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Chris Barber

Chris Barber Presents The Blues Legacy – Lost & Found Volume 3

Review by Gary Hill

The third CD in this series of blues jams with Chris Barber’s band and notable guests, this has a lot of great music. For my money the Howlin’ Wolf stuff is the best, but there’s a special place in my musical heart for that guy. Whatever your preference, though, if you are a fan of the blues or old school jazz you’ll find plenty to enjoy on this (and in fact all three discs in this set) CD.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Chris Barber Introduces Sonny Boy Williamson
This is precisely what it says it is.

Sonny Boy Williamson With The Chris Barber Band - Help
A live recording from 1964 (as all these Williamson tracks are), this has a jazzy feel to it, but make no mistake, it’s all blues. There is a great harmonica solo on this.
Chris Barber Introduces the “C-Jam Blues”
Once more, this spoken word bit is truth in advertising.
Sonny Boy Williamson With The Chris Barber Band - C-Jam
Blues harp dominates a lot of this instrumental. While it’s definitely got its blues attributes, this is probably most closely lumped into the Dixieland jazz category.

Sonny Boy Williamson With The Chris Barber Band - So Sad To Be Lonesome
This is a back porch, Robert Johnson type of blues.  Some of that Dixieland texture still shows up on this. The later melody on this has that, “Jim Dandy to the rescue” vibe to it.
Sonny Boy Williamson With The Chris Barber Band - Take A Walk With Me
A slow blues, this has some of that Dixieland sound to it, too. It reminds me a bit of “Sweet Home Chicago.” They power it out into a killer jam later.
Sonny Boy Williamson With The Chris Barber Band - Bye Bye Bird
The first half of this is in a stripped down old school motif. They put in another definite Dixieland jam in the middle, but it comes back to its roots to end. This is one of my favorite tracks on the CD.
Sonny Boy Williamson - Your Funeral, My Trial
You don’t get much more down home and stripped down than acapella blues with blues harp excursions thrown in for dramatic effect.
Sonny Boy Williamson With The Chris Barber Band - Pontiac Blues
This is a rocking little number that shows off both Dixieland and pure blues elements. 
Sonny Boy Williamson With The Chris Barber Band - Pontiac Blues (Reprise)
As you might imagine this is a second coming of the track.
Sonny Boy Williamson With The Chris Barber Band - When The Saints Go Marching In
Once more we’re old school with some Dixieland.
Sonny Boy Williamson With The Chris Barber Band & Ottilie Patterson - This Little Light Of Mine
This comes out of the previous track and almost feels like a variant on those musical themes.
Sonny Boy Williamson With The Chris Barber Band & Ottilie Patterson - When The Saints Go Marching In (Reprise)
As you might guess they bring the medley home with a return to the opening themes.
Chris Barber Introduces Jimmy Witherspoon
Here’s another truth in advertising example.
Jimmy Witherspoon With The Chris Barber Band, Humphrey Lyttelton & Ronnie Scott - Times Getting Tougher Than Tough
This recording, along with the ones that follow, is from a jazz festival that took place in 1964. They jump right in here and this is a cool Dixieland jam with blues leanings.

Jimmy Witherspoon With The Chris Barber Band, Humphrey Lyttelton & Ronnie Scott - Have You Ever Loved A Woman?
This slow blues grind has a definite New Orleans feel to it.
Jimmy Witherspoon With The Chris Barber Band, Humphrey Lyttelton & Ronnie Scott - Roll 'Em Pete
This is a faster tune and while it’s still bluesy it has a joyous feeling to it.

Chris Barber Introduces Howlin’ Wolf
As you might guess this is Barber speaking about a man who really needs no introduction.
Howlin' Wolf With Hubert Sumlin & The Chris Barber Band
Howlin’  For My Baby – This recording is also from 1964, but not from either of the shows we’ve sampled before.  This is very guitar based blues and it’s quite cool. It’s one of my favorite cuts on show here.

Chris Barber Introduces Hubert Sumlin
Here we get another spoken introduction.

Howlin' Wolf With Hubert Sumlin & The Chris Barber Band - Dust My Broom
This (as are the next two songs) is from the same show as the previous tune, This has a old school rock and roll (ala Chuck Berry) meets the blues motif. It’s another highlight of the set. 
Chris Barber Introduces “May I Have A Little Talk With You?”
I think you know the drill here.
Howlin' Wolf With Hubert Sumlin & The Chris Barber Band - May I Have A Talk With You
This is a powerhouse blues jam that’s just plain tasty.

Howlin' Wolf With Hubert Sumlin & The Chris Barber Band - Take A Walk With Me
Here Howlin’ Wolf and the others tackle this track that was also touched on in the Sonny Williamson tracks. I like this one better than the previous one, even thought that one was strong.  

Jimmy Witherspoon With The Chris Barber Band - Everyday I Have The Blues
We jump ahead all the way to 1980 with this cut (and the remainder on this CD). As one might guess, the recording quality here is better than that of the tracks that preceded it. This is a much more full jazz treatment than a lot of the other music here.
Jimmy Witherspoon With The Chris Barber Band - Tain't Nobody's Business
We get some guitar based blues on this one. It’s a classic tune and a classic sound.
Jimmy Witherspoon With The Chris Barber Band
When The Saints Go Marching In – What can you say about this Dixieland classic that hasn’t already been said? These guys put in a strong reading of the powerhouse piece.

Jimmy Witherspoon With The Chris Barber Band - When I've Been Drinkin'
This is definitely a slow blues. It’s guitar based and gritty. I’d put this one as the best of these 1980 recordings and one of the best cuts on show here.

Jimmy Witherspoon With The Chris Barber Band - Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye
They close this set out appropriately. This has an old school rock and roll meets the blues approach. The fade down is a little abrupt and artificial in texture.
 
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