There are dozens of titles this week. Here are a few that have attracted my attention:
Bob Corritore has been playing badass blues harp for 40 years and he's played it for and with nearly every blues artist of note in those years. Harmonica Blues isn't a 'Greatest Hits' compilation but gathers tracks that Corritore has contributed to over his years in the business. He is the common thread through most of these recordings but listeners will also get to enjoy the sounds of legends who have now passed (Koko Taylor, Little Milton, Robert Lockwood Jr., Nappy Brown) as well as those still working and making great music today (Honeyboy Edwards, Pinetop Perkins, Bob Margolin, Bob Stroger, Chris James, Patrick Rynn).
The Lost Atlanta Tapes
Artists today have 'vaults' of unreleased material, carefully preserved and archived for just the right moment when they or their label can cynically release these leftovers to pry fans from their cash. It wasn't always like this. Okay, it's not always like that now. There is no telling how many great moments of artistic inspiration have been lost forever, never to be heard because the music wasn't properly catalogued and stored. Many artists have mined their own archives only to find treasures waiting for their moment in the sun.
The Lost Atlanta Tapes represent the last-known recordings of Piano Red. This 18-track collection was recorded in 1984 at a performance Red gave at Altanta's Excelsior Mill. Red passed away the next year in 1985. The music in this collection is vital enough to please and reward listeners but the fact this could have so easily have been lost forever makes it all the more special.
No Better Than This
John Mellencamp and producer T Bone Burnett team up once again for the follow up to their first collaboration, Life Death Love And Freedom and once again there is a sonic concept. Life Death… was recorded and offered in something of a high-definition audio format developed by Burnett. This set was recorded with the band playing in three historic locations using one vintage microphone. Those three locations? Sun Studios in Memphis, the San Antonio hotel room where Robert Johnson made his first iconic recordings, and the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Ga (the oldest Black church in the US).