A 1995 club appearance by Big Jack Johnson led to the conception of a new independent blues label. Mark Carpentieri and his wife Catherine were so impressed with the bluesman's performance and personality, that they plunged themselves into the production of his first CD in four years. Carpentieri had minimal production experience with some regional bands but the Johnson recording appeared in June 1996. M.C. Records is still an artist-friendly roots and blues label with a couple of Grammy nominations and a dozen W.C.Handy Award recommendations.
The period of 1996 to 2002 saw the release of 15 successful CDs and the addition of a great variety of seasoned artists. Johnson was followed by Kim Wilson, R.L.Burnside and Odetta. The varied styles of electric, urban, rural and acoustic elements continues today enhancing the appeal of the label to a wide spectrum of blues fans. Having reviewed five releases over the past couple of years, I'm excited over the compilation album to hit the streets on February 25, 2003. The Best of M.C. Records 1996-2002
features selected tracks from all fifteen issued albums plus a glance at things to come. An upcoming tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe will appear later this year and a tempting appetizer from that record is included. Maria Muldaur and Tracy Nelson perform the Tharpe original, Up Above My Head
In addition to those mentioned above, this compilation offers you a chance to sample the music of Wild Child Butler, Joanna Connor, Philip Walker's big blues band and Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson. If you haven't already been smitten, as I have, by the explosive Ann Rabson, you're in for a treat! The country tinged Detour
by Sleepy Labeef is a delight too. Offered at about ten bucks, this is a chance to hear great blues on a budget.