Mainstream America was introduced to the blues through the electrified sounds of Muddy Waters and B.B. King. Others, including little-known Joe Callicott, chose to stay and work the fields, and practice their magic in the run-down juke joints of the Mississippi Delta. The reissue of Callicott's 1967 recording offers background for all that Waters and King would serve in the big cities to the north. These 12 songs were recorded live and are unadorned with accompaniment ... but Callicott needs none. He'd only been back at the guitar for a couple of years after putting it away following the death of a friend, and the rust is evident in places. But precision never added anything to acoustic blues, and his occasional miscues and the sparse production tends to put the listener on the bench right next to him. There are times when you can even hear him clearing his throat midsong. Although Callicott was 67 when this was recorded, his voice has the quality of someone half his age. There's still plenty of whiskey and smoke though, and Callicott leaves no doubt that he's lived these songs. Don't pass up the chance to sit down beside him.
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