[130] Big Bill Broonzy – The Young Big Bill Broonzy, 1928-1935

2 Oct

Only able to find this one on cassette, there is a nostalgia even before I hear the first guitar stabs.

broonzy-big-bill-130-l

From the very first it is the sweet and smooth vocals, masterful and assured interplaying with the guitar in complex and beautiful ways, which captures my attention.   It take a while to notice the busy-lazy technique on the strings, which is the truly inspiring takeaway.

Sometimes urgent and hectic, at other times longing and laid back, the guitar leads the way, setting the tempo as well as the mood.  The old-time vibe is heightened by the crackle and hiss of the transfer to tape, the effect being so much more than the collection of its simple parts.

You can hear the rhythm of the train running over the track, the chugging driving forward motion of every song.  Broonzy’s guitar is both rhythm and lead section at times, holding everything together while at the same time offering ragtime flourishes that are a delight to hear.

It never reaches the fire and passion of early Rock and Roll, but it is no stretch to imagine that Chuck Berry heard Broonzy play and borrowed a riff or two.

It is an interesting production decision to order the tracks not chronologically, but almost by recording quality.  Midway through Side B, on the earliest tracks from 1928, the transfer noise becomes far more noticable.  This could have prevented me from properly engaging if the album had been chronological, if this were the quality I had first heard.  That it occurs once I am fully committed and enjoying the ride means that I do not really notice it for the first few plays.

It just makes me wish I could have heard Big Bill live . . .

Next Week:  Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers – Any Other Way To Go?

Owned before blogging? No. (11 of 130 = 8%)
Heard before blogging? No. (19 of 130 = 15%)
Recommend? Yes. (106 of 130 = 82%)

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