The songs were taken from outtakes from two previous releases, 1998's "Lickin' Gravy" and 2000's "The Memphis Barbecue Sessions". Produced by M.C. Records head Mark Carpentieri. Recorded at Memphis Sound Waves and engineered by Posey Hodges.
Big Jack Johnson was born in Lambert, Mississippi, and one of 18 children. Big Jack was known affectionately as The Oil Man because he supported his own 13 children by delivering fuel for Shell Oil during the day. Music critic Robert Palmer once called Johnson, "possibly the most original bluesman alive”. Big Jack Johnson was celebrated and gained notoriety when he took Delta blues in new directions with his electric, innovative instrumental sessions and topical songs about AIDs, war, domestic violence, abortion, Hurricane Katrina, and the 1994 ice storm that paralyzed Clarksdale, Mississippi. Big Jack was regarded with great affection and admiration on the Mississippi blues circuit. Roger Stolle of Clarksdale's celebrated Cat Head record shop has said, " There were many nights that I walked away from Big Jack's shows at Reds Lounge telling whoever I was with that Big Jack is a master on guitar”. Big Jack Johnson, master of energetic, old-fashioned, authentic juke-joint blues, died March 14, 2011, in a Memphis Hospital.
"Wild Child " Butler began singing at parties thrown by his family for their friends. Indeed, it was his habit of crawling across the floor, tearing at women's stockings, and pulling at the skirts of the women guests that earned Butler his lifelong nickname. Butler remained a true believer in the " rootsy " blues that was his trademark up until his death on March 1, 2005. Willie Dixon once told Wild Child Butler, " You are the moon of the suffering woman, the groan of the dying man. You ain't nothing but the blues”. As Wild Child Butler said of his music, "if you can't dig these blues, you got a hole in your soul...." A man heavily praised by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Jimmy Rogers, Butler was an important part of blues music history, a note-worthy icon that refused to compromise his blues in the raw.
Alongside blues harp master Kim Wilson, who performs here without amplification, just good-old fashioned juke-joint jive, Big Jack Johnson and Wild Child Butler are clearly having a good time here. The two unreleased sessions are filled with simply great acoustic performances with truly inspired, soulful singing and playing. This is music that is timeless, connections that easily bridge the gap between the Delta Crossroads and contemporary issues. This is the real deal, raw, edgy, uncompromising music, that is raucous and heartfelt. "Stripped Down In Memphis " is a celebration of American roots music, musical milestones that deserve to be heard and enjoyed by fans around the world.