Saturday, September 10, 2022

VA - Newport Folk Festival Best Of The Blues 1959-68 [2001] (3 x CD's)


VA - Newport Folk Festival Best Of The Blues 1959-68 [2001] (3 x CD's)

The Newport Folk Festival was a HUGE, potentially career-making gig on the blues circuit, so a lot of bluesmen pulled out all the stops! Here are the best performances from 10 years of shows, featuring a Who's Who of blues legends and 11 unreleased tracks! 

Performers were paid just $50 to appear at Newport, but careers were made on this main stage. Dick Waterman who became a booking agent and business advisor to many of the rediscovered bluesmen recalled: "It's important to remember that the record companies were well represented at the festival. You only had about fifteen minutes to play, but if you performed really well in those few minutes, as you turned from the microphone and left the stage, you just might be greeted by John Hammond of Columbia, or Maynard Solomon of Vanguard, or Jac Holzman of Elektra. There were no lawyers or middlemen involved. The guy who made the decision at the record company was there to make a deal." (Ace)

Newport Folk Festival: Best of the Blues 1959-1968 presents live performances from many of the top blues players of the era. From Skip James to Mance Lipscomb to Memphis Slim, these musicians play mostly acoustic blues before an appreciative audience. From the first disc, Mississippi John Hurt's six-song set is a standout. Piedmont fingerpicking and resonant vocals highlight "Sliding Delta," "Candy Man," and "Pallet on Your Floor." Muddy Waters delivers fine versions of "Walkin' Blues" and "I Can't Be Satisfied," but his acoustic guitar lacks the rude punch that usually flavors his blues. Still, these songs make for interesting comparison to his electric work. Disc two finds Reverend Gary Davis belting out "Samson & Delilah" and "I Won't Be Back No More." Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry offer a rousing set, including a previously unreleased version of "Drink Muddy Water." Their spunky "Key to the Highway" proves once again that the blues can sometimes be joyful, while "My Baby Done Changed the Lock on the Door" reminds one to keep an eye on one's girl and best friend. Lightnin' Hopkins brings an urban touch along with -- shocking though it may be -- an electric guitar. Always laid-back and relaxed, there is something timeless about his performance of "The Woman I'm Loving, She's Taking My Appetite" and "Baby Please Don't Go." Like John Lee Hooker, his timing and approach are all his own. Many players like Son House had been brought back from obscurity thanks to the folk revival, so the historical value of this music cannot be overstated. With nearly three hours of music and a live audience, it is also the next best thing to having been at Newport during these exciting years. These discs are highly recommended to anyone with even a passing interest in acoustic blues. (AllMusic review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.)

It's almost hard to believe that this CD exists. So many excellent performances all recorded live at the legendary Newport Folk Festival. And the sound is amazing, crisp and clear. There is not a single throw-away among 16 performers and the 51 cuts here.


Track lists

01 Mississippi John Hurt Sliding Delta 3:31
02 Mississippi John Hurt Candy Man 2:32
03 Mississippi John Hurt Coffee Blues 2:54
04 Mississippi John Hurt Stagolee 3:21
05 Mississippi John Hurt Here I Am Lord Send Me 3:54
06 Mississippi John Hurt Pallet On Your Floor 3:19
07 Skip James Devil Got My Woman 3:19
08 Skip James Hard Time Killing Floor Blues 2:20
09 Son House Preaching Blues 3:52
10 Son House Death Letter Blues 4:00
11 Son House Empire State Express 3:52
12 Son House Son Blues 6:33
13 Bukka White Aberdeen Mississippi Blues 4:51
14 Mississippi Fred Mcdowell Louise 2:40
15 Mississippi Fred Mcdowell If The River Was Whiskey 2:37
16 Muddy Waters Walkin' Blues 4:05
17 Muddy Waters I Can't Be Satisfied 3:21

01 Robert Pete Williams Levee Camp Blues 5:22
02 Robert Pete Williams Midnight Boogie 3:25
03 Robert Pete Williams On My Way From Texas 3:51
04 Mance Lipscomb Freddie 1:53
05 Mance Lipscomb So Different Blues 2:32
06 Mance Lipscomb God Moves On The Water 2:35
07 Jesse Fuller San Francisco Bay Blues 2:48
08 Jesse Fuller I Double Double Do Love You 2:44
09 Reverend Gary Davis Samson And Delilah 3:36
10 Reverend Gary Davis I Won't Be Back No More 3:43
11 Sonny Terry And Brownie Mcghee The Train Is Leaving 6:46
12 Sonny Terry And Brownie Mcghee Drink Muddy Water 2:52
13 Sonny Terry And Brownie Mcghee Long Gone 2:59
14 Sonny Terry And Brownie Mcghee Key To The Highway 3:52
15 Sonny Terry And Brownie Mcghee My Baby Done Changed 2:42
16 Sleepy John Estes Clean Up At Home 3:00

01 Lightnin' Hopkins The Woman I'm Loving 3:08
02 Lightnin' Hopkins Baby Please Don't Go 2:46
03 Lightnin' Hopkins Shake That Thing 1:44
04 John Lee Hooker Tupelo 3:14
05 John Lee Hooker Bus Station Blues 3:16
06 John Lee Hooker Let's Make It 2:41
07 John Lee Hooker Great Fire Of Natchez 4:58
08 John Lee Hooker Boom Boom 3:00
09 John Lee Hooker I Can't Quit You Baby 2:33
10 Memphis Slim How Long 3:25
11 Memphis Slim Black Cat Crossed My Path 2:48
12 Memphis Slim Harlem Bound 1:39
13 Memphis Slim Piano Instrumental 2:13
14 Muddy Waters & Otis Spann Blow Wind Blow 3:10
15 Muddy Waters & Otis Spann Flood 4:51
16 Chambers Brothers See See Rider 3:23
17 Paul Butterfield Blues Band Blues With A Feeling 3:58
18 Paul Butterfield Blues Band Born In Chicago 4:06



  1. Excellent.......John Lee Hooker always great value.


    1. Lots more on this set too, Stephen. Enjoy!