Fat Possum’s massive 10-album blues collection, Worried Blues in stores tomorrow, 7/21

Over the history of recorded music, there have been numerous examples of rare cuts, sometimes decades-old, suddenly becoming available to collectors. The latest, in stores tomorrow and dubbed Worried Blues on Fat Possum, features exceedingly rare Delta blues recordings by legends of the genre. Though some of these recordings appeared on a limited CD release in the 1990s, this is the first time they are appearing on vinyl and in wide release.

Each of the ten albums is devoted to a single artist. The albums include music by Reverend Gary Davis, Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt, R.L. Burnside, Furry Lewis, Bukka White, Reverend Robert Wilkins, Honeyboy Edwards (pictured below), Houston Stackhouse, and Little Brother Montgomery.

The story of the recordings is the stuff of legend in the tight-knit world of blues aficionados and collectors. During the folk revival of the early 1960s, Gene Rosenthal of Adelphi Records and blues musician John Fahey set out across the American South to “rediscover” and document these towering blues figures. The bulk of the music was recorded between 1963-1972.

The story gets even more interesting because the recordings sat in a box untouched at Rosenthal’s home for over two decades. Now this music is finally seeing the light. There are powerful versions of some classic songs within the collection, which will take a concerted effort for even the most devoted fan to digest considering there are 125 cuts on the full compilation.

Reverend Robert Wilkins sing shouts a powerful version of “You Gotta Move.” Skip James moans through “Worried Blues.” R.L. Burnside, an incandescent electric guitarist who played many times in his later years in New Orleans, plays acoustic. Mississippi John Hurt strums a folky version of “Make Me A Pallet on the Floor.” That’s just touching the surface.

In a nod to the modern era of music, which is as distant from when these songs were recorded as another planet, the release was developed in collaboration with Amazon Music. One song from each album of the historic series is available to stream now on Amazon Music or here.

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