Chris Barber 1955
Chris Barber's Jazz Band, The Lonnie Donegan Skiffle Group, and Ottilie Patterson
Lake Records, LACB235
I must admit to having something of a “soft spot” for Worried Man Blues: it was the first song I learned to play at the age of 12 when my Dad bought me a guitar and the Lonnie Donegan Skiffle Book, afterwards launching my skiffle group (one of thousands of such amateur bands across England at the time) on the unsuspecting British public (by which I really mean my family!). Worried Man Blues is one of two Lonnie Donegan Skiffle Group tracks on the new compilation CD from Lake Records, in which the theme – as the title suggests – is recordings by the Barber Band during their first full calendar year after being formed in May of 1954. For me, then, this CD is very welcome, if only for the two skiffle group recordings.

There are, however, some other compelling reasons for buying this excellent CD. To begin with, it includes all but the Ottilie Patterson tracks* from the first two Barber LPs for the Nixa Jazz Today series (Chris Barber Plays and Echoes Of Harlem). While many of these have become available on CD in one form or another in the last few years, the sound re-mastering is superb, far better than any previous re-issues. As a Barber fan who has owned the original vinyl albums for over forty years, I find it’s a great pleasure to hear these tunes sounding almost as if they’d been recorded today. Then there are the previously unissued tracks: a recording of Trouble In Mind from a year before the more familiar version that first came out on a 7-inch EP, and five tracks from a short film made in 1955, Momma Don’t Allow. In short, Chris Barber 1955 is a very welcome addition to any collection of early Barber recordings. -- Ed Jackson (September 15, 2006)

* These are now available on LACD 244, That Patterson Girl.
Music: My Bucket's Got A Hole In It || Sweet Savannah Sue || Trouble In Mind || Worried Man Blues
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