Sun 31 Mar 2013
|Bumble Bee Slim||Bricks In My Pillow||Bumble Bee Slim Vol. 3 1934-1935|
|Casey Bill Weldon||Somebody Changed the Lock on That Door||Casey Bill Weldon Vol. 1 1935-1936|
|Kokomo Arnold||Policy Wheel Blues||Kokomo Arnold Vol. 2 1935-1936|
|Walter Roland||School-Boy Blues||The Essential|
|Lucille Bogan||Shave em' Dry||The Essential|
|Mississippi Moaner||It's Cold In China Blues||American Primitive Vol. II|
|Lane Hardin||Hard Time Blues||Blues Images Vol. 8|
|Memphis Minnie||Hustlin' Woman Blues||Four Women Blues|
|Blind Boy Fuller||Baby, I Don't Have to Worry ('Cause That Stuff Is Here)||Blind Boy Fuller Remastered
|Blind Gary Davis||I Belong To The Band - Hallelujah!||Goodbye Babylon|
|Sleepy John Estes||Drop Down Mama||I Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More|
|Bo Carter||When Your Left Eye Go to Jumping||Bo Carter & The Mississippi Sheiks (JSP)|
|Walter Davis||Sloppy Drunk Again||Favorite Country Blues/Piano-Guitar Duets
|Willie Lofton||Dirty Mistreater||Big Joe Williams & the Stars of Mississippi Blues|
|Johnnie Temple||Lead Pencil Blues (It Just Won't Write)||The Essential|
|Joe McCoy||Look Who's Coming Down The Road||When the Levee Breaks|
|Leroy Carr||When The Sun Goes Down||When The Sun Goes Down|
|Scrapper Blackwell||Alley Sally Blues||Scrapper Blackwell Vol. 2 1934-1958|
|Alice Moore||Riverside Blues||St. Louis Bessie & Alice Moore Vol. 2 1934-1941|
|Barrel House Buck McFarland||Weeping Willow Blues||Piano Blues Vol. 2 1927-1956|
|The Sparks Brothers||Tell Her About Me||Down On The Levee: The Piano Blues of St. Louis
|Joe Pullum||Hard-Working Man Blues||Joe Pullum Vol. 1 1934-1935
|Robert Cooper||West Dallas Drag No. 2||Joe Pullum Vol. 1 1934-1935|
|Buddy Moss||Going To Your Funeral In A Vee Eight Ford||Buddy Moss Vol. 3 1935-1941|
|Blind Willie McTell||Lay Some Flowers On My Grave||The Classic Years 1927-1940|
|Curley Weaver||Tricks Ain't Walking No More||Atlanta Blues|
|Big Bill Broonzy||Mountain Blues||All The Classic Sides 1928-1937|
|State Street Boys||The Dozen||How Low Can You Go|
|Cripple Clarence Lofton||Brown Skin Girls||The Piano Blues Vol. 9|
|Otto Virgial||Bad Notion Blues||American Primitive Vol. II|
|Big Joe Williams||Little Leg Woman||Big Joe Williams Vol. 2 1945-49|
|Dr. Clayton||Peter's Blues||Doctor Clayton & His Buddy 1933-47|
|Red Nelson||Detroit Special||Red Nelson 1935-1947|
|Freddie Shayne||Original Mr. Freddie Blues||Montana Taylor & 'Freddy' Shayne 1929-1946|
Today’s show is the ninth installment of an ongoing series of programs built around a particular year. The first year we spotlighted was 1927 which was the beginning of a blues boom that would last until 1930; there were just 500 blues and gospel records issued in 1927 and increase of fifty percent from 1926 a trend that would continue until the depression. To feed the demand other record companies conducted exhaustive searches for new talent, which included making trips down south with field recording units. The Depression, with the massive unemployment it brought, had a shattering effect on the pockets of black record buyers. Sales of blues records plummeted in the years 1931 through 1933. Things picked up again in 1934 with the companies recording full-scale again. It was the urban style of blues that now dominated the market – artists such as Tampa Red, Kokomo Arnold, Memphis Minnie, Big Bill Broonzy, Bumble Bee Slim and Leroy Carr recorded prolifically. During this period there was far less recording in the field during this period and in view of the popularity of Chicago singers there was less need.
According to John Godrich and Robert M.W. Dixon in their classic book Recording The Blues, the record companies "had three way of unearthing new talent: by placing advertisements in local newspapers, especially just before a field unit was due in a nearby town; by just relying on chance comments from singers, concerning other who might be good recording propositions; and by employing their own talent scouts, who carry out steady, systematic searches. The last method was intensively employed in the the thirties – Rootlet Sykes, for instance, would find likely artists for Decca (or, sometimes, for Lester Melrose). but despite this, race catalogs in the thirties relied more heavily on a small nucleus of popular singers than they had in the twenties."
Two down home singers who could hold their own in terms of popularity against the urban artists were Sleepy John Estes and Blind Boy Fuller. Estes made his debut for Victor in 1929 while Fuller made his debut for Vocalion in 1935. Unlike blues artists like Big Bill or Memphis Minnie who recorded extensively over three or four decades, Blind Boy Fuller recorded his substantial body of work over a short, six-year span. 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. Fuller made his debut in 1935 and over the next five years he made over 120 sides.
Gary Davis was a major influence on Blind Boy Fuller. In the late 1920's he was one of the most renowned practitioners of the East Coast school of ragtime guitar. He backed Fuller on second guitar at at his third 1935 session.
With the popularity of the urban blues it's not surprising that Leroy Carr and his imitator, Bumble Bee Slim, recorded prolifically. In 1934 Slim waxed around fifty sides and roughly the same number in 1935. Our selection, “Bricks In My Pillow”, was recorded in July in 1935 and covered by Big Bill Broonzy in December of the same year and in later years recorded by Robert Nighthawk. Leroy Carr died in 1935 at the age of 30. In February he cut his final eight song session. Scrapper Blackwell cut just over two-dozen sides under his own name between 1928 and 1935. He backed several other artists on record including Georgia Tom, Bumble Bee Slim, Black Bottom McPhail and Josh White among several others. He retired from the music industry not long after Carr’s death, making a brief comeback in the late 50's.
Big Bill Broonzy recorded around tw0-dozen sides in 1935 all featuring the prominent piano of Black Bob. Very little is known about Black Bob Hudson, except that he was a ragtime-influenced blues pianist who was active from the 1920's and 1930's, and worked with a who's who of Chicago talent including Big Bill Broonzy, Bumble Bee Slim, Jazz Gillum, Lil Johnson, Washboard Sam, Casey Bill Weldon and Tampa Red. Broonzy was also an active session guitarist and today we hear him backing the State Street Boys and pianist Cripple Clarence Lofton.
Also featured today are a trio of musicians hailing from Jackson, Mississippi who recorded in Chicago. Johnnie Temple was part of a vibrant the 1920’s Jackson, MS scene, a city teeming with artists such as Tommy Johnson, Walter Vincson, Ishmon Bracey, the Chatmon Brothers, Skip James and Rube Lacey. Often, he performed with Charlie and Joe McCoy and also worked with Skip James. Temple moved to Chicago in the early 30’s, where he quickly became part of the town’s blues scene. From Temple's first session we spin his classic "Lead Pencil Blues" cut for Vocalion backed on second guitar by Charlie McCoy. Willie Lofton was also from Jackson which was the town he left when he traveled north to Chicago in the mid 1930's. He had two recording sessions in Chicago in August of 1934 and November of 1935 that produced eight sides. We also feature Joe McCoy's "Look Who's Coming Down The Road", recorded as Georgia Pine Boy, a variation on Tommy Johnson's "Maggie Campbell Blues."