Sun 12 Jul 2015
|Sticks McGhee||One Monkey Don't Stop The Show||Sticks McGhee 1947-1951|
|Jimmy "Babby Face" Lewis||Let's Get Together And Make Some Love||Jimmy "Baby Face" Lewis 1947-1955|
|Lawyer Houston||Lawyer Houston Blues||Texas Guitar: From Dallas To L.A.|
|Lawyer Houston||Dallas Bepop Blues||Texas Guitar: From Dallas To L.A.|
|Lawyer Houston||Western Rider Blues||Texas Guitar: From Dallas To L.A.|
|Big Joe Turner||The Chill Is On||Rhythm & Blues Years|
|Big Joe Turner||Bump Miss Susie||Rhythm & Blues Years|
|Jimmy Yancey||Make Me A Pallet On The Floor||Chicago Piano Vol. 1|
|Jimmy Yancey||Monkey Woman Blues||Chicago Piano Vol. 1|
|Little Brother Montgomery||Talkin' Blues||Blues Piano: Chicago Plus|
|Little Brother Montgomery||Vicksburg Blues '51||Blues Piano: Chicago Plus|
|Meade "Lux" Lewis||Mr. Freddie's Blues||Boogie-Woogie Interpretations|
|Meade "Lux" Lewis||Riff boogie||Blues Piano: Chicago Plus|
|Frank 'Sweet' Williams||Sweet's Slow Blues||Blues Piano: Chicago Plus|
|Sticks McGhee||Meet You in the Morning||Sticks McGhee 1947-1951|
|Ray Charles||Roll With Me Baby||Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings|
|Ray Charles||Jumpin' in the Mornin'||Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings|
|Big Joe Turner||Baby, I Still Want You||Classic Hits 1938-1952|
|Big Joe Turner||Sweet Sixteen||Classic Hits 1938-1952|
|Chuck Norris||Let Me Know||Messing With The Blues|
|Chuck Norris||Messin' Up||Messing With The Blues|
|Ray Charles||Losing Hand||Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings|
|Ray Charles||Mr. Charles Blues||Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings|
|Big Joe Turner||TV Mama||Rhythm & Blues Years|
|Big Joe Turner||Married Woman||Rhythm & Blues Years|
|Professor Longhair||Tipitina||The Complete 1949-1957 New Orleans Recordings|
|Professor Longhair||Ball The Wall||The Complete 1949-1957 New Orleans Recordings|
|John Lee Hooker||Guitar Lovin' Man||Detroit Special|
|John Lee Hooker||Real, Real Gone||Detroit Special|
|John Lee Hooker||Pouring Down Rain||Detroit Special|
|Little Johnny Jones||Chicago Blues||Blues Piano: Chicago Plus|
|Little Johnny Jones||Doin' The Best I Can||Blues Piano: Chicago Plus|
|Little Johnny Jones||Hoy Hoy||Blues Piano: Chicago Plus|
My two-part feature on Atlantic Records was partly inspired by a terrific reissue series that was originally issued in the early 1970's. In the early 70's Pete Lowry convinced Atlantic founder Ahmet Ertegun to reissue some classic and previously unissued blues from the vaults (read the article below for more background). The plan was to issue twelve albums although only six saw the light of day.I was first heard this series at my college radio station which luckily had the complete set and were much played. This was a great series featuring excellent recordings by Blind Willie McTell, Lawyer Houston, Professor Longhair, Little Brother Montgomery, Jimmy Yancey, T-Bone Walker and others. The albums had excellent liner notes and packaged with wonderful photos in a gatefold album. We feature a number of these recordings on today's programs as well as a wealth of great recordings from Atlantic's, early years spanning the years 1950 through 1953. Our second feature on Atlantic Records focuses less on R&B and more on blues: featured today are several artists that appeared on those Atlantic reissue albums including Lawyer Houston, Jimmy Yancey, Little Brother Montgomery, Meade Lux Lewis, Frank 'Sweet' Williams, Professor Longhair and John Lee Hooker.
I first heard Lawyer Houston on an Atlantic LP Texas Guitar: From Dallas To L.A. Until recently nothing was known about him. Sometime before June 7th 1950, when Atlantic bought them, he recorded eight titles at Jim Beck's studio on Ross Avenue, Dallas. Beck was also from Marshall, so that may have been a factor. He cut another session in autumn 1953 in L.A. Two songs were issued from the Dallas session, the first as by Lawyer Houston, the second as by Soldier Boy Houston. In “Western Rider Blues” he sings “My name is Lawyer Houston and I'm a Private First Class” which turns out to be true.
Houston was born in Marshall, Texas in 1917. He was inducted into the army in 1941 and served until 1946. He re-enlisted two months later and served until 1961. His songs “In The Army Since 1941” and “Lawton, Oklahoma Blues” are loosely autobiographical accounts of his time in the Philippines and Fort Sill near Lawton. As writer Neal Slavin notes: “Apart from their unusually informative lyrics, Houston's songs are notable for the springy rhythms with which he accompanies himself. In essence, his style is close to that of Lil' Son Jackson… …Two further songs,'Out In California Blues' and 'Going To The West Coast', were prophetic; in the former, Houston announces his intention of going to Los Angeles' Central Avenue to stay at the Hotel Dunbar, after which 'I'm going out to Hollywood and become a movie star'. The move took place but the Army intervened. They needed him in Korea, where war broke out on June 25, 1950. At his second and Iast recording session, “Far East Blues” and “Leavin' Korea” indicate a familiarity with Korea and Japan which in this artist's case is virtual proof of his presence there." Circa 1953/1954 Houston cut eight sides for the Hollywood label in Los Angeles with the sessions purchased by King Records. The sides were never issued and have been reissued for the first time, this year on the 2-CD Hollywood Blues on the JSP label. Houston's military service ended in December 1961 and he spent the rest of his Iife in various Californian communities, ending up in Lancaster, where he worked as a custodian at the California State Museum. He died of pulmonary disease on December 3, 1999. Houston's life story can be found in Blues & Rhythm magazine issue 215 written by Guido Van Rijn and Chris Smith.
Suffering from diabetes later in life, Jimmy Yancey and his wife held parties and jam sessions at their South Side Chicago apartment to raise money. Those sessions were well attended by Chicago jazz fans, and Yancey returned to the recording studio to make new records for the Paramount label in 1950 and his final for Atlantic in 1951 with his wife, Estelle Mama Yancey handling some of the vocal chores. He died on September 17, 1951. His final sides appeared on the album Chicago Piano Vol. 1.
The album Blues Piano:-Chicago, Plus featured sides by Little Brother Montgomery , Frank 'Sweet' Williams and Little Johnny Jones. In the 1950's there was sporadic recording activity, for Little Brother Montgomery even if there were few issued records to show for it at the time: a 1951 session for Atlantic with drummer Frank ‘Sweet’ Williams, two 1953 sides for JOB and two sessions in 1954 and 1956 only four tracks were issued, on a ten-inch LP on the Winding Ball label and five rare sides cut for the Chicago label, Ebony, in 1956. Frank 'Sweet' Williams was a minor Chicago blues musician who's only recordings were two songs cut for Atlantic in 1951 which remained unissued until the issued on the anthology Chicago Piano: Chicago Plus. It is assumed he was brought to the studio by Montgomery. He may be the uncredited drummer on Montgomery's session recorded on the same day. Meade Lux Lewis cut an album for Atlantic in 1951 titled Boogie-Woogie Interpretations with "Riff Boogie" reissued on Chicago Piano: Chicago Plus.
Best known for his rock steady accompaniment in Elmore James’ band, Little Johnny Jones, he also backed just about everyone else worth mentioning on the Chicago scene. The handful of times he stepped in front as leader produced a number of excellent sides and more than a few classics. Jones last official stint as leader came in 1953 when Atlantic Records came through Chicago and teamed Elmore and the Broomdusters behind Big Joe Turner resulting in the classic "TV Mama." Once again he recorded a couple of sides at the tail end of a session resulting in four songs: "Chicago Blues", 'Hoy Hoy', "Wait Baby" and "Doin' the Best I Can (Up the line)." Jones was backed by the full Broomdusters plus Ransom Knowling on bass.
Others heard from today include John Lee Hooker, Big Joe Turner, Ray Charles and Chuck Norris. Hooker recorded twelve sides for Atco Records in 1953 which was a division of Atlantic Records. These sides were issued on the album Detroit Special in in 1972. Hooker is backed by Eddie Kirkland on this session.
In 1951, while performing with the Count Basie Orchestra at Harlem's Apollo Theater Big Joe Turner was spotted by Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegün, who signed him to Atlantic Records. Turner recorded a number of successes for them that climbed the R&B charts including "Chains of Love", "Sweet Sixteen, "Boogie Woogie Country Girl", "Honey Hush" and "Shake, Rattle and Roll." I first heard many of these sides on an excellent double album called Big Joe Turner: Rhythm & Blues Years.
In 1950, Ray Charles' performance in a Miami hotel would impress Henry Stone, who went on to record a Ray Charles. After that he joined Swing Time Records, he recorded two more R&B hits under the name "Ray Charles": "Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand" (1951), which reached number five; and "Kissa Me Baby"(1952), which reached number eight. Swing Time folded the following year, and Ahmet Ertegün signed him to Atlantic Records.
Chuck Norris worked in Chicago until the mid-'40s, when he moved out to the West Coast. He soon became one of the in-demand musicians in Hollywood backing artists such as Ray Agee, Charles Brown, Floyd Dixon, Roy Hawkins, Duke Henderson, Helen Humes, Etta James, Pete Johnson, Little Willie Littlefield, Percy Mayfield, Johnny Otis, Johnny Watson, Jimmy Witherspoon and many others. From time to time he did sessions on his own for labels like Atlantic, Mercury, Imperial, Aladdin and others between 1947 and 1953.
–Oddenda & Such No. 15 by Pete Lowry (Blues & Rhythm no. 138, Apr1l, 1999)
–Oddenda & Such No. 15 by Pete Lowry (Blues & Rhythm no. 138, Apr1l, 1999)