Storyville Records: A Treasure Trove of Swinging Jazz
Founded in 1952 by Danish jazz fan Karl Emil Knudsen, Storyville's original mission was simply to reissue US recordings for Scandinavian revivalist fans, though within a year it was also recording British and Danish revivalist bands and was soon to extend its A&R policy beyond New Orleans and its echoes.
Despite a predilection for funny hats, fancy dress and beery bonhomie, Europe's revivalists were a passionate community, made up of musicians and audiences who believed that they, and they alone, had the hotline to authentic jazz. Big bands were anathema; bop was obscene; and the French critic Hughes Panassiewhose dogmatic adherence to "real" jazz led him to count the indifferent Mezz Mezzrow as a greater clarinetist than Benny Goodmanwas the not so secret eminence grise. The expression "tunnel vision" could have been invented for Panassie and his flock.
The most monomaniacal of Britain's revivalists was the trumpeter Ken Colyer, the first bandleader to be recorded by Storyville. In 1951, Colyer signed on as a cook with a British merchant ship, with the purpose of staying ashore when it berthed in Mobile, Alabama and visiting New Orleans. He succeeded in reaching the city and playing with his heroes. Overstaying his visa, Colyer was jailed and deported back to Britain, where he arrived in early 1953by virtue of his New Orleans pilgrimage now a hero himself. (The religious fervor which Colyer invested in his relationship with New Orleans jazz continued to be felt in Europe through the decade. In 1960, revivalist fans at Britain's Beaulieu Jazz Festival actually fought a pitched battle with modernists in the grounds of the stately home which hosted the event. Colyer himself kept the faith until his death in 1988).
Colyer's band recorded for Storyville during a visit to Copenhagen in 1953. In the few next years, practically every European revivalist band of note was recorded by the label and/or played at the Storyville club. The only notable omission seems to have been the band led by trumpeter Humphrey Lyttleton. Many of these recordings are available today in Storyville's engrossing 15-CD series The Golden Years Of Revival Jazz. Like fading snapshots, long removed from their cultural context, the tracks speak of another age, but the passage of time hasn't diminished the crusading enthusiasm with which they were made.
Knudsen's bigger vision: beyond revivalism
That Storyville outgrew its parochial, revivalist rootsto embrace artists ranging from trumpeters Colyer and Louis Armstrong to saxophonists Ben Webster, Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz, and pianist Duke Ellington's bandis to a large extent due to the determination and wide open ears of Knudsen, who helmed the label until his death in 2003.
Knudsen had a sure touch with revivalist signingstrombonist Papa Bue's Viking Jazz Band sold millions for Storyville in its early yearsbut unlike the stereotypical revivalist, he loved a broad spectrum of jazz. Towards the end of the 1950s, for instance, Storyville acquired the European rights to the US label Roulette, then riding high with a slew of big selling mainstream recordings such as pianist and bandleader Count Basie's The Atomic Mr Basie (1957). Profits have always been precarious in the jazz business, but under Knudsen's stewardship, and with his wide ranging A&R policy, Storyville early on achieved a degree of financial stability that has eluded most other independent European labels.
In 2005, Editions Wilhelm Hansen, a long established Danish publishing company and part of the Music Sales Group, acquired Storyville from Knudsen's family. Anders Stefansen, who worked at Storyville in the 1950s and returned there in 1992, and Mona Granager, who joined in 1976, continue to manage the label.
Anders unhesitatingly credits Knudsen for Storyville's success. "His key qualities were his tremendous enthusiasm for the music, his energy and his determination to achieve whatever he set out to do, be it a big thing or a small one."
Asked for his own ambitions for the label in 2010, Anders replies: "To survive, to be in business ten years from now." With releases slated for 2011 including an eight-disc Louis Armstrong CD/DVD box set, and a new package from pianist Mary Lou Williams, that looks about as close to a certainty as can be hoped for in the record business.
Here is a small sample of the treasures in Storyville's catalogue:
Dig Ben!: Ben Webster In Europe & Some Last US Sessions
Among the jewels in the Storyville catalogue is a large body of work by Ben Webster, some of which is included on the eight CDs which make up this magnificent box set.
After Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young, both featured elsewhere in the Storyville catalogue, Webstera featured soloist in Duke Ellington's bands of 1940-44 and 1948-49was one of jazz's most influential pre-bop tenor saxophonists, and perhaps the instrument's most gorgeous balladeer of any era. Webster's legacy, however, is often undervalued in the standard jazz histories. Partly, this is because Hawkins, eight years his senior, and Young, his exact contemporary, peaked earlier. Partly, it is because Webster left the US for Europe in 1964. Unlike the younger tenor player Dexter Gordon, who was resident in Europe from 1962 until the mid 1970s, Webster never returned to the US, and died in Amsterdam in 1973. Had he returned home, he too would likely have been rewarded with national treasure status, as was Gordon. Out of sight, in Webster's case, meant out of mind.
The new world's loss was the old world's gain. Webster was lionized in Europe, receiving a degree of recognition he'd only previously received in the 1940s while a member of the Ellington band. He was recorded frequently, accompanied by great musicianslocal, such as bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, pianist Stan Tracey and trumpeter Roffe Ericson; and visiting, such as pianists Kenny Drew and Teddy Wilson, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Clark Terry, and drummers Albert Heath and Ed Thigpenall heard on these CDs, along with a dozen others of the same caliber.
Recorded live and in the studio between 1964-73, the ten-and-a-half hours of music on Dig Ben!: Ben Webster In Europe & Some Last US Sessions catch Webster in a variety of mostly small group settings, and on the final disc with the Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra. Webster is almost always in top form. He loved living and working in Europe, and you can hear that in his playing: the material is familiar, and Webster returns to the same small body of tunes time and again, but his passionate engagement never wanes.
The set was compiled and produced by Anders Stefansen. The box includes a large format 28-page booklet, co-edited by Henrik Wolsgaard-Iversen, chair of the Ben Webster Foundation. Detailed session and personnel details are included for every track, and there are also half a dozen essays, all of them illuminating, from Wolsgaard-Iversen, Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen and other friends and colleagues of Webster.
The Ben Webster Foundation, by the by, is a not-for-profit organization that looks after Webster's artistic, intellectual and monetary interests. One of the premises of the Foundation's charter is "to spread jazz in Denmark," and amongst its activities the Foundation has since 1976 funded the Ben Webster Prize, awarded to promising local musicians and now worth DKR 25,000.
Dig Ben! is a class act, musically and on paper. For Webster aficionados this is the Koh-i-Noor diamond in the Storyville jewel box.
The Brute And The Beautiful
If Dig Ben! is one for Webster devotees, the two-CD set The Brute And The Beautiful is the perfect place for newcomers to dip their toes in the water.
The first disc, The Brute, collects 13 tracks featuring Webster with his hot, bluesy, and at times almost R&B-ish, hat on. The earliest, "Nasty Attitude," which includes vocalist Walter Brown and pianist Jay McShann, was recorded in Kansas City in 1949. Four others were recorded in New York in 1958 and Rhode Island in 1963. All the other tracks come from Webster's post-1964 European period.
Webster could cook to perfection on a greasy skillet, as disc one demonstrates, even if the relentlessly vocalized tone he adopted at higher temperatures could sometimes get close to being samey. But one of Webster's mottos was: "If you can't dump your shit in two choruses, forget it!" Any threat of monotony soon passes.
Another of Webster's mottos was: "There are only three tempos in jazz: slow, medium and slow." This is the maxim de jour throughout disc two, The Beautiful, which collects 14 prime examples of Webster the balladeer. Aside from five tracks recorded in New York in 1958 and 1964including "Sophisticated Lady," an eight-minute private recording made with bassist Milt Hinton at Hinton's New York home shortly before Webster left the USall the tracks were recorded in Europe.
To listen to Webster over 68:27 minutes of uninterrupted balladeering is the audio equivalent of tantric sex. Gorgeous, voluptuous, exquisitely lyrical, with a tone that will soothe the most savage beast, this is Webster at his most transporting.
At Montmartre 1965/66
The first nine tracks on this 12-track CD were recorded at Copenhagen's Montmartre club in January 1965, a month after Webster's arrival in Europe. The final three tracks were recorded at the club in May 1966. The Montmartre was practically Webster's home from home in Copenhagen, and he performed there frequently: the first disc in the Dig Ben! box set consists of nine tracks he recorded there in May 1968.
On practically all these Montmartre recordings, the pianist is Kenny Drew and the bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen. Drummers are Al Heath, on the box set, and Alex Riel and Atli Bjorn on this CD. Highlights here are the four ballads: "My Romance," "How Long Has This Been Going On," "Someone To Watch Over Me" and Danny Boy."
The Brute And The Beautiful and At Montmartre 1965/66 are both excellent entry points for Webster novitiates, and there are other Webster discs in the Storyville catalogue of an equally high standard. But for devotees, anything other than the Dig Ben! box set is a compromise.
The Duke Box
There's a feast of Webster to be heard on The Duke Box, an eight-CD box set which focuses entirely on Duke Ellington's band of the 1940s, in which Webster was the first important tenor saxophone soloist and of which he was a member from 1940-43 and from 1948-49. The discs proceed chronologically, from January 1940 to February 1949.
Ellington's bands of the 1940s are widely considered to be his finest, by virtue of both their personnel and their material. Bassist Jimmy Blanton, who freed the instrument up and helped pave the way for bop, had joined the lineup in 1939 and remained there until his death in 1942. The "Webster-Blanton band" is featured on the first three discs in the box. Other of Ellington's signature soloists heard in that band include alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges, alto saxophonist and clarinetist Otto Hardwicke, baritone saxophonist Harry Carney, trumpeters Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart and Ray Nance, and trombonists Tricky Sam Nanton and Juan Tizol. The drummer, throughout the decade, was Sonny Greer.
The Duke Box also charts the arrival of Billy Strayhorn in the Ellington organization. Strayhorn was recruited as assistant arranger in 1939, and almost immediately began contributing custom originals to the repertoire. His "Take The A Train," first heard here in a 1943 recording on disc four, returns on most of the subsequent discs in the box.
The nine hours of music included on The Duke Box mostly originated as live radio broadcasts made on tour in the US. Sound quality, which has been much enhanced by digital technology, varies, but is always above average. And, as Dan Morgenstern observes in the erudite session notes which make up the bulk of the box's large format, 40-page booklet, the human ear is a remarkable receptor, and recalibrates very quickly to optimize the quality of what it is picking up.
Covered in the box, of course, is the historic concert the Ellington band made at the Crystal Ballroom, Fargo, North Dakota on November 7, 1940. Thanks to two Ellington fans and amateur recording engineers, Jack Towers and Dick Burris, the entire Dakota performance was recorded (save for a few drop-outs occasioned when changing the shellac disc on the pair's single-turntable cutter), providing a comprehensive record of the band during a five-set evening's work. The sound, which over the years has been refined several times by Towers, is outstanding throughout the two-and-a-half hours of the Fargo concert, which make up the entirety of discs two and three.
Storyville Masters Of Jazz: Johnny Hodges
Johnny Hodges' exquisite sound"so beautiful it sometimes brought tears to my eyes," said Ellingtonis foregrounded on this 19-track anthology, spanning the 20 years from 1943-64.
The first two tracks feature Hodges with the Ellington orchestra; track two, "Passion Flower," written by Strayhorn for Hodges, has the composer at the piano in place of Ellington. Most of the others, all made by smaller groups, include Ellingtonians in their lineups. An unexpected twist is a 1954 recording of Ellington's "In A Mellow Tone," featuring John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, alongside Ellingtonians trumpeter Shorty Baker and trombonist Lawrence Brown.
The disc closes with a wonderful octet recording of Ellington's "Dooji Wooji," featuring Ellingtonians trumpeter Cat Anderson, tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves, clarinetist Russell Procope and drummer Sam Woodyard, and also including the British-born pianist Victor Feldman.
As with The Duke Box, most of the tracks here are taken from live recordings, but the sound, as with the box, is consistently better than average. There are many fine Hodges samplers around, and this is one of them.
Other artists featured in the Storyville Masters Of Jazz series include pianists Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson and Earl Hines, saxophonists Johnny Griffin and Sidney Bechet, violinist Stuff Smith and singer Billie Holiday.
The Blues Box
With The Blues Box, we come full circle on this small selection of discs from Storyville's vast catalogue: for the blues, of course, were fundamental to European revivalism, stemming from blues retentions in the original New Orleans-style material which inspired the movement. The blues in their own right also drove two members in particular of the Ken Colyer band which inaugurated Storyville's recording program: trombonist Chris Barber and guitarist, banjoist and singer Lonnie Donegan.
The seven CDs in the box feature a variety of urban and country blues artists recorded in Copenhagen from 1956-77, mostly in the 1960s. The roster includes pianists/vocalists Otis Spann, Speckled Red, Sunnyland Slim Roosevelt Sykes, Little Brother Montgomery, Sippie Wallace, Memphis Slim, Champion Jack Dupree, Eddie Boyd and Jay McShann; guitarists/vocalists Lonnie Johnson, Big Joe Williams, Sleepy John Estes, Robert Pete Williams, Big Bill Broonzy, John Henry Barbee and Brownie McGhee; and harmonica players/vocalists Sonny Boy Williamson II and Sonny Terry. A companion DVD features performances from Dupree, Williamson, guitarist/vocalist Robert Lockwood Jr and pianists/vocalists James Carroll Booker 111, Henry Gray and Cousin Joe, among others.
By the time these recordings were made most of the musicians were in their 60sin 2010, still old by the standards prevailing in the blues world, and at the time the recordings were made, older still. But like good wine, blues musicians improve with age, acquiring a gravitas befitting the wrenched-from-real life subject matter of their songs. The Blues Box does its veteran artists proud and is an invaluable historical resource. The large format, 40 page booklet includes authoritative biographies of all the artists by Chris Albertson, adding to the box's substance.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: CD1: Johnny Come Lately; Perdido; Autumn Leaves; Old Folks; Mack The Knife; Sunday; Come Sunday; Our Love Is Here To Stay; The Theme. CD2: On Green Dolphin Street; Bye, Bye Blackbird; Lover Come Back To Me; Wee Dot; Tenderly; Sometimes I'm Happy; Embraceable You; The Theme; Sophisticated Lady; Stridin' With Ben; All The Things You Are; I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me; I Got It Bad; Our Blues. CD3: Danny Boy; Intro Ronnie Scott; Blues In B Flat; Star Dust; Gone With The Wind; The Theme; Confirmation; Poutin'; A Night In Tunisia; Over The Rainbow; How High The Moon; Willow Weep For Me; Perdido; CD4: Pennies From Heaven; Blues In B Flat; In A Mellotone; Sunday; Cotton Tail; Gone With The Wind; Cotton Tail; My Romance; Cotton Tail; In A Mellotone; How Long Has This Been Going On?. CD5: The "C" Jam Blues; My Romance; Our Love Is Here To Stay; Avalon; Chelsea Bridge; Danny Boy; How High The Moon; How Long Has This Been Going On?; B-Flat Blues; Medley: How Long Has This Been Going On?/Sophisticated Lady; In A Mellotone; For Heavens Sake. CD6: The "C" Jam Blues; Don't Get Around Much Anymore; The Theme; Old Folks; Satin Doll; Things Ain't What They Used To Be; I've Got Rhythm; Satin Doll; Indiana. CD7: Things Ain't What They Used To Be; Cotton Tail; Greensleeves; Rockin' In Rhythm; Stompy Jones; Cry Me A River; Bojangles; Perdido; Our Love Is Here To Stay; Ain't Misbehavin'; Mop Mop; Our Love Is Here To Stay; Perdido. CD8: Did You Call Her Today (takes 1-8); Baby It's Cold Outside (takes 1-5); Cottontail; Old Folks (takes 1-5); Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone; The Song Is Ended; Poutin' (take 1-9); Randle's Island (takes 10-12).
Personnel: Ben Webster: tenor saxophone, piano (CD2# 9-12); various personnel.
The Brute And The Beautiful
Tracks: CD1: In A Mellotone; In A Mellotone; Blues in Bb; Cottontail; Nasty Attitude; Dancing On the Ceiling; Indiana; The Man I Love; Sometimes I'm Happy; Things Ain't What They Used To Be; Sweet Georgia Brown; Better Go; The Theme. CD2: Stardust; My Romance; Over the Rainbow; Old Folks; Come Sunday; Bye Bye Blackbird; Tenderly; Embraceable You; Ad Lib Blues; Sophisticated Lady; Danny Boy; Goin' Home; You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To; The Theme.
Personnel: Ben Webster: tenor saxophone; various personnel.
At Montmartre 1965/66
Tracks: Pennies From Heaven; Blues In B Flat; My Romance; In A Mellotone; How Long Has This Been Going On?; Sunday; Someone To Watch Over Me; Cottontail; Danny Boy; Gone With The Wind; Cottontail; My Romance.
Personnel: Ben Webster: tenor saxophone; Kenny Drew: piano (1-9); Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen: bass; Alex Riel: drums (1-9); Atli Bjorn: piano (10-12); Rune Carlsson: drums (10-12).
The Duke Box
Tracks: CD1: East St Louis Toodle-Oo; Me And You; Grievin'; Little Posey; My Last Goodbye; The Gal From Joe's; Tootin' Through The Roof; Day In Day Out; Merry Go Round; East St Louis Toodle-Oo; Ko Ko; Blue Goose; So Far So Good; Cotton Tail; Concerto For Cootie; Jack The Beat; Boy Meets Horn; The Segeant Was Shy; Never No Lamet. CD2: It's Glory; The Mooche; The Sheik Of Araby; Sepia Panorama; Ko Ko; There Shall Be No Night; Pussy Willow; Chatterbox; Mood Indigo; Harlem Airshaft; Ferryboat Serenade; Warm Valley; Stompy Jones; Chloe; Bojangles; On The Air; Rumpus In Richmond; Chaser; The Sidewalks Of New York; The Flaming Sword; Never No Lament; Caravan; Clarinet Lament. CD3: Slap Happy; Sepia Panorama; Boy Meets Horn; Way Down Yonder In New Orleans; Oh Babe Maybe Someday; Five O'Clock Whistle; Fanfare; Call Of The Canyon/Unidentified/All This And Heaven Too; Rockin' In Rhythm; Sophisticated Lady; Cotton Tail; Whispering Grass; Congo Brava; I Never Felt This Way Before; Across The Track Blues; Honeysuckle Rose; Wham; Star Dust; Rose Of The Rio Grande; St Louis Blues; Warm Valley; God Bless America. CD4: Take The A Train; Hayfoot Strawfoot; It Can't Be Wrong; What Am I Here For?; Mainstem (aka Altitude); Could It Be You; Goin' Up; Don't Get Around Much Anymore; Nevada; Things Ain't What They Used To Be; Take The A Train; Don't Get Around Much Anymore; Mainstem (aka Altitude); I Don't Want Anybody At All; Johnny Come Lately; Things Ain't What They Used To Be; Moon Mist; You'll Never Know; Tonight I Shall Sleep; I Don't Know What Kind Of Blues I Got; Don't Get Around Much Anymore; Moon Mist; I Wonder Why; Goin' Up. CD5: Star Spangled Banner; Take The A Train; Moon Mist; Tea For Two; Honeysuckle Rose; Star Dust; The "C" Jam Blues; West Indian Influence; Lighter Attitude; New World A-Coming; Floor Show; Don't Get Around Much Anymore. CD6: Ring Dem Bells; Medley; Jack The Bear; Do Nothing 'Till You Hear From Me; Summertime; Cotton Tail; Black And Tan Fantasy; Rockin' In Rhythm; Sentimental Lady; Trumpet In Spades; G.I. Jive; Amor Amor; Frankie And Johnny. CD7: Take The A Train; Suddenly It Jumped; Laura; Kissing Bug; Stompy Jones; Solid Old Man; Carnegie Blues; In A Mellotone; Fancy Dan; Things Ain't What They Used To Be; Black And Tan Fantasy; Frantic Fantasy; The "C" Jam Blues; Air Conditioned Jungle; On The Sunny Side Of The Street; Rockin' In Rhythm; Take The A Train; The Blues; Sono. CD8: Solid Old Man; Singin' In The Rain; Three Cent Stomp; Tulip Or Turnip; Take The A Train; Hy'a Sue; The "C" Jam Blues; Passion Flower; Clementine; Just A-Sittin' And A-Rockin'; One O'Clock Jump; Unbooted Character; Paradise; How You Sound; It's Monday Every Day; Caravan; Cotton Tail.
Personnel: Duke Ellington: piano, composer, arranger, bandleader; various personnel.
Storyville Masters Of Jazz: Johnny Hodges
Tracks: Don't Get Around Much Anymore; Passion Flower; Perdido; All Of Me; C Jam Blues; I Got It Band And That Ain't Good; In A Mellotone; Cambridge Blues; Brute's Roots; Bouncing With Ben; One For The Duke; Walkin' The Frog; Rabbit Pie; On The Sunny Side Of The Street; Good Queen Bess; The Jeep Is Jumpin'; Things Ain't What They Used To Be; Jeep's Blues; Dooji Wooji.
Personnel: Johnny Hodges: alto saxophone; various personnel.
The Blues Box
Tracks: CD1: Tomorrow Night ; Clementine Blues; See See Rider; Raining On The Cold, Cold Ground; Jelly, Jelly; Too Late To Cry Baby; Call Me Darling; Why Did You Go; Swinging With Lonnie; Please Help Me; My Baby Is Gone; You Don't Know What Love Is; Don't Cry Baby; Good Morning Mr. Blues; Riverside Blues; Jelly Roll Baker; Trouble In Mind; Worried Life Blues; T.B. Blues; Spann's Boogie; Goin' Down Slow. CD2: The Dirty Dozen; I Had My Fun; Caldonia; Oh! Red; St. Louis Stomp; Milk Cow Blues; Dad's Piece; You've Got The Right String But The Wrong Yo Yo; Red's Own Blues; Uncle Sam's Blues; It Feels So Good; How Long Blues; Tain't Nobody's Biznezz; Prison Bound Blues; Johnson Machine Gun Blues; Miss Ida B; I Done You Wrong; 18. Brown Skin Mama; Goin' Down Slow; Sunnyland's Boogie; One Room Country Shack. CD3: Big Ben; Boot That Thing; Springfield Blues; Henry Ford Blues; I'm A Dangerous Man; True Thing; Whole Lot Of Children; The Last Laugh; 44 Blues; Women Be Wise; Trouble Everywhere I Roam; Special Delivery Blues; Murder Gonna Be My Crime; Shorty George Blues; I'm A Mighty Tight Woman; Bedroom Blues; Up The Country Blues; You Don't Know My Mind; I Must Get Mine In Front; Willie Anderson's Blues; Jim Jam Blues; Hesitatin' Blues; Mama, You Don't Mean Me No Good. CD4: Shake Them Down; Saturday Night Jump; Jinx Blues; Pick A Pickle; Ramblin' And Wanderin' Blues; Old Saw Mill Blues; Don't The Apples Look Mellow; El Paso Blues; Juanita Blues; Vitamin "A" Blues: Drop Down Mama; I'd Been Well Warned; Stop That Thing; Diving Duck Blues; Vernita Blues; Bottle Up And Go; Mountain Cat Blues; Doctor Blues; Got On His Mind; Meet Him Over In Paradise; Goodbye Baby; It's Gotta Be Jelly 'Cause Jam Don't Shake Thataway; She Walked Around With Her Mouth Poked; Greyhound Blues. CD5: Glory Of Love; Careless Love; I Gets The Blues When It Rains; My Name Is Lee Conley Broonzy; Take This Hammer; See See Rider; Diggin' My Potatoes; Midnight Special; Keep Your Hands Off Her; I Got A Girl; You Better Mind; I Love You So Much; Sixteen Tons; Black Brown And White; Goodnight Irene; Dust My Broom; I Heard My Baby; I Ain't Gonna Pick No More Cotton; Miss Nelly Grey; Tell Me Baby; Jump Blues. CD6: El Capitan; This Is A Good Time To Write A Song; I'm So Alone; True Love; Two Of A Kind; Big City Girl; The Question; Misery; Fattening Frogs For Snakes; Born With The Blues; Whizzle Wham; How Long Blues; Blues Before Sunrise; In The Evening; Tomorrow Night; In The Dark; Fine And Mellow; Drinkin' Wine Spodie-Odie; Third Degree; Five Long Years; A Reel Good Feeling; Kansas City Blues; How Long Blues; Cherry Red. CD7: I Can't Understand; Movin' Down The River; The Story Of Sonnyboy Williamson; Rebecca Blues; I Wonder If I Have A Friend; Same Girl; Girl Friends; Tippin' Through Customs; Little Girl; You Can't Get Away; I'm Crazy About Your Pie; The Sweetest Girl I Know; Easy Rider; Rock Island Line; Find My Way Home; Midnight Special; The Chariot Is Coming; Howdy Blues; In The Evening. DVD: Introduction/Dupree Special; Mean Old Lonesome Train; Alberta; Tell Me Baby; You're My Baby; Goin' Back Home; Drivin' Wheel; They Gonna Ball Tonight; Kindhearted Women; Little And Low; Seagram's Jam. Henry Gray: Blues Dance; Cold Chills; Ninth Ward Blues; Life Is A One Way Ticket; Beggin' Woman; Me And Hard Work; I Wouldn't Give A Blind Sow An Acorn.
Personnel: CD1: Lonnie Johnson: guitar, vocal; Otis Spann: piano, vocal. CD2: Speckled Red: piano, vocal; Sunnyland Slim: piano, vocal. CD3: Roosevelt Sykes: piano, vocal; Sippie Wallace: vocal; Little Brother Montgomery: piano, vocal. CD4: Big Joe Williams: guitar, vocal; Sleepy John Estes: guitar, vocal; Robert Peter Williams: guitar, vocal. CD5: Big Bill Broonzy: guitar, vocal; John Henry Barbee: guitar, vocal. CD6: Memphis Slim: piano, vocal; Champion Jack Dupree: piano, vocal; Eddie Boyd: piano, vocal; Jay McShann: piano, vocal; Thomas Puggard Muller: guitar; Erik Molbach: bass; Ole Christiansen: bass; Ole Skipper Mosgard: bass; Mogens Seidelin: bass; Jorn Elniff: drums; Alex Riel: drums; Thorkild Moller: drums. CD7: Sonny Boy Williamson: harmonica, vocal; Memphis Slim: piano vocal; Sonny Terry: harmonica, vocal; Brownie McGhee: guitar, vocal; Matt Murphy: guitar; Billie Stepney: drums; Svend Erik Norregaard: drums. DVD: Champion Jack Dupree: piano, vocal; Sonny Boy Williamson: harmonica, vocal; Lennart Nylen: guitar; Sture Nordin: bass; Robert Lockwood Jr.: guitar, vocal; James Carroll Booker 111: piano; Henry Gray: piano, vocal; Boogie Bill Webb: guitar; Harmonica Slim: harmonica; Cousin Joe: piano, vocal.