Tommy Bankhead: Message to St. Louis

Tommy Bankhead’s Message to St. Louis (Fedora 5017; 49:09) is a seamless blend of country and city blues by the St. Louis blues vet, a one-time sideman to blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson. A product of the house party/fish fry/juke joint circuit of Mississippi and Arkansas, Bankhead migrated to East St. Louis in the early ’50s and has been there ever since. His only previous recording is a 1983 outing with his band The Blues Eldoradoes on an obscure label. This one finds him in fine voice and in gritty spirits on a program of affecting shuffles and confessional slow blues like “It Ain’t Right,” “Alcohol Ain’t Nothin'” “Old Maid” and the rocking title track.