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Mike Tarrani Top Contributor: Drums. I only recently 'discovered' Stidham and by accident. Here he is on guitar and his playing is excellent. Of course, it's his singing that makes all of his albums special, regardless of instrument. There are no sound samples as I write this, and it's difficult to describe his playing. I am tempted to say Chicago style blues, but there is more Kansas City to his playing to my ears. Regardless, if you like old school blues you will probably love this album.
Curiously, this album was not recorded for one of the mainstream blues labels, but for Prestige's Bluesville label. Stidham's vocals and guitar are accompanied by King Curtis on tenor sax, and backed by a rhythm section comprised of John Wright on piano, Leonard Gaskin on bass and Armond Jackson on drums.
One person found this helpful. Plus King Curtis in the backing band. Plus the addition to your music collection of a masterful re-mastering of a record that might be as sought after and classic as anything Sonny Boy Williamson II or Muddy Waters ever released had Arbee Stidham's lifespan been different or had he ever been picked up by a truly aggressive label. Stidham , an Arkansas-born, Chicago-based singer-guitarist hit the top of Billboard's "race" chart in with his RCA Victor recording of "My Heart Belongs to You" and recorded prolifically over the next two decades for a variety of labels.
If his basic tempo repertoire was somewhat limited, it was no more so than those of most of his peers were and, again, this record features King Curtis in the backing band. Their solos throughout the November recording session shared the traits of brevity, appropriateness and exhibition of breathtaking tone. The rhythm section was an interesting mix of blues and jazz players that worked well together, freeing up the front line to project the songs' messages effectively throughout the record.
Fantasy Records, an umbrella organization for several defunct labels that we would miss terribly if their catalogs were wholly inaccessible, takes chances when they re-master and re-release records by relatively obscure artists like Arbee Stidham just because they were good records.
Let us hope that enough people buy these reissues to keep Fantasy's strategy viable. See all reviews. Top reviews from other countries.
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