|Johnnie Head||Fare Thee Blues Part 1||Country Blues Collector's Items 1924-1928|
|Johnnie Head||Fare Thee Blues Part 2||Country Blues Collector's Items 1924-1928|
|Pigmeat Terry||Black Sheep Blues||American Primitive Vol. II|
|Pigmeat Terry||Moaning The Blues||American Primitive Vol. II|
|Rube Lacey||Ham Hound Crave||Screamin' and Hollerin' The Blues|
|Rube Lacey||Mississippi Jailhouse Groan||Blues Images Vol. 5|
|Otis Hinton||Emmaline||The Blues Keep Falling|
|Otis Hinton||Walking Down Hill||Black Cat Trail|
|Henry Spaulding||Cairo Blues||St. Louis Country Blues 1929-1937|
|Henry Spaulding||Biddle Street Blues||St. Louis Country Blues 1929-1937|
|Freezone||Indian Squaw Blues||Rare Country Blues 1928-1937|
|Raymond Barrow||Walking Blues||Mama Don't Allow No Easy Riders Here|
|Ole Sonny Boy||Blues and Misery||Blues Hangover|
|Ole Sonny Boy||You Better Change||Blues Hangover|
|Ollis Martin||Police and High Sheriff Come Ridin' Down||The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of|
|Jim Thompkins||Bedside Blues||Blues Images Vol. 11|
|George Torey||Lonesome Man Blues||Trouble Hearted Blues 1927-1944|
|George Torey||Married Woman Blues||Blues Images Vol. 3|
|Lonnie Clark||Broke Down Engine Blues||Down In Black Bottom|
|Lonnie Clark||Tennessee Blues||Down In Black Bottom|
|Luther Stoneham||January 11, 1949 Blues||Water Coast Blues|
|Luther Stoneham||Sittin' Here Wonderin'||Water Coast Blues|
|Mattie Delaney||Tallahatchie River Blues||Blues Images Vol. 3|
|Mattie Delaney||Down The Big Road Blues||I Can't Be Satisfied Vol. 1|
|Marshall Owens||Try Me One More Time||Blues Images Vol. 4|
|Marshall Owens||Texas Blues||Blues Images Vol. 4|
|Wesley Wallace||No. 29||Down On The Levee|
|Wesley Wallace||Fanny Lee Blues||Down On The Levee|
|Kid Bailey||Mississippi Bottom Blues||Masters of the Delta Blues: Friends of Charlie Patton|
|Kid Bailey||Rowdy Blues||Masters of the Delta Blues: Friends of Charlie Patton|
|Sly Williams||I Believe In A Woman||West Coast Guitar Killers Vol. 2|
|Sly Williams||Boot Hill||West Coast Guitar Killers Vol. 2|
|Rudy Foster||Black Gal Makes Thunder||Juke Joint Saturday Night|
|Rudy Foster||Corn Trimmer Blues||Juke Joint Saturday Night|
Today's show spotlights a slew of mysterious blues singers sole recorded legacy rest on one 78 or 45 issued and in some cases leaving behind just one song. The emphasis is on pre-war blues, with most titles from the 20’s and 30’s, but there’s also some great post-war gems as well. Many of the pre-war 78’s are extremely rare. Virtually nothing is known about these artists outside of a few like Rube Lacey who was interviewed by David Evans and St. Louis artists Wesley Wallace and Henry Spaulding who Henry Townsend recollected in his autobiography.
Johnnie Head "tentatively" was born in Georgia in 1887. His two-part "Fare Thee Blues" is a variant of the "I'll See You In The Spring, When The Birds Begin To Sing" that the Memphis Jug Band recorded in 1927. Head's sides were recorded for Paramount in 1928 and he cut two other sides for Vocalion that were never issued (“Johnny Head's Blues b/w Gonna Lay Down and Die Blues”).
Pigmeat Terry only cut one 78, for Decca "Black Sheep Blues b/w Moaning The Blues" in 1935 and possessed a high, whispery, moaning voice, a bit reminiscent of the popular Joe Pullum who made his debut the prior year.
My mother's gone to glory, my father's dyin' of drinkin' in his sin (2x)
My sister won't notice me, she's too proud to take me in
I'm a black sheep in my family and how they dog me around (2x)
Someday I'll get lucky and won't be found around
Rube Lacey was a well-known blues performer in the Jackson area and the Delta until 1932, when he became a preacher. Lacy played in a circle that included Son Spand, Ishmon Bracey, Tommy Johnson, Charlie McCoy, and Walter Vinson. He later moved to the Delta, where he formed his own group, performed with Charley Patton, and inspired artists including Son House, Tommy McClennan, and Honeyboy Edwards. Lacy made four recordings for Columbia Records at a session in Memphis in December 1927, but none were released. The following March he traveled to Chicago, where he recorded two songs for the Paramount label, “Mississippi Jail House Groan” and “Ham Hound Crave." Four years later he became a minister, and was later found living in Lancaster, California by blues researcher, David Evans, who recorded him with his congregation. He died there on November 14, 1969
We hear form a pair of fine piano players today, both biographical blanks. Lonnie Clark only left behind two recordings that were made in 1929 for Paramount backed by an unknown mandolin player. Rudy Foster cut one 78 for Paramount in 1930.
Both Henry Spaulding and Wesley Wallace were St. Louis artists who were remembered by Henry Townsend. Spaulding was a blues singer who played in St. Louis though he most likely was born in Illinois. His song "Cairo Blues" has really outlived his career as it was covered by almost every blues singer who stepped foot in St. Louis, most notably Charley Jordan and Henry Townsend. The other side was "Biddle Street Blues." Townsend claims the song was originally "by a fellow named Martin" but he first heard it played by the unrecorded Son Ryan. Wesley Wallace left behind only "Fanny Lee Blues" b/w "No. 29," both recorded for Paramount in Grafton, WI, in February of 1930. Townsend said "Wesley Wallace and I was never around a whole lot together. …I heard he lived in Alton, Illinois." Townsend saw him around different places in St. Louis and said he was an a friend of Peetie Wheatstraw.
A couple of today's artist only left behind one song. The mysterious Freezone left behind only one number, "Indian Squaw Blues." The other side of the issued 78 featured a piano solo, "Walking Blues", by Raymond Barrow. Jim Thompkins (credited in the Brunswick ledger as Peg Leg Jim Thompkins) cut two songs in 1930, “Bedside Blues” and “Down Fall Blues”, the latter never issued. When issued on 78 the flipside of “Bedside Blues” was "We Got To Get That Thing Fixed" by Speckled Red. Like Jaybird Coleman, blues harpist Ollis Martin was from Alabama. Where Coleman made several recordings, Martin only recorded one song, "Police and High Sheriff Come Ridin' Down" in 1927. The reverse side of this disc is "I'm Leavin' Town (But I Sho' Don't Wanna Go)" By William Harris
The names Mattie Delaney and Kid Bailey loom large in blues mythology. Delaney cut just one 78: "Down The Big Road Blues b/w Tallahatchie River Blues" for Vocalion on February 21, 1930 in Memphis, TN. Her name evoked no response from Son House or from any Delta resident when researcher Gayle Wardlow made a tri-county search of those towns which boarder the Tallahatchie. Supposedly she was born Mattie Doyle in Tchula, MS 1905. Wardlow was the one who discovered the record: "But the prize was Mattie Delaney doing "Tallahatchie River Blues" (Vocalion 1480), a song that refers to a river flood in the Delta. My copy of this 1930 disc was the only one known to surface. I learned this from New York collectors eager for me to trade it away. " According to collector John Tefteller there are about five copies known to exist.
Marshall Owens cut two 78 s 'for Paramount in 1932, "Texas Blues b/w Try Me One More Time." One 78 has never been found, "Texas Blues – Part II b/w Seventh St. Alley Strut." Collector Don Kent unconvered information about Owens and tracked down his nephew in the 1970's. Kent's discoveries were published in 78 Quarterly which you can read below.
Nothing is known of Kid Bailey outside of his lone 78 "Mississippi Bottom Blues b/w Rowdy Blues." These were recorded on September 25, 1929 at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. Research by Dr. David Evans, professor of music at Memphis State University, has concluded that Kid Bailey may have been a pseudonym for Willie Brown. Son House on hearing this recording instantly recognized his partner Willie Brown. Others dispute that Brown and Bailey are the same person. Gayle Dean Wardlow has said that he "found 5 different source who all saw Kid Bailey in person in Mississippi–3 of them on taped interviews including [Ishman] Bracey who saw him across the river from Jackson and talked to him in person." It seems Wardlow changed his view because in The Life And Music Of Charle Patton he and his co-author, Stephen Calt, point out that no one interviewed in the post-war period ever knew Kid Bailey well enough to know his real name or where he was from.
We spin a few post-war sides today by Ole Sonny Boy, Luther Stoneham, Otis Hinton and Sly Williams. It is theorized that two songs cut by "Ole Sonny Boy" for Excello in 1956 were actually by Papa Lightfoot, although no existing label documentation verifies
Luther Stoneham was born in Phelps, TX. on September 28, 1913. Relocating to Houston later he backed pianist Wilson "Thunder" Smith in 1947 for Gold Star Records. The next year he backed Andrew "Andy" Thomas & Sunny James on recordings and returned again as a sideman to Thunder Smith on discs for Down Town where he assumed the pseudonym of "Rockie". 1949 saw his last tracks as a sideman, playing on two sides with Thomas on the tiny Swing With The Stars label, where he was billed as Luther Stoner. In 1951, he waxed three sides for Mercury under his own name, with one being unissued. Stoneham passed away in Houston on February 25, 1973.
Otis Hinton is believed to have possibly been from Shreveport, LA., close enough to Texas to pick up the country blues guitar styles from there. He made four recordings for Apollo Records in New York City in the early 50's that were never issued. It wasn't until he recorded for the small Timely label in NYC that he could call one record his own ("Walking Down Hill b/w Emmaline").
Nobody knows who Sly Williams was although several theories have been proposed . The authors of Blues Records 1943-1970 Mike Leadbitter, Leslie Fancourt & Paul Pelletier stated that the artist was aurally similar to Clarence Samuels while others have thought he might be Cleo Page or Jesse Allen. He cut two sides: "Boot Hill" and "I Believe In A Woman." The tracks appear to have been recorded in the late 1950's.
-Tuuk, Alex van der. “Try Me One More Time (Marshall Owens Spiced with a Bit of Curry).” 78 Quarterly no. 12 (2005): 47–58.58. -Evans, David. “Ramblin’.” Blues Revue no. 8 (Spring 1993): 14–17.
-Tuuk, Alex van der. “Try Me One More Time (Marshall Owens Spiced with a Bit of Curry).” 78 Quarterly no. 12 (2005): 47–58.58.
-Evans, David. “Ramblin’.” Blues Revue no. 8 (Spring 1993): 14–17.