By James Calemine

Enclosed within the first Music Maker book titled Portraits and Songs From the Roots of America rests a CD featuring 22 different Music Maker artists. This collection reveals some of the country’s most neglected Southern musicians who remain pioneers and vital sources to traditional American blues.

This definitive, beautiful book represents Tim Duffy’s organization in all it’s glorious splendor. With a foreword by B.B. King, the book pays for itself in soul and tax exemption. Published by Athens, Georgia’s Hill Street Press, this book highlights 69 Music Maker artists complete with Duffy’s indelible photographs.

Music Maker founder Tim Duffy recorded, produced, and accompanied several of the musicians on guitar for these historic recordings. Music Maker’s Volume One series only scratches the surface of the organization’s musical resources.

Algia Mae Hinton’s pure mojo on “When You Kill a Chicken, Save Me the Head”, the snake-lady Willa Mae Buckner’s burlesque “Peter Rumpkin”, Carl Rutherford’s haunting “Turn Off the Fear”, Etta Baker’s instrumental “Carolina Breakdown”, and Cora Mae Bryant covering her father, blues great Curly Weaver, on his “Cold and Rainy Day” all stand as redemptive testimony to the reservoir of Music Maker’s undiscovered talent.

Other artists on the CD include John Dee Holeman, Jerry “Boogie’ McCain, Taj Mahal, Cootie Stark, Captain Luke, Guitar Gabriel, Eddie Tigner, Macavine Hayes, Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Essie Mae Brooks, Neal Pattman, Cool John Ferguson, Rufus McKenzie, and Precious Bryant. This 75-minute compilation serves as a hard dose of musical authenticity.

The songs on this CD dissolve like a few whiskey shots by the river after an evening supper of greasy greens, baked beans, and barbecue ribs.  Portraits And Songs From The Roots of America proves to be one of the most honest, and enduring books published about music in years.

Read my definitive interview with Music Maker president Tim Duffy in Insured Beyond The Grave