Sun 3 Apr 2011
|Skoodle Dum Doo & Sheffield||Broome Street Blues||Rare Country Blues Vol. 2 1929-1943|
|Skoodle Dum Doo & Sheffield||West Kinney Street Blues||New York & The East Coast States 1943-1953|
|Alex Seward & Louis Hayes||Big Trouble Blues Downs Blues||Carolina Blues NYC 1944|
|Alex Seward & Louis Hayes||Ups And||Carolina Blues NYC 1944|
|Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry||Knockabout Blues (Carolina Blues)||New York & The East Coast States 1943-1953|
|Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry||Brownie's Blues (Lordy Lord)||Rub A Little Boogie: New York blues 1945-1956|
|Sonny Terry||Dangerous Woman (with a 45 in Her Hand)||Rub A Little Boogie: New York blues 1945-1956|
|Gabriel Brown||Good-Time Papa||Shake That Thing!: East Coast Blues 1935-1953|
|Gabriel Brown||The Jinx Is On Me||Shake That Thing!: East Coast Blues 1935-1953|
|Boy Green||Play My Jukebox||Play My Juke Box: East Coast Blues|
|Big Chief Ellis||Dices Dices||New York & The East Coast States 1943-1953|
|Richard Trice||Blood Red River||Carolina Blues 1937-1945|
|Hank Kilroy||Harlem Woman||Play My Juke Box: East Coast Blues|
|Leroy Dallas||I'm Going Away||New York & The East Coast States 1943-1953|
|Ralph Willis||Neighborhood Blues||Shake That Thing!: East Coast Blues 1935-1953|
|Ralph Willis||Mama, Mama Blues||Shake That Thing!: East Coast Blues 1935-1953|
|Dan Pickett||Baby How Long||Shake That Thing!: East Coast Blues 1935-1953|
|Dan Pickett||Ride to a Funeral in a V-8||Shake That Thing!: East Coast Blues 1935-1953|
|Little David||Shackles Round My Body||Down Home Blue Classics 1943-1953|
|Tarheel Slim||You're a Little Too Slow||East Coast Blues|
|Dennis McMillon||Paper Wooden Daddy||New York & The East Coast States 1943-1953|
|Curley Weaver||Some Rainy Day||The Post-War Years 1949|
|Curley Weaver||Trixie||The Post-War Years 1949|
|Blind Willie McTell||Talkin' To You Mama||The Post-War Years 1949|
|Blind Willie McTell||Talkin' To You Mama||The Post-War Years 1949|
|Carolina Slim||Mama's Boogie||Carolina Slim 1950-1952|
|Marilyn Scott||I Got What My Daddy Likes||New York & The East Coast States 1943-1953|
|Guitar Shorty||I Love That Woman||Play My Juke Box: East Coast Blues|
|Champion Jack Dupree||Stumbling Block Blues||New York & The East Coast States 1943-195|
|Julius King||Mississippi Boogie||A Shot in the Dark:Nashville Jumps|
|Robert Lee Westmoreland||Hello Central Please Give Me 209||New York & The East Coast States 1943-1953|
|Doug Quattlebaum||Don't Be Funny Baby||New York & The East Coast States 1943-1953|
|Square Walton||Bad Hangover||New York & The East Coast States 1943-1953|
Today's is a sequel to a show we did a few weeks, Seaboard Stomp – East Coast Blues 1927-1941, devoted to East Coast blues from the 20's through the early 40's. Today's show takes the story through 1953. Today we emphasize the contribution to post-war blues made by singers from the Southeast and the Mid Atlantic states where many gravitated to New York. These performers tended to prefer a lighter and more melodic style than those from the Mississippi Delta who subsequently brought the blues to Chicago and Detroit. The bulk of these recordings, in fact, were recorded in New York. On today's program we spotlight well known artists like Blind Willie McTell, Brownie McGhee and Champion Jack Dupree as well as a slew of superb less remembered artists like Ralph Willis, Dan Pickett, Alec Seward and partner Louis Hayes among others. For an in-depth look at the Piedmont blues I recommend Bruce Bastin’s exhaustive study Red River Blues: The Blues Tradition in the Southeast which has been an invaluable resource for this show and its predecessor.
As on our first installment of East Coast Blues, the influence of the popular Blind Boy Fuller still looms large on many of these recordings. Fuller recorded his substantial body of work over a short, six-year span (1935-1941). Nevertheless, he was one of the most recorded artists of his time and by far the most popular and influential Piedmont blues player of all time. His influence can be heard in the music of today's featured artists such as Boy Green, Carolina Slim, Richard Trice and Julius King.
Boy Green cut one 78, "A and B Blues b/w Play My Jukebox", in 1944 for Regis. Nothing is known of Green who possessed a fine voice and was an excellent guitar picker.
Carolina Slim was a Piedmont blues guitarist from North Carolina whose style was shaped as much by Lightnin' Hopkins as it was by Blind Boy Fuller evidenced on tracks like "Shake Boogie" and "Rag Mama." He was born Edward Harris in Leasburg, North Carolina, near the Virginia border. In 1950, Harris was dubbed Carolina Slim when he recorded for Herman Lubinsky's Savoy group of labels. He moved to Newark, the home of Savoy, after his first session. He recorded for King as Country Paul in 1951-52 before returning to Savoy in 1953.
Willie Trice and his brother Richard became close friends with Blind Boy Fuller and Fuller took them up to New York where they cut six sides together (two unissued) for Decca in 1937. Richard Trice recorded after the war for Savoy in 1946 as Little Boy Fuller as well as a couple of sides in 1948 and 1952/53. Richard Trice was later recorded by Pete Lowry but those recordings remain unreleased.
As Paul Garon writes in the notes to Down Home Blues Classics: New York & The East Coast States 1943-1953: "Julius King (1915-1970) was born and died in Tennessee, but his heaviest stylistic influence was North Carolina's Blind Boy Fuller, both in vocal inflection and in guitar style. "I Want A Slice of Yo~ Pudding" features a kazoo, as well as a fondness for raggy, Fuller-style pieces, and hokum material played a significant role in King's repertoire. "One O'Clock Boogie" seems to draw inspiration from Pinetop Slim who recorded in Atlanta in 1949, and possibly even from John Lee who recorded in Montgomery in 1951. While "Mississippi Boogie" features King's kazoo playing, it also echoes Barbecue Bob tonally, especially the latter's flood blues." King cut a lone four-son session for Tennessee in 1952.
Several of today's artists get twin spins including the duos of Skoodle Dum Doo & Sheffield, Alec Seward & Louis Hayes and Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, plus Gabriel Brown, Blind Willie McTell, Curley Weaver, Ralph Willis and Dan Pickett.
Gabriel Brown was discovered in Florida by folk music researchers Alan Lomax and Zora Neal Hurston in the '30's and launched his recording career with sides for the Library of Congress. He began making commercial recordings, starting in 1943, for A&R man, record label owner, and record producer Joe Davis and worked for him through 1952.
Seth Richards, possibly from Virgina, recorded a couple tracks under his real name in 1928 ("Lonely Seth Blues b/w Skoodeldum Doo"), which would be his last recordings until he recorded four songs as Skoodle Dum Doo & Sheffield in 1943 for the Regis label.
Alec Seward was born in Charles City County, Virginia and relocated to New York in 1924. Seward befriended Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, and retained his Piedmont blues styling despite changes in musical trends. He met Louis Hayes (who later became a minister in northern New Jersey) and the duo performed variously named as the Blues Servant Boys, Guitar Slim and Jelly Belly, or The Back Porch Boys. The duo recorded sides in 1944 and another batch in 1947. During the 1940's and 1950's Seward played and recorded with Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, McGhee and Terry. Seward issued the album Creepin' Blues (1965, Bluesville) with harmonica accompaniment by Larry Johnson. Later in the decade Seward worked in concert and at folk-blues festivals. He died at the age of 70, in New York in May 1972.
Brownie McGhee worked in a partnership with Sonny Terry for most of his career and also recorded with many of today's featured artists including Leroy Dallas, Champion Jack Dupree, and Big Boy Ellis. McGhee began recording as Blind Boy Fuller No. 2, immediately after Fuller's death in 1941. He sung on one side from Fuller's last session, whereas Terry had been backing Fuller on and off since 1937. McGhee's manager, J. B. Long, suggested that Brownie take Sonny Terry to Washington DC where they played together at a concert with Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson. Afterwards, they recorded for the Library of Congress. They also recorded for Moe Asch, of Folkways, backing singers as diverse as Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie, and in 1944 they began to record for Savoy. Wartime shellac restrictions had loosened and many small and independent labels were recording the new sounds of R & B, as well as the postwar blues. During the period of today's program, the 40's and 50's, the duo cut fine sides, both together and aprat, for Savoy, Gotham, Sittin' In With, Folkways, Capitol and others. McGhee can also be heard today backing Big Chief Ellis on "Dices Dices", Ellis and McGhee back Leroy Dallas on "I'm Going Away" and with Terry backing Champion Jack Dupree on "Stumbling Block Blues."
For years James Founty, known professionally as Dan Pickett, was a mystery man. Field trips in the early 90’s have solved most mysteries although most of the research remains unpublished. He recorded five singles for Gotham plus four unreleased tracks in 1949. Pickett's repertoire was derived almost exclusively from 30’s recordings synthesizing those styles into a unique sound of his own.
According to David Evans: "Around the end of 1949, or more likely early in 1950, Curley Weaver recorded four songs for the Sittin’ In With label. It’s not certain whether there were one or two sessions and whether the recordings were made in Atlanta or New York. Two tracks were not released until 1952 and may actually have been recorded that year." Weaver and McTell also cut a batch of records made in Atlanta for Regal Records in May 1950. Weaver's "Some Rainy Day" is a remake of "Some Cold Rainy Day" is a remake of a 1933 duet with Ruth Willis while "Trixie" is a rag version of the popular "Tricks Ain't Walking No More." Weaver can be heard again backing McTell on the bouncy, perfectly integrated "Talkin' To You Mama" while McTell takes it alone on
Big Chief Ellis was a barrelhouse pianist from Alabama who recorded behind many great Piedmont blues artists in the '40s and '50s in addition to making his own fine, if lesser-selling, records. Brownie McGhee got Ellis on record by phoning Bob Shad at Continental, who recorded Chief for the label and for the Sittin' In With label he later started. Ellis backed McGhee (and his brother Sticks) several times, including Sticks' one hit, "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee." Brownie backed Ellis on the latter's signature tune "Dices Oh Dices", a song about his lifelong profession as a gambler. Ellis became a fixture of New York's small blues scene, playing every weekend with Brownie and occasionally with Sonny Terry. He also recorded with/behind a large number of the city's R&B-flavored bluesmen, including Tarheel Slim, Leroy Dallas, Mickey Baker, and Ralph Willis. He cut his lone full-length album for the Trix label in the 70's.
Leroy Dallas was born in Mobile, Alabama in 1920 and moved to Memphis in 1924. Along his travels he played washboard behind Brownie McGhee and formed a band with James McMillan playing the streets and juke joints of Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee. McMillan taught Dallas guitar and the two went on to tour the southern states working with Frank Edwards who made recordings in1949 and Georgia Slim who made records in 1937. By 1943 Dallas settled in Brooklyn New York. He made his first records for Sittin’ In With in 1949 consisting of six songs. He was accompanied by Brownie McGhee who was instrumental in setting up the session. Dallas was rediscovered by blues researcher Pete Welding and made a few recordings in the 60’s.
Mary DeLoatch, also known as Mary DeLoach, was a Norfolk, VA-based gospel singer who used the name Marylin Scott or Marylyn Scott the Carolina Blues Girl when performing blues. When performing gospel she sounded quite a bit like Sister Rosetta Tharpe. She switched to exclusively religious material after 1950 and her final recording appears to have been made in 1967 when she was photographed playing an electric guitar while wearing evangelical robes. Bruce Bastin wrote that our track, "I Got What My Daddy Likes", "is one of the finest postwar blues from the Piedmont."
Guitar Shorty (John Henry Fortescue) cut a pair of unissued sides for Savoy in 1952, the album Carolina Slide Guitar (Flyright, 1971) and his final album for Trix, Alone In His Field, before passing in 1975.
Born in South Carolina in 1927, Doug Quattlebaum came to Philadelphia in the early 1940's. In 1953 he cut three sides for Gotham records; two of them appeared on a Gotham 78, but the third was only rediscovered years later. In 1961 Pete Welding recorded Quattlebaum again, after hearing that he was still around. He was driving a Mr. Softee ice cream truck and performing for his patrons. Scheduled for issue on a Testament album, the sides remained unissued until the 90's. A few months later Welding recording him, few months later Quattlebaum recorded for Bluesville, the results issued on the marvelous Softee Man Blues with a picture of the artist in his ice cream uniform on the front cover.
-Carolina Slim: Blues Go Away From Me album notes by Pete Lowry
-Guitar Shorty An Appreciation and Memory by Valerie Wilmer (Blues Unlimited 120 (1976), p. 20-21) ][PDF]
-Doug Quattlebaum By Paul Sheatsley (Record Research No. 42, March/April 1962, p.12) [PDF]