Matchbox Bluesmaster Series Set 6: Papa Charlie Jackson, Memphis Jug Band, Barbecue Bob, Leecan & Cooksey, Roosevelt Sykes, Mississippi Sheiks Vol.2
Volume 6 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.
“Like its predecessors it is a veritable goldmine, containing numerous priceless nuggets of early recorded music, all scrupulously annotated by world authority” London Jazz News, Paul Oliver
“If you have read my previous reviews of this series, you will know by now that I am a big fan… This one has more of a good-time feel than previous sets and opens with some splendid banjo playing by Papa Charlie Jackson… Once again Matchbox have excelled themselves. As I have said previously, this music has appeal beyond the blues enthusiast and historian. It is the birthplace of all modern music and needs to be better appreciated. Thankfully, Matchbox and Nimbus are working hard to ensure that we all have easy access to it.” Ian Lomax, Jazz Journal
“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
It is quite rewarding that the entire Matchbox catalog is now available on CD. Paul Oliver’s original definitive liner notes are also included and are a major bonus to this highly recommended series. Scott Yanow, Los Angeles Jazz Scene
“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)
The albums, which were sourced from obscure 78s, are currently being reissued in six-CD volumes which retain blues historian Paul Oliver's original notes…. blues buffs will relish the opportunity to own such rare and inimitable music. Trevor Hodgett RnR Mar/Apr 2022
The penultimate entry in the Matchbox Bluesmaster Series is a particularly enjoyable one, both in terms of musical variety and sound quality. The featured artists not only represent very different approaches to blues in its first recorded generation, they incorporate disparate musical tributaries that made that era’s “blues” idiom far less formulaic than it arguably became later. Mark Humphrey Living Blues, USA
"When I began reviewing these amazing box sets last year I said they were a rare insight into the world of black music and, as each set comes along, that view has grown stronger… These are nuggets of pure blues gold. This series is proving beyond doubt to be something to treasure." Blues In Britain, Pete Clack
"This penultimate set of 42 albums that were originally released in the 1980s, has some interesting and some fine music…. As always it is a pleasure to read Paul Oliver's comprehensive and detailed notes and using some recent information, Tony Russell has updated a couple of Oliver's comments." Blues & Rhythm
"The sixth six-CD set in the Matchbox Bluesmaster Series is slightly more slanted towards ‘hokum’ music than previous sets, featuring the work of popular entertainers as well as that of more ‘pure’ blues artists, but like its predecessors it is a veritable goldmine, containing numerous priceless nuggets of early recorded music, all scrupulously annotated by world authority Paul Oliver.
Papa Charlie Jackson is unusual in that his preferred instrument is the banjo rather than the guitar (though three tracks here feature his limber guitar playing), and this gives his music a slightly vaudevillian flavour, appropriate for his work as an entertainer on medicine shows, where he’d play for hoochy-coochy dancers etc., using contemporary events and issues as inspiration for a number of his original songs. His has a pleasingly informal approach, his singing frequently interspersed with spoken interludes; as Oliver comments, he ‘never seemed to succumb to complaints… but told of scuffling and hardship with a wry, sometimes ironic humour’.… The Mississippi Sheiks are a family string band with rural origins featuring Bo Carter (Chatmon) and Walter Vinson among others, and their repertoire is fascinatingly broad-based, including songs about everything from Prohibition to automobiles and the numbers racket. The violin playing of Lonnie Chatmon is, admittedly, not particularly tuneful, but if the band are somewhat lacking in strict musicality they more than make up for it with the spirit and energy of their performances. This is the penultimate issue in a seven-set series, but Saydisc are to continue their admirable reissuing policy with a further five volumes (each of six CDs) of Matchbox 1970s blues releases (including Library of Congress recordings), field recordings and some unissued material." - Chris Parker, London Jazz News