Matchbox Bluesmaster Series Set 5: Blind Lemon Jefferson, Frank Stokes, Blind Blake, Big Bill Broonzy, Mississippi Sheiks Vol. 1, Lonnie Johnson Vol. 1
Volume 5 of the CD release of the iconic Matchbox Bluesmaster LP series from the 1980s with extensive notes from world authority on the blues, Paul Oliver.
The 42 LP albums that make up the iconic Matchbox Bluesmaster Series were released by Saydisc Records between Nov 1982 and June 1988. Most of the albums were subtitled “Complete Recordings in Chronological Order” with a few under the subtitle “The Remaining Titles” or “New to LP”. The originating 78 rpm records (many of them extremely rare) were provided by several collectors under the editorship of well known Austrian collector, Johnny Parth and were re-mastered by Hans Klement of Austrophon Studios in Vienna. Johnny Parth had already created his extensive Roots Records label which Saydisc distributed in the UK and the Matchbox Bluesmaster Series was a carefully sculpted edition of black blues roots music giving a broad spectrum of the genre. Saydisc has in its vaults many more pre-Bluesmaster blues albums which may be issued on CD in due course.
"The fifth six-CD set of early blues recordings from the Saydisc vaults mines the wealth of material (originally issued on LPs between 1982 and 1988) that comes under the category of “remaining titles” or “new to LP”, but – like its predecessors – comes with comprehensive notes by the late great blues professor Paul Oliver….exemplifies the spirit and energy that make these Bluesmaster compilations so compulsively listenable" London Jazz News, Chris Parker
“Volume Five is another example of Matchbox’s assiduous collecting policy in the 1980s which was to source chronological runs of an artist’s complete discography, contextualizing it, analyzing it, and subjecting it’s historical and biographical scrutiny… seen as a whole this remains a foundational reference point for the artists represented and for the genre as a whole.” Jonathan Woolf, musicweb-international.com
“All in all, great sets, which give a nice insight into early blues… the opportunity to get a peephole into a magical time” Jefferson Blues Magazine, Sweden
“Each album on its own is a wonderful listen; each of the 6 CD sets is amazing and the 7 sets make up a huge collection of early blues that give the listeners much to appreciate. Whether you are new to this music or a seasoned blues fan, these recordings are an amazing combination of music that can be enjoyed over and over again. The nuances and glimpses into what created our music over the years and up to today are here in these recordings. These bluesmasters gave us the roots of all of America’s popular music and having this huge collection to savor gives the listener a superb view of blues as it began to be put down on records. I most highly recommend these sets to new and old blues lovers. There is something on each CD for the listener to appreciate and the sets become a huge compendium of great music for the collections of listeners.” Blues Blast Magazine. Steve Jones (president of the Crossroads Blues Society USA)
Here it is, box set no. 5 in this wonderful series, another six albums and 107 tracks of the very finest in recorded blues, hokum and gospel recorded between 1926 and 1932. Previous sets have included some fairly unknown artists, but this time we have some real nuggets of blues gold. First released on LP between 1982 and 1988, the wait for them to be available on CD has been worth it…. Age has done little to diminish the quality of these performances. Pete Clack, Blues In Britain Jan 2022
This latest six-disc set from the Saydisc archives will be a welcome treat for blues historians and collectors alike….. So sit back and enjoy the sources behind the birth of so much of the music we enjoy to this day. Morgon Hogarth, RnR Jan 2022
“…every backwater and flowing mainstream of Western popular music is rooted in this stuff. .. collections like the Matchbox Bluesmaster Series, which Saydisc has reissued with such meticulous care in these multi-disc sets, are so important …It’s a helluva legacy.” Stuart Maxwell Jazz Rag
"The fifth six-CD set of early blues recordings from the Saydisc vaults mines the wealth of material (originally issued on LPs between 1982 and 1988) that comes under the category of “remaining titles” or “new to LP”, but – like its predecessors – comes with comprehensive notes by the late great blues professor Paul Oliver. Starting, appropriately enough (for he was a great pioneer of rural blues, his recordings bringing the form to the attention of the record-buying public in the late 1920s), with Blind Lemon Jefferson, the set begins with the singer’s first secular titles, “Got the Blues” and “Long Lonesome Blues”…. Big Bill Broonzy, contrastingly, has never been neglected: as Oliver points out, “There are few blues singers as extensively recorded, as widely respected in his day, or as consistently good as Big Bill Broonzy.” His work, indeed, may well be a good place to start for anyone wishing to become better acquainted with early blues, since it is intensely communicative and accessible. His cleanly articulated guitar playing, too, prefigures rock guitar in a way little early blues playing does (Robert Johnson aside, of course). …Lonnie Johnson is already a significant presence on previous CD sets in this consistently excellent series; here, he gets a disc to himself to vindicate Paul Oliver’s fulsome praise of him: “There has been no blues singer to compare with Lonnie Johnson for diversity of experience and breadth of respect … His importance as a blues artist is without question, not only as a singer and guitarist, but also as an influence on his contemporaries … and as an accompanist to singers as varied as Texas Alexander and Clara Smith.” On these eighteen tracks, he is featured as singer, guitarist and violinist, not to mention banjoist, and he effortlessly demonstrates on all of them just why, to quote Oliver again, “there was no name in the male blues [between 1926 and 1928] better known than that of Lonnie Johnson”. Inventive, deft and fluent, he perfectly exemplifies the spirit and energy that make these Bluesmaster compilations so compulsively listenable." Full review here- Chris Parker, London Jazz News