Clifton Chenier Yesterday (I Lost My Best Friend) Zodico Blues and Boogie
Dewey Corley Last NightOn The Road Again
Kansas City KittyDouble Trouble Kansas City Kitty 1930-1934
Famous Hokum BoysYou Can't Get Enough Of That StuffThe Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, Vol. 2
Harum ScarumCome On In (Ain't Nobody Here) Blues Images Vol. 9
Scrapper BlackwellNobody Knows When You're Down And OutMr. Scrapper's Blues
Joe CallicottGreat Long Ways From HomeThe 1968 Memphis Country Blues Festival
Henry JohnsonSittin' Down Thinkin'Carolina Country Blues
Lane Hardin Cartey BluesBlues Images Vol. 9
Wright Holmes Drove From Home BluesAlley Special
Smoky Babe Talkin' BabyThe Country Blues
Willie Nix Riding in the MoonlightSun Records The Blues Years 1950-1958
Blind Leroy Garnett Frisco BoundThe Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, Vol. 2
Buddy Boy Hawkins Snatch It And Grab ItBuddy Boy Hawkins And His Buddies
Carolina Peanut BoysYou Got Me Rollin'Vintage Mandolin Music
Geechie SmithThe Kaycee KidSwinging Small Combos Kansas City Style Vol. 2
Jo Jo Adams Jo-Jo's Troubles Jo-Jo Adams 1946-1953
Lavarda DurstI CriedHouston Might Be Heaven Vol. 1
Big Joe Turner Just A Travelin' ManBig Joe Turner: Classic Hits 1938-1952
Kid Prince Moore South Bound BluesKid Prince Moore 1936-1938
Willie Harris West Side BluesFavorite Country Blues Guitar: Piano Duets 1929-1937
Sylvester Weaver Bottleneck Blues Bottleneck Blues Guitar Classics 1926-1937
D.C. BenderWoke Up This MorningIn The Alley: The Story of Ivory Records
Mabel Franklin w/ D.C. Bender Unhappy WomanStompin' Vol. 9
Bill GaitherRocky Mountain Blues Bill Gaither Vol. 2 1936-1938
Lightnin' HopkinsRocky Mountain The Complete Prestige / Bluesville Recordings
Big Chief EllisRocky Mountain BluesBig Chief Ellis
Jaybird ColemanMistreatin' MamaStuff That Dreams are Made Of
Sonny Boy WilliamsonMattie Mae BluesThe Original Sonny Boy Williamson Vol. 2
AlexPrison BluesPrison Songs Vol. 1: Murderous Home
Little Son Willis Baby Come Back HomeDown Home Blues Classics: California & The West Coast 1948 -1954
Thunder SmithWest Coast BluesUnfinished Boogie: Western Blues Piano 1946-1952

Show Notes:

The last few weeks we've featured a pair of interesting interviews with another one ready to air shortly. We pause with the interviews this week with an interesting mix show today. On deck today are some fine hokum blues from a group of famous bluesmen who recorded under several different names, we have a couple of sets devoted to well known blues numbers, we play a couple of tracks featuring underrated guitarist D.C. Bender, we hear from some fine blues crooners and are usual mix of down-home and pre-war blues.

HarumScarum AdWe play a set of hokum blues by the groups the Famous Hokum Boys, Harun Scarum and a song credited to Kansas City Kitty. The Famous Hokum Boys "You Can't Get Enough Of That Stuff" is a typical good time hokum piece.The group was a loose-knit aggregation of blues singers that included Georgia Tom, Tampa Red, and Big Bill Broonzy. The Harum Scarums included Big Bill Broonzy, Georgia Tom Dorsey and Jane Lucas on vocals. This record was issued on Paramount in 1931 but no known copies of the Paramount record have been found. The record was issued by two other companies, Crown and Varsity which used the Paramount master. As record collector John Tefteller said: "I’ve had the ad for a long time, but there was no copy on Paramount anywhere I could find,” he said. “This last year, somebody said, 'Why aren’t you using that,' and I said, ‘Yeah, find me that record.’”"Double Trouble" is a fine straight blues numbers sporting some excellent piano work from most likely Eddie Morgan.

While the music is fairly straightforward, unraveling who Kansas City Kitty and who Jane Lucas were is much more complicated. Researcher/writer Howard Rye attempted to make sense of it all. "The only certainty  about "Kansas City Kitty" is that she never  existed. The pseudonym was applied by Vocalion in 1930/31  to a singer or singers who recorded mainly hokum material in duets with Georgia Tom Dorsey. In 1934, the name was re-used by Victor's Bluebird subsidiary for a solo vocal session with different accompaniment. … In the early 1960s and again in the mid-1970s, Thomas A. Dorsey, who should have known, if anyone still did, whose identity was concealed by 'Kansas City Kitty', told interviewers she was Mozelle Alderson. He also stated that Jane Lucas, who made a number of similar records in 1930 for Gennett's Champion label, was the same singer. As it is generally conceded that the singer who recorded in the same idiom earlier in 1930 for the American Record Company's labels as 'Hannah May' is the same person as Gennett's Jane Lucas, these would also be by Mozelle Alderson. …The Vocalion file cards for Kansas City Kitty's unissued session of 21 January 1931 (which are in the CBS filing) name the singer as Mozelle Alderson. Aurally, it seems quite possible that all the 1930/31 recordings by 'Kansas City Kitty', 'Hannah May' and 'Jane Lucas' are by the same singer and their style is consistent with Mozelle Alderson's 1930 recordings. …The Victor files and composer credits are said by Blues and Gospel Records 1902-1943 to 'tend to confirm' (whatever that means!) that Kansas City Kitty's real name was Thelma Holmes. This identification was given as a fact in a 1961 article by Paul Oliver (Jazz Monthly, November 1961) but no source is stated."

We spin a trio of 'Rocky Mountain Blues" songs. The oft covered “Rocky Mountain Blues” was first recorded by Bill Gaither in 1937. The song must have been popular as he recorded “New Rocky Mountain Blues” in 1939. The theme has been recorded many times over the years including versions by Lightnin' Hopkins (he cut the song in 1947 for Aladdin and again in the 60's for Prestige) , Champion Jack Dupree, Pete Franklin, Big Chief Ellis and others.

We also feature two songs based on Little Walter's classic "Last Night" which he cut in 1954. Walter told an English journalist "I made 'Last Night' after my best friend Henry Strong got killed …he was my best friend, so I made 'Last Night' as a tribute to him." The song was recorded a month after strong was stabbed to death by a jealous girlfriend . Strong was supposed to take the harmonica chair in Muddy Waters band but that ended up being filled by George "Harmonica" Smith. From 1995 we Clifton Chenier's "Yesterday (I Lost My Best Friend)" from 1955 and Dewey Corley's "Last Night" in 1972.

D.C. Bender, source: Blues Unlimited 148/149 (Winter 1987)

D.C. Bender used Houston as his base in the 1940's , playing alongside Lightnin’ Hopkins, Smokey Hogg, Wright Holmes and Luther Stoneham. He recorded for the Gold Star label as DC Washington in 1948, and, five years later, accompanied Big Son Tillis on a session recorded in Los Angeles for the Elko label. He did not record again until he backed Mabel Franklin on a single in 1964. The same year he also backed singer Calvin Johnson. By that time he had joined drummer Ivory Lee Semien’s band, with who he recorded a version of ‘Boogie Chillen’ in 1967 for Semien’s Ivory label. Other songs from that session were unissued. In 1967 he also backed singer Big H Williams on on record. Bender died in Houston in 1982.

Speaking of the aforementioned Wright Holmes, we play his "Drove From Home Blues" today. Holmes was based in Houston from 1930, by which time he was already a blues singer and guitarist, working in clubs on Dowling Street. His first recordings in 1947 for Gold Star were not issued because the producer felt he sounded too much like Lightnin’ Hopkins. Later that year others sides were issued by Miltone and Gotham. In all he only left three songs behind.

A couple of weeks back I interviewed Bill Greensmith. In the preface to Blues Unlimited: Essential Interviews from the Original Blues Magazine he wrote: "The Chicago R&B and jump music scene of the 1940s and '50s happily coexisted alongside the more celebrated and familiar down-home amplified style of Muddy Waters. Howlin' Wolf, and Little Walter. …In 1974 Mike Leadbitter, in a column titled 'Chicago Flipside', was one of the first people to bemoan the fact that these artists, the clubs they performed in, and the companies who were recording them were largely undocumented." One of these artists was Jo Jo Adams heard today on the fine "Jo-Jo's Troubles." Adams was once quite a celebrity in the 1940s and 1950s Chicago music and entertainment circle. He was comedian/singer/dancer/emcee and leader of a successful revue. He first recorded in 1946 for the Melody Lane Record Shop label become Hy-Tone Records and the two Adams releases were reissued on the new label. During the summer of 1946, Adams was in Los Angeles, recording for Aladdin Records with the Maxwell Davis All Stars. By the end of the year, he was back in Chicago recording for Hy-Tone. In 1947 and 48, he recorded a sessions for Aristocrat Records with Tom Archia's All Stars. In 1952 he cut six sides for Chance Records and his last known release was issued the following year on Al Benson's Parrot label. His complete recordings have been collected on the Classics label.


Bill GreensmithInterview
Juke Boy BonnerB.U. BluesThings Ain't Right
Juke Boy BonnerWhere I LiveThings Ain't Right
Juke Boy BonnerCall Me Juke BoyGoin' Down To Louisiana
Joe DeanMexico Bound BluesDown In Black Bottom
Joe DeanI'm So Glad I'm Twenty-One Years Old Today Shake Your Wicked Knees
Dr. HepcatHattie GreenLyons Avenue Jive
Sparks BrothersLouisiana BoundSparks Brothers 1932-1935
Sparks BrothersTell Her About MeSparks Brothers 1932-1935
Juke boy BonnerYakin' in My Plans45, Blues Unlimited 101
Juke boy BonnerRunnin' Shoes 45, Blues Unlimited 101
Big Maceo Wintertime BluesBig Maceo with Tampa Red
Big Maceo Kid Man BluesBig Maceo Vol. 1 1941-1945
Big Maceo Detroit Jump Big Maceo Vol. 2 1945-1950
Big Maceo Chicago Breakdown Big Maceo Vol. 2 1945-1950
Louise Johnson By The Moon And StarsJuke Joint Saturday Night
Louise Johnson On The Wall Juke Joint Saturday Night
The Four Blazes w/ Red HollowayWomen, WomenMary Jo
Sunnyland Slimw/ Red HollowaySunnyland Slim 1952-1955

Show Notes:

Blues UnlimitedAs Bill Greensmith writes in the introduction to Blues Unlimited: Essential Interviews from the Original Blues Magazine: "Bexhill-on-Sea is a sleepy seaside town in East Sussex on the south coast of England., seemingly populated by old ladies and retired servicemen. …It was unquestionably the most unlikely of locations for the birthplace of Blues Unlimited, the world's first publication devoted solely to the blues. …Bexhill was home to both Simon Napier and Mike Leadbitter, Blues Unlimited's founding editors. …In April 1963, six months after the first AFBF [American Folk Blues Festival] toured Europe, the first issue of Blues Unlimited was published." The magazine was an outgrowth of The Journal of the Blues Appreciation Society formed in May 1962. The first issue was a success, selling out all 180 copies. By issue thirteen the run was up to one thousand and photos included for the first time. Greensmith wrote: "Researchers, discographers, and enthusiasts from Europe and the United States soon began to freely contribute articles, interviews, reviews, and information. …The early BU's managed to covey a wonderful sense of adventure; the enthusiasm was palpable. The early '60's saw the rediscovery of several artists who had recorded in the '20's and '30's, and Blues Unlimited was among the first to report the findings. …From today's vantage point it is sometimes easy to forget the time and context which BU began operating. Few blues artists had ever been the subject of an article or formal interview before appearing in BU. The magazine hit issue one hundred in 1973 and three issues later Simon Nappier stepped down with Mike Leadbetter taking sole ownership. Sadly, in November the next year Leadbitter died of meningitis at the age of 32. BU forged ahead with a five-person editorial committee talking over including Bill Greensmith. BU soldiered on until 1987 with a final double issue, 148/149.

I got into blues seriously when I was around sixteen and picked up my first Blues Unlimited right before the magazine went under. The magazine was a revelation and I even remember where I first picked it up – it was at tiny store called See Hear in the East Village that specialized in strange zines and other publications. Over the years I managed to pick up some of the back issues. The articles and reviews that appeared in the lengthy run of  Blues Unlimited are a treasure of information about the blues, much of the information remains unsurpassed, and locked away, more or less inaccessible unless you were picking up the magazine form the beginning. As far as I know you can't access back issues at any library and there is no archive online. This is why the new book is so valuable, even if it gives us just a brief look at the wealth found in those old BU's. Hopefully there will be a sequel.   On today's Show I air an interview I conducted with Bill Greensmith a few weeks back. Bill was a wonderful and knowledgeable interview. Even though we chatted for over an hour we only touched on a few of the artists (chosen by my interest) featured in the book and today's show revolves around those artists. Below is some background.

Juke Boy Bonner's musical career began as a child, singing in a gospel group and by the age of twelve he had taught himself the guitar. In 1947 he moved to Houston, winning first prize in a talent show at the Lincoln Theatre in the city. This success lead to regular gigs at lounges, bars and juke joints throughout the Houston area, however the chances to record were strictly limited and by the mid-fifties he headed for the West Coast. In 1957, Bonner made his recording debut for the Irma label, in Oakland, California cutting four sides. Just two sides were issued, "Rock With Me Baby"/"Well Baby." He returned to touring the South, frequenting bars and juke joints in Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana, where he cut three sessions for Goldband Records in Lake Charles in 1960, billed as Juke Boy Bonner — The One Man Trio. Some of these sides found their way to a European release on a Storyville album and attracted attention from European blues enthusiasts. But the breaks didn't come Juke Boy's way until 1967, when sterling work primarily by editors of Blues Unlimited magazine led to recording opportunities for the small Flyright label and for an eventual European tour. During the late 60's, Bonner suffered from bouts of ill health and underwent major stomach surgery. He earned a meager living playing gigs in Houston.

Blues Unlimited raised enough money for Juke Boy to cut a 45 for the Blues Unlimited label in Houston in 1967. Chris Strachwitz, owner of Arhoolie Records, on a field trip to Texas heard the record and cut an album with him in December 1967. Further sessions followed for Arhoolie in Houston during 1967, 1968 and 1969. Passport difficulties prevented him from joining the 1968 Folk Blues Festival Tour. He found his way to Europe in 1969 where he cut the album Things Ain't Right for Liberty. Throughout the early and mid-seventies his popularity grew and he continued to tour Europe as well as playing dates in Houston, however he couldn't match his European popularity at home. He became dogged by ill health, divorced from his wife and living in a small rented 10ft by 10ft room in a rundown house in the heart of Houston's black ghetto. Bonner was reduced to unloading trucks and collecting aluminum cans to make a living. The frustration and bitterness are reflected in the comments made by a longtime friend to the Houston Chronicle: "He used to say he could go to Europe and earn $1000 dollars but he couldn't make $50 in his hometown." He died in 1978. The week of his death the Houston Chronicle ran the headline: “Weldon ‘Juke Boy’ Bonner, well known in Europe, dies alone in his hometown.”

Simon Napier and Mike LeadbitterAaron and Marion (he changed his name to Milton in 1929) were twins born to Ruth and Sullie Gant in Tupelo, Mississippi. The brothers cut four sessions as the Sparks Brothers, the first for Victor and the other three for Bluebird, between 1932 and 1935. Milton cut two songs for Decca in 1934 under the name Flyin' Lindberg. Aaron backed a number of St. Louis artists at their second session: Elisabeth Washington, Tecumseh McDowell, Dorotha Trowbridge, James "Stump" Johnson and Charlie McFadden. The brothers' led rough and tumble lives reflected in songs that dealt with gambling, jail, alcohol, woman, hoboing and railroads. In spite of their lyrics and rough background, the music the brothers made was surprisingly tender and wistful. They excelled at thoughtful, mid-tempo blues such as "East Chicago Blues", "Down On The Levee" and "4X11=44" a reference to number combination for playing policy.

Milton possessed a strong, nasal voice that is extremely appealing while Milton had a warm, sensitive vocal that occasionally dips into a mellow falsetto. Aaron was an exceptional and versatile piano player as Chris Smith appraises: "Aaron's playing features the steady chordal basses typical of St. Louis, and a very inventive right hand, endowed with melodic grace and propulsive energy. He was also a capable boogie playe r, with a singing line and a fondness for medium tempos." Aaron's fine abilities as an accompanist extend to his backing a trio of St. Louis ladies. Elisabeth Washington was an appealing, slightly nasal singer with a good sense of delivery; "Riot Call Blues" and "Whiskey Blues" (1933) are particularly tough blues with the latter opening with the line "Everyday I have the blues" a song that the brothers would debut two years later. Mike Rowe with help from Charlie O'Brien wrote the definitive pice on the Sparks Brothers in Blues Unlimited 144 published in 1983. The bulk of the information came from an interview with the brothers' uncle, Aaron Sparks.

Joe Dean recorded one great 78 in 1930: “I'm So Glad I'm Twenty-One Years Old Today b/w Mexico Bound Blues" for Paramount, who dubbed him ‘‘Joe Dean from Bowling Green.’’ Dean was born in St. Louis on April 25, 1908. Raised by his widowed mother, Dean began by playing house parties and small clubs. Dean worked in a steel mill, playing intermittently, until the 1950's. He remained musically active on a part-time basis into the 1960's. He eventually became the Rev. Joe Dean and died on June 24 1981. He was interviewed by Mike Rowe for Blues Unlimited 127 in 1977.

Lavada Durst, known as Dr. Hepcat, who was a disciple of Robert Shaw but who recorded infrequently. He worked in baseball for much of his life, training players and announcing games, and it was from the latter activity that he graduated to working as a DJ, broadcasting over KVET, a white station in Austin. There he developed the persona of Dr.Hepcat, with an extraordinary line in jive talk. He also made a few records of his own, but despite his high profile on radio, it appears that these can't have sold very well, as they are extremely rare, even one issued on the comparatively major independent label Peacock; the other two were on the local Uptown label, one issued under the pseudonym of Cool Papa Smith. He made a handful of latter day recordings before passing in 1995. Dr. Hepcat was interviewed in Blues Unlimited 129 in 1978.

Blues writer Chris Smith wrote the following about Big Maceo: “On both slow blues and boogies, Big Maceo played powerful, sometimes challengingly chromatic bass figures and anvil-sparkling right-hand flourishes and solos. He could be a jovial singer, but more typical were husky, plaintive, fatalistic accounts of trouble with women and the law.  …His playing and Tampa Red’s amplified guitar foreshadow the sound of postwar Chicago.” Maceo had a profound influence on postwar Chicago piano despite a relativley sparse discography; his short career spanned the years 1941 through 1950, where he recorded just over three dozen sides as well as backing partner Tampa Red on eighteen sides and providing session work behind Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Boy Williamson, Jazz Gillum and John & Grace Brim.

Blues Unlimited Number OneMaceo's first session fielded 14 sides, with the first single becoming the most important of his career: "Worried Life Blues". At the conclusion of the war, Melrose immediately brought his stable of blues artists back to the studio. Maceo resumed his work with Tampa Red. Maceo recorded more sides in 1945 including his classic piano instrumental "Chicago Breakdown." Unfortunately, Big Maceo's career was cut short after he suffered a stroke in 1946 that left him almost completely paralyzed on his right side. Over the next few years, he would attempt to record several more times despite his handicap, and still remained a fine singer. Occasionally other pianists would play while he sang.

Louise Johnson was barrelhouse pianist and girlfriend of Charlie Patton’s who went to Grafton to make records with Patton, Willie Brown and Son House in 1930. She cut four sides at that session, her sole recorded legacy. From the book Preachin' The Blues Dan Beaumont writes: "North of Robinsonville, Patton directed Ford to visit the Kirby plantation where they picked up a young woman named Louise Johnson, who was one of Patton’s girlfriends. Johnson sang and played piano in a barrelhouse operated by a Liny Armstrong.  Willie Brown had heard her playing, and he then introduced her to Patton who soon found time for her.  House remembered her 'nice-lookin’…’bout twenty-three, twenty-four years old.'  And like her boyfriend Patton, she 'didn’t do nothin’ but drink and play music; she didn’t work for nobody…' Somewhere along the trip her and Patton had a fight and she became House's girlfriend. "Back in Mississippi, the foursome played in a barrelhouse on the Kirby plantation near Lula for a brief time, then went their separate ways.  According to [Stephen]  Calt and [Gayle] Wardlow, House saw Louise Johnson only once after 1930. He thought she had moved to Helena, Arkansas.  Another report had her playing in the 1930's on the King and Anderson plantation near Clarksdale.  Then she vanished from view." Bob Hall and Richard Noblet wrote the definitive piece on her in Blues Unlimited 115 in 1975. No additional information has turned up on her since.

Bill Greensmith writes to in the preface to the Red Holloway interview: "The Chicago R&B and jump music scene of the 1940s and '50s happily coexisted alongside the more celebrated and familiar down-home amplified style of Muddy Waters. Howlin' Wolf, and Little Walter. …In 1974 Mike Leadbitter, in a column titled 'Chicago Flipside', was one of the first people to bemoan the fact that these artists, the clubs they performed in, and the companies who were recording them were largely undocumented." Red Holloway was very much part of this scene and Bill Greensmith conducted a wonderful. candid interview with him that was published in Blues Unlimited 117 and 118 in 1976. Today we close the show with  Holloway backing The Four Blazes and Sunnyland Slim.

John TeftellerInterview
Jim Jackson My Monday BluesBlues Images Vol. 13
Blind Blake Wabash RagBlues Images Vol. 13
Charlie KyleWalking BluesBlues Images Vol. 13
Jed DavenportBeale Street BreakdownBlues Images Vol. 13
Jaydee ShortTar Road BluesBlues Images Vol. 13
Jaydee ShortFlaggin’ It To GeorgiaBlues Images Vol. 13
Willie BrownM & O Blues Blues Images Vol. 3
Willie BrownFuture BluesMasters of the Delta Blues
King Solomon HillMy Buddy, Blind Papa LemonBlues Images Vol. 2
Son HouseMississippi County Farm BluesBlues Images Vol. 2
Hattie HydeSpecial QuestionBlues Images Vol. 13
Hattie HydeT & N O BluesBlues Images Vol. 13
Charlie McCoy Country Guy BluesBlues Images Vol. 13
Charlie McCoy Boogie WoogieBlues Images Vol. 13
Blind Lemon JeffersonSee That My Grave's Kept CleanBlues Images Vol. 13
Blind Lemon Jefferson ’Lectric Chair BluesBlues Images Vol. 13
Blind Willie JohnsonWhen The War Was OnBlues Images Vol. 13
Blind Joe Reynolds Ninety-Nine BluesBlues Images Vol. 2

Show Notes:

2016 Blues Calendar Today's program revolves around record collector John Tefteller who's record collection contains some of the rarest blues 78's in existence. I spoke with John a couple of weeks back and I'll be airing the interview today. According to his website he has the world's largest inventory of blues, rhythm & blues and rock & roll 78's with over 75,000 in stock. Every year around this time Tefteller, through his Blues Images imprint, publishes his Classic Blues Artwork Calendar with a companion CD that matches the artwork with the songs. The CD’s have also been one of the main places that newly discovered blues 78’s turn up. This year marks the thirteenth year of the calendar and CD's and once again Tefteller has turned up newly discovered sides which I'll be featuring today. Among those are newly discovered sides by J.D Short, Charlie McCoy and Hattie Hyde. Several years ago Tefteller uncovered a huge cache of Paramount promotional material. Paramount marketed their "race records", as they were called, to African-Americans, most notably in the pages of the Chicago Defender, the weekly African-American newspaper, and sent promotional material to record stores and distributors. In later years they created artwork to advertise their records for mail order. Tefteller bought a huge cache of this artwork from a pair of journalists who rescued them from the rubbish heap some twenty years previously and  has been reprinting the artwork in his annual calendars. This year's calendar contains some great ads and fabulous photos, some not seen before. Check out Tefteller's website Blues Images for more details.

Tefteller's reissue are not only noteworthy for the newly discovered records but also for the quality of the mastering which make these old, often battered 78's sound so good. In the past the mastering was done by Richard Nevins of Yazoo records.This time out a brand new method has been used to make these records sound even better. The method is a mix of using old equipment and new computer technology. If you want to know more you'll need to listen to the interview. This technology will also be used in  a series to air on PBS and BBC called American Epic which will be devoted to early American music.

Among the newly discovered 78's are records by Jaydee Short, Charlie McCoy and Hattie Hyde. Eighty-four years after it was recorded and originally released, J.D. Short's, Paramount 13091, "Tar Road Blues" b/ w "Flagin' It To Georgia" has been found. As Tefteller said: "It turned up shoved into the back of an old Victrola record player cabinet along with a stack of other Blues records from the same time period." To other other 78's by Short have yet to be found: "Steamboat Rousty" b/w "Gittin' Up On The Hill" and "Drafted Mama" b/w "Wake Up Bright Eye Mama" both recorded at the same Paramount session in 1930. Singer Hattie Hyde cut one record in Dallas in 1929 for Victor with backing from an unknown guitarist and harmonica player. Tefteller attributed the record to Memphis singer Hattie Hart backed by the Memphis Jug Band but this appears to Jaydee Short: Tar Road Bluesbe incorrect. It's still a fine record that's never been heard since it was released so nothing to complain about. The Charlie McCoy 78, "Country Guy Blues" b/w "Boogie Woogie" is also a one-of-the-kind record and a typically excellent one by McCoy.

The rest of today's playlist is all made up from 78's from Tefteller's collection. From his latest CD we hear classic tracks by Jim Jackson, Blind Blake, Charlie Kyle, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Willie Brown  and others. Speaking of Kyle, there's a fabulous photo of him in the calendar that's has not been published before. Kyle played 12-string guitar and was said to have been from Texas where he may have traveled to Memphis in 1928 along with female blues singers Bessie Tucker and Ida Mae Mack to record. Six of his songs were recorded, only four were issued. One of the two Jefferson songs played today is his "See That My Grave's Kept Clean" which Son House used the melody for on his 1930 recording of "Mississippi County Farm Blues" also featured today and discovered several years back. Other records played today are something of a greatest hits of Tefteller's past discoveries including legendary sides by Blind Joe Reynolds, King Solomon Hill and others.

Sam CollinsYellow Dog BluesSam Collins 1927-1931
Bo Weavil JacksonYou Can't Keep No BrownBottleneck Blues Guitar Classics
Andrew DunhamNezeree Blues Andrew Dunham & Friends: Detroit Blues Vol. 2
Andrew DunhamWay Down In Hell Andrew Dunham & Friends: Detroit Blues Vol. 2
George Guesnon Draw's Trouble BluesCreole Blues
Guitar Slim Green My MarieStone Down Blues (Ace)
Howlin' Wolf Ain't Goin' Down That Dirt Road #2The Roots Of It All: Acoustic Blues The 1960's & 1970's
Little Willie LittlefieldTrain Whistle BluesKat On The Keys
Big MaceoTexas Blues Big Maceo Vol. 1 1941-1945
Eddie BoydI Got The BluesEddie Boyd Vol. 2 1951-1953
Al Miller 22-20 BluesAl Miller 1927-1936
Al Miller Got The Blues (Can't Be Satisfied)Al Miller 1927-1936
John DudleyJohn DudleySouthern Journey Vol.3: 61 Highway Mississippi
Fred McDowell, Miles Pratcher & Fanny DavisPlaying Policy BluesSouthern Journey Vol.3: 61 Highway Mississippi
Walter DavisM & O BluesFirst Recordings 1930-1932
Willie BrownM & O BluesThe Roots Of It All: Acoustic Blues The 1920's & 1930's
Georgia TomM & O Blues Part 1Georgia Tom Vol. 2 1930-1934
Manny Nichols Tall Skinny Mama BluesLightnin' Special Vol. 2
Lightnin' HopkinsBad Things on My MindLightnin' Special Vol. 2
James Brewer Good Morning BluesJames Brewer
Blind Willie JohnsonDark Was The Night - Cold Was The Ground Blues Images Vol. 10
Robert JohnsonCross Road Blues The Centennial Collection
Lonesome SundownSitting On Another Man's KneeGenuine Excello R&B
Floyd JonesYou Can't Live LongDrop Down Mama
Papa LightfootP.L. Blues Suckin' And Blowin'
Carl Martin Crow JaneThe Roots Of It All: Acoustic Blues The 1920's & 1930's
Little Hat JonesKentucky BluesMy Rough And Rowdy Ways Vol. 1
Famous Hokum BoysEagle Riding PapaFamous Hokum Boys Vol. 1 1930

Show Notes:

Al Miller 78Right now we are in the midst of out fall pledge drive, so due to the shortened time frame we have a mixed show for today. A varied set list today including twin spins by Al Miller and Andrew Dunham, a trio of songs revolving around a well known blues number, a few  tracks from from a great project by the Bear Family label, a set of piano blues and plenty more odds and ends.

Mandolinist Al Miller is not exactly a household name. As Howard Rye wrote of his music: "as a body of work, the music is not exactly blues and not exactly jazz. This failure to conform to the categories of record collectors has no doubt contributed to Miller's obscurity… However, this eclectic mixture of styles and material gave way to a heavy concentration on bawdry once he arrived at Brunswick and the series of recordings by his Market Street Boys. 'Somebody's Been Using That Thing 'was evidently his  big seller, generating five versions (three issued)." During the years 1927-1936 Miller cut twenty-six sides under his own name and under the names Al Miller's String Band, Al Miller and his Market Street Boys and  Al Miller and his Swing Stompers. He also sat in with pianist Cripple Clarence Lofton and singers Red Nelson , Luella Miller and Mozelle Alderson. After cutting his first sides for Black Patti records, Miller cut sides for Paramount and Brunswick.

A number of Miller's songs fell into the hokum genre which were characterized by a a bouncy, ragtime sound coupled with humor and risque subject matter. Hokum blues was propelled by Georgia Tom and Tampa Red's 1929 hit "It's Tight Like That." We hear more hokum from the Famous Hokum Boys, not to be confused by the group simply called the Hokum Boys. The Famous Hokum Boys were a loose-knit aggregation of blues singers that included Georgia Tom, Tampa Red, and Big Bill Broonzy.

Willie Brown M & O Blues Ad

Andrew Dunham was recorded by Bernie Besman in 1948 and 1949 in Detroit.Bessman operated the Sensation label which issued John Lee Hooker's first recordings including Hooker's smash "Boogie Chillen." Dunham may have also accompanied John Lee Hooker on a number of recordings cut in 1951 and leased to Modern and Chess. The Dunham sides, along with sides by Sylvester Cotton, were first issued on the LP Andrew Dunham & Friends 1948-1949 on the Krazy Kat label in 1984.At the time, Bessman only issued one 78 apiece by Dunham and Cotton. Several years back Ace issued most of these sides on the CD Blues Sensation: Detroit Downhome Recordings 1948-1949. Several of the tracks on the Krazy Kat album have not been issued on the Ace CD although the Ace contains some unreleased material. As Chris Smith wrote in the notes to the Krazy Kat release (he also wrote the notes to the Ace record)): "The compositions that appear here show Dunham to be a guitarist who infuses considerable aggression and tension into his music by means of heavy bass figures and the use of dissonant extensions in the treble register; he is well aware of the potential of amplification for adding to the effect. His singing too, is energetic, often giving the impression of improvisation in melody and lyrics. The latter are overwhelmingly concerned with the man-woman relationship. generality in a misogynistic vein and often, one feels, with a good deal of suppressed violence lending weight."

"M & O Blues" was first recorded in 1930 by Walter Davis for Vctor. The song was a hit and Davis cut sequels to the songs. Willie Brown cut a song with the same title for Paramount the same year but it's a different song. Paramount may having been trying to cash in on the popularity of Davis' song and they did create an ad promoting the song. Several blues artists reinterpreted the song, most notably Robert Johnson who used the melody for "Rambling On My Mind" in 1936. Georgia Tom covered the song as a two-part 78 in 1932 and we feature part one today.

Blues Sensation
Read Liner Notes

Bear Family has recently issued  four 2- CD  sets called The Roots Of It All: Acoustic Blues spanning the 1923 through the 2012. From these discs we spin tracks by Carl Martin, Willie Brown and Howlin' Wolf. This can be seen as a complement to their sets of electric blues sets of a few years back, this time chronologically covering the history of acoustic blues. Each of these sets comes with excellent booklets and the selections seem thoughtfully well chosen. In the 20's and 30's the blues was a commercial product catering to a sizable black audience. In the immediate post-war numerous independent labels sprouted with similar intent. The folk scene and the blues revival came in the 50's and ramped up in the 60's with much good material recorded. The 60's was the death knell for commercial acoustic blues but a good deal of excellent acoustic blues was recorded. The 70's and 80's were an under appreciated period for acoustic blues but a good deal of great music was recorded, much of it in the field and issued on tiny labels. This period is particularly important as many of these performances are from albums long out-of-print, featuring artists who are virtually forgotten like Shirley Griffith, Robert Curtis Smith, James Brewer, Baby Tate, Frank Hovington, Guitar Slim Stephens and many others that have been long touted on this show. Sound quality is excellent throughout, particularly on the early 78's which come from very clean copies.

Other odds and ends includes songs by diverse artists such as George Guesnon and Blind Willie Johnson. Creole George Guesnon was a New Orleans banjoist, guitarist and singer. He played in bands by Papa Celestin and Sam Morgan among others. In 1936 he moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where he played and recorded in a band led by Little Brother Montgomery. He did two tours with the show Rabbit Foot Minstrels, then returned to New Orleans in 1938, but found little work there and moved to New York City. He worked with Jelly Roll Morton and Trixie Smith, and recorded four pieces for Decca Records in April 1940. In 1959 he cut the album Creole Blues on the Icon which is where this song comes from.

Blind Willie Johnson's "Dark Was The Night – Cold Was The Ground, featured today, has the distinction of being one of twenty-seven samples of music included on the Voyager Golden Record, launched into space in 1977 to represent the diversity of life on Earth. Francis Davis, author of The History of the Blues wrote: "In terms of its intensity alone—its spiritual ache—there is nothing else from the period to compare to Johnson's 'Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground', on which his guitar takes the part of a preacher and his wordless voice the part of a rapt congregation."


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