Agony Shorthand

Wednesday, April 02, 2003
CHARLEY PATTON, FOR A SONG....This morning I read in my wife's Entertainment Weekly -- where I get all my music news -- about the UK's JSP RECORDS, and their campaign to put out ultra-low-cost box sets of classic American roots music and old jazz & swing. The pitch that sealed my interest was a comparison of their five-CD CHARLEY PATTON box set and the beautiful Revenant "Screamin' and Hollerin' The Blues" box set that I've of course looked at longingly in stores on many ocassions, and been tempted to throw on the credit card more than once. The former is roughly $30 and contains his complete recordings, as well as SON HOUSE's and some other fine pre-WWII delta blues tracks; the latter goes for a whopping $150. For your extra $120, you gain a lot of really great ephemera like two books, some incredible packaging (they recently won a Grammy for it!), and some alternate takes. On balance, though....hmmmm....which one to order? OK -- I'll take the $30 version, thanks! Actually, over at, it's $25.99 with free shipping, for five CDs of the complete works of the greatest bluesman of all time. I think this label is one whose mission I can definitely support.