Albert Ammons/Masters of the Boogie Piano
Them Three Kings
Albert Ammons: Boogie Woogie Stomp (Delmark '98)
The canonical recording is The First Day, Ammons's first studio session with Meade Lux Lewis, which launched Alfred Lion's even more canonical Blue Note label in 1938. But its status partly reflects the room it makes for Lewis's blues feeling, which in truth is nothing special‑-there are hundreds of better blues players across the spectrum, from Speckled Red to Otis Spann to Thelonious Monk. For the left-hand speed rolls and right-hand sparklers that are why the world cares about Ammons and Lewis, this knowledgeably annotated excavation tops the Blue Note easily. I'd prefer more duets, but although there may be something better out there, I doubt the improvement would justify the search. Most of it was recorded live at a radio broadcast from a Chicago hotel in 1939, which given how uncomplicated it is to mike a piano is of no sonic consequence; the last four songs are from a stray studio session. Eighteen tracks in all, most under three minutes and three under two, with Lewis taking half a dozen and Pete Johnson a pair. You want blues feeling, try Lewis's "Chapel Blues." You want Ammons to shout for joy, wait till he gets away from those radio guys and lets loose in the studio. A MINUS
Masters of the Boogie Piano (Delmark '03)
Or you could settle for the two tracks commandeered from the Ammons album‑-one Ammons, one Lewis, both mastered eight seconds faster‑-on this go-for-the-hips budget comp released to celebrate the Chicago label's golden anniversary. Jumping, as one reviewer wrote, from "fist-fingered old pros" to "lightning revivalists," its most breathless moment comes when Roosevelt Sykes's two-lane "North Gulfport Boogie" is passed on the left by Pete Johnson's four-lanes-and-counting "66 Stomp." And it's topped off by that special thing, an Ammons-Lewis-Johnson trio. A MINUS
What major releases am I missing, which Xgau hasn't reviewed?
There are just a few recently released cd's that I have been listening to that I hope get some mention here. Off the top of my head
1) Balkan Beat Box- Give
2) Carolina Chocolate Drops- Leaving Eden
3) Imperial Teen- Feel the Sound
4) Lana Del Rey- Born to Die
5) Burial- Kindred
Numbers 1 & 2 I bought because I was seeing these acts live. 3 was bought on reputation (4 straight A- or higher). 4 & 5 were Tatum picks.
Bottom line is Xgau reviews what he wants when he wants and I wouldn't want it any other way.
EDIT: Speaking of usurers, cdsfromkris is not me.
FURTHER EDIT: Seller Oofusgoofus has cancelled my order. Look for it to come back up, probably now as usurer price. Sorry about that!
[I also now see it in another listing for $8.99 w/supersavershipping but temporarily out of stock. Go ahead and add it to your shopping cart!]
2012 HM List:
1. Lana Del Ray: Born to Die (B+)
2. Sinead O’Conner: How about, I Be Me (and You Be You)? (B+)
3. Chairlift: Something (***)
4. Fanfarlo: Rooms Filled with Light (***)
5. Emeli Sandé: Our Version of Events (**)
6. The Big Pink: Future This (**)
Maybe you could arrange a swap with somebody.
And it's topped off by that special thing, an Ammons-Lewis-Johnson trio.Another "must-hear," IMO.
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.