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Big Maceo Merriweather - The King Of Chicago Blues Piano

CAT. #: 7009


Price: $15.00

CD 7009

Maceo Merriweather - piano & vocals; with bass & drums;
and Tampa Red - on guitar.

Recorded in Chicago, Ill., 1941-45. All of this material was previously reissued on Blues Classics LPs 28 & 29 and other sources.


1. Worried Life Blues
2. Ramblin'mind Blues
3. County Jail Blues
4. Can't You Read
5. So Long Baby
6. Texas Blues
7. Tuff Luck Blues
8. I Got The Blues
9. Bye Bye Baby
10. Poor Kelly Blues
11. Some Sweet Day
12. Anytime For You
13. My Last Go Round
14. Since You Been Gone
15. Kidman Blues
16. I'm So Worried
17. Things Have Changed
18. My Own Troubles
19. Maceo's 32-20
20. Texas Stomp
21. Winter Time Blues
22. Detroit Jump
23. Won't Be A Fool No More
24. Big Road Blues
25. Chicago Breakdown


REVIEW

“`The King of Blues Piano' may be a bit of an overstatement, but Maceo Merriweather certainly is in the top rank of blues piano players and singers. One could say that the title underrates his talents by ignoring his vocal gifts, which were easily the equal of his instrumental skills.

Maceo was from Georgia, with strong Mississippi Delta connections in his sound and repertoire. Spending his professional life in Detroit and Chicago, he was a formative figure in the evolution of the Chicago sound, the electric child of the classic Delta blues. These records, recorded in the '40s with Tampa Red on guitar, are his greatest and almost complete work. Tampa's slide playing is at its funkiest, sometimes evoking the rough brilliance of Muddy Waters, with some pioneering electric lead on the later tracks. Maceo's playing seems to evolve in the course of the recordings, from his classic `Worried Life Blues' to `Chicago Breakdown,' a high balling pianistic tour-de-force. On the earlier sessions, Maceo seems to be thinking of the piano mostly as an accompanying instrument, concentrating his attention on his singing. Like Leroy Carr, whose duets with Scrapper Blackwell defined the piano-guitar style, he is a singer first. He sings with lyrical care and feeling, his voice warm and sensitive, and the piano acts as a firm foundation, carrying the rhythm but not interfering. When he cuts loose with exciting counter-rhythms on `Anytime for You,' it is surprising to hear the piano jump out for a change. On the middle period of these recordings, Maceo reaches his most perfect balance of voice and instrument. Without losing any of his vocal grace, he begins to let the piano be more of an equal partner, playing complementary lines rather than just providing breaks. Then, when Tampa moves to electric guitar, he lets out all the stops in some barrel house instrumentals, showing the piano chops that must have served him at dances throughout his career. All together, this is a remarkable and cohesive retro-spective of one of the less familiar blues greats. Halfway between the country idiosyncrasies of the '20s and the electric punch of the '50s, these records are relaxed, moving, and genuinely beautiful.”

(Elijah Wald — Sing Out!)