By the mid-'30s, Tampa Red
was a famous blues singer and guitarist, when he suddenly did an artistic about-face. The records Tampa Red
made for the Bluebird label between 1936 and 1938 were certainly unlike anything he made before or after in his long recording career. His fabled guitar was relegated to the back burner, and he cut in two modes: first as a bandleader/vocalist fronting a small jazz-pop band, and secondly as a solo pianist/vocalist working the recently departed turf of Leroy Carr
. All of these were cut at the same sessions, following a seamless thread except for a lone appearance of that patented slide guitar on two cuts from a 1937 date. Certainly not the place to start with Tampa
, but an interesting sidebar for sure. Excellent notes by Jim O'Neal enhance the package.