The Blues Festival E Guide
Between 1930 and 1935, Sam, Lonnie and Armenter Chatman, the three sons of slaves who along with Walter Vinson made up the core of the Mississippi Sheiks created some of the most memorable blues rants and square dance hollers ever conjured up.
Their sound was indefinable - part country and part apocalyptic blues filtered through yearning fiddle and gut bucket guitar – and by the time their race was run, The Mississippi Sheiks had redefined what a string band could do. Over the course of nearly a hundred singles - seventeen of which are gloriously interpreted here – their scratchy howling at the moon tales of life at the crossroads captured the hearts of a temporarily colour blind America as they toured the country, selling millions of records along the way.
Though they only were together for five years, by the time they called it quits the Mississippi Sheiks had left a body of work behind that still resonates in today’s world. This is music that sounds as ancient as a Dead Sea Scroll and like it could have been written yesterday.
It’s a body of music that Vancouver songwriter, musician and producer Steve Dawson has been obsessed with for many years, and this project represents the fruition of a long time dream.
“I was never interested in recreating the music. It’s more of a conversation and exchange with the originals that I had in mind. So, when I started this project, I was looking for good interpreters who could capture the essence of the songs in a kind of portrait. I wanted to work with people who could celebrate the music and the songs”
There aren’t many CDs like this one being recorded today.“We were trying to create a vibe that hearkened back to the Stax Volt days where singers and musicians would come in not knowing what they were going to play that day, but would come together and create something spontaneous and in the moment.”