Off the Charts
You could go your whole life and not hear the Mississippi Sheiks. But, you couldn’t go a day without hearing their influence.
The 1930s artists popularized a blend of blues and country music that had a powerful impact on other musicians of the time, including a young Robert Johnson. And it was Johnson who influenced Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, who influenced Clapton, Dylan, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, and therefore everyone since.
Somehow fittingly, in the same way the Sheiks remain relatively obscure, they are celebrated here by a list of mighty, but commercially underappreciated, artists.
John Hammond, the most directly influential of the bunch, is here with “Stop and Listen,” and Bruce Cockburn gets “Honey Babe Let the Deal Go Down.” Geoff Muldaur and the Texas Sheiks drawls through a greasy “The World is Going Wrong,” and boozy-voiced Madeleine Peyroux pleads through “Please Baby.” Bill Frisell, Kelly Joe Phelps, Robin Holcomb and the North Mississippi Allstars also pitch in.
The corker comes with the laid-back run The Carolina Chocolate Drops take through “Sitting on Top of the World.”