Tennessee



ARTISTSONGALBUM
Charlie SangsterTwo White HorsesBlues At Home Vol. 9
Charlie SangsterOne Cold NightBlues At Home Vol. 9
James “Son” Thomas & Eddie CusicStanding At The CrossroadsBlues At Home Vol. 10
James “Son” Thomas & Joe CooperThree Days I CriedBlues At Home Vol. 10
James “Son” ThomasFour Women BluesBlues At Home Vol. 10
Sleepy John EstesYellow Yam Blues (Take 4)Blues At Home Vol. 11
Sleepy John Estes & Hammie NixonSugar MamaBlues At Home Vol. 11
Sleepy John EstesShe Keeps Me Worried And Bothered Blues At Home Vol. 11
Mott Willis Baby Please Don't GoBlues At Home Vol. 13
Lum GuffinTrain I Ride 18 Coaches Long Blues At Home Vol. 13
William 'Do Boy' DiamondMississippi FlatBlues At Home Vol. 13
Walter Cooper & Hammie NixonBaby Please Don't Go, No. 3Blues At Home Vol. 13
Roosevelt HoltsBig Road Blues Blues At Home Vol. 13
Asie PaytonBlind ManBlues At Home Vol. 13
Jacob StuckeyIt Must Have Been The Devil (Take 2)Blues At Home Vol. 13
Memphis Willie Borum 61 Highway Blues Blues At Home Vol. 13
Mattie May ThomasDangerous BluesAmerican Primitive Vol. II
John DudleyCool Drink of Water BluesParchman Farm: Photographs & Field Recordings 1947–1959
Son Thomas Catfish Blues Living Country Blues: An Anthology
Frank Hovington Lonesome Road BluesGone With The Wind
Joe Savage Joe’s Prison Camp HollerLiving Country Blues Vol. 7
Chester Davis, Compton Jones & Furry LewisGlory Glory HallelujahSorrow Come Pass Me Around
John Lee ZieglerIf I Lose, Let Me LoseThe George Mitchell Collection
Jimmy Lee WilliamsHave You Ever Seen PeachesHoot Your Belly
Roosevelt CharlesWasn't I LuckyBlues, Prayer, Work & Trouble Songs
Jim Brewer Big Road BluesBlues Scene USA Vol. 4
J.B. SmithSure Make a Man Feel BadNo More Good Time in the World for Me

Show Notes:

Charlie SangsterIn the early 70's through the early 80's Gianni Marcucci made five trips to the United States from Italy to document blues with several albums worth of material issued in the the 1970's. I've corresponded with Gianni regarding those albums and he wrote that these releases were "an abuse and an offense to my effort (10 years of field research, and 13 years of re-mastering and text editing), as well as an insult to the memory of the featured artists" and that his overall experience was a "nightmare." Furthermore, he wrote, "my research has been misunderstood with the result that I received some insults and defamation, both in Europe and USA, on magazines and books." The Blues At Home series is his "peaceful reply" to those critics. The recordings heard on this series were kept in Gianni's private archive. "In order to preserve these materials I transferred to digital those I thought were best, and by 2013 [2015]  the 16-volume Blues At Home CD collection was ready for release." The material is currently available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Apple Music and CD Baby for digital download and streaming. There are plans to make these available as physical CD's as well.

"In 1972, Gianni wrote, "I worked with Lucio Maniscalchi. In 1976 Vincenzo Castella, assisted me and took the photographs. Lucio Maniscalchi  worked with me for 11 days (20-31 December 1972); Vincenzo Castella in July-August 1976. Both Maniscalchi and Castella were not interested in my research and documentary project. They left the project after the 2 field trips were done. They just randomly worked with me on those occasions. Their name was erroneously featured and emphasized on the" original LP's, "especially the name of Vincenzo Castella. I was the only responsible of the recordings, archiving, and LP edition (including, of course, all the typos, mistakes, etc.). In 1972 and 1976 Hammie Nixon helped finding some of the performers in Tennessee. In 1976 Mary Helen Looper and Jane Abraham helped in the Delta. …On December 1972, with the help of the legendary harmonica player Hammie Nixon, using a professional portable equipment, I had the chance to start recording blues in Memphis. The documentary research continued in July 1976, ending in July 1982. A series of informal sessions was held during the course of my five trips through Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana, featuring well known, but also little known, and unknown musicians."

Today's program is our second installment  (see part 1) featuring the following artists: Charlie Sangster, James “Son” Thomas, Walter Cooper, Eddie Cusic, Sleepy John Estes, Hammie Nixon, William 'Do Boy' Diamond, Mott Willis, Lum Guffin, Roosevelt Holts, Asie Payton, Memphis Willie Borum and  Jacob Stuckey. We have some extra tome time at the end of our two-part feature so we round it out with a selection of filed recording favorites featured on previous shows.Hammie Nixon

The ninth volume of the Blues At Home collection introduces Charlie Sangster, a little known artist of Brownsville, Tennessee. Belonging to a musical family, he learned how to play mandolin and guitar at the age of 12. His father, Samuel Ellis Sangster, was a blues guitarist who used to play with Sleepy John Estes and Hambone Willie Newbern; his mother, Victoria, was a gospel singer. Charlie played at the fish market and in other social situations with a circle of local musicians, including Charlie Pickett, Brownsville Son Bonds, Hammie Nixon, Yank Rachel, Sleepy John Estes, and Walter Cooper. He also knew and performed with Hambone Willie Newbern during the last part of Newbern’s life. Sangster was recorded at eight sessions between 1976 and 1980.

The tenth volume of the Blues At Home collection features Leland, Mississippi, bluesman James “Son” Thomas along with his uncle Joe Cooper, both hailing from Yazoo County, Mississippi, and Leland blues artist Eddie Cusic who passed away a few weeks back. Thomas, Cooper, and Cusic were discovered in the late ‘60s by researcher Bill Ferris, and Thomas and his uncle’s music are featured in Ferris’s book Blues from The Delta. “Son” Thomas also appeared in several blues LP anthologiesduring the late ‘60s and in some documentary films. From the ‘80s until his death in 1995, Thomas was in the folk music circuit, recording numerous albums and performing all over the world. The material was recorded during several informal sessions held in 1976, 1978, and 1982 at the artists’ homes in Leland and Greenville, Mississippi.

The eleventh volume of the Blues At Home collection features Sleepy John Estes and Hammie Nixon. Estes was born in 1899 in Ripley, Tennessee, but spent most of his life in Brownsville, Tennessee, which he considered his home. Between 1929 and 1939, he recorded over 30 sides for Vocalion, Decca, and Bluebird. Living in poverty for the whole of his life and being completely blind by the late '40s, Estes was rediscovered in the early '60s through the referral of Big Joe Williams. He hit the blues revival circuit, making numerous recordings and performing all over the world until his death in 1977. These sessions were recorded informally at Estes' home in Brownsville in December 1972, both alone and with the accompaniment of his old-time partner Hammie Nixon.

The twelfth volume of the Blues At Home collection harmonica player Hammie Nixon, performing with Sleepy John Estes, and alone on guitar and harmonica. Nixon was born in Brownsville, Tennessee. At age 11, he was able to play harmonica with Sleepy John Estes at a picnic held in Brownsville. Hammie also played with local musicians, Hambone Willie Newbern, Samuel and Charlie Sangster, Yank Rachell, and Charlie Pickett, learning harmonica from Noah Lewis and Tommy Garry. He first recordwd with Estes in 1929 for Victor. In 1934 he recorded in Chicago for Decca and Champion with Brownsville Son Bonds. He recorded with John Estes again in 1935 and 1937.  After Estes’ rediscovery in the early ‘60s, Hammie kept performing with him until John’s death in 1977. These recordings were recorded between 1972 and 1976 during informal sessions held at Hammie Nixon and Sleepy John Estes' homes in Brownsville.

113The thirteenth volume of the Blues At Home collection, features various blues artists recorded from 1976 to 1982 in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Louisiana. Mott Willis was born in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, has been associated with Tommy and Mager Johnson. Willis was recorded in  Crystal Springs, where he was discovered in the summer of 1967 making recordings for Advent and Mimosa Records which have yet to be released. Lum Guffin was a multi-instrumentalist; he played guitar as well as fife and drum music at picnics in the east Shelby County area. Discovered by Swedish researcher Bengt Olsson in the late '60s, Guffin had a Flyright Records LP devoted to him. William “Do-Boy” Diamond was born near Canton, Mississippi, in 1913. He was discovered in the '60s by George Mitchell who recorded him. Roosevelt Holts was born in 1905 near Tylertown, Mississippi, and developed his musical skill with Tommy Johnson. Discovered in the '60s, he made several recordings released on LPs and on a 45. Asie Payton never moved out of the Holly Ridge, Mississippi, area where he worked as a farmer and tractor driver for most of his life. He record for Fat Possum late in life. Memphis Willie Borum was born in 1911 in Memphis and had a central role in the jug band scene, actually playing with all the major groups and blues artists active in the City. He was rediscovered by Sam Charters in 1961, recording two LP albums for Bluesville. Jacob Stuckey was born in Bentonia, Mississippi, in 1916 and learned directly from Skip James.

The final volumes of the Blues At Home series (13-16) feature interviews by several of the artists. These are not featured on today's program.

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ARTISTSONGALBUM
Sleepy John EstesThe Girl I Love, She Got Long Curly HairI Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More
Sleepy John EstesMilk Cow BluesI Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More
Sleepy John EstesWatcha Doin'?I Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More
Noah LewisTicket Agent BluesMemphis Shakedown
Noah LewisBad Luck's My BuddyMemphis Shakedown
Sleepy John EstesDown South BluesI Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More
Sleepy John EstesDrop Down MamaI Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More
Son BondsTrouble Trouble BluesSon Bonds & Charlie Pickett 1934-1941
Son BondsBack And Side BluesSon Bonds & Charlie Pickett 1934-1941
Yank RachelLake Michigan BluesYank Rachell Vol. 1 1934-1941
Yank RachelTexas TommyYank Rachell Vol. 1 1934-1941
Yank RachelI'm Wild And Crazy As Can BeYank Rachell Vol. 1 1934-1941
Sleepy John EstesNeed More BluesSleepy John Estes Vol. 2 1937-1941
Sleepy John EstesSomeday Baby BluesI Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More
Sleepy John EstesFloating BridgeI Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More
Charlie PickettDown The HighwaySon Bonds & Charlie Pickett 1934-1941
Charlie PickettLet Me Squeeze Your LemonSon Bonds & Charlie Pickett 1934-1941
Charlie PickettTrembling BluesSon Bonds & Charlie Pickett 1934-1941
Sleepy John EstesHobo JungleSleepy John Estes Vol. 2 1937-1941
Sleepy John EstesI Wanta Tear It All The TimeSleepy John Estes Vol. 1 1929-1937
Sleepy John EstesI Ain't Gonna Be WorriedI Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More
Son Bonds80 HighwaySon Bonds & Charlie Pickett 1934-1941
Son BondsHard Pill To SwallowSon Bonds & Charlie Pickett 1934-1941
Son BondsBlack Gal SwingSon Bonds & Charlie Pickett 1934-1941
Sleepy John EstesSpecial AgentI Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More
Sleepy John EstesLiquor Store BluesSleepy John Estes Vol. 2 1937-1941
Sleepy John EstesEverybody Oughta Make a ChangeI Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More
Yank RachelYellow Yam BluesThe Original Sonny Boy Williamson Vol. 2
Yank RachelUp North BluesThe Original Sonny Boy Williamson Vol.2
Yank RachelIt Seems Like A DreamThe Original Sonny Boy Williamson Vol. 2
Sleepy John EstesLittle Laura BluesI Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More
Sleepy John EstesDon't You Want to KnowSleepy John Estes Vol. 2 1937-1941
Sleepy John EstesYou Shouldn't Do ThatSleepy John Estes Vol. 2 1937-1941

Show Notes:

In his memoir, Big Bill Blues, Broonzy called Sleepy John Estes' way of singing the blues "crying the blues." As Tony Russell noted: "The 25-year old man who sat down to record "The Girl I Love, She Got Long Curly Hair" for a traveling Victor unit in Memphis would prove to be one of the company's most striking finds in a city full of distinctive blues artists. High, blurred, plaintive, his voice sounded like that of a man on the verge of tears; sometimes it would even break, momentarily as if overwhelmed by emotion." While Estes would become for his finely wrought personal songs, these initial numbers were local standards or common themes like "Divin' Duck Blues" ("If the river was whiskey and I was a divin' duck"). His storytelling is evident on early numbers like "Street Car Blues" but it wasn't until signing with Decca in 1937 that he cut his most enduring compositions. Today's program spotlights  Estes recordings before his comeback, spotlighting the remarkable recordings he made between 1929 and 1941. In addition we feature some of the fine musicians from the Brownsville area who worked and recorded with Estes including Son Bonds, Yank Rachell, Hammie Nixon, Charlie Pickett, Noah Lewis and Lee Brown.

John Adam “Sleepy John” Estes, was born in Ripley, Tennessee, around 1900. Estes first learned to play guitar from his sharecropper father at age twelve. Soon thereafter, while working in the cotton fields with his family, he crafted his own cigar-box guitar and began to hone his skills at local house parties and fish fries. His nickname "Sleepy" stemmed from a chronic blood pressure disorder that gave him fits of narcolepsy. Around 1915, the Estes family moved to Brownsville, Tennessee, which served as Sleepy John’s base residence periodically for the rest of his life. Brownsville was also home to “Hambone” Willie Newbern, an important early influence, as well as Yank Rachell and Hammie Nixon–musicians with whom Estes partnered at local venues and on professional recordings. Other Brownsville musicians who Estes worked with were pianist Lee Brown and guitarists Son Bonds and Charlie Pickett, all who recorded in the 30’s and all who backed Estes on record. Estes teamed with Rachell to play house parties, picnics, and the streets in the Brownsville area from 1919 to 1927. He also partnered with local harmonica player Hammie Nixon, hoboing Arkansas and southern Missouri with him from 1924 to 1927. At this time jug band music was wildly popular, so Estes started the Three J's Jug Band with Rachell and jug player Jab Jones. The Three J's played Memphis, where they competed for exposure in a competitive scene dominated by the Memphis Jug Band.

When the Victor recording company sent a field recording unit to Memphis in September 1929, Estes recorded several sides backed by the Three J's, with Jones playing piano instead of the jug. Other acts to record for Victor on this trip included the Memphis Jug Band, Frank Stokes, and Cannon's Jug Stompers. He was invited to record again for Victor in May 1930. This session yielded the uptempo "Milk Cow Blues," a tune Robert Johnson would later record as "Milkcow Calf Blues." In all the group cut fifteen sides, three were unissued, over the course of eight session in 1929 and 1930. Estes gave the following account of his recording debut: "Well, it was the guy who recorded the 'Kansas City Blues', Jim Jackson. We were coming down the street , me and Yank Rachell. He said 'Boys, that was a mighty good peice you sang on the street the other day.. You can really sings. I can tell you how to make some money.' Yank said, 'John we can go 'round ourselves. We don't need him to carry us.' I went around to the Ellis Auditorium and we talked to Mr. R.S. Peer of New York City. he told us., 'Boy', he was recording two or three other boys there, they'd hit two pieces in an hour. 'We got some more boys here but I want to see you before you go. I want you to come back late in the afternoon so I can hear what you can do.' We went back then and we recorded."

Estes and Nixon moved to Chicago in 1931 where they played parties and the streets. The Depression hit the recording industry hard, and the Estes/Nixon team did not record until a July 1935 date with the Champion label where the duo cut six sides at two sessions. Among the sides recorded were "Drop Down Mama" and "Some Day Baby Blues," tunes that became staples for a later generation of bluesmen. As Tony Russell remarks: "Nixon is the nightingale of blues harmonica and his parallel melodies echoing Estes singing on "Someday Baby Blues" and "Drop Down Mama", to mention just the most famous of their duets, are beautiful in their understated melancholy." They left Chicago in the late 1930's to travel the country playing lumber camps, parties, and street corners for four years. The Decca label brought Estes to New York City to record in 1937 and again in 1938 where he cut eighteen songs, laying down some of his most enduring songs. He was backed by Charlie Pickett on guitar and Hammie Nixon on harmonica. Among the songs were vivid depictions of the Depression in songs like "Down South Blues", riding the blinds in "Special Agent Blues (Railroad Police Blues)"  and "Hobo Jungle Blues." On the latter he sings:

Now, when I left Chicago, I left on that G & M (2X)
Then if I reach my home, I have to change over on that L& N

Now, came in on in that Mae West, and I put it down at Chicago Heights

Now, when I came in on that Mae West, I put it down at Chicago Heights

Now, you know, over in hobo jungle, and that's where I stayed the night
Now, if you hobo through Brownsville, you better not be peepin' out
(2X)

Now, Mr. Whitten will git you, and Mr. Guy Hare will wear you out
Now, out East of Brownsville, about four miles from town
(2X)
Now, if you ain't got your fare, that's where they will let you down

He sang many celebrated songs about hometown life in Brownsville including "Lawyer Clark" ("He said if I just stay out of the grave, he'd see that I wouldn't go to the pen"), he sings about Martha Hardin's house burning down in "Fire Department Blues", he describes race relations in the south in "Clean Up At Home" ("I played for the colored, I played for the white/All you got to do, act kinda nice, you got to") and the personal narrative "Floating Bridge" where describes a near brush with death after falling off a car ferry crossing a river:

Now I never will forget that floating bridge (3X)
Tell me five minutes time under water I was hid
W
hen I was going down I throwed up my hands
Now, when I was going down, I throwed up my hands
(2X)
Please, take me on dry land
Now they carried me in the house and they laid me 'cross the blank't
(3X)

"Bout a gallon-and-half muddy water I had drankThey dried me off and they laid me in the bed
Now, they dried me off and they laid me in the bed
(2X)
Couldn't hear nothin' but muddy water runnnin' through my head

Estes was paired with younger guitarist Robert Nighthawk, perhaps to modernize his sound, for his last six song Decca session in 1940 which lack the spark of his collaborations with Nixon. A year later he recorded for the Bluebird label backed by kazoos and a tub bass in a swinging session with the Delta Boys (Son Bonds and Raymond Thomas), who echoed Estes's jug band sensibilities. All three men variously take the lead on exuberant numbers like "Don't You Want To Know" , "You Shouldn't Do That" both sporting a vigorous kazoo solo from Bonds who takes the lead on "Black Gal Swing." On September 24, 1941 the trio made their final sides together, a three song session for Bluebird including the aforementioned "Lawyer Clark" and "Little Laura." Little Laura, according to Don Kent's notes to the Yazoo Sleepy John Estes CD, was a neighbor of Sleepy John's and the Jimmy referred to in the lyrics is Sleepy John's name for Yank Rachell. This song is essentially the one Sonny Boy Williamson I  recorded for Bluebird a couple of months earlier as "She Was A Dreamer."

Estes returned to sharecropping in Brownsville in 1941. In 1948, he and Nixon recorded again for the Ora Nelle label ("Harlem Bound" and "Stone Blind Blues") but the records went unreleased. Estes went completely blind in 1950 and elected to try his hand at recording again. In 1952 he cut four sides for the Sun label. Estes was rediscovered in 1962 during the blues revival. He cut several albums for Delmark and returned to touring with Hammie Nixon before health problems confined him to Brownsville. Sleepy John Estes died June 5, 1977.

After recording with Sleepy John Estes in  1929 and 1930 Yank Rachell decided to try his hand at farming and also worked for the L&N Railroad. During a stopover in New York Rachell teamed up with guitarist Dan Smith and laid down 25 titles for ARC in just three days, though only six of them were issued. Shortly before the ARC date, Rachell had discovered a kid harmonica player that he believed had real talent, John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson. They worked together at the Blue Flame Club in Jackson, Tennessee starting in 1933. In 1934 Williamson went north to Chicago. With the success of Williamson's first Bluebird dates of 1937, Rachell decided to join Sonny Boy in Chicago for sessions in March and June of 1938. Yank Rachell also contributed four sides of his own to each session, and then 16 more in 1941 with Sonny Boy backing him up. After Sonny Boy Williamson's murder in 1948, Rachell drifted away from music and relied solely on straight jobs to make his living, settling permanently in Indianapolis in 1958. His wife passed away in 1961, and afterward he began to resume performing. In 1962, Rachell was re-united with Nixon and Estes, and the three of them began playing college and coffeehouse circuit, recording for Delmark as Yank Rachell's Tennessee Jug Busters. Estes died in 1977, and from that time Rachell worked mainly as a solo act. He recorded only sporadically in his last years and passed in 1997 at the age of 87.

Sleepy John Estes, American Folk Blues Festival, 1964

Noah Lewis was born in Henning, Tennessee, and raised in the vicinity of Ripley. He played in local string bands and brass bands, and began playing in the Ripley and Memphis areas with Gus Cannon. When jug bands became popular in the mid-1920s, he joined Cannon's Jug Stompers. He cut seven sides under his own name at sessions in 1929 and 1930. Recording as Noah Lewis' Jug Band, he was backed on two numbers by Sleepy John and Yank Rachell with just Estes backing him on two other numbers cut a couple of days apart. Lewis died in poverty of gangrene brought on by frostbite in Ripley, Tennessee, in 1961.

Harmonica player Hammie Nixon was born on January 22, 1908, in Brownsville, TN. He began his career as a professional harmonica player in the 1920s, but also played the kazoo, guitar, and jug. "I used to hear a lot about him, John Adam", Nixon recalled, "and I was just a kid, living out on my parent's home near Ripley.  …And he heard me playing and he asks me would I like to go and play my harp for him?So I told him yes, but I had o ask my mama first because I was just young, see. So he comes back to my mama's house with me, but she didn't want me to go you know. Anyhow he says like he would look after me and provide for me and so forth so she let me go. And we been together ever since." He performed with Sleepy John Estes for more than 50 years. He also recorded with Lee Green, Charlie Pickett, and Son Bonds. He played with many jug bands. After Estes died, Nixon played with the Beale Street Jug Band (also called the Memphis Beale Street Jug Band) from 1979 onward. Shortly before his death he cut his lone album, the marvelous  Tappin' That Thing for the High Water label. He died August 17, 1984.

Another associate of Sleepy John Estes and Hammie Nixon, Son Bonds played very much in the same rural Brownsville style that the Estes-Nixon team popularized in the '20s and '30s. The music to one of Bonds's songs, "Back and Side Blues" cut in 1934, became a standard blues melody when John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson from nearby Jackson, TN, used it in his classic "Good Morning, (Little) School Girl" he cut in 1937.Bonds cut a total of fifteen sides over five sessions in 1934, 1938 and 1941. Hammie Nixon backs Bonds on the two 1934 sessions while Estes backs Bonds on his last two sessions in 1938 and 1941.On his Decca and Champion sides Bonds was called Brownsville Son Bonds and Brother Son Bonds at his second Decca session which was religious. Nixon gave the following account of Bonds' death: "He got killed around the same time that Sonny Boy got killed. Sonny Boy got killed in Chicago, Son got killed in Dyersburg. A fellow shot him, he though he was shooting somebody else. Son was sitting on his porch. This guy wore them great thick glasses and he got into it with the guy who lived next door to Son. It was way about 12:00 at night and he though it was the boy who lived next door." Estes had a different version involving a woman and a plot to get Bonds' insurance money.

Little is known about Charlie Pickett, who was from Brownsville, TN. Sheldon Harris reported that he was Estes cousin. Hammie Nixon had him performing in a group with Estes, Nixon, and others on the streets of Chicago in the 1930's and 1940's. Nixon told Kip Lornell in 1975, "He started preaching in St. Louis, been living in St. Louis for a couple of years. I think he's preaching in Los Angeles now." Of the song "Let Me Squeeze Your Lemon",Nixon said, "I will never forget the first time he started playing that song, how he sung a something like, 'When I got home, another nigger kicking in my stall.' The bossman told him 'don't say that no more!'" He cut four sides for Decca in 1937 backed by Hammie Nixon and Lee Brown.  Pickett also played guitar behind Estes on 19 numbers at sessions in 1937 and 1938. He or Estes may have played guitar behind pianist Lee Green at a 1937 session.

Pianist Lee Brown was another member of the Tennessee musicians who who worked in Estes orbit. As Tony Russell sums up: "…Brown was subsequently more prolific than his modest talent merited." His lone hit was "Little Girl, Little Girl" from his second 1937 session, sessions at which he backed Estes and Charlie Pickett. Estes backs Brown on two songs from his first session. In all Brown was involved in six sessions that yielded twenty-nine sides with one unissued. He was backed by some top flight backing musicians including Charlie Shavers, Sammy Price, Buster Bailey, Henry Allen, Robert Lee McCoy and Lil Armstrong among others. Brown cut some post-war material including two songs in 1945 for the Chicago label and a session for King in 1946

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