Best of the Vanguard Years
Simply put, Otis Spann is the blues piano player. A member of Muddy Waters band from 1953 to 1969, Spann was the man at the ivories for such classics as “Got My Mojo Working,” “She’s Nineteen Years Old,” and “Hoochie Coochie Man,” among others. As a session man, he played on Howlin’ Wolf’s “Back Door Man” and “Spoonful,” as well as cuts by Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson. Listening to the 18 cuts on this CD, it’s easy to see why. With his barrelhouse piano style and forceful vocals, Spann had the goods to be more than a sideman, as a spin of “S.P Blues” will show. You hear traces of Professor Longhair, along with a bit of Chicago 12-bar stride. Previously unreleased cuts such as “My God” and “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” document Spann’s affinity for gospel music, the backbone of the blues. This is the real thing.
Vanguard Recording Society, 2700 Pennsylvania Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404