This CD is a fantastic tribute to the great string band The Mississippi Sheiks. The Sheiks consisted of singer / guitarist Walter Vinson & fiddler Lonnie Chatmon. They sometimes included Lonnie’s brothers Sam & Armenter, (aka) Bo Carter. Sam was already a renowned blues & folk singer, and Bo was performing as well in those early days. After Lonnie’s death in the 1940’s, they were ultimately rediscovered during the music’s resurgence in the 1960’s. The mood on this CD is both gentle & relaxing, and teems with the old time sounds of string and jug band music.
The Sheiks were magnificent at playing the blues, but kept a large array of musical styles in their song bags. These songs reflect their wide repertoire of recorded material. The talented musicians here are pretty much on the money when it comes to fitting tributes like this. Many of these songs are rare, and would need some time to dig up in the CD shops of America. Seventeen long running tracks are laid out, with a different resonance to each, as each performer applies his or her own touch and idea as to what these songs should sound like. The liner notes have a nice write up about the original members of the Sheiks, and a short story on how each song was created for the recording.
The center picture on the CD’s inside cover is of the King Edward Hotel in Jackson, MS. The hotel was used as a remote recording site in the 20’s and 30’s. It was here that the Mississippi Sheiks recorded for Okeh Records in December of 1930. The city of Jackson is now in the process of remodeling the hotel to its early splendor. If you love the beautiful music of the bygone era of string band, then this recording will surely please you. Remember that the songs herein are just a fraction of the recordings by the Sheiks, but are a grand reminder of how story & song can be so easily forgotten.