Entries tagged with “Black Bob”.

Lil Johnson w/ Charles Avery You'll Never Miss Your Jelly Lil Johnson Vol. 1 1929-1936
Lil Johnson w/ Charles Avery Rock That Thing Lil Johnson Vol. 1 1929-1936
Lil Johnson w/ Charles Avery House Rent Scuffle Lil Johnson Vol. 1 1929-1936
Lucille Bogan w/ Charles Avery Whiskey Sellin' Woman Lucille Bogan Vol. 11923-1930
Lucille Bogan w/ Charles Avery They Ain't Walking No More Lucille Bogan Vol. 2 1930-1933
Lucille Bogan w/ Charles Avery Alley Boogie Lucille Bogan Vol. 2 1930-1933
Freddie ''Redd'' Nicholson w/ Charles Avery Tee Rolller's Rub Boogie Woogie & Barrelhouse Piano Vol. 1 1928-1932
Freddie ''Redd'' Nicholson w/ Charles Avery I Ain't Sleepy Boogie Woogie & Barrelhouse Piano Vol. 1 1928-1932
Freddie ''Redd'' Nicholson w/ Charles Avery Freddie's Got The BluesBoogie Woogie & Barrelhouse Piano Vol. 1 1928-1932
Red Nelson w/ Charles Avery Detroit Blues Red Nelson 1936-1947
Red Nelson w/ Charles Avery Grand Trunk Blues Red Nelson 1936-1947
Big Bill Broonzy w/ Black Bob Good Liqueur Gonna Carry me DownThe Young Big Bill Broonzy 1928-1935
Big Bill Broonzy w/ Black Bob Keep Your Hands Off Of HerWhen The Sun Goes Down
Charlie West w/ Black Bob Hobo Blues Rare 1930s & '40s Blues Vol. 3 1937-1948
Charlie West w/ Black Bob Rolling Stone Blues Rare 1930s & '40s Blues Vol. 3 1937-1948
Tampa Red w/ Black BobMean Old Tom Cat BluesTampa Red Vol. 6 1934-1935
Tampa Red w/ Black BobSomebody's Been Using That ThingTampa Red Vol. 6 1934-1935
Tampa Red w/ Black Bob Shake It About LittleTampa Red Vol. 6 1934-1935
Charlie McCoy w/ Black Bob Let My Peaches BeThe McCoy brothers
Vol. 1 1934-1936
Lil Johnson w/ Black Bob I'm Betting On YouLil Johnson Vol. 1 1929-1936
Fats Hayden w/ Teddy Bunn Brownskin Gal Is The Best Gal After AllTeddy Bunn 1929-1940
Ben Franklin w/ Teddy Bunn Crooked World BluesTeddy Bunn 1929-1940
Jimmie Gordon w/ Teddy Bunn Sail With MeJimmie Gordon Vol. 1938-1938
Hot Lips Page w/ Teddy Bunn Thirsty Mama BluesThe Very Best of Teddy Bunn
Cow Cow Davenport w/ Teddy Bunn That'll Get ItThe Very Best of Teddy Bunn
Lizzie Miles w/ Teddy Bunn Yellow Dog Gal BluesLizzie Miles Vol. 3 1928-39
Lizzie Miles w/ Teddy Bunn Too SlowLizzie Miles Vol. 3 1928-39
Trixie Smith w/ Ikey Robinson Trixie's Blues Trixie Smith Vol. 2 1925-1939
Victoria Spivey w/ Ikey Robinson Baulin' Water Blues, Pt. 1Victoria Spivey Vol. 3 1929-1936
Georgia White w/ Ikey Robinson The Blues Ain't Nothin' But...???The Piano Blues Vol. 13: Central Highway
Johnnie Temple w/ Ikey Robinson Jelly Roll Bert Johnnie Temple Vol. 2 1938-1940
Frankie Jaxson w/ Ikey RobinsonRock Me Mama Frankie 'Half-Pint'Jaxon Vol. 1 1926-1929

Show Notes:

Lil Johnson: Rock That ThingOn today’s program we shine the light on some superb session musicians who backed blues artists in the pre-war era. We spotlight two fine pianists in Charles Avery and Black Bob. We know little about both men, with Avery making his debut on record in 1929 and Black Bob in 1934 and both dropped off the radar by the late 30’s. Both backed many o the popular blues singers of the era, with Avey cutting just one side under his name and Black Bob cutting nothing under his own name. We also spotlight two very fine guitarists who straddled both the blues and jazz worlds, Teddy Bunn and Banjo Ikey Robinson. Both men backed both jazz musicians and blues singers in the 20’s and 30’s and both cut just a handful of sides under their own names. I'll be doing a sequel, of sorts, where we focus on famous names who were active sessions artists such as Tampa Red, Lonnie Johnson, Roosevelt Sykes, Big Bill Broonzy, Kokomo Arnold and others.

Active in Chicago in the 20's and 30's, Charles Avery worked as a session musician backing artists such as Lil Johnson, Freddie 'Red” Nicholson, Red Nelson and others. He cut one record under his own name, 1929's “Dearborn Street Breakdown.” We here him on several tracks todays including backing blues ladies Lil Johnson and Lucille Bogan as well as singers  Freddie "Redd" Nicholson and Red Nelson.

LIl Johnson first recorded in Chicago in 1929, accompanied by pianists Montana Taylor and Charles Avery on five songs. She did not return to the recording studio until 1935. From her second session onwards, she hit up had partnership with the ragtime influenced pianist "Black Bob" Hudson, who provided ebullient support to Johnson's increasingly suggestive lyrics. In 1936 and 1937, she recorded over 40 songs, mostly on the Vocalion label, some featuring Big Bill Broonzy on guitar and Lee Collins on trumpet.

Lucille Bogan recorded for OKeh in 1923, for Paramount in 1927, and for Brunswick in 1928, 1929, and 1930. Although she had an uncommonly large Depression era output, she made no recordings at all in 1931 and 1932. When she switched to ARC for the 1933, 1934, and 1935 sessions, she had to use the pseudonym Bessie Jackson for contractual reasons. After the Second World War Bogan made some trial discs for a New York company. She was mad when the records were rejected and died shortly afterward in 1948. Her records find her back with fine pianists like Charles Avery, Will Ezell and later, Walter Roland.

Banjo Ikey Robinson
Banjo Ikey Robinson

The obscure singer Freddie "Redd" Nicholson recorded eight sides in 1930 (three were not issued) all backed by pianist Charles Avery. Nothing seems tobe known about him.

There's not much information on Red Nelson outside of what I gleaned from the Encyclopedia of the Blues: "Nelson Wilborn, better known as Red Nelson, or Dirty Red, was born in Sumner, Mississippi, in 1907. A fine, capable vocalist, he moved to Chicago in the early 1930's and was a prominent recording artist from 1935 to 1947. His recordings with pianist Clarence Lofton, especially "Streamline Train" and "Crying Mother Blues," are probably his best work. In the 1960's he performed locally with the Muddy Waters Band."

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. He was the brother of banjoist Ed Hudson, and the two frequented the same circles and recording sessions, and sometimes ended up accompanying the same singers. Both brothers were part of the Memphis Nighthawks, and Bob Hudson was also a member (with Tampa Red and other luminaries) of the Chicago Rhythm Kings. Broonzy and Black Bob cut dozens of sides together between 1934 and 1937 and Black Bob is featured on quite a number of Tampa Red sides between 1934 and 1937 .

Teddy Bunn played with many of the top jazzmen of that period on guitar or banjo and sometimes he provided vocals. Teddy Bunn rubbed shoulders with many top jazz musicians aas well as blues singers in the pre-war era. As he noted: "I have a very good ear and can usually sense what the cats are going to play a split second before they do it." Among the notable blues singers he accompanied were artists such as  Cow Cow Davenport, Lizzie Miles, Peetie Wheatstraw, Johnnie Temple and Victoria Spivey among others. In addition to an active session career, Bunn was a member of the jazz groups the Spirits of Rhythm and June 1939, and was among the very first musicians ever to record for the Blue Note record label, first as a soloist, then as a member of the Port of Harlem Jazzmen. Today we hear Bunn backing several blues singers including a pair of excellent numbers by Lizzie Miles.

Teddy Bunn
Teddy Bunn

Lizzie Miles was a fine classic blues singer from the 1920s who survived to have a full comeback in the 1950s. She started out singing in New Orleans during 1909-1911 with such musicians as King Oliver, Kid Ory, and Bunk Johnson. She recorded extensively between1922-1930. She recorded in 1939 but spent 1943-1949 outside of music and in 1950 began a comeback recording for labels such as Circle, Cook, Capitol, Verve and others before retiring in 1959.

Ikey Robinson was an excellent banjoist and singer who recorded both jazz and blues from the late '20s into the late '30s. After working locally, Robinson moved to Chicago in 1926, playing and recording with Jelly Roll Morton, Clarence Williams, and Jabbo Smith during 1928-1929. He led his own recording sessions in 1929, 1931, 1933, and 1935. His groups included Ikey Robinson and his Band (w/ Jabbo Smith), The Hokum Trio, The Pods of Pepper, Windy City Five, and Sloke & Ike. Robinson also accompanied blues singers such as Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon, Georgia White, Eva Taylor and Bertha "Chippie" Hill among others.

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Charlie West  (Blues World 44, Autumn 1972)

Big Bill Broonzy & Black BobI Can't Make You Satisfied All The Classic Sides
Cripple Clarence Lofton & Big Bill BroonzyBrown Skin GirlsCripple Clarence Vol.1 1935-1939
Charlie Spand & Blind BlakeHastings St. All The Published Sides
Will Ezell & Roosevelt GravesJust Can't StayWill Ezell 1927-1931
Roosevelt Sykes & Clifford GibsonTired Of Being Mistreated Roosevelt Sykes Vol. 1 1929-1930
St Louis Jimmy Poor Boy BluesJimmy Oden 1 Vol. 1932-1944
Roosevelt Sykes & Kokomo ArnoldThe Honey Dripper The Essential
Oscar "Buddy' Woods & the Wampus Cats Don't Sell It, Don't Give It AwayFavorite Country Blues Guitar: Piano Duets 1929-1937
Rufus & Ben QuillianGood Feeling BluesUptown Blues: A Decade Of Guitar Piano Duets 1927-1937
Walter Davis & Henry Townsend Sloppy Drunk AgainFavorite Country Blues Guitar: Piano Duets 1929-1937
Bill Gaither & Honey HillPins And Needles Bill Gaither Vol. 1 1935-1936
Coletha SimpsonLonesome Lonesome Blues
Blue Girls Vol. 1 1924-1930
Georgia WhiteNew Hot NutsGeorgia White Vol. 1 1930-1936
Mack Rhinehart & Brownie StubblefieldIf I Leave Here RunningDeep South Blues Piano 1935-1937
Joe EvansShook It This Morning BluesDown In Black Bottom
Leroy Carr & Scrapper BlackwellI Believe I'll Make a ChangeWhiskey Is My Habit, Women Is All I Crave
Leroy Carr & Scrapper BlackwellPapa's On The House TopSloppy Drunk
Georgia Tom & Scrapper BlackwellGee, But It's Hard Georgia Tom Vol. 2 1930-1934
Lovin' Sam Theard I Ain't No Ice ManLovin' Sam Theard 1929-1936
Big Maceo & Tampa RedCounty Jail BluesBig Maceo Vol. 1
Frank "Springback" James & Willie Bee JamesPoor Coal LoaderThe Piano Blues Vol. 12
Curtis Jones & Willie B. JamesDrinking And Thinking BluesCurtis Jones Vol. 1 1937-1938
Charlie West & Black BobHobo BluesRare 1930's & 40's Blues Vol. 3
Lil JohnsonHouse Rent Scuffle Shake Your Wicked Knees
Willie Harris & Charles AveryWest Side BluesDown In Black Bottom
Red NelsonDetroit SpecialRed Nelson 1935-1947
Leroy HenderonGood Scuffler Blues Charley Jordan Vol. 3 1935-1937
Bumble Bee Slim This Old Life I'm Living Bumble Bee Slim Vol. 5 1935-1936
Peanut The Kidnapper (James Sherrill) & Robert McCoyEighth Avenue Blues Alabama & The East Coast 1933-1937
Leola ManningThe Blues Is All WrongFavorite Country Blues Guitar: Piano Duets 1929-1937
Walter Roland & Sonny ScottRailroad Stomp Walter Roland Vol. 1 1933
Bo Carter & Harry ChatmanWhen Your Left Eye Go To JumpingBo Carter Vol. 3 1934 - 1936

Show Notes:

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Today's show is a companion to the guitar duets show we aired a couple of weeks back. This time we spotlight some great piano/guitar duets from the 20's through the 40's. The style was popularized by the huge success of pianist Leroy Carr and his guitarist Scrapper Blackwell who's recordings were immensely popular and influential. The duo recorded hundreds of sides between 1928 and 1935. Many artists patterned themselves after the duo including recording artists Bill Gaither, Bumble Bee Slim, Frank "Springback” James all of whom we feature today. There were a number of excellent guitar/piano teams, most relatively short-lived such as Big Bill Broonzy with mysterious pianist Black Bob, Tampa Red with pianist Georgia Tom in the late 20's and 30's and with pianist Big Maceo in the 40's, and the lengthy partnership of Walter Davis and guitarist Henry Townsend. For the majority of today's selections I've chosen sides where both the pianist and guitarist play on equal terms.

Between 1928 and 1935 Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell cut a remarkably consistent body of work of hundreds of sides, notable for the impeccable guitar/piano interplay. Teamed with the exemplary guitarist Scrapper Blackwell in Indianapolis, Leroy Carr became one of the biggest blues stars of his day, composing and recording almost 200 sides during his short lifetime. Carr met guitarist Scrapper Blackwell in Indianapolis in 1928 and the duo began performing together. Shortly afterward they were recording for Vocalion, releasing “How Long How Long Blues” before the year was finished. The song was an instant, surprise hit. For the next seven years, Carr and Blackwell would record a number of classic songs for Vocalion, including “Midnight Hour Blues,” “Blues Before Sunrise,” “Hurry Down Sunshine,” “When The Sun Goes Down,” and many others. Blackwell did some moonlighting away from Carr, cutting his own sides and backing other artists. We also feature him cutting loose on "Gee, But It's Hard" as he backs pianist Georgia Tom.

One disciple of Carr was guitarist Bill Gaither who cut well over a hundred sides for Decca and OKeh between 1931 and 1941. Gaither was close to the blues pianist Leroy Carr, and following Carr’s death in 1935, he recorded under the moniker Leroy’s Buddy for a time. A fine guitarist who possessed a warm, expressive voice, Gaither was also at times a gifted and inventive lyricist. He was often partnered with pianist George “Honey” Hill, and the duo patterned themselves after Carr and his guitarist, Scrapper Blackwell. Our selection, the bouncy "Pins And Needles", is fine showcase for their well honed interplay.

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Amos Easton, known professionally as Bumble Bee Slim, was another artist who molded himself after Leroy Carr. While he played guitar on his first session in 1931, afterwards he stuck to vocals, often employing a shifting piano/guitar backing that included pianists such as Myrtle Jones, Jimmie Gordon, Horance Malcolm and Black Bob and guitarists such as Willie Bee James, Big Bill Broonzy, Carl Martin, Casey Bill Weldon and Bill Gaither. "This Old Life I'm Living" is one of my favorite numbers by Easton sporting immaculate lap steel from Casey Bill Weldon and piano from Myrtle Jenkins.

Chicago blues pianist Frank "Springback" James made records with four different companies during the 1930's, playing and singing in a style that revealed a strong Leroy Carr influence. He cut 18 sides between 1934 and 1938. He often worked with guitarist Willie B. James. Despite being a prolific session guitarist, nothing is known of James who backed artists such as Bumble Bee Slim, Merline Johnson, Curtis Jones, Tampa Red, John Henry Barbee and others. We hear James today backing Curtis Jones on "Drinking And Thinking Blues" (he appears on several of Jones' 30's sessions), backing Red Nelson on "Long Ago Blues" with pianist Charles Avery and playing behind Charlie West on "Hobo Blues" along with pianist Black Bob.

There were a number of notable guitar/piano teams, some relatively long lasting, others more fleeting; among them we spotlight recordings by Walter Davis and Henry Townsend, Big Bill Broonzy and Black Bob, Big Maceo and Tampa Red, Walter Roland and Sonny Scott, Mack Rhinehart and Brownie Stubblefield and Charlie Spand and Blind Blake. Walter Davis and Henry Townsend played on numerous sessions together from the 1930's through the 1950's. Today we we feature the uncharacteristically uptempo "Sloppy Drunk Again."

Very little is known about Black Bob Hudson, except that he was a blues pianist who was active from the 1920's and 1930's. While he didn't cut any sides under his own name he backed a staggering number of renowned artists such as Big Bill Broonzy, Bumble Bee Slim, Jazz Gillum, Lil Johnson, Washboard Sam, Casey Bill Weldon, Tampa Red and many others. Broonzy and Bob cut dozens of sides together between 1934 and 1937.

Blues writer Chris Smith wrote the following about Big Maceo: “On both slow blues and boogies, Big Maceo played powerful, sometimes challengingly chromatic bass figures and anvil-sparkling right-hand flourishes and solos. He could be a jovial singer, but more typical were husky, plaintive, fatalistic accounts of trouble with women and the law.  …His playing and Tampa Red’s amplified guitar foreshadow the sound of postwar Chicago.” His short career spanned the years 1941 through 1950, where he recorded just over three dozen sides as well as backing partner Tampa Red on eighteen sides and providing session work behind Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Boy Williamson, Jazz Gillum and John & Grace Brim.

Walter Roland recorded over ninety issued sides for ARC as a soloist and accompanist. Roland partnered Lucille Bogan when they recorded for the ARC labels between 1933 and 1935, in the course of which, he recorded in his own right. He recorded several sides with guitarist Sonny Scott including our selection, the rollicking instrumental "Railroad Stomp."

Mack Rhinehart and Brownie Stubblefield were a piano/guitar team that cut a dozen sides in 1936 and 1937. Rhinehart also recorded solo as Blind Mack in 1935 but only two of his ten sides were ever released.  According to Blues & Gospel Records some twenty-two sides by the duo remain unissued. Nothing is known about the duo although noted researcher David Evans called Rhinehart "a major artist" with "an outstanding recorded legacy."

*The superb "West Side Blues" by Willie Harris and Charles Avery provides today's show title with the spoken aside probably by Coletha Simpson. Harris along with pianist James Williams backs Simpson on "Lonesome Lonesome Blues" which is also featured today.