The Mississippi Delta has some of the most fertile soil in the world and became one of the richest cotton growing areas in the world which, before the American Civil War, was worker exclusively by black slaves brought over from Africa. The blues was forged on the anvil of poverty and hardship the black sharecroppers and tenant farmers had to endure. Born of the harsh, brutal conditions of life in the South, and full of pain, frustration and anger, the passionate, soulful sounds of the Delta revolutionised the sound of 20th-century music. This compilation celebrates some of its greatest exponents.
Lee Morgan’s first meeting on record with Clifford Jordan was in June 1957, when Morgan was about to turn nineteen and Jordan had just begun making a name for himself. After their first collaboration, the precocious Morgan occasionally called Jordan to play tenor on his recordings; thus they recorded together twice in 1960 and once in January 1962.
Based on Shakespeare’s most famous romantic play, Prokofiev’s realisation of Romeo and Juliet as a full-length narrative ballet was audacious in its day. It was written during a period of artistic turmoil under a Soviet regime in which arguments raged over such fundamental aspects as the choice between a happy or a tragic ending. Famous movements such as the Dance of the Knights have helped maintain Romeo and Juliet as Prokofiev’s bestloved stage work. Marin Alsop’s acclaimed cycle of Prokofiev’s Symphonies has been described as ‘an outstanding achievement’ by BBC Music Magazine.
Lightnin' Hopkins' plaintive, soft-rolling blues style is exemplified on "Let's Go Sit on the Lawn," "Just a Wristwatch on My Arm," "I'm a Crawling Black Snake," Willie Dixon's "My Babe," and others. Accompanied only by himself on guitar (and oh what a guitar he plays), Leonard Gaskin (bass), and Herb Lovelle (drums), Hopkins' seductive, intricate guitar picks and strums will dance around in your head long after this CD has played. His voice, which sounds like it's aged in Camels and Jim Beam, conveys his heartfelt sagas to the fullest. A prolific songwriter, Hopkins wrote every song except the Dixon tune.
California experienced a phenomenal growth in independent recording in the postwar years, after decades of dominance by the major labels. Millions had flocked there during the war years and they needed entertainment.