R & R
Forgotten superstars of the 1930s whose popularity saw them eventually play for President Roosevelt, The MIssissippi Sheiks' formidable legacy is given a loving makeover by seventeen sympathetic acts on a collection that deserves to cement the Sheiks' status as an incalculable influence on the development of American music between the wars.
Perhaps their most renowned song is "Sitting on Top of the World", claimed by Howlin' Wolf (Chester Burnett) on his own sleeves and credited to the Wolf by Cream in the song's most well known outing. In Ron Forbes-Roberts's sleeve notes to Things About Comin' My Way, however, it is attributed to the Sheiks' Walter Vinson and Lonnie Chatmon and on the CD is tastefully interpreted by the Carolina Chocolate Drops.
Although it is for their blues recordings that the Sheiks will be remembered by all too few, like other performing acts of the period, their repertoire was influenced by country, pop and jazz and this is reflected in the arrangements on offer.
It is the blues cuts that resonate best, however, none better than on Ndidi Onukwulu's emotive interpretation of the title track. The gospel-tinger holler of "I've Got Blood in my Eyes for You" (Robin Holcomb) is excellent and the North Mississippi Allstars uncharacteristically unplugging, show their versatility and interpretive country-blues ability with a rousing back porch arrangement of "It's Backfirin' Now".
If Things About Comin' My Way encourages listeners to seek the original recordings and fill another aural gap in the history of modern Western music, then compiler Steve Dawson's devoted efforts will not have been in vain.