Sun 3 Aug 2014
|Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe||I'm Going Back Home||Stuff Tha Dreams Are Made Of|
|Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe||What's The Matter With The Mil||Blues Images Vol. 10|
|Ma Rainey & Papa Charlie Jackson||Big Feeling Blues||Mother Of The Blues|
|Arnold & Irene Wiley||Rootin' Bo Hog Blues||Blues & Jazz Obscurities|
|Hezekiah & Dorothy Jenkins||Fare Thee Well||Blues & Jazz Obscurities|
|Bobbie Cadillac & Coley Jones||Easin' In||Texas Girls 1926-1929|
|Buddy Burton & Irene Sanders||Electric Man||W E ''Buddy'' Burton & Ed ''Fats'' Hudson 1928-1936|
|Mae Glover & John Byrd||Gas Man Blues||Mississippi Moaners|
|Ivy Smith & Cow Cow Davenport||Mistreated Mamma Blues||Ivy Smith & Cow Cow Davenport 1927-1930|
|Dora Carr & Cow Cow Davenport||5th Street Blues||Cow Cow Davenport - The Accompanist 1924-1929|
|Blind Willie McTell & Mary Willis||Talkin' to You Wimmen About the Blues||Blues Images Vol. 5|
|Blind Willie McTell & Mary Willis||Rough Alley Blues||The Classic Years 1927-1940|
|Blind Willie Johnson||You're Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond||Blind Willie Johnson and the Guitar Evangelists)|
|Eddie Head & Family||Down On Me||Blues Images Vol. 6|
|William & Versey Smith||Everybody Help The Boys Come Home||American Primitive Vol. I|
|Clara Smith & Lonnie Johnson||You're Gettin' Old On Your Job||Clara Smith: The Essential|
|Victoria & Spivey & Lonnie Johnson||Furniture Man Blues - Part 1||Victoria Spivey: The Essential|
|Victoria & Spivey & Lonnie Johnson||New Black Snake Blues No.1||Victoria Spivey Vol. 2 1927-1929|
|J. T. ''Funny Paper'' Smith & Dessa Foster||Tell It To The Judge Part 1||The Original Howling Wolf 1930-1931|
|J. T. ''Funny Paper'' Smith & Magnolia Harris||Mama's Quittin' And Leavin' Part 1||The Original Howling Wolf 1930-1931|
|Lottie Kimbrough and Winston Holmes||Lost Lover Blues||Baby, How Can It Be?|
|Memphis Jug Band (Jennie Clayton & Will Shade)||State of Tennessee Blues||The Best Of Memphis Jug Band|
|Mississippi Sarah & Daddy Stovepipe||The Spasm||Good for What Ails You|
|Butterbeans & Susie||Cold Storage Papa (Mama's A Little Too Warm For You)||Butterbeans & Susie Vol. 1 1924-1925|
|Butterbeans & Susie||Times Is Hard (So I'm Savin' for a Rainy Day)||Classic Blues & Vaudeville Singers Vol. 5|
|Ruth Willis & Fred McMullen||Just Can't Stand It||Georgia Blues 1928-1933|
|Hattie Hart||Coldest Stuff In Town||Memphis Blues 1927-1938|
|Charley Patton and Bertha Lee||Troubled 'Bout My Mother||Primeval Blues, Rags, and Gospel Songs|
|Charley Patton and Bertha Lee||Oh Death||Primeval Blues, Rags, and Gospel Songs|
|Jane Lucas & Georgia Tom||How Can You Have the Blues||Kansas City Kitty 1930-1934|
|Georgia Tom & Hannah May||Come On Mama||Famous Hokum Boys Vol. 1 1930|
|Coot Grant & Wesley Wilson||Whippin' the Wolf||Coot Grant & Wesley Wilson Vol. 3 1931-1938|
|Coot Grant & Wesley Wilson||Rasslin' 'till the Wagon Comes||Coot Grant & Wesley Wilson Vol. 1 1925-1928|
Today's show is something of a sequel to a couple of related shows I aired a couple of years back: Fence Breakin' Blues – Great Country Blues Guitar Duets and Play It It 'Till I Turn High Yeller – Great Guitar/Piano Duets. Today we spotlight some classic blues and gospel female/male duets spanning the years 1925 through 1938. Along the way we hear classic partnerships like Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe and Victoria Spivey and Lonnie Johnson, blues in the vaudeville tradition from Butterbeans & Susie and Coot Grant & Wesley Wilson, some moving gospel performances, well known artists such as Blind Willie McTell and Charlie Patton and a slew of fine lesser known artists who left behind memorable recordings.
Before blues got on record the music was heard in variety of settings including vaudeville, musicals, minstrel shows and tent shows. Many of these performers made there way on record into the 1920's, perhaps most famously Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey (we hear Rainey today with Papa Charlie Jackson on "Big Feeling Blues"). Among those featured today, Butterbeans & Susie, Coot Grant & Wesley Wilson and Cow Cow Davenport all came out of that tradition.
Butterbeans and Susie were a comedy duo made up of Jodie Edwards and Susie Edwards. Edwards began his career in 1910 as a singer and dancer. The two met in 1916 when Hawthorne was in the chorus of the Smart Set show. They married on stage the next year. The two did not perform as a comic team until the early 1920s. heir act, a combination of marital quarrels, comic dances, and racy singing, proved popular on the TOBA tour. They later moved to vaudeville and appeared for a time with the blackface minstrel troupe the Rabbit's Foot Company. They cut over sixty sides between 1924 and 1930.
Coot Grant was the main stage name of Leola B. Pettigrew, a blues singer from Alabama whose legal name became Leola Wilson following her marriage to performing partner Wesley Wilson. The pair met and began performing together in 1905 and were wed in 1913. Coot had been involved in show business since she was a child, beginning as a dancer in vaudeville. Her husband, who played both piano and organ, was performing as early as 1905. He performed under a variety of stage names including Catjuice Charlie in a duo with Pigmeat Pete, as well as Kid Wilson, Jenkins, Socks, and Sox Wilson. The husband and wife, billed as Grant & Wilson, Kid & Coot, and Hunter & Jenkins, cut over sixty sides between 1925 and 1938, often backed with top jazz artists.
In his early years Cow Cow Davenport toured TOBA with an act called Davenport and Company with Blues singer Dora Carr and they recorded together in 1925 and 1926. The act broke up when Carr got married. Davenport briefly teamed up with Blues singer Ivy Smith in 1928. Smith and Davenport cut some two-dozen sides together between 1927 and 1930.
Victoria Spivey and Lonnie Johnson did several duets together that have vaudeville feel to them. Johnson backed Spivey on numerous recordings in 1926 and 1927 and they made several duets together in 1928 and 1929 including "New Black Snake Blues Part 1 & 2", "Toothache Blues Part 1 & 2 and "You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now Part 1 & 2 ."
More in down-home vein were recordings by Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe, J. T. "Funny Paper" Smith and Blind Willie McTell with different partners. Memphis Minnie's marriage and recording debut came in 1929, to and with Kansas Joe McCoy, when a Columbia Records talent scout heard them playing in a Beale Street barbershop. It was supposedly a Columbia A and R man who gave the duo their names. Between 1929 and 1934 Minnie and Joe cut around one hundred sides together. McCoy and Minnie recorded songs together and on their own for Decca Records until they divorced in 1934.
Mary Willis recorded with several Atlanta artists including Blind Willie McTell, Curley Weaver and Buddy Moss. McTell also recorded with singer Ruby Glaze and Kate McTell who are likely the same person. One of the featured tracks, "Talkin To You Wimmen' About The Blues", was not issued until just a few years ago. The track and it's flip side, "Merciful Blues", was issued on the CD that accompanies Tefteller's 2008 blues artwork calendar. To quote Tefteller: "the record you see in the center of this page [Talkin' To You Wimmen About The Blues] apparently has not been heard by anyone since its release back in the late fall of 1931. I have had this record in my collection for almost ten years. I had no idea that it was potentially a one-of-a-kind record! …Late last year, legendary Blues reissue producer Larry Cohn called me about his upcoming Blind Willie McTell box set. He told me he would like to borrow certain records from my collection …I sent him a list of what I had. To my amazement , he called immediately with the comment, "I've never heard the Mary Willis record!" Apparently, there is no master in the Columbia vaults. Cohn is aware of no other copy of the record anywhere. Finding this hard to believe, I started calling "all the usual suspects" and sure enough, none of them had the record or had ever heard it."
Between 1930 and 1931 J. T. "Funny Paper" Smith had recorded some twenty issued sides. Among those were a pair of fine duets we feature today: "Tell It To The Judge Part 1 & 2" with Dessa Foster and Mama's Quittin' And Leavin' Part 1 & 2" with Magnolia Harris.
Also on tap today are several fine gospel performances by Blind Willie Johnson, Charlie Paton, Eddie Head and William & Versey Smith . Johnson may have married Willie B. Harris who sang accompaniment with Johnson on some of his recordings for Columbia Records between 1927 and 1930. Today we feature one of my favorites, "You're Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond."
Bertha Lee met Charlie Patton in 1930 and remained his wife until his death in 1934. During this time, she sang on several of Patton's recordings, which resulted in the recording of three of her own songs, "Yellow Bee", "Dog Train Blues" (unissued), and "Mind Reader Blues". Patton accompanied her on guitar on these records.
William Smith and his wife recorded four songs for Paramount in 1927 while Eddie Head cut the same number for Columbia in 1930.