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Estes crafted modern sound early on

I Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More
I Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More
By Sleepy John Estes

Yazoo Records: 1992

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This review first appeared in the Winter 1993 edition of Blues Revue Quarterly magazine (now Blues Revue).

One of the most accessible of the traditional country blues musicians, Sleepy John Estes had a beautiful voice and warm sound on guitar. These songs are taken from his first career recordings, 1929-1941. (He was "rediscovered" in the early 1960s' folk movement, and recorded again prior to his death in 1977.)

Estes' genius as composer is evidenced, at least in part, by the fact that although the latest of these tracks is a half-century old and Estes is accompanied only by his own guitar, all sound as contemporary as any song you'd hear in a blues club tonight. Also, many of the titles here will be familiar from covers by other artists, especially "Milk Cow Blues" and "Someday Baby Blues" (often recorded under the title "Worried Life Blues").

The original master tapes from these sessions are apparently lost forever, so all of these cuts are taken from vintage 78rpm discs belonging to private collectors. It's a beautiful collection, as listenable as it is historic, and Yazoo is to be commended for issuing it.