Sun 19 Apr 2015
|Elizabeth Johnson||Empty Bed Blues Part 1||Clarence Williams & The Blues Singers Vol. 1 1923-1928|
|Elizabeth Johnson||Sobbin' Woman Blues||American Primitive Vol. II|
|Elizabeth Johnson||Be My Kid Blues||I Can't Be Satisfied Vol. 1|
|George Torey||Lonesome Man Blues||Memphis Blues 1927-1938|
|George Torey||Married Woman Blues||Blues Images Vol. 3|
|Frenchy's String Band||Sunshine Special||The Frog Blues & Jazz Annual No. 1|
|Frenchy's String Band||Texas and Pacific Blues||How Low Can You Go: Anthology Of The String Bass|
|Edward Thompson||Seven Sister Blues||A Richer Tradition|
|Edward Thompson||Showers Of Rain Blues||The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records Vol. 2 1928-1932|
|Edward Thompson||West Virginia Blues||The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records Vol. 2 1928-1932|
|Leola Manning||Satan Is Busy In Knoxville||Barrelhouse Mamas|
|Leola Manning||The Blues Is All Wrong||Favorite Country Blues Guitar: Piano Duets 1929-1937|
|Pigmeat Terry||Moaning the Blues||American Primitive Vol. II|
|Pigmeat Terry||Black Sheep Blues||American Primitive Vol. II|
|Dan Stewart||New Orleans Blues||Down In Black Bottom|
|Lonnie Clark||Down In Tennessee||Down In Black Bottom|
|Lonnie Clark||Broke Down engine||Down In Black Bottom|
|Bobby Grant||Lonesome Atlanta Blues||Mississippi Moaners|
|Bobby Grant||Nappy Head Blues||Before The Blues Vol. 3|
|Margaret Thornton||Texas Bound Blues||Barrelhouse Mamas|
|Margaret Thornton||Jockey Blues||Barrelhouse Mamas|
|Blind Leroy Garnett||Louisiana Glide||Mama Don't Allow No Easy Riders Here|
|Blind Leroy Garnett||Chain 'em Down||Mama Don't Allow No Easy Riders Here|
|Johnnie Head||Fare Thee Well - Part I||The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records Vol. 2 1928-1932|
|Johnnie Head||Fare Thee Well - Part II||The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records Vol. 2 1928-1932|
|Hattie Burleson||Jim Nappy||I Can't Be Satisfied Vol. 2|
|Hattie Burleson||Sadie's Servant Room Blues||Territory Singers Vol. 2|
|Hattie Burleson||Bye Bye Baby||I Can't Be Satisfied Vol. 2|
|Marshall Owens||Texas Blues||Blues Images vol. 4|
|Marshall Owens||Try Me One More Time||Blues Images vol. 4|
|Hattie Hudson||Doggone My Good Luck Soul||Dallas Alley Drag|
|Hattie Hudson||Black Hand Blues||I Can't Be Satisfied Vol. 1|
|Leola Manning||The Arcade Building Moan||Rare Country Blues Vol. 1|
|Leola Manning||Laying in the Graveyard||Rare Country Blues Vol. 1|
All the artists featured today recorded from one to eight titles and all left behind barley a trace of biographical information. We hear from several outstanding blues ladies including Elizabeth Johnson, Leola Manning, Margaret Thornton, Hattie Burleson, and Hattie Hudson. In addition we spotlight several other excellent bands, singers, guitarists and pianists including George Torey, Frenchy's String Band, Edward Thompson, Pigmeat Terry, Lonnie Clark, Dan Stewart, Johnnie Head, Bobby Grant, Blind Leroy Garnett and Marshall Owens.
"Rainin' here, rainin' here, rainin' here, rainin' here, stormin' on the sea" sings Elizabeth Johnson in mesmerizing fashion on her masterpiece "Be My Kid Blues." Johnson is a mystery woman who cut four sides in 1928. “Be My Kid Blues b/w Sobbin’ Woman Blues” finds her backed by a unique band (listed as Her Turpentine Tree-O) that consisted of woodblocks, clarinet and guitar. She's backed by the great King Oliver on cornet on the two-part “Empty Bed Blues.”
An East Knoxville cafeteria worker and aspiring evangelist of 25, Leloa Manning was struggling with a troubled marriage when she recorded at the St. James Hotel in Knoxville, TN; once on Aug. 28, 1929, and once on April 4, 1930. Six numbers were cut between the two sessions, all were issued. The first couple of sides she cut were religious songs, "He Cares For Me b/w He Fans Me", the latter sounding more like a blues number than a religious one. The previous year Frankie 'Half-Pint' Jaxon cut the risque "Fan It." When she returned to the studio she had a batch of utterly unique songs such as "Satan Is Busy In Knoxville" which seems about a real-life serial killer, "The Blues Is All Wrong" an up-tempo boogie-woogie piece, "Laying in the Graveyard" and the topical "The Arcade Building Moan" about a tragic fire that occurred in Knoxville just fifteen days prior:
It was on one Thursday morning, March the 20th day
I think it was about two a.m., I believe I can firmly say
The women and the children was screaming and crying
Not only that, they was slowly dying
Oh, listen, listen, how the bell did ring
When the Arcade Building burnt down.
Hattie Burleson recorded four tracks in Dallas, TX, for Brunswick Records in October 1928. Two years later she recorded three sides in Grafton, WI, for Paramount Records. Little else is known about her life, save that she lived in the famed Deep Ellum area of downtown Dallas, where she operated a dancehall for a time. Her song "Jim Nappy" became a favorite among the Santa Fe group of pianists. According to Paul Oliver it was about her real life lover who managed the traveling shows she put together. Her "Sadie’s Servant Room Blues" is a rare protest song dealing with domestic service.
Still these folks don't want to see them here
Gonna change my mind, yes change my mind
Cause I keep the servant room blues all the time
Burleson was also responsible for discovering Lillian Glinn singing in a Dallas church and encouraged her to pursue a musical career. Pianist Willie Tyson cut two solo piano numbers for Columbia in 1927 which went unissued. The next day he backed singer Hattie Hudson on “Black Hand Blues” and the classic “Doggone My Good Luck Soul" her only 78 cut for Columbia records.
Margaret Thornton cut one great 78 for Black Patti backed by great pianist Blind James Beck, "Texas Bound Blues b/w Jockey Blues." Beck also backed singer Mozelle Alderson.
Most of today's male blues guitarists are as mysterious as their female counterparts. George Torey, Johnnie Head, Bobby Grant, Frenchy's String Band, Dan Stewart, Lonnie Clark and Pigneat Terry left behind a sole 78. George Torey had only two titles released, both recorded at a session in Birmingham, Alabama on April 2, 1937. The two tracks, "Married Woman Blues" and "Lonesome Man Blues" were included on an early Yazoo anthology, Ten Years in Memphis. There is no other evidence that Torey was from Memphis, and none of the Memphis musicians questioned about him in the late '60s and '70s could remember him. One other song from the session, "Delta Blues" was unissued and may hint at his origins.
Johnnie Head cut one 78 for Paramount in 1928, the two-part "Fare Thee Well."
Bobby Grant was recorded early in 1927 and whose driving slide guitar showpieces "Nappy Head Blues" and "Lonesome Atlanta Blues" denote a possible Mississippi background. I first heard him on the Yazoo compilation Mississippi Moaners.
Frenchy's String Band cut "Sunshine Special b/w Texas And Pacific Blues" in 1928. Polite "Frenchy" Christian was one of the New Orleans jazzmen who ventured westward in the 1920's, settling in Dallas. With a line-up here consisting of cornet, banjo, guitar and bowed bass, "Texas and Pacific Blues" gives an inkling of music played around New Orleans when a string band line up was used.
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
Edward Thompson was a native of Alabama, and he may have known and played with Ed Bell and Pillie Bolling at some point in his life. He traveled to New York City in 1929 and cut six songs in one session. All of these were issued over three records. The recordings were mastered by Gennett, and either sold or leased to Paramount. This recording had Thompson billed as "Tenderfoot Edwards". Nothing else about him is known.
Marshall Owens cut two 78 s 'for Paramount in 1932, "Texas Blues b/w Try Me One More Time" and one 78 which has never been found, "Texas Blues – Part II b/w Seventh St. Alley Strut."
Dan Stewart cut only one side of a 78 for Brunswick in 1929. The flipside was Jim Clarke's “Fat Fanny Stomp.”
Lonnie Clark only left behind two recordings that were made in 1929 for Paramount, "Down In Tennessee b/w Broke Down Engine." Bob Hall wrote of him "his heavy expressive voice on "Broke Down Engine" is accompanied by a rocking two-handed chorded piano played in a rather primitive style and nicely offset by a neat mandolin obbligato."
Leroy Garnett's recorded legacy only consisted of two sides, "Louisiana Glide b/w Chain 'Em Down", waxed in 1929 for Paramount. He is believed to have been from Fort Worth, TX. He also recorded behind singer James 'Boodle It' Wiggins. As Bob Hall and Richard Noblett wrote: "Garnett's two solos reveal his as a pianist of considerable technique. 'Chain 'Em Down', a superb barrelhouse piece has echoes of the Alabama pianist Cow Cow Davenport …'Louisiana Glide' has strong ragtime influence and the air of a set composition rather than an improvised performance"