Although one may think of the blues harp beginning with Little Walter, the first Sonny Boy Williamson, or Sonny Terry, a variety of harmonica players did record in the '20s. Some of their recordings were technical displays that featured them imitating everything from animals to trains, while other players were more blues-oriented. This valuable CD has two selections from the guitar-harmonica team of William Francis and Richard Sowell; Ollis Martin's "Police and High Sheriff Come Ridin' Down"; six pieces by Eli Watson (including "El Watson's Fox Chase"); two cuts apiece by Palmer McAbee, Ellis Williams, Alfred Lewis, and the team of Smith & Harper (which is the only music on this CD recorded after 1930); plus four songs/displays from Blues Birdhead (including "Get up off That Jazzophone") and George "Bullet" Williams (highlighted by "Frisco Leaving Birmingham" and "The Escaped Convict"). Fascinating music.
Robbie Basho was one of the big three American acoustic guitar innovators, John Fahey and Leo Kottke being the other two. Basho was the least commercially successful of the three, but his influence and reputation has steadily grown since his untimely death in 1986 at the age of 45. And with good reason; for Basho's deeply spiritual approach, intellectual rigor, and formal explorations (among his goals was the creation of a raga system for American music), present a deeply compelling, multi-faceted artist. Basho was actually a college friend of John Fahey, and his early recordings (like Kottke's) were for Fahey's Takoma label. Following Fahey 's move to Vanguard, Basho followed suit, and released Voice of the Eagle and Zarthus for the label in 1972 and 1974, respectively (his most commercially successful records were made for the Windham Hill label later in the decade)./quote]
Helmuth Rilling is an excellent conductor and interpreter of Bach's sacred music. Recorded from 1969 to 1985, over a longer period of time than most other sets, there is a lot of change throughout the series. Rilling's recordings are more dense and lush than others, and his tempi are often slower than HIP recordings - no "original instruments" for Rilling. But he creates such a detailed sound-world that any fan of these works should want to hear Rilling's versions to compare with others. This said, Rilling often uses a technique that I find a bit disturbing. He'll have one instrument or group of instruments sequestered to one track, and others on the other track, giving a sound similar to that of early Beatles' stereo mixes, where vocals were on one track and instruments on the other. This is something you never hear in live performance; while one instrument may be on one side, you still hear it on the other side. This tends to make some of the movements sound as though there's no blend among the singers and musicians.(Kirk McElhearn)