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In Paris

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In Paris

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Performer Notes:

  • Personnel includes: Willie Dixon, Memphis Slim, Phillipe Combelle.
  • Recorded in November 1962.
  • In Paris would have historical importance just because the early-‘60s European tours by the blues titan duo of Willie Dixon and Memphis Slim laid the foundation for the American Folk Blues Festival tours to bring more extensive packages of blues artists to Europe — and that genuinely changed music history. The songs are pretty evenly split between the two, and both individuals ironically show better on the other’s tracks. Dixon’s playing is a big revelation here, starting with an extended slapping solo on the opening boogie-woogie “Rock and Rolling the House.” Even with all the blues and rock & roll foundations his playing laid on Chess sessions, there aren’t many chances to hear Dixon the bass player putting to use his 20-odd years of live playing experience. Listening to his countermelodies and solid foundation, you understand why blues label chiefs chose him for session work, and Slim shines here too as an accompanist, be it on the slow blues “New Way to Love” or leaning on the left hand for the uptempo “African Hutch with a Boogie Beat.” You won’t find Dixon’s trademark songs here — “Do De Do” (aka “Do the Do”) is the best known of the bunch — and most of them are pretty light I-got-a-girl-who-loves-me-right blues. Slim deals more with archetypes: the exuberant “Baby Please Come Home” mixes “Baby Please Don’t Go” with “Boom Boom,” and “How Come You Do Me Do Like You Do?” is effectively spare. Gotta bear in mind, too, that what are blues clich‚s now were undoubtedly revelatory to a Paris audience in 1962, and Slim’s haunting “Pigalle Love” is a great example of adapting universal blues to the specific locale. In Paris is hardly the best disc you can hear from either artist, but the performances are lively enough, and French drummer Philippe Combelle unobtrusively anchors the music. And In Paris does offer an intriguing glimpse into one style of blues performance just before the Brits turned the whole thing around. ~ Don Snowden

Format: CD (1 Disc); Stereo

Country: USA

Studio/Live: Live

Release Date: 18 July, 2006

Label: Acrobat (USA)

Dimensions: 12.7 × 13.97 × 1.27 centimeters (0.06 kg)

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