* See Notes.
“A mean, hard-hearted man, Patton’s blues inscribed all the experiences of a Mississippi man into the rough and sometimes barely audible sounds he made for Paramount. He was one of the oldest of the major bluesmen – born in 1887, he bridges the gap between the blues and songster generations – and he sounds like a gruff, irritable figure, a self-taught musician but someone who knows he’s damn good, even if he has his own manners.” MF
MF but he “was the key figure in the transition between traditional folk and what came to be known as the Mississippi Delta blues.” FH The genre has “had an enormous impact on American music, influencing everyone from The Rolling Stones to Cassandra Wilson.” NM
“Although the title of founder might not be exactly accurate,” LG since “blues didn’t start with Patton,” MF he “was one of the true greats” LG in that “he personified its expressionism.” MF Also significant in building his impact was that “he was one of the first to be recorded. He was also immensely gifted, amazingly prolific and served as a major influence for other musicians in the delta, including Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf and John Lee Hooker.” NM Johnson “probably picked up his trademark descending bass run from Patton.” LG As such, Founder of the Delta Blues is “a cornerstone of any blues collection” CK and “required listening for Delta blues fans.” LG
“A flamboyant, popular performer,” FH his “background as a medicine show entertainer made him more than the typical brooding bluesman. Much of his repertoire was upbeat and just plain fun.” LG “Take, for instance, his rendition of Shake It and Break It: the gravelly voiced Patton snaps his strings and taps out the rhythm on his guitar while not missing a beat. His slide numbers like High Sheriff and When Your Way Gets Dark are beautiful melodic pieces seldom matched by his peers.” LG
“While most musicians might be quite content to sing about love or the lack thereof, Patton would sing about whatever caught his interest, from social issues to insects.” NM Patton “sang tales of hardship, freedom, topical events, and other matters in a rough voice that stormed with turmoil. His guitar picking was of a piece: skillfully nuanced in expression and, above all, rhythmically imperative.” FH He lived his songs “with an intensity which still strikes through these ancient records.” MF
This compilation “originally started life as a double-record set featuring all of Patton’s best-known titles, and soundwise was miles above all previous versions.” CK “Yazoo’s typically conscientious mastering makes the sound of primitively recorded 78s acceptable.” FH “Its compact disc incarnation here trims the tune list to 24 tracks, but includes all the seminal tracks: Pony Blues, High Water Everywhere, Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues, A Spoonful Blues, …and the wistful Poor Me, which was recorded at his final session in 1934, a scant two months before he died.” CK