This is a good collection of piano-accompanied vocals sporting bluesmen who worked the lumber camps and oil fields of rural Texas, as well as the red-light districts of cities like Galveston and Houston. Big Boy Knox shows a strong city influence in his decorative right-hand work, as does Robert Cooper, whose playing points to the influence of Fats Waller. Joe Pullem is on board with his hit, "Black Gal," which is perhaps overstated by three takes and a variation. The vocals are good, however, and the piano playing is uniformly excellent. Stylistically, this music falls somewhere between ragtime, blues, and vaudeville.
‘The blues come to Texas, loping like a mule,’ Blind Lemon Jefferson sang through a shower of surface noise as he made his recording debut in March 1926. He established the primacy of Texas blues musicians that continued unchallenged for the next 30 years, encompassing the likes of Henry ‘Ragtime’ Thomas, Texas Alexander, T-Bone Walker, Smokey Hogg, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown, Clarence Garlow, Lil’ Son Jackson, Lowell Fulson and Frankie Lee Sims. Other famous musicians recorded when they were passing through Texas, and that included Lonnie Johnson, Walter Davis, The Mississippi Sheiks, Robert Johnson, Roy Brown, Joe Turner, Honeyboy Edwards, Memphis Slim and Jimmy McCracklin.
NEAL BLACK, Texas Blues Rock, Roots Musician, has spent the last 25 years electrifying audiences around the World with his fusion of Blues, Rock, Roots Music. Referred to by one critic as "THE MASTER OF HIGH VOLTAGE TEXAS BOOGIE". His albums have received 4**** reviews from Rolling Stone Music Critics as well as reaching the Number One position on European Radio Charts. As a guitarist Neal Black's credits include performances on stage or in the studio with Blues/Rock legends: Chuck Berry, Popa Chubby, Jimmy Dawkins, Larry Garner, Lucky Peterson, Johnnie Johnson, The Chambers Brothers, Papa John Creach, Elliott Murphy, Johnny Copeland, Jimmy Vivino, Michael Meritt…
Deep in the heart of the Cold War, there was once a miracle in Moscow – Texas-based classical pianist Van Cliburn, of whom no one had heard, conquered at the First Tchaikovsky Competition, an event set aside to showcase Soviet talent. Cliburn was warned by his own government not to go, given the tense political relationship between the United States and Soviet Union at the time, and once he arrived he was greeted as a party crasher, subject to hostile stares and animosity of the kind he had never dreamed of back in Texas. And it was Cliburn, at the end, which brought down the house, and held the award. Back in America, he was greeted with a ticker tape parade and was the subject of a best-selling biography by Abram Chasins, The Van Cliburn Story, copies of which continue to clog the shelves of American thrift stores five decades hence. Ultimately, though, Cliburn's celebrity lost its luster. Nerves, ultra-picky perfectionism, and mishandling by management led to his early retirement from the concert scene; his greatest latter-day achievement being the force behind the Van Cliburn Piano Competition, America's most prestigious such event.
The pianist on this CD, Yulliana Avdeeva, is the winner of the Chopin piano competition in 2010. Checking the internet, you will find that the decision by the jury was controversial. Her playing was considered not to display the proper Chopin style, and too cool. I wasn't present at the competition, so I cannot write much about this. But having bought this CD, mainly because of use of old instruments, and the direction by the recently deceased icon of old music Frans Brüggen, I must say that I was totally blown away by the playing of Yulianna Avdeeva.