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Jessie Mae Hemphill - Get Right Blues cd (Inside Sounds)


She Wolf! Jessie Mae!

Some Internet says...
Until a stroke sidelined her in 1993, Jessie Mae Hemphill may well have been the most accomplished and versatile of the North Mississippi folk-blues musicians who emerged in the early 1980s with a stripped down, primal version of jook blues that was (and is) at stylistic odds with most of the contemporary blues scene (not that Hemphill and company had suddenly started playing this way, just that the rest of the world finally caught up with it). Hemphill, whose grandfather was the legendary Sid Hemphill who recorded some pretty wild and wooly fife and drum-styled classics for Alan Lomax in 1942 and 1959, has a hands-on understanding of the various folk forms of her native hill country, and her soulful, vibrant music is a thing apart. Assembled by folklorist Dr. David Evans, Get Right Blues collects 15 previously unreleased recordings cut by Hemphill in 1979, 1984 and 1985, and the range of blues and spirituals presented here is impressive and inspiring. Part boogie, part folk-gospel revival, part history lesson, this collection doesn't contain a single lame track, and it's amazing that none of these have been released before, since everything here is a stunner. From the ramshackle "Streamline Train" (Hemphill's version of "Mystery Train") that opens the disc through a pair of raw, atmospheric diddley bow pieces ("Little Rooster Reel," "Get Right, Church") and a hushed solo take on Memphis Minnie's "Honey Bee," Hemphill brings a ragged, perfect sense of urgency and soul to everything she touches. Even now, unable to play guitar because of her stroke, Jessie Mae Hemphill can still stun a crowd with just her voice and a foot tambourine. She is indeed a national treasure, and Get Right Blues makes a wonderful introduction to this amazing musician. ~ Steve Leggett

Although sidelined from the blues scene as a result of a stroke in 1993, Jessie Mae Hemphill's reputation has continued to grow. Having the distinction of twice winning the Handy Award for Best Traditional Female Blues Artist (1987 and 1988), Jessie Mae Hemphill has become one of the most original blues artists of the past twenty years.

These 15 previously unreleased tracks are from a period in her life when she was at her artistic peak. Get Right Blues captures Jessie Mae's early style and mostly traditional repertoire from 1979 as well as her more mature and experimental music from 1984 and 1985. About half of this CD consists of studio recordings and half from live performances. Her guitar style, deeply rooted in the older fife and drum tradition of northern Mississippi, distinguishes her as an innovative musician, and one who has influenced a generation of blues artists. Along with guitar accompaniment, she would often play tambourine with her foot and occasionally wore ankle bells to add the rhythmic texture.

While fans and critics have praised her musical innovation, to many it is her voice itself that resonates so strongly. Her vocal quality, like her musicianship, is easily identifiable and engaging. In recent years, she has made guest appearances at various blues festivals, often singing spirituals. While Get Right Blues is mostly Jessie Mae Hemphill performing blues, four spirituals are included to demonstrate the complete range of her talent. Produced by David Evans of High Water Records and licensed to Memphis-based Inside Sounds, this CD includes an eight-page booklet with detailed liner notes and musician credits.

Contains 15 tracks.

Personnel: Jessie Mae Hemphill (vocals, guitar, bass drum, snare drum, tambourine, bells, sound effects); Napoleon Strickland (vocals); Dr. David Evans (guitar); Joe Hicks (drums); Bettye Mitchell (tambourine).

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This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 25 August, 2010.

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