(2-LP set) (45 RPM) An influential figure in the early 20th century development of blues and popular music as a music scholar and as the composer of numerous popular songs, W.C. Handy has often been called "the Father of the Blues." When two of the finest and most popular of mid-20th century musical figures, jazz and popular music icon Nat "King" Cole and style setting arranger extraordinare Nelson Riddle undertook an album dedicated to the music of W.C. Handy, the results were at once a worthy tribute and transformative. Particularly smooth vocals by Nat "King" Cole were aptly backed by resourceful orchestrations from Nelson Riddle.
From the landmark laments of "St. Louis Blues" and the loving appreciation of "Morning Star" on through to the colloquial rag of "Joe Turner's Blues," the varied facets of W.C. Handy's songs were given a lastingly freshened interpretation. Along with the contemporary Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy (also available here at Acoustic Sounds), this album is considered by many to be the best anthology of the music of W.C. Handy.
Included with this deluxe reissue is a striking six-panel booklet complete with rare photos, a 1,600-word essay by Jordan Taylor on the album and a 1,200-word essay by Michael Fremer about the remastering process. This truly is a no-expenses-spared project, resulting in the ultimate version of this title.