from edited review by Patrick Byrket (http://blackgrooves.org):
Papa Charlie Done Sung That Song: Celebrating The Music of “Papa” Charlie Jackson (Document Records DOCD 7010)
If you have ever wondered about when and where the blues began, this new CD might give you a better idea. Papa Charlie Done Sung That Song is a great collection of one of the first major stars in the genre of blues.
Before delving into the CD, please allow a little bit of history on Papa Charlie Jackson. He was born William Henry Jackson in 1885 in New Orleans.
Jackson, who originally performed in minstrel and medicine shows, played a number of instruments including banjo, guitar, and the ukulele. He was also one of the first musicians during that time to have a double career in jazz and blues. In the mid-1920s he moved to Chicago where he began “busking” at the famous Maxwell Street Market. In 1924, he started his recording career as “Charlie Jackson” on the Paramount label and had released over 70 sides by 1936. His career did suffer during the onset of the Great Depression, and he died in Chicago in 1938.
This two CD set, accompanied by a 16 page booklet that has a great biography of Papa Charlie by Jas Obrecht, is a wonderful tribute to one of the pioneers of the blues. The project is the brainchild of Cary Moskovitz. Moskovitz is joined by Jen Maurer, Adam Tanner, Dom Flemons, and Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton to perform new interpretations of 15 songs by Papa Charlie–accompanied with various combinations of six-string and tenor banjo, piano, guitar, bass, fiddle, and other instruments.
The second CD presents Papa Charlie Jackson’s original recordings of the same 15 songs, expertly remastered. The contrast between the two CDs is nothing but outstanding. To be able to hear the love and the care that contemporary musicians give to the songs is almost like being back in the 1920s, while the remastered versions of Papa Charlie’s recordings are so clear you might think he is still playing his songs on a street corner somewhere.