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March 1997

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Various Artists
The Best of Fat Possum
Capricorn Records

Dave ThompsonThere are several reasons that The Best Of Fat Possum qualifies as our surprise pick this month. First is that a major recording company is releasing blues this deep and authentic. Second is the compiler’s ability to take six different artists and blend their music into such a cohesive sound. Finally, even though I had previously heard all of these cuts when originally released, the power and purity of the music still completely overwhelmed me.

Cedell DavisThe Mississippi-based Fat Possum Records has in this decade taken the task of preserving and documenting the contemporary Mississippi Delta blues scene. This is raw, rhythmic jook joint blues at its finest, serious stuff that’s not for the faint of heart. The music reeks of cheap whiskey and cigarette smoke. If you’re unsure as to whether this is your kind of music, then this CD will give you a small taste to determine whether to venture further into the Fat Possum catalog.

Junior KimbroughI’d recommend that you take that trip. The six artists represented here are R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Dave Thompson, Paul Jones, Cedell Davis, and The Jelly Roll Kings. My personal favorite is the Thompson, who brings a youthful vitality to the music without sacrificing its rootsy sounds. One of his two cuts, "You Took My Baby," is raw, reckless and powerful. Thompson’s not too far away from many of the current Chicago blues guitarists. For a more traditional sound, check out Cedell Davis’ rough slide guitar and shouting vocals on "I Don’t Know Why."

Take a listen to The Best Of Fat Possum, and experience today’s Mississippi Delta blues.

- Bill Mitchell

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