Off The Shelf'
I have quite a few of these budget blues compilations although most of them are of the men folk doing the early delta stuff. The Women of the Blues were a different kettle of fish though. Whereas the men were recorded mostly solo with acoustic guitar and sometimes piano, the Women had a bit more musical backing and for me have more of a Jazz sound. I think that this music was the forerunner of Jazz vocals and the later Jazz pop. Several of the Ladies on this compilation went on to have long and distinguished careers, Like Alberta Hunter, Ethel Waters and of course Billie Holiday. Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith were two of the earliest and most successful blues singers. Most of this music was recorded in the 1920s and 30s so the recordings are pretty rough in places. This is an historically interesting set but I prefer the Delta blues of the Men, although there are some good tunes here and some pretty raunchy lyrics. There are some well known songs on this set, like "Trouble In Mind" and "It Ain't Necessarily So" and any Led Zeppelin fan will recognise Memphis Minnie's "When The Levee Breaks". Its quite fascinating listening to these old songs and I am quite enjoying this in small doses. Rating 3/5.