Jerry Zolten is a contributor to numerous albums as well as a producer

Jerry with Robert Crumb
Jerry with Robert Crumb

“Chimpin’ The Blues”

Jerry Zolten and Robert Crumb, both fanatic record collectors, pulled together some of their best and rarest 78 rpm records and gave ’em a spin. The result, “Chimpin’ the Blues,” a compendium of 11 tracks of exceptional blues, pre-blues, and gospel along with entertaining and informative conversation about each track. Available in CD or splatter vinyl LP wherever records are sold!

The music featured here is an eclectic and engaging sampling of early blues and jazz, from the joyous bounce of “Washboard Cut-Out” by Bobbie Leecan’s Need-More Band and the insouciant jug-band sounds of “Walk Right In” by Cannon’s Jug Stompers to the gospel fervor of “I’ll Just Stand and Wring My Hands and Cry” by Rev. J.C. Burnett and Congregation and the spectral blues of “Down on Me” by Eddie Head and Family. The presence of Robert Crumb will probably lure in a few people who might otherwise ignore this album, and fans of his curmudgeonly wit will enjoy what he has to say about the records he spins, while his knowledge of this music is truly impressive. But the music is the real star of Chimpin’ the Blues, and the 11 rare sides presented here are genuinely exciting and satisfying stuff for fans of vintage blues.

Mark Deming


The Fairfield Four/Wreckin’ the House (Dead Reckoning Records/Compendia Media Group)

Wreckin’ the House is the first live recording released by the Fairfield Four over the course of a career going back to the ’20s. A document of their 1989 reunion tour, it captures the group in fine form — their a cappella performances are lively, and their harmonies are impeccable as ever.

The Fairfield Four album cover, showing an weathered photo of the Fairfield Baptist Church.


Isaac Freeman and the Bluebloods (Lost Highway Records)

While listening to Beautiful Stars, Isaac “Dickie” Freeman’s first solo album, there is much at which to marvel…Freeman’s basso profundo voice, one of the most important in 20th century music…Or there is the backing music provided by the Bluebloods, one of Nashville’s most acclaimed blues bands…The album itself is stunning…

Album cover for "isaac freeman and the bluebloods," featuring a black and white photo of Freeman.