Jimmy Witherspoon feat. Ben Webster – Roots (Full Album)

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Jimmy Witherspoon laid out two great records in 1962 on Reprise, Spoon and this one. Roots places the great blues singer and guitarist in the company of saxophonist Ben Webster, trumpeter Gerald Wilson, and a rhythm section consisting of pianist Ernie Freeman and drummer Jim Miller. The mood is laid-back, down-home, and full of emotion and sentiment. The warmth of Witherspoon’s voice on material like “Your Red Wagon,” “I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water,” “Key to the Highway” (in one of the more unique versions ever recorded), and Jimmy Rushing’s “Did You Ever” is on the other side of lonesome. Webster and Wilson underscore the sung lines with fills that accent the deep blue in Witherspoon’s vocal. Jay McShann’s “Confessin’ the Blues” is a more jazzed-up arrangement, but Witherspoon’s deep in the R&B groove here, taking a hint from Joe Turner. The finger-popping read of Turner’s “It’s a Low Down Dirty Shame” is in the gutbucket; the rhythm section swings hard. It’s not as raucous as the original, but Witherspoon’s smooth, clear, and deep register is beautifully complemented first by Wilson’s solo and then by Webster’s. The real stunner is near the end, when the band takes on Big Bill Broonzy’s “Just a Dream,” where Witherspoon wails and moans the blues. It’s just chilling. This is one of those recordings that is a true hidden classic. It was reissued on CD in 2006 by Collectables (AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek, https://goo.gl/t2hEPh)

Track listing:

A1 I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water
A2 I’m Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town
A3 Key To The Highway
A4 Did You Ever
A5 Confessin’ The Blues
A6 Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
B1 Your Red Wagon
B2 Rain Is Such A Lonesome Sound
B3 Cherry Red
B4 It’s A Low Down Dirty Shame
B5 Just A Dream
B6 Please, Mr. Webster

Personnel:

JIMMY WITHERSPOON – vocals
BEN WEBSTER – tenor saxophone
GERALD WILSON – trumpet
RALPH HAMILTON – bass
JIM MILLER – drums
ERNIE FREEMAN – piano

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Label: Reprise Records ‎– R-6057
Vinyl, LP, Album, Mono
Country: US
Released: 1961

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