Sun 6 Dec 2015
|Sylvester Weaver||Guitar Rag||Sylvester Weaver Vol. 1 1923-1927|
|Sara Martin & Sylvester Weave||Poor Me Blues||Sara Martin Vol. 3 1924-1925|
|Sylvester Weaver||Railroad Porter Blues||Sylvester Weaver Vol. 2 1927|
|Sylvester Weaver & Walter Beasley||St. Louis Blues||Sylvester Weaver Vol. 2 1927|
|Blind Willie McTell||Travelin' Blues||Blind Willie McTell: The Early Years|
|Blind Willie McTell||Atlanta Strut||Blind Willie McTell: The Early Years|
|Blind Willie McTell||Monologue On Accidents||Blind Willie McTell: The Early Years|
|Blind Willie McTell||Dying Crapshooter's Blues||Blind Willie McTell: The Early Years|
|Papa Charlie Jackson||All I Want Is A Spoonful||Papa Charlie Done Sung That Song|
|Papa Charlie Jackson||Salty Dog Blues||The Great Race Records Labels Vol. 1|
|Papa Charlie Jackson||Ma And Pa Poorhouse Blues||The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records Vol. 2|
|Lucille Bogan & Papa Charlie Jackson||Jim Tampa Blues||Papa Charlie Done Sung That Song|
|Blind Blake||Rope Stretching Blues, Pt. 1||The Best of Blind Blake|
|Blind Blake||Southern Rag||The Best of Blind Blake|
|Blind Blake||C C Pill Blues||All The Published Sides|
|Blind Blake||Seaboard Stomp||Jo-Jo Adams 1946-1953|
|Blind Willie Johnson||I Cried||Houston Might Be Heaven Vol. 1|
|Blind Willie Johnson||Just A Travelin' Man||Big Joe Turner: Classic Hits 1938-1952|
|Lonnie Johnson||Away Down in the Alley Blues||A Life in Music Selected Sides 1925-1953|
|Lonnie Johnson||Mr. Johnson's Blues||A Life in Music Selected Sides 1925-1953|
|Lonnie Johnson||I'm Not Rough||The Original Guitar Wizard|
|Lonnie Johnson||Falling Rain Blues||Me And My Crazy Self|
Today's show revolves around the new book by Jas Obrecht, Early Blues: The First Stars of Blues Guitar. Chapters are devoted to Sylvester Weaver, Papa Charlie Jackson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Blake, Blind Willie McTell, Blind Willie Johnson, Lonnie Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt and Tampa Red. We play several of these artists on today's show plus we air my interview with Jas I recorded several weeks back.
Sylvester Weaver was born on July 25, 1897 in Louisville, Kentucky, a resident of Smoketown, a neighborhood one mile southeast of downtown Louisville. In fact Weaver lived his entire life in the Louisville area. Weaver has the distinction of making the first solo recordings of blues guitar playing in 1923 but he was also the first to provide guitar accompaniment on record, backing the popular Sara Martin. Through the end of 1927, when Weaver decided to retire from music, he recorded a total of 26 sides under his own name, two dozen sides backing Sara Martin and eight sides accompanying a teenaged Helen Humes. Weaver cut four solo instrumentals in 1924 at two sessions in New York. Weaver would not record for almost a year when he returned for as six-song session in St. Louis on April 24, 1925 with Sara Martin. Weaver was absent from the studio in 1926 but 1927 would prove to be Weaver's busiest on record and also his last. In 1927 he also backed singer Helen Humes and sides with guitarist, Walter Beasley. Weaver was almost totally forgotten by the time he died in 1960. An interesting footnote is the discovery of a scrapbook Weaver kept of his musical activities. Some of the contents were published in Living Blues Magazine in 1982.
Blind Willie McTell was born in Thomson, Georgia, near Augusta, and raised near Statesboro. He played a standard six-string acoustic until the mid-'20s, and never entirely abandoned the instrument, but from the beginning of his recording career, he used a 12-string acoustic in the studio almost exclusively. He was A major figure with a local following in Atlanta from the 1920s onward, he recorded dozens of sides throughout the 1930s. McTell recorded prolifically through the 1930's a did a session for the Library of Congress in 1940 under the supervision of John Lomax. The newly founded Atlantic Records — which was more noted for its recordings of jazz and R&B — took an interest in Willie and cut 15 songs with him in Atlanta during 1949. The one single released from these sessions, however, didn't sell, and most of those recordings remained unheard for more than 20 years after they were made. McTell cut his final sides for record store owner Ed Rhodes in 1956 and eventually issued on Prestige.
|Sylvester Weaver with Sara Martin c. 1920s|
As Jas Obrecht wrote:"Launching his recording career in 1924, Papa Charlie Jackson was the first commercially successful male blues singer. A relaxed, confident crooner and seasoned 6-string stylist, he became one of Paramount's more popular artists, with 33 discs by 1 930. His classic versions of "Salty Dog," "Shake That Thing," "Alabama Bound" and "Spoonful" set the template for many covers that followed." Jackson began recording in 1924 for the Paramount label, playing a hybrid banjo-guitar and ukulele. Jackson spent his teen years as a singer/performer in minstrel and medicine shows. He is known to have busked around Chicago in the early '20s, playing for tips on Maxwell Street, as well as the city's Westside clubs. In addition to his recordings he also recorded with, or provided accompaniment for, Lottie Beaman, Blind Blake, Lucille Bogan, Ida Cox, Amos Easton, Teddy Edwards, Hattie McDaniel, Ma Rainey and others.
Of all the ragtime styled guitarists, Blind Blake is still regarded as the unrivaled master of ragtime blues finger-picking. Besides his music and session details, not much is known of Blind Blake. His death certificate was only discovered in 2011 which listed his place of birth as Newport News, Virginia, and 1896 as his date of birth. Blake made his first records for Paramount during the summer of 1926, playing solo guitar behind Leola B. Wilson. He made his debut under his own name a few months later. Through 1932, he record over one hundred sides for Paramount. After Paramount folded in 1932, Blake never recorded again. His death certificate was discovered in 2011 by a team of astute researchers and published in Blues & Rhythm magazine issue #263, their research suggests that Blake spent the last two or three years of his life living at 1844 B North 10th Street in the Bronzeville section of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with his wife Beatrice McGee Blake, whom he’d married around 1931. His death certificate lists his profession as “unemployed musician,” and his date of death was entered as December 1, 1934.
Lonnie Johnson was a true musical innovator who's remarkable recording career spanned from the 1920's through the 1960's. During that time his musical diversity was amazing: he played piano, guitar, violin, he recorded solo, he accompanied down home country blues singers like Texas Alexander, he played with Louis Armtrong's Hot Fives, recorded with Duke Ellington, duetted with Victoria Spivey and cut a series of instrumental duets with the white jazzman Eddie Lang that set a standard of musicianship that remains unsurpassed by blues guitarists. In Johnson's single-string style lie the basic precedents of such jazz greats as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian, while being a prime influence on bluesman as diverse as Robert Johnson, Tampa Red and B.B. King.
Johnson cut over 130 sides between 1925 and 1932, more than any make blues singer of the period. n addition to his own records he he appeared prominently on the records of other Okeh artist such as Clara Smith, Victoria Spivey, Texas Alexander and others. Johnson came back to recording life with a contract from Decca in 1937 with the first session recorded on 8th November of that year. During 1938 another session was done for a total of 16 titles. In 1939 he signed a contract with Bluebird. He made his first amplified performances on record in June 1947 for Aladdin Records. Later that year he started a fruitful association with an emerging independent company in Cincinnati, King Records. Johnson was out of the studio for most of the 50's but began recording in earnest again beginning in 1960.