Sun 24 Feb 2013
|Magic Slim||She Is Mine||45|
|Magic Slim||Scufflin||Grand Slam|
|Alberta Brown||How Long||I Can't Be Satisfied Vol 2|
|Monette Moore||Black Sheep Blues||Monette Moore Vol. 2 1924-1932|
|Jenny Pope||Bullfrog Blues||Memphis Blues Vol. 4 1929-1953|
|Louis Armstrong||Blues for Yesterday||C'est Si Bon: Satchmo in the Forties|
|Louis Armstrong||Back o' Town Blues||C'est Si Bon: Satchmo in the Forties|
|Frank Tannehill||Rolling Stone Blues||Rare Country Blues Vol. 4 1929-c.1953|
|Tommy McLennan||Baby, Please Don't Tell On Me||Bluebird Recordings 1939-1942
|Washboard Sam||Evil Blues||Rockin' My Blues Away
|Fluffy Hunter||Hi Jinks Blues||Tough Mamas|
|Madonna Martin||Rattlesnakin' Daddy||Tough Mamas|
|James Russell||I Had Five Long Years||Prison Worksongs
|Big Joe Williams||These Are My Blues (Gonna Sing ´Em For Myself)||These Are My Blues|
|Blind Arvella Gray||Walking Blues||Blues From Maxwell Street|
|Precious Bryant||Precious Bryant's Staggering Blues||National Downhome Blues Festival Vol. 1|
|Precious Bryant||That's The Way The Good Thing Go||George Mitchell Collection Box Set|
|'Talking' Billy Anderson||Lonely Bill Blues||The Great Race Record Labels Vol. 2|
|Blind Willie McTell||Stole Rider Blues||Best Of|
|Charley Jordan||Hunkie Tunkie Blues||Charley Jordan Vol.1 1930-1931|
|Teddy Darby||She Thinks She's Slick||Blind Teddy Darby 1929-1937
|Zuzu Bollin||Headlight Blues||R&B Guitars 1950-1954
|Jimmy Babyface Lewis||Last Night||Complete Recordings 1947-1955|
|Big Joe Turner||Wine-O-Baby Boogie||Tell Me Pretty Baby|
|Al "Cake" Wichard Sextette & Jimmy Witherspoon||Geneva Blues||Cake Walkin’: The Modern Recordings 1947-1948|
|Lee Roy Little||I''m a Good Man But a Poor Man||Blues From The Apple|
|Charlie Sayles||Vietnam||The Raw Harmonica Blues Of|
|Johnny Moment||Keep Our Business To Yourself||I Blueskvarter Vol. 3|
|Robert Pete Williams||Freight-Train Blues||Louisiana Blues|
|Hammie Nixon||Viola Lee Blues 2||Way Back Yonder Vol. 1|
|Eugene Powell||Poor Boy Blues||Mississippi Delta & South Tennessee Blues|
|Magic Slim||Stranded On The Highway||Living Chicago Blues Vol. II|
|Magic Slim||Ain't Doing Too BAd||Raw Magic|
It seems these mix show end up as tributes to an increasing number of blues artists who've passed recently. This time out we pay our respects to Magic Slim and Precious Bryant. Along the way we spin a pair of bluesy numbers by Louis Armstrong, play a few sets of pre-war blues, spotlight some interesting field recordings as well as some jump blues from the post-war era.
I was lucky enough to catch Magic Slim on several occasions and he always delivered the goods, which is to say a good dose of gutbucket blues. After battling health problems Slim passed at the age of 75 on Feb. 21st. His mentor was Magic Sam, whom he knew as a child in Mississippi and who offered early encouragement. “Magic Sam told me don’t try to play like him, don’t try to play like nobody,” he once recalled. “Get a sound of your own.” It was also Magic Sam who gave a teenager named Morris Holt the stage name Magic Slim when the two performed together in Chicago in the 1950's. He recorded his first single, “Scufflin’,” in 1966 and formed the Teardrops with his younger brothers a year later. Magic Slim and the Teardrops eventually became the house band at a local nightclub, Florence’s. They went on to tour and record regularly, headlining blues festivals all over the world, and to win numerous awards, including the 2003 Blues Music Award as band of the year. Magic Slim recorded prolifically, cutting his first album for the French MCM label in 1977 with follow-ups on labels like Blind Pig, Alligator and Wolf. Among my personal favorites of Slim voluminous discography would be Grand Slam (Rooster), Raw Magic (Alligator) and the series on Wolf titled Live At The Zoo Bar (five vols. I think?) which really capture Slim and the Teardrops in prime form.
Unfortunately I never got to see Precious Bryant who passed away on January 12th. She was born in Talbot County, GA and went on to play numerous festivals including the Chattahoochee Folk Festival, the National Down Home Blues Festival in Atlanta (recordings by her appear on the companion albums), the King Biscuit Blues, Newport Folk Festival, Utrecht Blues Festival in Utrecht, Holland and others. She never went on tour and didn't release an album until Fool Me Good in 2002 although a few scattered sides were recorded in the field by George Mitchell. It was Mitchell, who discovered her in 1969 while documenting the lower Chattahoochee scene. She cut a follow-up album, The Truth, in 2005 and the same year cut an album on the Music Maker label.
When not listening to blues I do listen to quite a bit of jazz, particularly the older stuff, and have listened to Louis Armstrong's hot Fives and Hot Sevens countless times. I suspect, like many, I haven't really listened to many of his recordings after this period. Some time back I picked up the 4-CD box set C'est Si Bon: Satchmo in the Forties on the Proper label which is where today's tracks come from. Satchmo set the bar so high on those early recordings they're pretty much unsurpassable but this set very worthwhile. Lots of good stuf from big band sides, duets with Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and great live recordings from the Town Hall and Symphony Hall with the All Stars. One of the songs, "Back o' Town Blues", was first recorded as an instrumental by the Original Memphis Five in 1923 on the Edison label.
From the pre-war era we spin some fine blues ladies including Monette Moore and Jenny Pope plus obscure male artists such as Frank Tannehill and 'Talking' Billy Anderson. Moore began her career accompanying silent films in Kansas City and then toured the vaudeville circuit as a pianist and singer. In the early 1920's she made her way to New York and became active in musical theater. Her recording career began in 1923. In 1927 and 1928 she was singing with Walter Page's Blue Devils in the mid-West. She returned to New York in 1929 and was very active in musical theater and cabaret work until the late 1930's. In the early 1940s, she moved to Los Angeles and performed in clubs, recorded with Teddy Bunn and the Harmony Girls and had small parts in a couple of films. From 1951 to 1953 she appeared on the Amos 'n Andy television program and recorded with George Lewis. Moore passed in 1962. From 1925 we spin her "Black Sheep Blues" (Virginia Liston cut the same song a few months later) which is not the same song as Pigmeat Terry cut in 1935 but offers a similar sentiment:
When you're thinking of black sheep
Just take a look at me
I'm the blackest of black sheep
That ever left old Tennessee
Lord from the straight and narrow path I've strayed
From the straight and narrow path I've strayed
With regrets and sorrows I have paid
Just a black sheep roamin' round the town (2x)
Like a tramp I'm always out and down
While Moore cut some fifty sides during her prime Jenny Pope was much less documented. Pope was married to Will Shade leader of the famous Memphis Jug Band. Pope cut six sides at three sessions in 1929 and 1930. She may have recorded with the Memphis Jug Band under the name Jennie Clayton. Pope delivers a great performance on "Bull Frog Blues", not to be confused with the William Harris song of the same name, with great piano playing from Judson Brown.
Little is known about Frank Tannehill and Billy Anderson. A pianist from Dallas, Texas Frank Tannehill backed Pere Dickson on his two 1932 recordings made in his hometown. Tannehill began his own recording career with two songs recorded in Chicago in 1937. 1938 found him in a San Antonio studio waxing four more songs. His third and final session was in 1941 in Dallas for a four song session. He was never heard from again. Nothing is known about Billy Anderson, other than the fact that two records were recorded under his name in 1927 and that he may have been from Georgia.
|Read Back Cover|
Moving up the 1940's we spin some fine jump blues from ladies like Fluffy Hunter and Madonna Martin as well as Big Joe Turner and Al Wichard among others. Krazy Kat was a great British label that put out some really interesting anthologies. From the aptly title Tough Mamas we spin rocking tracks from Fluffy Hunter and Madonna Martin. Big Joe Turner's jumping "Wine-O-Baby Boogie" features the mighty Pete Johnson on piano and comes from the album Tell Me Pretty Baby a fine collection of late 40's sides issued on Arhoolie. Al Wichard's "Geneva Blues" features Jimmy Witherspoon on vocals. Wichard was born in Welbourne, Arkansas, on August 15th, 1919 but the steps by which he arrived in Los Angeles as a drummer in 1944 remain shadowy. He managed to record with Jimmy Witherspoon and Jay McShann within weeks of his arrival, and in April 1945 was the drummer on Modern’s first session, accompanying Hadda Brooks. Wichard's is collected on the reissue on Ace, Cake Walkin’: The Modern Recordings 1947-1948.
Last week I did a whole show devoted to great out-of-print records and today we feature a couple from the Albatros label: Mississippi Delta & South Tennessee Blues and Way Back Yonder Vol. 1. Albatros is an interesting label that has not been all that well served on CD. The label was active from the early 70's through the early 80's issuing reissues of pre-war recordings, folk material and most interestingly, to me anyway, is several volumes of field recordings by label owner Gianni Marcucci. Marcucci came to the States in the 70's and captured some fine field recordings between 1976 and 1978 in Tennessee and Mississippi. Several of these collections have long been out-of-print including all three volumes of the Way Back Yonder series, the collections Mississippi Delta & South Tennessee and I Got The Blues This Morning and single artists albums by Eugene Powell (Police In Mississippi), Carey Tate (Blues From The Heart) and Jack Owens (Bentonia Country Blues). A while back Marcucci formed the Mbirafon imprint which so far has issued collections of field recordings of Sam Chatmon and Van Hunt. I've heard through the grapevine there was a Eugene Powell 2-CD planned. The label hasn't issued anything in awhile and I wouldn't be surprised if Marcucci got discouraged due to general lack of interest in these kinds of project. I, for one, hope he forges ahead. I should also mention that are three Albatros collections available on CD: Tennessee Blues Vol. 1, 2, and 3 which have very good performances from Laura Dukes, Dewey Corley, Bukka White and others.