Boogie-woogie piano has gone through several surges in popularity since it first appeared on 78-rpm records in the late '20s, though the recordings of one of the greats of the genre, Meade "Lux" Lewis
, have tended to be available only sporadically. That's why this extensive compilation of alternate takes, live recordings, V-Discs, transcriptions, and soundies will be of great interest to his fans. Of course, his signature tune, "Honky Tonk Train Blues," is represented with four separate performances, all of them very different in conception, though he tended to rush the tempo and simplify the bassline in later versions. Rarities like a private recording of "Whistlin' Blues" (in which Lewis
showed off his whistling skill), a romp through his "Six Wheel Chaser," and a meeting with blues singer Big Joe Turner
on "Low Down Dog" are equally of interest. There is also an appearance on celeste with clarinetist Edmond Hall
's quartet ("Profoundly Blue No. 2") and a guest spot with Benny Goodman & His Orchestra
("Roll 'Em"). The detailed discography and excellent liner notes add to the value of this collection of mostly rare performances, an essential CD for fans of boogie-woogie.