COUSIN JOE/ALTON PURNELL

NEW ORLEANS PIANO BLUES

Jazz Crusade JCCD-3091 22 tracks 72 min 2003

Down & Out Man, Hogwash Junction Function, Iíve Got News For You, Mess Around, Hotel Loneliness, She Ainít Such-A-Much, Chicken A La Blues, Too Late To Turn Back Now, Touch Me, Thank You Pretty Baby, Goodnight Sweetheart/Gee Baby Ainít I Good To You, Yancey Special, Have You Seen My Kitty, Impromptu Blues, Oh Lady Be Good, Stagger Lee, Whoís Sorry Now, St. Louis Blues, Alberta, Altonís Boogie, After Hours

Well, I have heard of these gentlemen and now have the chance to sit and listen to them (ok so I have some tracks of bands where Alton is playing, but none which feature him). What a contrast they are, and yet so closely linked by the music they play.

Cousin Joe (real name Pleasant Joseph aka Brother Joshua, aka Smiliní Joe) is a country blues singer who happens to have played with jazz bands on guitar (though here he is playing a strong, but unsophisticated piano). Alton Purnell is a talented jazz pianist who happens to sing sometimes.

Recorded in London in 1978, Cousin Joe performs typical rural/country blues, more spoken than sung, in a throaty, happy style. I love this stuff and get a kick out of listening to it. However, I do have to listen to it (as opposed to having it as background music) as the lyrics are important and the Black Louisiana accent isnít always easy to catch.

Alton Purnellís tracks were recorded in Sydney in 1965. This man has played with New Orleans finest and listening to this you know why they wanted him in their bands. The notes say that he was at the 'Famous Door' with Cousin Joe in the early Ď40s and that he claimed Joe influenced his singing. To me this wasn't obvious, so I wondered just what he sounded like before.

You donít have to be an avid fan of blues or jazz or even piano playing to enjoy this CD. The players obviously enjoyed themselves laying the tracks down in front of a live crowd, and you will enjoy listening to it: trust me Ė I know what I doing!

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