Personnel includes: John Jackson (vocals, guitar, banjo); Mike Seeger (guitar).
Recorded at Fairfax Station, Virginia on April 19, 1965 and December 8, 1967; Jankowski Studio, Stuttgart, Germany on October 23, 1969. Includes liner notes by Chuck Perdue and Nan Perdue.
Contains songs originally released on Arhoolie (LP 1025), Arhooie (LP 1035), Airhoolie (LP 1047).
Composer: John Jackson.
Personnel: John Jackson (vocals, guitar, banjo); Mike Seeger (guitar).
Liner Note Author: Chuck Perdue.
Recording information: Fairfax Station, VA (04/19/1965-10/23/1969); Fairfax, VA (04/19/1965-10/23/1969); Jankowski Studio, Stuttgart, Germany (04/19/1965-10/23/1969); Stuttgart, Germany (04/19/1965-10/23/1969).
Photographer: Chris Strachwitz.
Arranger: John Jackson.
Twenty-six tracks running over 70 minutes, recorded by John Jackson between 1965 and 1969 and featuring the rural blues legend at the very top of his form on vocals, guitar, and even banjo on one instrumental ("If Hattie Wants to Lu, Let Her Lu Like a Man"). Jackson's repertory here includes standards like "John Henry" (in one of the most exciting versions ever done, with some killer slide) and "Muleskinner Blues," established parts of other bluesmen's repertories (Blind Boy Fuller's "Rattlesnakin' Daddy," Blind Arthur Blake's "Police Dog Blues" and "Early Morning Blues"), as well as originals, such as the dazzling acoustic pyrotechnic displays on "John's Rag," "Graveyard Blues," and "Knife Blues" (the latter a slide guitar showcase worth the price of the disc by itself), and adaptations of popular songs ("Blind Blake's Rag," which borrows at one point from "Has Anybody Seen My Gal"). Good as his playing is, Jackson's singing is also to be admired, as his baritone voice surges with a quiet power and forcefulness, and a rich tone -- "Boats Up the River," a children's song adapted from various traditional sources, is probably the vocal standout on this collection. The fidelity is excellent, these being modern recordings, and overall this CD is the best single overview of John Jackson's music, its value enhanced by the presence of detailed notes that have been updated to the 1990s. It's records like this that humble lots of young white bluesmen. ~ Bruce Eder
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