Re-issue of this awesome, top-shelf, soul-powered bluesy heavy guitar rocker from Texas featuring Special Guests & fellow Texan guitar slingers Lance Lopez and Wes Jeans. Includes 12 tracks (60 mins.) of outstanding, killer blues/rock riffage with tons of serious six-string "Texas Attitude". An excellent, diverse & dynamic debut disc from this way-kool axeslinger that will rock your blues into the next county. Excellently produced by Mister Don Moore and Highly recommended to fans of SRV, Doyle Bramhall, Ian Moore, Wes Jeans & Lance Lopez.
Booker White (his name was misspelled on the label for Shake 'Em on Down when it was issued on Vocalion in 1937, and it stuck) turned his vigorous guitar style, heavy voice, and considerable songwriting abilities into 20 classic blues tracks between 1930 and 1940. Then, following a last session for Vocalion in 1940 when he recorded the striking and passionate group of songs on which his reputation rests (including the ultimately revelatory "Aberdeen Mississippi Blues"), White effectively dropped off the public radar. Until 1963, that is, when graduate students and blues fans John Fahey and Ed Denson sent a letter addressed to "Bukka White, Old Blues Singer, c/o General Delivery, Aberdeen, MS," in an effort to locate the man who had recorded a 78 rpm called "Aberdeen Mississippi Blues" some 20 years earlier. Amazingly, the letter actually reached White, who was still alive, although he had since moved from Mississippi to Memphis. The two budding blues scholars rushed to Memphis to meet him, recording the songs found on this collection one afternoon in the singer's room. These historic recordings. released as The Sonet Blues Story, reveal that White's robust guitar playing and his gruff, thundering voice had lost none of their vitality in the intervening years, and the bluesman delivers impassioned versions of some of his key tunes, including "Shake 'Em on Down," and the song that led to his rediscovery, "Aberdeen Mississippi Blues." White even takes a surprisingly nimble turn at the piano for "Drunk Man Blues." These sessions were originally released on Fahey's Takoma label, and although White went on to do other recording dates for small labels, he never sounded quite this intimate and impassioned again. The only minor complaint about this reissue is that the haunting version of "When Can I Change My Clothes" included here is mislabeled as "Parchman Farm Blues." Blues historian Samuel Charters eventually included these recordings in his Legacy of the Blues series, which in turn were released by a small Stockholm jazz and blues label founded in the '50s called Sonet Records. Listeners should start with White's stunning 1940 sides to get a real sense of this powerful musician, but these initial rediscovery tracks are only a notch or two less combustive, and are easily the best of White's later years. - Steve Leggett (AMG)
Smothered by the indulgence of his rock star ranking, Jack White steps into the eccentricities of the supergroup, and at first glance, this seems to be a band where White's imposing presence could overshadow the rest. Not the case with these Raconteurs. Teaming with fellow Detroit songwriter Brendan Benson and Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler, the rhythm section from Cincinnati band the Greenhornes, White exhales a bit, deferring enough to his mates to make Broken Boy Soldiers play like a team effort. Following the Benson blueprint, "Steady as She Goes," which opens as a slice of 1960's radio pop, the record steers away from pigeonholing the rest of the way. White's in a Middle Eastern mood for the title track as he pulls off a wicked Robert Plant howl, while Lawrence and Keeler excel on the chorus-strong "Intimate Secretary" and the optimistic acoustic rocker "Yellow Sun." Like so many all-star bands before them, The Raconteurs could be one and done. But don't place the blame on this fertile and genuine debut.