12 songs time-39:39
The duo of Peter Crow C. and Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Kraemer from Munich, Germany focuses on the sound of prewar blues… either covers or originals. The name Black Patti is taken from a short lived Chicago record label from 1927 that lasted less than a year. Their intent is sincere. The instrumentation of acoustic guitars, mandolin and harmonica is great, but their unison singing gives it more the feel of folk musicians playing the blues. This is something that isn’t done that often in blues music. For my money I find it more effective with one singer to focus on the nuances in his voice. It seems like they are trying too hard to sound authentic. The slight accents popping up occasionally obscure some of the words. There is no doubting their ability as instrumentalists and after repeated listening’s the approach seems more acceptable.
The original “Jelly Roll Swing” is ok, but the pronunciation of mandolin as “mandolean” is rather odd. The incessant repeated refrain of “It’s too good” is just over the top. The cover songs are pretty close to the original versions. The original “Black Patti Boogie” is a jaunty theme song. Another self-penned tune, “I’m So Worried About My Baby”, could easily be mistaken for a prewar blues song it is that authentic sounding.
Alvin Youngblood Hart’s “Big Mama’s Door” is taken at too slow a pace, thus taking away the energy that made the original so appealing. Charley Patton’s “I’m Goin” Home” is a fitting album closer.
There is nothing extraordinary here, but the playing is first rate and they are bringing a taste of prewar blues to Europe. Well intentioned musicians such as this duo help to keep older traditional blues alive. It’s a good thing.