Friday, January 14, 2011

Abner Jay "Last Ole Minstrel Man"

A blog post made a few months ago already has already allowed me to fawn over Abner Jay, so I'll hold back from the introductions and gushing again here.

Mississippi Records certainly runs the gamut for archiving Abner Jay's work, so much so that this release came as a (welcome) surprise. This 10" culminates the folk and blues troubadour's final studio recordings made in Atlanta, 1994. Always immaculate and thoughtful with packaging Mississippi treats us to photos, inserts and boasts in depth liner notes from Jack Teague.

What immediately struck me as unique and significant about these 6 songs is the vocal parts. Abner Jay's earlier recordings are sung with spunk and 'Last Ole Minstrel Man' is a departure from his younger, cockier days. Ever as heartfelt but now weary his ardently forlorn voice makes his final studio recordings sullen and poignant. At the end of 'Love Wheel' Abner Jay is recorded chuckling to himself at the end, reminding us he's still having fun. It's little moments like this in the EP that make listening even more rewarding. Using his Guitar and harmonica to accompany the songs, and you may know 'Cocaine Blues' and 'Too Poor to Live, Too Poor to Die' from previous releases but these versions may not be familiar, and are well worth your time.

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