15 Songs, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Mississippi Sheiks were one of the most influential blues acts of the prewar era, but their songs—including such indelible, now-standard compositions as “Sitting on Top of the World”—conform to few of the conventions associated with country blues. The group was led by fiddler Lonnie Chatmon, a gifted instrumentalist who could execute Irish reels, foxtrots, hot jazz licks, and low-down blues with equal facility, and whose casual eclecticism gave the group an edge over its contemporaries. The Sheiks' diverse repertoire was popular with both black and white audiences throughout the South; fans were as beguiled by Chatmon’s fiddling as they were by the barrelhouse bluster of singer and lyricist Walter Vinson. Vinson’s jaundiced tales of Mississippi low life and love gone wrong are clever, cynical, and endlessly fascinating glimpses into the harsh world of the South in the prewar era. This is the first entry in a comprehensive three-volume set collecting the entirety of the Sheiks' discography; it contains some of the Sheiks’ best-known work alongside more obscure efforts like “Jake Leg Blues,” which is enlivened by the virtuosic guitar work of Lonnie Chatmon’s brother Bo Chatmon.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Mississippi Sheiks were one of the most influential blues acts of the prewar era, but their songs—including such indelible, now-standard compositions as “Sitting on Top of the World”—conform to few of the conventions associated with country blues. The group was led by fiddler Lonnie Chatmon, a gifted instrumentalist who could execute Irish reels, foxtrots, hot jazz licks, and low-down blues with equal facility, and whose casual eclecticism gave the group an edge over its contemporaries. The Sheiks' diverse repertoire was popular with both black and white audiences throughout the South; fans were as beguiled by Chatmon’s fiddling as they were by the barrelhouse bluster of singer and lyricist Walter Vinson. Vinson’s jaundiced tales of Mississippi low life and love gone wrong are clever, cynical, and endlessly fascinating glimpses into the harsh world of the South in the prewar era. This is the first entry in a comprehensive three-volume set collecting the entirety of the Sheiks' discography; it contains some of the Sheiks’ best-known work alongside more obscure efforts like “Jake Leg Blues,” which is enlivened by the virtuosic guitar work of Lonnie Chatmon’s brother Bo Chatmon.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.8 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

Katanasoul ,

Classic American Music

Thank you Jack White for releasing this great piece of American musical history and culture. Now when are are getting Vol. 2?

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