Straight-Up Down-Home



Like a fair number of smaller record labels dedicated to the preservation of the blues, Earwig was founded by a blues lover who heeded and followed a "calling" to support the music as a lifetime occupation and obsession. Michael Robert Frank, President and CEO of Earwig, has released this fine two-CD collection as a celebration of his two decades of recording some of the best down-home blues artists around.

For the Detroit crowd, it's great to hear our very own Johnny "Yard Dog" Jones performing one of his own compositions, "You Can't Call the Blues." Jones, who is backed up by a strong Chicago rhythm section, was recorded here singing, blowing the harp and performing the guitar solo. Other names to look out for include Big Jack Johnson, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Louisiana Red, Sunnyland Slim and Homesick James.

In short, this is good stuff. Still, if you're looking for a new twist on the blues, or a new interpretation of an old sound, then you're not looking for this CD. This one is for those blues lovers who like their blues uncut and straight from the source. Blues purists of the world, rejoice!

Keith A. Owens is a Detroit-based freelance writer and musician. E-mail him at

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.