Matchbox Bluesmaster Series Set 4: Julius Daniels - Lil McClintock; Texas Alexander Vol.3; Peg Leg Howell; Sanctified Jug Bands; St. Louis Bessie; Texas Alexander Vol.4
Volume 4 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.
“It seems superfluous to commend the late Paul Oliver’s wonderful notes, but I won’t miss the opportunity to praise the continuing relevance and value of this series of reissues.” 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
"Set 4 comprises six CDs with meticulous tracklisting and original liner notes by the respected blues historian Paul Oliver…. Comprising just under 100 tracks and lasting approximately five hours, this is blues-fan heaven…. The sound is more than acceptable considering the variable quality of the sources. This is pre-war US country blues at its finest and its rawest….. Matchbox have done a splendid job – first in preserving and committing the source to vinyl and then digitalising the entire Bluesmaster Series…. This Bluesmaster Series should not be seen as the preserve of the serious blues collector. It can be appreciated by anybody with an interest in the history of music, America and social change…. This may not be your usual CD purchase, but I doubt you will be disappointed if you take a chance." Ian Lomax, Jazz Journal
"These are pure blues gold” Pete Clack, Blues In Britain
“This collection is a look as far back into blues history as blues history goes, it’s some of the very earliest recordings ever made…. Wonderful blues” Blues Matters
"The first CD is split between South Carolina’s Julius Daniels and a (probably) older man, Lil McClintock. As the late Paul Oliver points out in his characteristically erudite liner notes, both these men drew their repertoire from a tradition slightly pre-dating blues, so are as likely to sing ballads and spirituals as straightforward blues material, and their songs contain a wealth of historical detail about coal mining, rural working life and experiences in the prison system, not to mention novelty songs about mules and even seagoing women in men’s attire. …In many ways, however, it is the CD dedicated to St. Louis Bessie that is the highlight of the collection. Lyrics such as ‘Just because I’m from the country my man treats me like a dog: he wants to put me in the stable and feed me like a hog’, plus a great number of songs about death and morbid dreams (not to mention her apparent obsession with snakes), make listening to her music a rather harrowing experience. But she is, simply, an utterly compelling and powerfully individual voice, and her delivery of such lines as ‘Late last night I lay in my bed alone’, and her constant references to moaning, weeping and worrying are highly affecting. There are, it is good to report, three more six-CD sets to come from Matchbox; they are doing the musical world a great service with this excellent series of reissues." Full review here - Chris Parker, London jazz News