J.B. Lenoir - The Mojo (1951-1954)

J.B. Lenoir - The Mojo (1951-1954)
Styles: Chicago Blues, Regional Blues, Electric Chicago Blues
Genre: Blues
Album: The Mojo (1951-1954)
Release Date: September 30, 2010
Artist: J.B. Lenoir
Duration: 01:06:48

At first listen, J.B. Lenoir might not impress. He was a rudimentary guitar player, generally using slow to midtempo Jimmy Reed-like blues progressions, and his voice was high-pitched and could waver at times, sometimes resembling a screech more than anything else.

But first impressions can be deceiving. Lenoir was passionate and intelligent, with a strong personal and political agenda, and all these traits combine to make his body of work unlike any other player in the blues genre. This collection brings together his earliest recordings for JOB and Parrot (the label to which he jumped in 1954), and includes his only national hit, the sublime "Mama Talk to Your Daughter," which hit the R&B charts in 1955, essentially functioning as Parrot's swan song. Everything here is wonderful, messy Chicago blues, and slickness is nowhere to be seen, having been replaced by wry, raw emotion. Starting in 1953 J.T. Brown began playing tenor sax on Lenoir's sides, and the addition helped define two of Lenoir's greatest songs, the harrowing "I'm in Korea" and the call-it-like-you-see-it "Eisenhower Blues," which caused a political stir when it was released and was subsequently withdrawn and replaced by "Tax Paying Blues," the exact same song with all references to the President removed. It still works, either way, and shows the level of Lenoir's commitment to his music. He was never satisfied with standard blues clichés, and as he matured as a writer, his songs displayed a kind of fierce awareness of the world around him that sets him apart from almost any other blues player of his day. There are several editions of Lenoir's JOB material on the market, but this one, because it adds in his great, late Parrot sides, is an improved way to get them.

I Want My BabyJ.B. Lenoir2:47
The MountainJ.B. Lenoir2:51
My Baby Told MeJ.B. Lenoir2:56
Eisenhower BluesJ.B. Lenoir2:55
Sitting Down ThinkingJ.B. Lenoir2:59
I'll Die Tryin'J.B. Lenoir3:10
Deep in Debt BluesJ.B. Lenoir2:48
Slow Down WomanJ.B. Lenoir2:49
I Have MarriedJ.B. Lenoir2:28
I'm Gonna Die Someday (I Must Die)J.B. Lenoir2:18
I'm in KoreaJ.B. Lenoir3:09
The MojoJ.B. Lenoir2:58
How Can I LeaveJ.B. Lenoir3:05
Mamma Talk to Your DaughterJ.B. Lenoir3:01
People Are MeddlingJ.B. Lenoir3:00
Let's RollJ.B. Lenoir2:39
How Much MoreJ.B. Lenoir2:59
Korea BluesJ.B. Lenoir2:52
LouiseJ.B. Lenoir3:04
Man Watch Your WomanJ.B. Lenoir3:12
Tax Paying BluesJ.B. Lenoir3:13
Carrie LeeJ.B. Lenoir2:46
Play a Little WhileJ.B. Lenoir2:49

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