All but three of the 21 tracks on Texas Songster, Vol. 4: Live! At the Cabale
were previously unreleased; all but two of them recorded live at the Cabale in Berkeley in 1964 (the other two were done live in Sacramento in 1972). Mance Lipscomb
made many albums, and it was a wise decision on compiler Chris Strachwitz
's part to focus on songs that were not available on previous CDs by the singer. Repertoire aside, this is very much of a piece with the "songster" style Lipscomb
projects on other recordings: good-natured acoustic tunes that draw from boogie, ragtime, and folk, with a warm vocal delivery and accomplished guitar picking. Some of the songs, in fact, will be pretty familiar to most blues fans, if not always duplicated by Lipscomb
on other CDs: "Meet Me in the Bottom," "Trouble in Mind," "Key to the Highway," "Rock Me Mama," and "Baby Don't You Lay It on Me" (which sounds close to the folk standard "Baby Let Me Follow You Down"). One of the tracks, incidentally, is largely a 12-minute spoken story, "Early Days Back Home."