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Big Joe Duskin - Cincinnati Stomp

CAT. #: 422

Price: $15.00

CD 422

Pianist Big Joe Duskin from Cincinnati was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1921, the son of a hard-core Baptist preacher. Joe's repertoire mixes blues standards with boogie compositions, pop tunes from the boogie era of the '40s, and originals such as "Well, Well Baby" and "I Met a Girl Named Martha." Joe is an expressive and soulful singer who phrases his big voice with the same dexterity that he brings to the keyboard. While this material was recorded nearly twenty years ago, today Big Joe Duskin is still singing and playing in undiminished fine form and has recently appeared in France and at many festivals.

1. Mean Old Frisco
2. Roll 'Em Pete
3. Stormin' In Texas
4. Cincinnati Stomp
5. The Little Red Rooster
6. The Tribute
7. Down The Road A Piece
8. Well, Well Baby
9. Honky Tonk Train
10. Beat Me Daddy, Eight To The Bar
11. Tender Hearted Woman
12. Stoop Down Baby
13. Betty And Dupree
14. Yancey Special
15. Slidell Blues
16. Dollar Bill Boogie
17. I Met A Girl Named Martha
18. Boogie Woogie Prayer


“Joe Duskin is a consolidator and transmitter of piano blues and boogie, rather than an originator or innovator. He does compose the occasional numberand "Well, Well baby" is a very good onebut they are the work of a man who has his musical models, and is content to do a very good job of following them. Duskin's models, and is content to do a very good job of following them. Duskin's idols are the big three of boogie: Ammons, Lewis, and Johnson (to whom "The Tribute" pays, er, tribute) white boogiemeister Freddie Slack, and Roosevelt Sykes, who is covered from 78 ("Tender Hearted Woman") to LP ("Slidell blues," off Delmark 607). When these recordings were made nearly 20 years ago, Duskin was a powerful singer, and a forceful swinging pianist. (He's still working and has made a number of recordings in Europe; what little I've heard of them suggests that he has retained his skills and vigor.) The first 12 tracks were originally Joe's Arhoolie LP; everything from "Betty and Dupree" onward is previously unissued material of the same vintage. On some numbers, Duskin is enjoyably abetted by various permutations of guitar, bass, and drums. The least successful track is the last, on which Duskin's discoverer Steve Tracy plays harmonica. Tracy is very accomplished, but there's no interaction; "Boogie Woogie Prayer" is two simultaneous performances of the same tune, rather than a duet. Still, this is a CD that entertains all the way, and is well worth investing in.”

(Chris Smith — Blues & Rhythm)

“Events, including the considerably prolonged life of his disapproving Baptist preacher father, have conspired against us hearing more I of piano player Big Joe Duskin than we might have. Therefore, this reissue, which adds six previously unreleased tracks to the 12 LP cuts issued under this title by Arhoolie in 1979, is doubly welcome. The title of Joe's subsequent Special Delivery album (`Don't Mess With The Boogie Man') taken together with the famous appearance he made on the South Bank Show's boogie-woogie special around the same time, probably led to Duskin's being labelled a one-dimensional talent in some unenlightened quarters, but as purchasers of that LP in particular quickly found ut, Big Joe does far more than play the much-maligned music that Eubie Blake used to describe as 'sixteens.' Equally at home with a slow blues or a jump 'n' grinder, Duskin has a stentorian manner and range which is as reminiscent of Roosevelt Sykes as anyone else Those, however, who would prefer it if Duskin did concentrate on boogie woogie will actually enjoy `Cincinnati Stomp~ rather more than any of his later recordings. For whilst he still mixes it up musically, moving between small-band blues like 'Tender Hearted Woman' and solo stakeouts such as `Little Rooster,' he does nevertheless include numerous first-rank classics of the boogie woogie genre: `Roll `Em Pete,' `Honky Tonk Train' and `Down The Road Apiece' among them. Any thoughts that the additional half-dozen items would dilute this impression are quickly dispelled by noting that the finale to the set is now provided by `Boogie Woogie Prayer,' that there are two additional Joe Duskin originals, one of which is entitled `Dollar Bill Boogie,' and that there is a cover of Jimmy Yancey's innuential `Yancey Special,' a number Duskin may have discovered through the remake by his boogie idol Meade Lux Lewis.

Accompanying Joe on the group recordings are several well-respected names: Jimmy Johnson and Bob Margolin provide various guitar parts, S. P. Leary drums, Truck Parham wields the bass. It's a fine-sounding alliance and alternates well with the equally impressive solo takes. Overall, then, this is a good set, one that you're sure to enjoy.”

(Paul Lewis — Blueprint)

“Boogie woogie piano is happening on this CD! Listeners who are familiar with the playing styles of Roosevelt Sykes, Pete Johnson, Meade Lux Lewis, and of course The Reverend Billy C. Wirtz, will want to add this CD to their collections. Big Joe plays solo on about half of the tracks. He is helped on the others by a few of his friends like Bob Margolin, Jimmy Johnson, Truck Parham, and S.P. Leary. Recorded in 1977 and 1978, the first twelve tracks were released on ARH LP/C 1080. The remaining six tracks are previously unissued. Five of the eighteen tracks were written by Big Joe. If you like boogie woogie, or aren't really sure, this CD will keep your foot tapping.”

(Michael “Wolf” Spicer — Music City Bluesletter)

“If it wasn't for his father, pianist/singer Big Joe Duskin would have been a well-known blues and boogie-woogie artist. Wait, what's this? Your father is supposed to help you advance your career, not hold you back. But you have to understand that the elder Mr. Duskin was the Reverend Duskina hardcore Baptist preacher from Alabama. The Duskins moved to Cincinnati when Joe was a teenager, and all through his younger years Joe had to hide from his father the fact that he liked to play "the Devil's music." He even had to post lookouts when he practiced, and when dad got within earshot he'd switch over to "Nearer My God To Thee." But young Joe's true love and talent was for blues and boogie-woogie, and as a young man Duskin began playing in Cincinnati area clubs. Then World War II came along, and Joe was drafted; while in the army he played for the USO, and met some of his idols such as Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons. But after the war the Reverend again laid down the law: he asked that young Joe give him some peace and stop playing the blues until after he was dead. As fate would have it, the Rev lived to 104! Big Joe Duskin worked for the Post Office, and didn't play the blues again until the 1970s.

‘Cincinnati Stomp’ is a CD reissue of an album Duskin recorded in 1977 and '78. The original album included 12 songs, but the reissue also includes six extra tunes from the same sessions. On many of the tracks Duskin plays solo, but on others he gets help from such greats as guitarists Jimmy Johnson and Bob Margolin, bassist Truck Parham, and drummer S.P. Leary. Duskin, meanwhile, delivers the blues and boogie-woogie with an effortlessly swinging piano style and a big booming voice. Duskin is still active, and he has recorded six albums since this first effort; let's hope he lives as long as his dad.”

(Jim Maher — Bluesrag)