Fourth & Beale [Bonus Tracks]

Fourth & Beale [Bonus Tracks]

by Furry Lewis


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Fourth and Beale is a remarkably intimate session, recorded at Furry Lewis' rooming house in Memphis on March 5, 1969 with Lewis (he was approaching 80-years-old at the time) playing guitar and singing while propped up in bed. The sound is excellent (Terry Manning taped the session), literally placing the listener right at the foot of Lewis' bed. Truthfully, the guitar is just slightly out of tune and Lewis gets more obviously inebriated as things proceed, but when he pulls out his gentle slide guitar runs full of elegant and watery overtones, all of that melts away. The first nine tracks here were originally released as an LP in 1971 on Barclay Records, and were reissued in 1974 on Blue Star and on CD in 1993 by Verve. This edition adds six additional songs to bring things to around an hour in length, and since Manning wisely left in a fair amount of Lewis' between song patter, a clear portrait of this endearing country bluesman emerges. Highlights include a fine version of Sleepy John Estes' "Going to Brownsville" (the liner notes attribute the song to Lewis, but he clearly picked it up from Estes), Lewis' signature "Casey Jones" (the original late-'20s two-sided 78 of this song by Lewis had it entitled "Kassie Jones"), and a short take of "A Dog Named Blue" where Lewis attempts to demonstrate a banjo frailing technique on the guitar only to have everything collapse beneath his fingers; the song ends up clattering to a close with a lovable chuckle. The most moving track is the final one, a halting version of "God Be with Us 'Till We Meet Again" where Lewis' hushed vocal and gorgeous, fluid slide lines are so well matched that the song soars with heartbreaking grace. Lewis sounds stronger and more certain on his late-'20s recordings, but these intimate tracks are so disarmingly charming and casual that they make the best kind of audio verite.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/01/2006
Label: Sunnyside
UPC: 0016728305020
catalogNumber: 3050
Rank: 143382

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