New Blues Comp Includes Rare Old Georgia Tracks

Wienerworld sounds like the name of a dystopian theme park devoted to the meat products of the Oscar Mayer company, but it’s actually a U.K.-based independent music company founded in 1981. Their catalog consists mainly of music DVD releases (along with, curiously, a lot of conspiracy theory/alien visitation documentaries), but they’ve released a bunch of budget CDs and vinyl, also (primarily live albums, Z-list tributes, compilations, reissues and, for some odd reason, lotsa Nils Lofgren albums).

One of the cooler projects Wienerworld’s undertaken in recent years is its Down Home Blues series of regionally-arranged compilations of old post-war blues recordings, mostly from the 1940s through early ‘60s. Following two collections focused on Chicago, one devoted to Detroit and another encompassing New York, Cincinnati and the Northeastern states, the fifth volume, Blues in the Alley, was released in mid-December, zeroing in on Miami, Atlanta and the Southeastern U.S.

In all, 83 remastered tracks are spread over three compact discs, accompanied by a 78-page book with rare period photographs, full session details and an essay by blues historian Chris Bentley. Acts from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, South Carolina and other states are represented, including a generous amount from Georgia: vintage sides from the likes of Frank Edwards, Curley Weaver, Robert “Chick” Willis, Charlie Porter, Willie Baker and David Wylie, several of them available for the first time on CD, along with a couple of early ‘50s cuts from Ray Charles.

The front cover photo was definitely taken in Atlanta, probably late ‘40s/early ‘50s, though I can’t pinpoint the exact street. Could be Edgewood, where David Wylie’s two selections were recorded at 441 Edgewood Avenue in April 1950. Perhaps Greg Germani of the Atlanta Time Machine website would be able to ID it.