Sun 26 Oct 2014
|Son House||Walking Blues||Son House 1941-1942|
|Willie B. Thomas & Butch Cage||Sneaky Ways||Old Time Black Southern String Band Music|
|Willie B. Thomas & Butch Cage||Bugle Call Blues||Old Time Black Southern String Band Music|
|Howard Armstrong; Tom Armstrong; Ted Bogan; Ikey Robinson||Railroad Blues||Louie Bluie|
|Leonard Bowles and Irvin Cook||I Wish To The Lord I'd Never Been Born||Virginia Traditions: Non-Blues Secular Black Music|
|Leonard Bowles and Irvin Cook||Momma Don't Allow||Black Banjo Songsters Of North Carolina And Virginia|
|Joe Thompson||Careless Love||Family Tradition|
|Odell & Joe Thompson||Georgia Buck||Eight-Hand Sets & Holy Steps|
|Carolina Chocolate Drops & Joe Thompson||Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad||Carolina Chocolate Drops & Joe Thompson|
|Little Brother Montgomery||Talkin' Blues||Chicago Piano: Chicago Plus|
|Jimmy Yancey||Tell 'Em About Me||Jimmy Yancey Vol. 1 1939 - 1940|
|Frank 'Sweet' Williams||Sweet's Slow Blues||Chicago Piano: Chicago Plus|
|Oscar "Preacher" Nelson And Newton "Hoss" Nelson||Broke And Ain't Got A Dime||Ruff Stuff: The Roots Of Texas Blues Guitar|
|Green Paschal||Trouble Brought Me Down||George Mitchell Collection Volumes 1-45|
|Big Joe Williams||Back Home Blues||Blues With A Message|
|Rev Nix||It Was Tight Like That||Rev. A.W. Nix & Rev. Emmett Dickinson Vol. 2 1928-1931|
|Leadbelly||Tight Like That||Leadbelly's Last Sessions|
|McKinney's Cotton Pickers||It's Tight Like That||McKinney's Cotton Pickers Vol. 1|
|Roy Hawkins||If I Had Listened||Bad Luck Is Falling|
|T-Bone Walker||Dream Girl Blues||The Complete Recordings of T-Bone Walker 1940-1954|
|Tom Archia||Downfall Blues (Whiskey)||Tom Archia 1947-1948|
|William 'Do Boy' Diamond||Just Want To Talk To You||George Mitchell Collection Volumes 1-45|
|Fats Jefferson||Love Me Blues||Goin' Back To Tifton|
|Furry Lewis||Longing Blues||Furry Lewis|
|Mississippi Fred McDowell||Dankin's Farm||My Home Is in the Delta|
|Willie Long Time Smith||I Love You Baby Boogie||Good Time Blues 1930-1941|
|Camille Howard||The Boogie And The Blues||Camille Howard Vol. 1|
Last week our feature was on Post-War Black String Bands but due to our pledge drive we ran of time to include all the tracks I intended to play. Today we open up with those tracks with background information to be found on the notes for last week's program. The rest of the show is mixed, featuring some great down home blues and field recordings, a few sets of fine piano blues, a set revolving around a classic blues song, a pair of tracks from a recent reissue and more.
As I was rummaging around my record collection I came across a great series of gate-fold albums that were issued in the early 70's spotlighting blues from the vaults of Atlantic Records. Theses albums feature both issued and unissued sides with excellent notes by Pete Lowry. I believe there were about a half-dozen of these including ones devoted to Blind Willie McTell, Professor Longhair, John Lee Hooker as well as anthologies based on piano blues and Texas guitar. Today we feature sides from Chicago Piano: Chicago Plus. These sides were recorded in the early 50's, several of the sides not issued at the time of recording. We spotlight a pair of tracks by Little Brother Montgomery, Floyd Dixon and Frank 'Sweet' Williams. Williams is the most obscure of the bunch and was a minor Chicago blues musician who's only recordings were two songs cut for Atlantic in 1951 which remained unissued until this anthology. It is assumed he was brought to the studio by Little Brother Montgomery. He may be the uncredited drummer on Montgomery 's session recorded on the same day.
We hear several other fine pianists including Willie "Long Time" Smith and Camille Howard. Smith waxed ten sides at sessions in 1947 and 1954. Several of these sides do not seem to have been reissued, a shame as he was an exceptional vocalist (a disciple of of the popular Dr. Clatyon for whom he recorded the tribute "My Buddy Doctor Clayton") and good piano player.
Howard was installed as the pianist for drummer Roy Milton & the Solid Senders sometime during World War II, playing on all their early hits for Art Rupe's Juke Box and Specialty labels. Rupe began recording her as a featured artist at the end of the year. Her biggest hit was the romping instrumental "X-Temporaneous Boogie" but she was also a very fine vocalist. She continued to record successfully in the early 1950's.
As we often do, we spin several superb field recordings captured in the 60's and 70's by George Mitchell, Kip Lornell and Tary Owens. We play two sides recorded by Mitchell who made some remarkable field recordings throughout the South over a twenty year period beginning in the early 1960's. What Mitchell recorded in the rural communities of Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi in the 1960's amd 70's was a still thriving, if largely undocumented, blues culture. Mitchell had the passion and drive to seek out these folks, and unlike some folklorists didn't use the music to reinforce his own theories, he simply let the musicians speak for themselves and judging by the recordings they clearly responded to Mitchell's sincerity (being a southerner probably didn't hurt as well). Mitchell came along at the right time as he wrote: "As late as 1969 a country bluesman who at least occasionally played could be located in most small towns of Georgia. In 1976, there are very few active blues musicians left in the state! In the short span of seven years, one of the world's most vital and influential forms of music as it was originally performed has all but died out in Georgia, and probably in the rest of the South as well." Today we hear tracks by William "Do Boy" Diamond and Green Paschal.
William "Do Boy" Diamond was recorded in Canton, Mississippi in 1967. Diamond was a basic guitar player but possessed a great, relaxed voice. Born around 1927 in Georgia, Paschal started playing late in life, sometime in the 1950's. He was recorded by Mitchell in Talbotton, GA in 1969 and by that time had given up blues in favor of spirituals.
Kip Lornell has worked on music projects for the Smithsonian Institute, has a doctorate in ethnomusicology and is the author of several articles and books. He also did some field recordings in the in the Southeast in the 70's. Lornell recorded Fats Jefferson outside Albany, New York along with several other artists in the early 70's . These recordings were issued on the long out-of-print album Goin' Back To Tifton issued on the Flyright label in 1974.
Shortly after the death of folklorist Tary Owens on September 21, 2003, Brad Buchholz, wrote that, “Tary Owens devoted most of his life to music, though only rarely to his own. The greater mission, to Owens, was to champion the music of forgotten or unsung Texas bluesmen—to put their songs on records, to place them on a stage, to encourage a larger public to celebrate their artistry.” Funded by a Lomax Foundation grant in the 1960's, Owens traveled around Texas recording a variety of folk musicians, including guitarists Mance Lipscomb, Freddie King, and Bill Neely, as well as barrelhouse piano players Robert Shaw and Roosevelt T. Williams, also known as the “Grey Ghost.” Owens remained involved in the lives of these musicians for the next several decades and, in some cases, was largely responsible for helping rescue them from obscurity and resurrect their professional careers. Today we hear Oscar "Preacher" Nelson And Newton "Hoss" Nelson from a collection of Owen's field recordings called Ruff Stuff: The Roots Of Texas Blues Guitar.
We spotlight two numbers from a recent 2-CD, 50 song collection called Boogie Uproar: Gems From The Peacock Vaults. The Peacock label was founded by Don Robey in 1949 to promote his new artist Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. The label was named after Robey's Bronze Peacock in Houston. Robey added the Duke label to his operation in 1952, gaining full control of the label in 1953. Today we play tracks by Bea Johnson and Elmore Nixon. I don't have any information on Johnson outside of eight sides she cut in 1949 backed by the Jim Wynn band with four of the sides going unissued. She possessed a strong, rich voice as evidenced on the moody lover's lament "No Letter Blues."
Nixon's family moved to Houston in 1939, where he would remain until his death. By his early teens, he was already backing Peppermint Harris on his Gold Star debut. Thereafter he recorded with many Texas artists as a member of alto saxophonist Henry Hayes’ Four Kings, including Carl Campbell, Milton Willis, L.C. Williams, Hubert Robinson, Ivory Lee and Hop Wilson. His debut record, "Foolish Love", was made in 1949 for Sittin' In With. Other sessions followed for Peacock, Mercury Records, Savoy Records and Imperial Records, the latter in 1955. During the mid-60s, he worked with Clifton Chenier, recording on Chenier’s sessions for Arhoolie Records and with Lightnin’ Hopkins for Jewel. At other times he led his own band, working around Texas and Louisiana.
Tampa Red and Georgia had a huge hit in 1928 with "Tight Like That" which kicked started the hokum blues style which drew on jug band music and vaudeville for bouncy, rag- influenced songs that abounded with double entendres. On its release, the record was a massive hit, spawning several sequels by Tampa Red and Dorsey and countless imitations by other artists. Today we hear versions by McKinney's Cotton Pickers, Leadbelly and Rev. A.W. Nix. Nix's "It Was Tight Like That" is part of a tradition of popular blues topics that were turned into sermons such as Rev. J. M. Gates' "Dead Cat On The Line" (recorded by Tampa Red and Georgia Tom in 1934) and Rev. Emmett Dickinson's "Death Of Blind Lemon." Nix also recorded other blues based sermons including the two-part "The Dirty Dozen" and "How Long, How Long."