New Orleans


ARTIST
SONG
ALBUM
Richard "Rabbit" Brown James Alley BluesNever Let The Same Bee Sting You Twice
Richard "Rabbit" Brown Never Let The Same Bee Sting You TwiceNever Let The Same Bee Sting You Twice
Boogie Bill Webb Bad Dog Rural Blues Vol. 3
Boogie Bill Webb Drinkin' And Stinkin' Roosevelt Holts & Friends
Snooks Eaglin Country Boy Down In New OrleansCountry Boy Down In New Orleans
Snooks Eaglin Mama Don't You Tear My ClothesCountry Boy Down In New Orleans
Arzo Youngblood Four Women Blues Goin' Up The Country
Arzo Youngblood Bye And Bye Blues Goin' Up The Country
Babe Stovall Woman Blues Babe Stovall Story
Babe Stovall I'm Gwine To New Orleans Babe Stovall
Babe Stovall The Ship Is At The Landing The Old Ace
Newton Greer Born Dead Harmonica Williams with Little Freddie King
Harmonica Williams & Little Freddie KingBaby Don't You Know Harmonica Williams with Little Freddie King
Richard "Rabbit" Brown Sinking Of The Titanic Never Let The Same Bee Sting You Twice
Richard "Rabbit" Brown I'm Not Jealous Never Let The Same Bee Sting You Twice
Boogie Bill Webb BoogieRual Blues Vol. 3
Boogie Bill WebbBig Road Blues Living Country Blues USA – Introduction
Snooks Eaglin Mailman PassedCountry Boy Down In New Orleans
Snooks Eaglin Lonesome RoadI Bluskvarter Vol. 3
Arzo Youngblood I Can't Be Successful Living Country Blues USA – Introduction
Arzo Youngblood Goin Up The Country Living Country Blues:Vol. 7
Lemone Nash New Orleans Blues The Country Blues -Storyville Blues Anthology Vol.10
Edgar Blanchard & Papa LightfootCreole Gal Blues Down Home Blues Classics 1943-1953
Monroe Vincent AKA Polka Dot Slim Ain't Broke, Ain't Hungry Forest City Joe & Polka Dot Slim: Downhome Delta Harmonica
Pee Wee Hughes Sugar Mama Juke Joint Blues: Good Time Rhythm & Blues 1943 -1956
Pee Wee HughesI'm A Country Boy Juke Joint Blues: Good Time Rhythm & Blues 1943 -1956
Babe Stovall Going Away To Wear You Off My Mind The Old Ace
Babe Stovall Worried Blues The Old Ace
Babe Stovall See See Rider South Mississippi Blues
Harmonica Williams & Little Freddie KingHighway 82 Harmonica Williams with Little Freddie King
Little Freddy King The King Special Harmonica Williams with Little Freddie King
Harmonica Williams & Little Freddie KingJuke Boy Harmonica Williams with Little Freddie King

Show Notes:

Richard Rabbit Brown: James Alley BluesI had been toying around with the idea of this show for awhile and was finally inspired to put this  together after reading Scott Baretta's article, "Downhome New Orleans Blues", a couple of months back in Living Blues magazine. New Orleans has always been a music city, and some would say jazz was its most significant invention, formed around the dawn of the twentieth century and passed on to the rest of America and the world thereafter. That being said, anyone who's listened o the early New Orleans jazz records knows that blues was the bedrock for many of the bands such as Oscar 'Papa' Celestin, Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Louis Dumaine, The Chicago Footwarmers, Freddie Keppard and Johnny Dodds among others.

Certainly before the war the blues not well documented on record outside of early performers like Richard "Rabbit" Brown, Lizzie Miles and Blu Lu Barker. Even in the 1940's the scene was dominated by jazz and dixieland bands like Kid Thomas, Billie and De De Pierce, George Lewis and John Handy. During the 1940's and into the 1950s a distinctly New Orleans approach to blues and R&B emerged. Usually piano-driven and backed by inventive rhythms that showed the marked influence of second-line marching and brass bands. While surrounding states like Mississippi, Texas had significant downhome blues scenes that's not the case with New Orleans. Today's show documents some of the few downhome New Orleans  bluesmen who made records including the pre-war blues of  Richard “Rabbit” Brown, and post-war sides by Snooks Eaglin, Boogie Bill Webb, Arzo Youngblood, Babe Stovall and others. Below is some background on today's featured performers.

Born circa 1880, Richard "Rabbit" Brown spent much of his life in New Orleans where he was reported to have worked as a street singer and singing boatman on Lake Ponchartrain. On March 11, 1927, Brown cut six sides for the recording pioneer Ralph Peer. Brown was a very much the songster and his recordings are an interesting mix of original blues, pop covers and event songs like his "Sinking Of The Titanic" and "Mystery of the Dunbar's Child." Brown passed away in 1937. It's been suggested that Brown also be he man behind Blind Willie Harris who cut "Does Jesus Care? b/w Where He Leads Me I Will Follow" for Victor in New Orleans in 1929. In  the notes to Dust-To-Digital's Goodbye Babyblon box set the following is noted: "Two swallows don't make a summer either, but the resemblance of Willie Harris' voice and guitar to those of Richard 'Rabbit' Brown suggest the existence of a local shared troubadour style.  The voice on this track and the accompanying side Does Jesus Care is strikingly similar to the 5 titles recorded by Brown in New Orleans in March 1927.  This is B.W.H's only recording."

Babe Stovall
Read Liner Notes

Lemon Nash played with Richard "Rabbit" "Brown in the 1920's. Nash was one of the few musicians who remembered Brown. In an interview in 1959 he recalled that Brown made his money playing on the streets of New Orleans' sporting district. He was a regular at Mama Lou's on Lake Pontchartrain. If "business was slow and [Brown] need a ride home, he would turn in a false fire alarm." The firemen answered the call and found out it was only their friend, who sang to them as they went back to the station. "He knew all the firemen," Nash recalled, and they did not seem to mind the inconvenience. For Nash, Brown seems to have been a comic figure with little musical talent. He "played so badly, I had to let him go," Nash remembered. "He just hit the guitar and yell." Brown was "what you call a clown man." Nash was a veteran of many string bands of and cut a handful of sides in 1959 and 1960 including today's featured track "New Orleans Blues".

Born in 1907 in Tylertown, MS, Babe Stovall was the youngest of 11 children, most of them musicians. Stovall learned guitar when he was around eight years old, and was soon playing breakdowns, frolics, and parties in the area, even meeting and learning "Big Road Blues" from Tommy Johnson. He moved to Franklinton, LA, in the 1930's, and split his time between there and Tylertown for several years, picking up whatever work he could as a farmhand. In 1964 he moved to New Orleans, where he was "discovered" working as a street singer in the French Quarter. He recorded an LP for Verve in 1964, simply titled Babe Stovall (re-released on CD by Flyright in 1990), and did further sessions in 1966 (released on CD by Southern Sound as The Babe Stovall Story) and with Bob West in 1968 (which form the basis of The Old Ace: Mississippi Blues & Religious Songs, released on Arcola in 2003), and became active on the folk and blues college circuit, as well as holding down a house gig at the Dream Castle Bar in New Orleans. He passed in 1974.

Boogie Bill Webb was born in Jackson, Mississippi, his greatest influence was Tommy Johnson. He settled in New Orleans in 1952. Webb obtained a recording contract with Imperial Records, after his friendship with Fats Domino led to his introduction to Dave Bartholomew. In 1953 Webb released his debut single, "Bad Dog" and three other songs at this session. Frustrated by lack of recognition, Webb relocated to Chicago, where he worked in various factories. Webb returned to New Orleans in 1959 to work as a stevedore, performing music infrequently. However, in the late 60's he recorded several songs for the folklorist David Evans, which appeared on several anthologies. In the 1970's Webb began performing in Europe. Finally in 1989, with financial assistance from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Webb released his only full-length record, Drinkin' and Stinkin'. Webb died in New Orleans in August 1990, at the age of 66.

Snooks Eaglin: New Orleans Street Singer
Read Liner Notes

Azo Youngblood was a pal of Boogie Bill Webb and learned guitar as a teenager from Tommy Johnson who married Youngblood's aunt. Youngblood was first recorded in 1966 by David Evans with songs appearing on the anthology Goin' Up The Country on Decca and other sides on the collection The Legacy Of Tommy Johnson. He was recorded a final time in 1980 by Axel Küstner and Siegfried Christmann with songs appearing on the Living Country Blues USA series of albums.

In 1947, at the age of 11, Snooks Eaglin won a talent contest organized by the radio station WNOE by playing "Twelfth Street Rag". Three years later, he dropped out of the school for the blind to become a professional musician. In 1952, Eaglin joined the Flamingos, a local seven-piece band started by Allen Toussaint.He stayed with The Flamingos for several until the mid-1950's. The first recordings under his own name came when Harry Oster, a folklorist from Louisiana State University, found him playing in the streets of New Orleans. Oster made recordings of Eaglin between 1958 and 1960 during seven sessions which later became records on various labels including Folkways, Folklyric, and Prestige/Bluesville. He started waxing R&B records for Imperial Records with the help of producer Dave Bartholomew in 1960 and stuck with the label through 1963. Eaglin's resurgence came with his signing to Black Top in the 80's where he cut a series of great records though the 90's.

We spotlight several cuts from the LP Harmonica Williams with Little Freddie King cut for the Ahura Mazda label in 1971. This is supposedly the first electric blues album recorded in New Orleans and marks the debut of Little Freddie King. It would take until 1995 before King made his full-length debut with Swamp Boogie. In addition to Williams and King there is a powerful version of J.B. Lenoir's "Born Dead" sung by Newton Greer. Greer was a local club owner and a blues singer who often worked with local groups.

A guitarist and band leader, Edgar Blanchard was a permanent feature of the New Orleans music scene from the 40s to the 60s. In 1947 he was in charge of the resident band at the Down Beat Club on Rampart Street, with Roy Brown as one of the vocalists. Blanchard’s most well-known band was the Gondoliers. Although he frequently played on sessions, Blanchard seldom recorded under his own name. "Creole Gal" is the only downhome song he recorded, this one featuring Papa Lightfoot on harmonica.
Harmonica Williams with Little Freddie King
Monroe Vincent AKA Polka Dot Slim was born in Woodville, MS., and was influenced by the harmonica playing of Sonny Boy Williamson I. Vincent made his debut in 1956 recording a single for Excello as Vince Monroe. In 1957 he recorded over two dozen sides for the Zynn label but only released two recordings. Vincent returned to recording in 1965 and the following year waxing two singles for Instant & Apollo. Even after his recording career stalled, he remained a fixture on the New Orleans performing scene up until about 1976.

Nothing is known about Pee Wee Hughes.  Hughes cut four sides for the Deluxe label in 1949 in New Orleans.

Share
ARTIST
SONG
ALBUM
Professor Longhair Her Mind Is GoneMercury Records: The New Orleans Sessions 1950 - 1953
Professor Longhair Been Foolin' AroundMercury Records: The New Orleans Sessions 1950 - 1953
Smiley LewisTee-Nah-Nah Shame Shame Shame
Paul Gayten & Annie LaurieI Ain't Gonna Let You InCreole Gal
Dave BartholomewCarnival DayDave Bartholomew 1947-50
Archibald Stack-O-Lee Pt. 1Crescent City Bounce
Archibald She's Scattered EverywhereCrescent City Bounce
Archibald Crescent City BounceCrescent City Bounce
Dave BartholomewIn The Alley Dave Bartholomew 1950-52
Smiley LewisSad LifeShame Shame Shame
Tommy RidgleyTra la la Crescent City Bounce
Fats Domino Rockin' Chair Out Of New Orleans
Fats Domino Don't You Lie To Me Out Of New Orleans
Guitar SlimCertainly All Sufferin' Mind
Cousin Joe Second Hand Love Crescent City Bounce
Blazer-BoyWaiting For My Baby Crescent City Bounce
Dave BartholomewLawdy Lawdy Lord Pt. 1Dave Bartholomew 1950-52
Tommy Ridgley I Live My Life Crescent City Bounce
Shirley & LeeI'm GoneThe Cosimo Matassa Story
Smiley LewisYou're Gonna Miss MeShame Shame Shame
Roy Brown Letter From HomeRoy Brown 1951-53
Roy Brown Money Can't Buy LoveRoy Brown 1951-53
Fats Domino Going To The RiverOut Of New Orleans
Fats Domino Going Home Out Of New Orleans
Fats Domino Mardi Gras in New OrleansOut Of New Orleans
Lloyd PriceMailman Boogie Lloyd Price 1952-53
Sugar Boy Crawford Jock-A-MoCrescent City Soul: Sound of New Orleans
Smiley LewisBlue MondayShame Shame Shame
Smiley LewisThe Rocks Shame Shame Shame
Smiley LewisDown The Road Shame Shame Shame
Guitar Slim The Things I Used To DoSufferin' Mind
Guitar Slim The Story of My LifeSufferin' Mind
Guitar Slim A Letter To My Girlfriend Sufferin' Mind

Show Notes:

With the exception of two sides by Champion Jack Dupree, our first New Orleans show really started in the post-war era when the city's first blues and R&B singers started getting on record. Today we continue the story spanning 1950 through 1953. The New Orleans pre-war blues scene was not well documented on record outside of early performers like Richard "Rabbit" Brown, Lizzie Miles and Blu Lu Barker. Even in the 1940's the scene was dominated by jazz and dixieland bands like Kid Thomas, Billie and De De Pierce, George Lewis and John Handy. During the 1940's and into the 1950s a distinctly New Orleans approach to blues and R&B emerged. Usually piano-driven and backed by inventive rhythms that showed the marked influence of second-line marching and brass bands, New Orleans blues and R&B developed a rolling, joyous feel that captured the rollicking feel of the city. As author John Broven writes: "The freewheeling, happy-go-lucky music is known as the New Orleans Sound, which has its roots in the original beat of the old parade bands of the nineteenth century. Whether it's rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll, soul or modern jazz, the parade beat is the ubiquitous common factor, the foundation, if you like." And as record producer Marshall Sehorn said: 'This is the home of the second line, that extra syncopated beat that has been in existence ever since the first black man picked upa tambourine."

There's a distinct emphasis on the piano blues, particularly in the formative years of the New Orleans blues scene of the 40's. This can be linked to the influence of jazz pioneers in the 1920s like Jelly Roll Morton. Three figures dominated, and set the tone for, New Orleans rhythm and blues in the 1940's and into the 50's: Professor Longhair, Dave Bartolomew and Fats Domino. Other pianists heard today include Archibald and Paul Gayten plus a slew of talented singers, most famously Roy Brown, Cousin Joe, Tommy Ridgley, Smiley Lewis and Guitar Slim plus a batch of fine little remembered figures from the Crescent City's past.

On part one we spun a half dozen sides by Professor Longhair and we open today's program with two more, "Her Mind Is Gone" and the rollicking "Been Foolin' Around." Longhair grew up on the streets of New Orleans, tap dancing for tips on Bourbon Street with his running partners. Local 88s aces Sullivan Rock, Kid Stormy Weather, and Tuts Washington were early influences. Longhair began to take his playing seriously in 1948, earning a gig at the Caldonia Club. Longhair debuted on wax in 1949, laying down four tracks (including the first version of his signature "Mardi Gras in New Orleans," for the Dallas-based Star Talent label. Union problems forced those sides off the market, but Longhair's next date for Mercury the same year produced his first and only national R&B hit in 1950, the hilarious "Bald Head." The pianist made great records for Atlantic in 1949, Federal in 1951, Wasco in 1952, and Atlantic again in 1953 plus other scattered small label sides through the 50's.

Imperial Records Billboard Ad, 1952

Today's program boasts several more fine piano pounders including Paul Gayten, who we featured on the first installment, plus several sides by Archibald and of of Fats Domino whose 1949 smash "The Fat Man" we played in part one. When most people think of the song "Stagger Lee," they think of Lloyd Price and his 1958 chart-topping single. Eight years before Price's version, however, a single on Imperial Records (spelled "Stack-a-Lee"), credited to and featuring the piano of Archibald, reached the R&B Top Ten. He was born Leon T. Gross in New Orleans, LA, in 1912 and took up the piano as a child, initially entertaining at parties under the name "Archie Boy," which became Archibald. In 1950, he was signed to Imperial Records, part of the same wave that brought Dave Bartholomew and Fats Domino onto the company's roster, and Archibald made his first recordings in March 1950. He never saw the national charts again with any of his sides, recording for Imperial until 1952. He died of a heart attack at the age of 60.

Paul Gayten, a seminal figure in New Orleans rhythm & blues, led a varied career in the music business as a bandleader, producer, label owner, and one-time overseer of the West Coast operation of Chess Records. A nephew of blues-piano legend Little Brother Montgomery, Gayten once led one of the top bands of New Orleans, but he gave up the performing life in 1956 to turn his attention to production and eventually to his own California-based Pzazz label. Gayten wrote Larry Darnell's 1949 classic "For You My Love" and recorded a few Top Ten hits of his own for Regal and DeLuxe (1947-1950), some of them with vocalist Annie Laurie including today's featured track, "I Ain't Gonna Let You In."

The most popular exponent of the classic New Orleans R&B sound, Fats Domino sold more records than any other black rock & roll star of the 1950s. Domino's first single, "The Fat Man" (1949) made number two on the R&B charts, and sold a million copies. Just as important, it established a vital partnership between Fats and Imperial A&R man Dave Bartholomew. He would also usually employ New Orleans session greats like Alvin Tyler on sax and Earl Palmer on drums, musicians who were vital in establishing New Orleans R&B as a distinct entity. Domino didn't cross over into the pop charts in a big way until 1955, when "Ain't That a Shame" made the Top Ten. We spotlight a number of bluesy items from his early years including "Rockin' Chair", a fine rendition of Tampa Red's "Don't You Lie To Me"  and a blasting version of "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" among others.

We played a batch of terrific sides by Dave Bartholomew on part one and continue with the second line strut of "Carnival, the good time "In the Alley" and the slinky "Lawdy Lawdy Lord Pt. 1" all propelled by some a band of knockout New Orleans musicians. Bartholomew helped develop and define the sound of rhythm & blues in the Fifties. He was a bandleader, trumpet player, songwriter, producer, arranger, talent scout, businessman, and more. Although he never made the pop charts under his own name, Bartholomew was a key figure in the transition from jump blues and big-band swing to rhythm & blues and rock and roll. Bartholomew is most famous for having discovered and produced Fats Domino, with whom he produced and wrote songs for through the Fifties and beyond. But he’s worked with a who’s-who of New Orleans R&B figures: Smiley Lewis, Lloyd Price, Shirley & Lee, Earl King, Roy Brown, Huey "Piano" Smith, Chris Kenner, Robert Parker, Frankie Ford, James Booker, Jewel King, James "Sugar Boy" Crawford, Tommy Ridgley and more. In the late 40s, he formed his own band, which became one of the most popular and accomplished in the city. Between 1947 and the early 60’s Bartholomew recorded prolifically under his own name mostly for Imperial but also for Deluxe, Aladdin, Specialty, King and Jax. His records featured the cream of New Orleans musicians like Earl Palmer, Ernest McClean, Edgar Blanchard, Lee Allen, Alvin "Red" Tyler, Frank Fields and others.

Also returning from part one are Tommy Ridgley, Cousin Joe and Roy Brown. Ridgley was on the Crescent City R&B scene when it first caught fire, and he remained a proud part of that same scene until his death in 1999. Ridgley cut his debut sides back in 1949 for Imperial under Dave Bartholomew's direction. He cut four 1953-1955 sessions for Atlantic cut sides for Herald in the late 50's. From there he cut sides for the local Ric and Ronn imprints. During the 90's he cut several fine albums before passing in 1999.

Smiley Lewis

Growing up in New Orleans, Cousin Joe began singing in church before crossing over to the blues. Guitar and ukulele were his first axes. He eventually prioritized the piano instead, playing Crescent City clubs and riverboats. He moved to New York in 1942, gaining entry into the city's thriving jazz scene (where he played with Dizzy Gillespie, Sidney Bechet, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, and a host of other luminaries). He recorded for King, Gotham, Philo (in 1945), Savoy, and Decca along the way, doing well on the latter logo with "Box Car Shorty and Peter Blue" in 1947. After returning to New Orleans in 1948, he recorded for DeLuxe and cut a two-part "ABCs" for Imperial in 1954 as Smilin' Joe under Dave Bartholomew's supervision. But by then, his recording career had faded.

Born in the Crescent City, Roy Brown grew up all over the place: Eunice, LA (where he sang in church and worked in the sugarcane fields); Houston, TX; and finally Los Angeles by age 17. His seminal 1947 DeLuxe Records waxing of "Good Rockin' Tonight" was immediately ridden to the peak of the R&B charts by shouter Wynonie Harris and subsequently covered by Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many more early rock icons. Roy Brown didn't have to wait long to dominate the R&B lists himself. He scored 15 hits from mid-1948 to late 1951 for DeLuxe.

Today's New Orleans installment marks the debut of several crescent city stars including Smiley Lewis, Lloyd Price and Guitar Slim. Lewis hit New Orleans in his mid-teens and played clubs in the French Quarter. By 1947, his following was strong enough to merit a session for DeLuxe Records, which issued his debut 78. Nothing happened with that disc, but when Lewis signed with Imperial in 1950 (debuting with "Tee-Nah-Nah") things began to happen. He scored his first national hit in 1952 with "The Bells Are Ringing," but enjoyed his biggest sales in 1955 with "I Hear You Knocking." Strangely, Fats Domino fared better with some of Smiley Lewis' tunes than Lewis did ("Blue Monday" in particular). Similarly, Elvis Presley cleaned up  "One Night" and hit big with it. After a long and at successful run at Imperial, Lewis moved over to OKeh in 1961 for one single, stopped at Dot in 1964 just long enough to make a solitary 45 and bowed in 1965. He died in the autumn of 1966, all but forgotten outside his New Orleans home base.

Growing up in Kenner, a suburb of New Orleans, Lloyd Price was exposed to seminal sides by Louis Jordan, the Liggins brothers, Roy Milton, and Amos Milburn through the jukebox in his mother's little fish-fry joint. Lloyd and his younger brother Leo put together a band while in their teens. Bandleader Dave Bartholomew was impressed enough to invite Specialty Records boss Art Rupe to see the singer. At his very first Specialty date in 1952, Price sang his classic "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" (its piano intro courtesy of Fats Domino). It topped the R&B charts for an extended period, making Price a legitimate star. Four more Specialty smashes soon followed.

Guitar Slim, born Eddie Jones in Mississippi, turned up in New Orleans in 1950. He debuted on wax in 1951 with a mediocre session for Imperial, cut a 1952 date for Bullet before scoring huge with "The Things That I Used to Do" on the Specialty label. The song hit the R&B charts for 14 weeks in 1954. Strangely, although he waxed several stunning follow-ups for Specialty in the same vein, he never charted again. He switched over to Atlantic Records in 1956. Excessive drinking and life in the fast lane took its inevitable toll over the years, and he died in 1959 at age 32.

We also spin a track apiece by Shirley & Lee and James "Sugar Boy" Crawford. Shirley Goodman and Leonard Lee, scored three massive R&B hits before either one of them were both 20 years old: "Feel So Good," "Let the Good Times Roll," and "I Feel Good."

In 1950 James "Sugar Boy" Crawford and eight classmates formed the band the Sha-Weez. Producer Dave Bartholomew signed the Sha-Weez to New Orleans imprint Aladdin Records in late 1952, helming their debut session at Cosimo Matassa's legendary J&M Studios. In late 1953 Crawford began recording for Chess as Sugar Boy and His Cane Cutters. His Chess debut, "I Don't Know What I'll Do," was the label's first release cut in New Orleans, and enjoyed strong local airplay. The follow-up, "Jock-a-Mo," appeared in early 1954 and also proved a regional favorite.

I'm planning on doing a part three and possibly part four on the music of New Orleans. On deck for part three will include more sides by Guitar Slim, Lloyd Price, Fats Domino, Smiley Lewis and Dave Bartholomew plus sides by Earl King, Ernie K-Doe, Bobby Marchan, Little Sonny Jones and many  others.

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ARTIST
SONG
ALBUM
Champion Jack DupreeJunker's BluesJunker's Blues
Champion Jack DupreeCabbage GreensJunker's Blues
Roy BrownJudgment Day BluesRoy Brown & New Orleans R & B
Roy BrownWhose Hat Is ThatRoy Brown & New Orleans R & B
Roy BrownMighty, Mighty Man Roy Brown & New Orleans R & B
Cousin JoeIt's Dangerous To Be A HusbandCousin Joe 1945-1947 Vol. 2
Cousin JoeLittle Woman BluesCousin Joe 1945-1947 Vol. 2
Paul Gayten & Annie LaurieAnnie's BluesCreole Gal
Paul GaytenYour Hands Ain't Clean Creole Gal
Joe "Mr. Google Eyes" August Rough And Rocky RoadThe Very Best Of
Joe "Mr. Google Eyes" August Young BoyThe Very Best Of
Dave Bartholomew Mr. Fool Roy Brown & New Orleans R & B
Dave Bartholomew Country Boy Roy Brown & New Orleans R & B
Dave Bartholomew She's Got Great Big EyesRoy Brown & New Orleans R & B
Professor LonghairProfessor Longhair BluesRoy Brown & New Orleans R & B
Professor LonghairHey! Now BabyRoy Brown & New Orleans R & B
Professor LonghairMardi Gras In New OrleansRoy Brown & New Orleans R & B
Larry Darnell For You My LoveLarry Darnell 1949-1951
Larry Darnell Pack Your Rags And Go Larry Darnell 1949-1951
Jewel King3 x 7 = 21The Spirit Of New Orleans
Tommy RidgleyShrewsbury Blues The Spirit Of New Orleans
Fats DominoThe Fat Man Crescent City Soul: The Sound Of New Orleans
Little Mr. MidnightGot A Brand New Baby Crescent City Bounce
Chubby "Hip Shakin"' NewsomeHard-Lovin' Mama Jump 'N' Shout (New Orleans Blues & Rhythm)
Big Joe TurnerThe Blues Jumped Over the Rabbit The Spirit of New Orleans
Alma Mondy (Alma Lollypop)Streetwalkin' DaddyMercury Records: The New Orleans Sessions
Little Joe Gaines She Won't Leave No More Mercury Records: The New Orleans Sessions
George Miller & His Mid-DriffsBat-Lee swingMercury Records: The New Orleans Sessions
Dave BartholomewAin't Gonna Do It Ain't Gonna Do It
Dave BartholomewThat's How You Got Killed, Before Ain't Gonna Do It
Dave BartholomewGood Jax BoogieRoy Brown & New Orleans R & B
Professor LonghairByrd's BluesRoy Brown & New Orleans R & B
Professor LonghairHadacol BounceRoy Brown & New Orleans R & B
Professor LonghairBetween Midnight & DayRoy Brown & New Orleans R & B

Show notes:

With the exception of two sides by Champion Jack Dupree, today's show really starts in the post-war era when the city's first blues and R&B singers started getting on record. The New Orleans pre-war blues scene was not well documented on record outside of early performers like Richard "Rabbit" Brown, Lizzie Miles and Blu Lu Barker. As Neil Slaven writes about the city's history: "New Orleans has always been a music city. Most would have it jazz was its most significant invention, formed around the dawn of the twentieth century and passed on to the rest of America and the world thereafter. Some, perhaps with a little less fervor, point to the city's long blues traditions and the explosion of rhythm and blues in the 1950's. In fact the two are inextricably bound together, branches of the same tree, sharing sharing a common ancestry that laid down some of its roots at the turn of the nineteenth century …Such was the impact of jazz over the next decades, that blues progressed unseen in the salons of a thriving bordello district for the entertainment, but not distraction, of whores and their clients. When they weren't dispensing refinement, pianists would gather at dives like Tudlom's Tonk, where rolling the horses, which was what boogie woogie called for its repetition and prancing tempos, was the coming thing. Most of the tonks, cribs and barrel houses were located in what was called the Battlefield, and over the years, that's where you'd find Drive 'Em Down (Willie Hall) who taught Jack Dupree, Joseph 'Red' Cayou, Tuts Washington, Fats Pichon, Udell Wilson and Joe Robichaux, known as Joe Daggers." It's that heritage behind today's featured piano players.

Even in the 1940's the scene was dominated by jazz and dixieland bands like Kid Thomas, Billie and De De Pierce, George Lewis and John Handy. During the 1940's and into the 1950s a distinctly New Orleans approach to blues and R&B emerged. Usually piano-driven and backed by inventive rhythms that showed the marked influence of second-line marching and brass bands, New Orleans blues and R&B developed a rolling, joyous feel that captured the rollicking feel of the city. As author John Broven writes: "The freewheeling, happy-go-lucky music is known as the New Orleans Sound, which has its roots in the original beat of the old parade bands of the nineteenth century. Whether it's rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll, soul or modern jazz, the parade beat is the ubiquitous common factor, the foundation, if you like." And as record producer Marshall Sehorn said: 'This is the home of the second line, that extra syncopated beat that has been in existence ever since the first black man picked upa tambourine."

There's a distinct emphasis on the piano blues, particularly in the formative years of the New Orleans blues scene of the 40's. Three figures dominated, and set the tone for, New Orleans rhythm and blues in the 1940s: Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, and Dave Bartholomew. Fats Domino will play a larger role in our second New Orleans installment but we play two sets apiece by Longhair and Bartholomew. Other pianists heard today include Champion Jack Dupree and Paul Gayten plus a slew of talented singers, most famously Roy Brown, Cousin Joe and Larry Darnell plus a batch of fine little remembered figures from the Crescent City's past.

We open the show with two sides by Champion Jack Dupree from 1940 and 1941. Dupree grew up in New Orleans' Colored Waifs' Home for Boys (Louis Armstrong also spent his formative years there). Learning his trade from barrelhouse 88s ace Willie "Drive 'em Down" Hall, Dupree left the Crescent City in 1930 for Chicago and then Detroit. By 1935, he was boxing professionally in Indianapolis, battling in an estimated 107 bouts. In 1940, Dupree made his recording debut for Chicago A&R man Lester Melrose and OKeh Records. Dupree's 1940-1941 output for the Columbia subsidiary exhibited a strong New Orleans tinge despite the Chicago surroundings; his driving "Junker's Blues" was later cleaned up as Fats Domino's 1949 debut, "The Fat Man."

Born in the Crescent City, Roy Brown grew up all over the place: Eunice, LA (where he sang in church and worked in the sugarcane fields); Houston, TX; and finally Los Angeles by age 17. His seminal 1947 DeLuxe Records waxing of "Good Rockin' Tonight" was immediately ridden to the peak of the R&B charts by shouter Wynonie Harris and subsequently covered by Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many more early rock icons. Roy Brown didn't have to wait long to dominate the R&B lists himself. He scored 15 hits from mid-1948 to late 1951 for DeLuxe.

Growing up in New Orleans, Cousin Joe began singing in church before crossing over to the blues. Guitar and ukulele were his first axes. He eventually prioritized the piano instead, playing Crescent City clubs and riverboats. He moved to New York in 1942, gaining entry into the city's thriving jazz scene (where he played with Dizzy Gillespie, Sidney Bechet, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, and a host of other luminaries). He recorded for King, Gotham, Philo (in 1945), Savoy, and Decca along the way, doing well on the latter logo with "Box Car Shorty and Peter Blue" in 1947. After returning to New Orleans in 1948, he recorded for DeLuxe and cut a two-part "ABCs" for Imperial in 1954 as Smilin' Joe under Dave Bartholomew's supervision. But by then, his recording career had faded. For today's program we spin two tracks,"It's Dangerous To Be A Husband" and "Little Woman Blues",  from the only session from the period that was actually recorded in New Orleans.

Paul Gayten, a seminal figure in New Orleans rhythm & blues, led a varied career in the music business as a bandleader, producer, label owner, and one-time overseer of the West Coast operation of Chess Records. A nephew of blues-piano legend Little Brother Montgomery, Gayten once led one of the top bands of New Orleans, but he gave up the performing life in 1956 to turn his attention to production and eventually to his own California-based Pzazz label. Gayten wrote Larry Darnell's 1949 classic "For You My Love" and recorded a few Top Ten hits of his own for Regal and DeLuxe (1947-1950), some of them with vocalist Annie Laurie who shines on our selection, "Annie's Blues."

Joe "Mr. Google Eyes" August was born Joseph Augustus on September 13, 1931, and gained his formative musical experience as a member of the First Emmanuel Baptist Church choir, but found himself most deeply attracted to the blues. He eventually earned a steady gig at the local Downbeat Club, appearing opposite Roy Brown.Although Brown, Paul Gayten, and Annie Laurie were the first New Orleans R&B artists to enter the recording studio, Augustus was not far behind, making his debut for the black-owned Coleman Records with 1946's "Poppa Stoppa's Be-Bop Blues"; he was still just 15 years old at the time, and accordingly the label proclaimed him "Mr. Google Eyes — the world's youngest blues singer."His contract was then bought out by Columbia. The twenty track collection, The Very Best, is well worth tracking down.

Working in his hometown of New Orleans, Dave Bartholomew helped develop and define the sound of rhythm & blues in the late 40's and 50's. He was a bandleader, trumpet player, songwriter, producer, arranger, talent scout, businessman, and more. Although he never made the pop charts under his own name, Bartholomew was a key figure in the transition from jump blues and big-band swing to rhythm & blues and rock and roll. Bartholomew is most famous for having discovered and produced Fats Domino, with whom he produced and wrote songs for through the 50's and beyond. But he’s worked with a who’s-who of New Orleans R&B figures: Smiley Lewis, Lloyd Price, Shirley & Lee, Earl King, Roy Brown, Huey “”Piano”” Smith, Chris Kenner, Robert Parker, Frankie Ford, James Booker, Jewel King, James “”Sugar Boy”” Crawford, Tommy Ridgley and more. Bartholomew may be more well known for the famous artists he worked with but also prolifically under his own name between 1947and the early 60's, laying down and impressive body of work for a several different labels like DeLuxe, Imperial and King, almost all recorded in his hometown of New Orleans. His records featured the cream of New Orleans musicians like Earl Palmer, Ernest McClean, Edgar Blanchard, Lee Allen, Alvin “Red” Tyler, Frank Fields and others.

Professor Longhair grew up on the streets of New Orleans, tap dancing for tips on Bourbon Street with his running partners. Local 88s aces Sullivan Rock, Kid Stormy Weather, and Tuts Washington were early influences. Longhair began to take his playing seriously in 1948, earning a gig at the Caldonia Club. Longhair debuted on wax in 1949, laying down four tracks (including the first version of his signature "Mardi Gras in New Orleans," for the Dallas-based Star Talent label. Union problems forced those sides off the market, but Longhair's next date for Mercury the same year produced his first and only national R&B hit in 1950, the hilarious "Bald Head." The pianist made great records for Atlantic in 1949, Federal in 1951, Wasco in 1952, and Atlantic again in 1953 plus other scattered small label sides through the 50's.

Larry Darnell was born in Columbus, OH and achieved local fame as a gospel singer the age of 11.When he was 15 he left home to tour as a dancerwith a burlesque road show. When company funds were low, Darnell did not hesitate when offered a steady gig in New Orleans as a singer at the famous Dew Drop Inn. He stayed on for several years, and gradually developing a persona that began to attract quite a following. One night in 1949 Darnell's act was caught by Fred Mendelsohn, co-founder and A&R director for the Regal record label. Mendelsohn, later recalled: "Darnell was doing a song called 'I'll Get Along Somehow' originally popularized by Andy Kirk. He added a recitation that sent the dames screaming and hollering." Darnell was hired on the spot and whisked up to Newark where three titles were cut in early September 1949 and issued on 78-rpm records bearing the Regal label. Presented in two parts, "I'll Get Along Somehow" made it to number two on the Billboard R&B chart not long after "For You My Love" hit number one, staying up there for eight weeks.

Texas-born R&B singer Jewel King moved to New Orleans in the mid-forties. By 1948 she began to make a name for herself as she worked many local clubs like the Club Rocket, the Club Desire and the Dew Drop. In that year she had her first recording session, for DeLuxe Records, but these tracks ("Go Now" and "Passion Blues") were never issued. Her next visit to a recording studio (Cosimo's, the only studio in New Orleans) took place on November 29, 1949. This was the first session that Dave Bartholomew produced for Imperial. It was a split session with Tommy Ridgley, who recorded "Shrewsbury Blues" (Imperial 5054), his very first single. One song from the session, "3 x 7 = 21", was released in January 1950 and climbed to # 4 on the R&B charts. Fats Domino's "The Fat Man" also charted at this time and Imperial honcho Lew Chudd set up a national tour for the two acts, with King headlining. At the last minute, Jewel bailed out because her husband /bandleader (Jack Scott) refused to let her tour without his band. Bartholomew told her she was making a big mistake and left without her, with Tommy Ridgley as a replacement.

Dave Bartholomew

Chubby Newsome was originally from Detroit but found recognition in New Orleans where she was a regular performer in the late 1940s. She was discovered by Paul Gayten at the famous Dew Drop Inn. She was soon signed to the DeLuxe label where she recorded her signature tune "Hip Shakin' Mama", and also "He May Be Your Man" with Gayten's band. Newsome signed with Regal in 1949 cutting several serssions for the label in the early 50's.

The Mercury label cut some fine sessions in New Orleans between 19490 and 1953. The sessions began with William B. Allen, who owned a radio supply store at Orleans and North Robertson streets and also distributed Mercury records in New Orleans. In late 1949 Allen talked to Mercury’s main office about recording black artists in New Orleans. Among those recorded were Professor Longhair, Alma Monday, Little Joe Gaines, George Miller & His Mid-Driffs, Ray Johnson and Herbert ‘Woo Woo’ Moore among others.

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Show Notes:

Crescent City Bounce Lightnin' Special Vol. 2

JSP Records is a record label founded in 1978 by John Stedman (John Stedman Productions). These days they mostly issue box sets of public domain jazz and blues records. Among the box sets issued include single artist sets on Blind Willie McTell, Blind Blake, Memphis Minnie, Big Bill Broonzy, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lightnin' Hopkins, Sonny Boy Williamson and regional compilations like Atlanta Blues, Memphis Masters, East Coast Blues, Texas Blues and many others. These 4 and 5 CD sets are very cheap and you do get lots of great music for your buck pus they're nicely packaged with usually good, if sometimes brief, notes. The remastering, particularly on the pre-war collections, vary greatly from set to set but are often a sonic upgrade to Document but usually can't compare to labels like Yazoo and Revenant. Also one thing that bothers me is that are consistent errors such as mislabled tracks or artists which probably means JSP is throwing these on the market too quickly.

I've been thinking about remastering quite a bit lately. Overall Yazoo does an excellent job bringing the music to the surface but you still get a fair amount of hiss and crackle. To be honest I have no problem with this as some of the technologies major labels have used like No-Noise, while removing all surface noise, leave the records sounding sterile, lifeless and artificial. Also Yazoo used the original 78's as the source where JSP does not. I wish JSP would be more transparent regarding remastering and told us a bit about their remastering actually entails.

Anyway on to today's show which spotlights the following recent JSP box sets: The Road To Robert Johnson & Beyond, Lightnin' Special Vol. 2, Ma Rainey: Mother of the Blues, Crescent City Bounce: From Blues to R&B In New Orleans, When The Levee Breaks: Mississippi Blues – Rare Cuts 1926-1941.

I've reviewed some of the sets so just follow the links for more about each one. You'll notice that this part one and I'll be certainly doing a follow-up. The JSP sets keep rolling in and a couple of interesting new ones include A Richer Tradition – Country Blues and String Band Music 1923-1942 and That's What They Want: Juke Joint Blues – Good Time Rhythm & Blues 1943 – 1956.

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Show Notes:

Dave BartholomewWorking in his hometown of New Orleans, Dave Bartholomew helped develop and define the sound of rhythm & blues in the Fifties. He was a bandleader, trumpet player, songwriter, producer, arranger, talent scout, businessman, and more. Although he never made the pop charts under his own name, Bartholomew was a key figure in the transition from jump blues and big-band swing to rhythm & blues and rock and roll. Bartholomew is most famous for having discovered and produced Domino, with whom he produced and wrote songs for through the Fifties and beyond. But he’s worked with a who’s-who of New Orleans R&B figures: Smiley Lewis, Lloyd Price, Shirley & Lee, Earl King, Roy Brown, Huey “"Piano"” Smith, Chris Kenner, Robert Parker, Frankie Ford, James Booker, Jewel King, James “"Sugar Boy"” Crawford, Tommy Ridgley and more.

In the late 40s, he formed his own band, which became one of the most popular and accomplished in the city. Between 1947 and the early 60’s Bartholomew recorded prolifically under his own name mostly for Imperial but also for Deluxe, Aladdin, Specialty, King and Jax. His records featured the cream of New Orleans musicians like Earl Palmer, Ernest McClean, Edgar Blanchard, Lee Allen, Alvin “Red” Tyler, Frank Fields and others.

Fats Domino & Dave Bartholomew

Fats Domino & Dave Bartholomew

In the first hour we spotlight a batch of those terrific, often overlooked, sides Bartholomew cut under his own name. The music swings like crazy, melding blues, R&B, big band and a distinctively New Orleans beat into an irresistible sound. All these sides can be found on three volumes on the Classics label which collect everything from 1947-1955. Hour two features those artists Bartholomew worked with as a trumpeter, producer, arranger and songwriter. All these come from the excellent 2-CD set "The Spirit of New Orleans: The Genius of Dave Bartholomew" which is now out of print.

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