J.B. Lenoir Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues

What Martin Scorsese hasn’t done for the blues is probably the heart of the blues’ appeal in the first place. Its fans have always been endeared to the genre because of its uncompromising honesty, its straightforward emotional appeal and its total disregard for commercial success. What Scorsese has done for the blues is help to expose lesser known greats like J.B. Lenoir to those who might be interested in tracing the blues’ roots. Songs like "Mama Talk To Your Daughter” and "Don’t Touch My Head” open one’s eyes to a unique breed of performer who, armed with distinctive, if not highly feminine-sounding, vocals and a spirited, boogie-esque guitar style, took his highly topical, politically-charged approach to the blues all the way to the Chicago club scene of the ’50s and ’60s. The Mississippi-born Lenoir was schooled in the blues of Arthur Crudup, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Blind Lemon Jefferson and did tours of duty with Sonny Boy Williamson II and Elmore James in New Orleans before leaving for the promise of Chicago and the company of Sunnyland Slim, Memphis Minnie and Big Bill Broonzy. The rest is less than the history it should be, but this collection portrays a style of melodic blues that are, in this case, one of a kind. Of special interest here is "Eisenhower Blues” — a track Lenoir was forced to rename to "Tax Paying Blues” by the government of the time. (MCA)