Scrapper Blackwell: Mr. Scrapper’s Blues

These solo recordings, made in July 1961 in Indianapolis, mark the return of the great country-blues guitarist who retired from the music scene in 1935 following the death of his close friend and partner, pianist Leroy Carr. Blackwell’s distinctive, steely toned fingerstyle technique, involving aggressive string-snapping and a complex ragtime-influenced system of integrating single-note lines and chords, is best exemplified on the instrumental pieces titled simply “A Blues” and “E Blues.” He also provides sophisticated accompaniment behind his tortured vocals on pieces like “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out,” “Blues Before Sunrise,” “Little Boy Blue” and “Penal Farm Blues.” And for a change of pace he tickles the ivories in compelling fashion on “Little Girl Blues.”