Sun 15 May 2016
|Scrapper Blackwell||Trouble Blues Pt. 1||The Virtuoso Guitar of Scrapper Blackwell|
|Scrapper Blackwell||Penal Farm Blues||The Virtuoso Guitar of Scrapper Blackwell|
|Scrapper Blackwell||Kokomo Blues||The Virtuoso Guitar of Scrapper Blackwell|
|Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell||Sloppy Drunk||Whiskey Is My Habit, Women Is All I Crave|
|Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell||I Believe I'll Make a Change||Whiskey Is My Habit, Women Is All I Crave|
|Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell||Memphis Town||Naptown Blues 1929-1934|
|Georgia Tom Dorsey||Gee, But It's Hard||Georgia Tom Vol. 2 1930-1934|
|Georgia Tom Dorsey||Levee Bound Blues||Georgia Tom Vol. 2 1930-1934|
|Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell||How Long Has That Evening Train Been Gone||Hurry Down Sunshine|
|Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell||George Street Blues||The Piano Blues Vol. 7: Leroy Carr 1930-1935|
|Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell||Papa's on the Housetop||Naptown Blues 1929-1934|
|Scrapper Blackwell||Morning Mail Blues||Bad Liquor Blues|
|Scrapper Blackwell||D Blues||Bad Liquor Blues|
|Scrapper Blackwell||Bad Liquor Blues||Bad Liquor Blues|
|Black Bottom McPhail||Down In Black Bottom||The Virtuoso Guitar of Scrapper Blackwell|
|Bumble Bee Slim||Meet Me In the Bottom (Hey Lawdy Mama)||Bumble Bee Slim Vol. 6 1936|
|Georgia Tom Dorsey||Maybe It's The Blues||The Essential|
|Scrapper Blackwell||My Old Pal Blues (Dedicated to the Memory of Leroy Carr)||Bad Liquor Blues|
|Scrapper Blackwell||Blue Day Blues||The Virtuoso Guitar of Scrapper Blackwell|
|Scrapper Blackwell||Down South Blues||The Virtuoso Guitar of Scrapper Blackwell|
|Scrapper Blackwell||Little Girl Blues||Scrapper Blackwell Vol. 2 1934-1958|
|Scrapper Blackwell||No Good Woman Blues||Scrapper Blackwell with Brooks Berry 1959-1960|
|Brooks Berry & Scrapper Blackwell||Cold Blooded Murder||My Heart Struck Sorrow|
|Scrapper Blackwell||Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out||Mr. Scrapper's Blues|
|Scrapper Blackwell||Shady Lane||Mr. Scrapper's Blues|
|Scrapper Blackwell||Rambling Blues||Bad Liquor Blues|
|Scrapper Blackwell||Alley Sally Blues||Bad Liquor Blues|
|Scrapper Blackwell||Be-Da-Da-Bum||Bad Liquor Blues|
|Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell||Mean Mistreatin' Mama||Hurry Down Sunshine|
|Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell||Barrelhouse Woman No. 2||The Virtuoso Guitar of Scrapper Blackwell|
|Brooks Berry & Scrapper Blackwell||How Long||My Heart Struck Sorrow|
|Scrapper Blackwell||Little Boy Blue||Mr. Scrapper's Blues|
|Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell|
Scrapper Blackwell was born Francis Hillman Blackwell in February 21, 1904 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was given the nickname "Scrapper" by his grandmother, because of his fiery nature. Blackwell was a self-taught guitarist, building his first guitar out of a cigar box, wood and wire and also learned to play the piano. Blackwell had met with an English entrepreneur and store owner simply remembered as Mr Guernsey. Guernsey was eager to break into the record business and, having heard both musicians, arranged for Blackwell and Leroy Carr to meet. As Scrapper recalled: "Talkin' to Leroy. He said, glad I met you. l said, well, I'm glad I met you too. I said, I kind of like your blues old boy… so we sat down and played together. l said, it does sound pretty good… now where are those record makers at?" From that first encounter in 1928, Guernsey was so impressed with this musical partnership that he suggested that he take the pair to Chicago to "make a record." Blackwell refused to travel and a makeshift studio was set up in Indianapolis. Using the local W.F.B.M. radio station as a studio, the record company cut two titles including "How Long – How Long Blues" which became one of the biggest selling blues records of all time. The duo's piano/guitar pairing inspired numerous similar duos like Georgia Tom and Tampa Red, Charlie Spand and Blind Blake, Bill Gaither and Honey Hill among others.
Blackwell actually made his solo recording debut three day prior to his debut with Carr, on June June 16, 1928, cutting "Kokomo Blues b/w Penal Farm Blues." "Kokomo Blues", was transformed into "Old Kokomo Blues" by Kokomo Arnold and later reworked as "Sweet Home Chicago" by Robert Johnson. Blackwell cut two 78's under his own name in 1928, the second pairing was "Trouble Blues – Pt. 1 b/w Trouble Blues – Pt. 2." Several sessions from 1928 went unissued. In 1929 he cut "Mr. Scrapper's Blues b/w Down And Out Blues" as well as playing with singer Bertha "Chippie" Hill and on "Be-Da-Da-Bum" Blackwell took the vocals while Carr played the piano. Blackwell recorded behind Georgia Tom on a eight song session for Gennett in 1930 and the same year cut some solo sides as well as playing behind singer Teddy Moss. He cut eight sides in 1931 and 1932 and another tens sides between 1934 and 1935 under his own name. He backed several other artists on record including Bumble Bee Slim (1935), Black Bottom McPhail (1932), Josh White (1934) and Dot Rice (1935).
|Brooks Berry & Scrapper Blackwell
photo by Art Rosenbaum
Blackwell and Carr toured throughout the American Midwest and South between 1928 and 1935 as stars of the blues circuit. Between 1928 and 1935 the duo cut a remarkably consistent body of work of hundreds of sides notable for the impeccable guitar/piano interplay, Carr's profoundly expressive, melancholy vocals and some terrific songs. As Paul Oliver noted: “together they made an incomparable team, with a driving movement and lilting swing which was extremely infectious. Neither was at his best alone; it was their perfect timing and effortless mutual support which made them.” As for the songs, Oliver notes, “they were carefully composed and far from causally planned but they had a rare and simple poetry.”
Blackwell eventually grew dissatisfied with the lack of credit given his contributions with Carr; the situation was remedied by Vocalion's Mayo Williams after 1931 – in all future recordings, Blackwell and Carr received equal songwriting credits and equal status in recording contracts. Blackwell's last recording session with Carr was in February 1935, for Bluebird Records. The session ended bitterly, as both musicians left the studio mid-session and on bad terms, stemming from payment disputes. Two months later Blackwell received a phone call informing him of Carr's death due to heavy drinking and nephritis. Blackwell soon recorded a tribute to his musical partner "My Old Pal Blues" and then shortly retired from the music industry.
|Chicago Defender June 29, 1929|
Indianapolis had some notable blues talent, with several fine artists who gravitated to Scrapper's orbit; there was Shirley Griffith who moved to the city in 1928 and became friendly with Scrapper and Carr, Pete Franklin, whose mother was good friend with Leroy Carr (he roomed at their house shortly before he passed in 1935), Jesse Ellery who appeared on Jack Dupree's first sessions and singer Brooks Berry who met Scrapper shortly after she moved to Indianapolis.
Blackwell returned to music in the late 1950’s where he was recorded first in 1958 by Colin C. Pomroy, the recordings issued and first released on a 7 inch 45 rpm EP called Longtime Blues on the Collector label and was next recorded by Duncan P. Schiedt in 1959 and 1960. These latter recordings were issued on the British 77 label as Blues Before Sunrise. Art Rosenbaum recorded him in 1962 for the Prestige/Bluesville label resulting in his finest latter day recording, the album Mr. Scrapper’s Blues which ranks as one of the great blues revival records of the 1960's. Rosenbaum recorded him again for Bluesville, this time with singer Brooks Berry, resulting in the marvelous My Heart Struck Sorrow that has yet to be issued on CD. For a few years it seemed that Blackwell was at last receiving the acclaim and rewards that he had long deserved, but it was all to end abruptly when in October 1962 he was shot in the chest at point blank range. Police arrested a 75-year-old neighbor named Robert Beam for his murder.
-Watts, Theodore F. “An Interview with Scrapper Blackwell.” Jazz Monthly 6, no. 5 (Jul 1960): 4–6. -Rosenbaum, Arthur. Scrapper Blackwell: Mr. Scrapper’s Blues. USA: Bluesville BV-1047, 1961 -Rosenbaum, Art. Blues of Brooks Berry and Scrapper Blackwell: My Heart Struck Sorrow. USA: Bluesville BV-1074, c1963. -Calt, Stephen; Epstein, Jerry; Perls, Nick; Stewart, Michael. The Virtuoso Guitar of Scrapper Blackwell. USA: Yazoo L-1019, 1971. -Rijn, Guido van; Vergeer, Hans. Francis ‘Scrapper’ Blackwell: ‘Blues That Make Me Cry’. Holland: Agram AB 2008, c1980.
-Watts, Theodore F. “An Interview with Scrapper Blackwell.” Jazz Monthly 6, no. 5 (Jul 1960): 4–6.
-Rosenbaum, Arthur. Scrapper Blackwell: Mr. Scrapper’s Blues. USA: Bluesville BV-1047, 1961
-Rosenbaum, Art. Blues of Brooks Berry and Scrapper Blackwell: My Heart Struck Sorrow. USA: Bluesville BV-1074, c1963.
-Calt, Stephen; Epstein, Jerry; Perls, Nick; Stewart, Michael. The Virtuoso Guitar of Scrapper Blackwell. USA: Yazoo L-1019, 1971.
-Rijn, Guido van; Vergeer, Hans. Francis ‘Scrapper’ Blackwell: ‘Blues That Make Me Cry’. Holland: Agram AB 2008, c1980.