco Gordon, shows him for the first time being
backed by ska musicians in the Jamaican musical style he is
acknowledged as influencing.
? Other highlights include John Hammond's version of 'I Wish
You Would', with the Band's Robbie Robertson playing in the
same earth-shattering guitar style that contributed so much to
Bob Dylan's early 'electric' records; another member of rock
royalty on the session is the Rolling Stones' bass-player Bill
Wyman. Paul Oscher's workout 'Mudcat', with Muddy Waters,
is a reminder of the Brooklyn-born harmonica player's five
years with the best blues band anywhere.
? This Ace CD, along with the book, will serve to bring welcome
focus on the neglected New York blues scene. The wellillustrated package is enhanced by detailed notes from Simon
and Broven with excellent photographs by Robert Schaffer, Val
Wilmer and Paul Harris.