‘Beale Street Saturday Night’
Various Artists (Omnivore)
4 stars out of 5
When it comes to the blues, no American city — or anywhere else on the planet, for that matter — can compare to Memphis. Heck, in 1977, the U.S. Congress, via Senate Resolution 335, officially recognized Memphis as “the home of the blues.” Those were dark days for the city, however, as much of the vibrant downtown music was bulldozed under to make for urban renewal.
Renowned locals musician Jim Dickinson wanted to keep the spirit of Memphis blues alive and gathered a handful of the city’s best musicians for a series of recordings that became “Beale Street Saturday Night.” Originally released in 1979, the folks at Omnivore have put together the first-ever reissue of that masterful record, bringing the classic Memphis sound to a new generation of listeners.
From opener “Walkin’ Down Beale Street” by Sid Selvidge straight through to closer “Roll On, Mississippi” by Grandma Dixie Davis, this set is a must for fans of the blues. Additional keepers include “Big Fat Mama/Liquor Store” by Sleepy John Estes, “Furry’s Blues” by Furry Lewis, “Rock Me Baby” by Teenie Hodges, “On the Road Again” by Mud Boy & The Neutrons, and “Chicken Ain’t Nothin’ But a Bird” by Lewis. Highly recommended. (Jeffrey Sisk)