JIMMY REED I’m Jimmy Reed (Charly) 

Having been knocked out in the past by the excellence of an inauspicious-looking Jimmy Reed compilation, I have to admit to being less than overwhelmed by this, his 1959 debut album. Perhaps it’s doubly disappointing to learn that it’s not an album in the modern day sense of a carefully sculpted cohesive long playing statement, but more a random collection of sides recorded between 1953 and 1958.

Reed’s style is not elaborate. One amiable, low key shuffle follows another, punctuated by his train whistle-thin harmonica work – he sported a harmonica holder long before Dylan did. Pleasant, though repetitive, it does at least contain “Honest I Do”, which as covered by The Rolling Stones was a key component of their early style. The instrumental “Roll & Rhumba” is also notable for the genre-splicing implied by its title.

Surprisingly well pressed and presented, Charly’s vinyl reissue of “I’m Jimmy Reed” is no sonic marvel, reflecting the variable quality of the original recordings, but it gets the job done.  Reading between the lines in the sleevenotes it appears to contain four extra tracks, although it doesn’t identify which of the 16 presented they are.