Tommy McClennan,
Cross Cut Saw:
The Complete Recordings 1940-1942

(Document, 2002)

This is a CD that will delight any listener who enjoys good blues, but it may prove difficult for the non-blues lover. Here you get blues as it should be played and sung. It is uncompromising music, played from the heart with little ornamentation or allowance made to bring in new listeners.

The liner notes are like a history of blues music and these are complemented by a website packed with extra information on the music and on McClennan. The recordings are set out in chronological order to allow the listener to appreciate the progression of the music and the performer. This can prove a little unusual for the casual listener as more than one version of a song may be included.

For instance, the title track, "Cross Cut Saw," is probably the better-known track on the album as it was a hit in the 1960s for Albert King. You have two versions on the CD to compare.

This CD is a sort of historical document and as such it will provide nuggets of great music for even the casual listener but the aficionado will have hours of enjoyment.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 28 September 2002

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