Lionel Hampton With Illinois Jacquet Flying HomeFlying Home
Duke Henderson w/ Wild Bill Moore Boogie Man BluesGet Your Kicks
Big Jay McNeelyCalifornia Hop Big Jay McNeely 1948-1950
Joe Liggins The HoneydripperJoe Liggins & the Honeydrippers
Little Willie JacksonThere'll Be Some Changes Made Jazz Me Blues
Joe Liggins Little Joe's Boogie Joe Liggins & the Honeydrippers
Jim Wynn West Coast LoverJim Wynn 1947-1959
Jim Wynn Wynn's BoogieJim Wynn 1945-1946
Buddy BanksBank's Boogie Buddy Banks 1945-1949
Buddy BanksFluffy's DebutBuddy Banks 1945-1949
Jack McVea Inflation BluesJack McVea: With Alton Redd and George Vann
Jack McVea Fightin' Mama Blues Jack McVea: With Alton Redd and George Vann
Jack McVea WinoJack McVea: With Alton Redd and George Vann
Big Joe Turner w/ Wild Bill Moore My Gal's A Jockey Have No Fear Big Joe Turner Is Here
Wild Bill Moore Rock 'N' Roll Let Me Tell You About The Blues; West Coast
Joe Houston Jay's Boogie Rockin' 'n' Boppin'
Chuck Higgins Motor Head Baby Blows His Wig
Chuck Higgins Wet Back Hop Honk! Honk! Honk!
Chuck Higgins Big Fat Mama Pachuko Hop
Johnny Otis w/ Big Jay McNeelyBarrelhouse Stomp Johnny Otis 1945-1947
Big Jay McNeely Roadhouse BoogieBig Jay McNeely
Jimmy Liggins & His Drops Of Joy Teardrop BluesJimmy Liggins and His Drops of Joy
Jimmy Liggins & His Drops Of Joy Cadillac BoogieJimmy Liggins and His Drops of Joy
King Perry King Perry BluesKing Perry 1945-1949
King Perry Going To California Blues King Perry 1945-1949
King Perry Everything's Gonna Be Alright King Perry 1950-1954
Little Willie Littlefield Happy Pay DayKat On The Keys
James Von StreeterChitlins Jumpin' the Blues
Joe Lutcher No Name Boogie Joe Lutcher 1947
Joe Lutcher Rockin' Boogie Joe Lutcher 1947
Joe Lutcher Joe Joe Jump Joe Lutcher 1947
Joe Houston All Night LongHonk! Honk! Honk!
Joe Houston Joe's Hot HouseRockin' at the Drive-In
Big Jay McNeely Nervous Man Nervous Big Jay McNeely 1953-1955

Show Notes:

Big Jay McNeely, Los Angeles, 1951


Today's show is a sequel to our tribute to L.A. sax blower/arranger Maxwell Davis who we spotlighted several weeks back. By the 1940's the saxophone was a well established and very popular instrument in both classical and jazz music. As the 40's brought more musical styles like jump blues, rhythm and blues and rock and roll the instrument would play a major roll in the new sound. Illinois Jacquet was a very good swing jazz player and like many others he was drawn to the new sounds. He was only 19 years old when he worked with Lionel Hampton's band and recorded his famous solo on "Flying Home" that jump started the era of the honkin' saxophone. One person he inspired was Big Jay McNeely who took the honkin' over the edge and made a show of it… laying on his back, strolling into the crowds and walking on top of bars. As McNeely said of "Flying Home:" "Every time we picked up our horns we were just elaborating on that, trying to make it bigger, wilder, give it more swing, more kick. If you want to know where rhythm and blues began, that's it brother." This new sound of the 40's rhythm and blues produced many honkin' saxophone stars. Today we spotlight several L.A. based sax blowers including Big Jay McNeely, Joe Houston, Chuck Higgins, Buddy Banks, Jack McVea, Joe Lutcher, Little Willie Jackson, Wild Bill Moore and others.

Cecil McNeely grew up in Los Angeles, where jazz reigned on Watts' bustling nightlife strip. Inspired by Illinois Jacquet and tutored by Jack McVea, McNeely struck up a friendship with Johnny Otis, co-owner of the popular Barrelhouse club. Ralph Bass, a friend of Otis, produced McNeely's debut date for Savoy Records in 1948. McNeely's raucous one-note honking on "The Deacon's Hop" gave him and Savoy an R&B chart-topper in 1949, and his follow-up, "Wild Wig," also hit big. From Savoy, McNeely moved to Exclusive in 1949, Imperial in 1950-1951, King's Federal subsidiary in 1952-1954 and Vee-Jay in 1955.

Wild Bill Moore was a honking tenor sax player, influenced by Chu Berry and Illinois Jacquet. He was first noticed in Chicago in 1944, the year he made his first recording with Christine Chatman (Decca). The next year he first recorded under his own name, for Apollo. He relocated to Los Angeles, where he gradually began to build a name for himself, recording with Jack McVea, Big Joe Turner, Helen Humes (Moore blows the solo on "Be-Baba-Leba"), Slim Gaillard, Dexter Gordon, and Wardell Gray.
Joe Houston Blows Crazy
Between 1943 and 1946, Joe Houston toured with King Kolax's band through Kansas City and Chicago and throughout the Mid-West. After World War II Houston returned to Texas, and recorded with the pianist Amos Milburn and singer Big Joe Turner. Initially playing alto sax, he switched to tenor in the wake of such "honking" saxophonists as Big Jay McNeely and others. Turner got Houston his first recording contract on Freedom Records in 1949. Houston moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and played with Betty Roche and Wynonie Harris. Eventually, Houston formed his own band The Rockets, and moved to Los Angeles in 1952. He scored his only two chart hit singles in 1952 with "Worry, Worry, Worry", and "Hard Time Baby." He recorded for many record labels, including Modern and Crown, and contributed vocals as well as saxophone on some of his records.

Chuck Higgins relocated from his birthplace of Gary, Indiana to Los Angeles in his teens. He penned the single "Pachuko Hop" (1952), which became popular among American Latinos on the West Coast. The "Pachuko Hop" single's B-side, "Motorhead Baby" featured vocals by Johnny "Guitar" Watson. He recorded for Aladdin Records, Caddy Records, Lucky Records, Specialty Records, and Dootone Records.

Born in Oklahoma, Jimmy Liggins moved to San Diego in 1932. He moved to Los Angeles in 1939 and played with various outfits. Liggins cut "The Honeydripper"for Leon René's Exclusive label which was an R&B chart-topper. Nine more hits followed on Exclusive over the next three years. In 1950, Joe joined his brother Jimmy at Specialty Records. More hits immediately followed: "Rag Mop," the number one R&B smash "Pink Champagne," "Little Joe's Boogie," and "Frankie Lee." During this period, the Honeydrippers prominently featured saxophonists Little Willie Jackson and James Jackson, Jr. Liggins stuck around Specialty into 1954, later turning up with solitary singles on Mercury and Aladdin. Little Willie Jackson cut some sides under his own name for the Bihari Brothers in 1947. Jackson's band was actually the Honeydrippers and Joe Liggins is believed to be featured on piano on several of these tracks. The Ace label has issued two-dozen of these sides on the CD Jazz Me Blues.

Inspired by the success of his brother Jimmy, Joe Liggins jumped into the recording field in 1947 on Art Rupe's Specialty logo. His "Tear Drop Blues" pierced the R&B Top Ten the next year, while "Careful Love" and "Don't Put Me Down" hit for him in 1949. His last his was "Drunk" in 1953. His roaring sax section at Specialty was populated by first-rate reedmen such as Harold Land, Charlie "Little Jazz" Ferguson, and Maxwell Davis. Liggins left Specialty in 1954, stopping off at Aladdin long enough to wax the classic-to-be "I Ain't Drunk" (much later covered by Albert Collins) before fading from the scene.

Jack McVea will always be most famous for his big hit "Open the Door, Richard." McVea mostly gigged in the Los Angeles area until joining Lionel Hampton in 1940 as a baritonist. He was with Hamp for three years and played with Snub Mosley, but McVea made a much stronger impression when he played on the first Jazz at the Philharmonic Concert. From 1944 on, McVea led his own group most of the time.

Chuck Higgins
Joe Lutcher

Buddy Banks played in Charlie Echols's band in Los Angeles from 1933 to 1937 and remained in the group after it was taken over by Claude Kennedy and then by Emerson Scott after Kennedy's death. The group then scored a gig at the Paradise Cafe, and Cee Pee Johnson became its leader; Banks played in Johnson's ensemble until 1945. Following this Banks led his own group. The ensemble played throughout southern California and recorded until 1949. Banks led a new group in 1950, but disbanded it quickly. In 1950 he began playing piano, and though he accompanied Fluffy Hunter on tenor saxophone in 1953, he spent most of the rest of his life on piano.

In 1945 King Perry went to Los Angeles, appearing in a show with Dorothy Donegan and Nat King Cole; while there he made his first recordings as a leader. He led a band called the Pied Pipers through the middle of the 1950s, making many records for labels such as Melodisc, United Artists, Excelsior, De Luxe, Specialty, Dot, RPM, Lucky, Unique, Look, and Hollywood during this period.

Taken as an infant to live in Los Angeles, Jim Wynn began he began playing piano and clarinet, switching to tenor sax in his early teens. By the mid 1930s, Wynn had formed his own band and was playing tenor sax at a Watts club called Little Harlem where he first met T-Bone Walker. Walker began sitting in with the Wynn band; the beginning of an association that was to last for over 17 years. Wynn, with his band made their first recordings in late 1945 for the 4Star and Gilt Edge Records, leaving to join the Bihari's Modern label the following year. The Wynn band recorded sporadically thereafter for Specialty, Supreme and Modern again, Peacock, Mercury and Recorded In Hollywood and Million recording a final single in 1959. By the late 1940s, Wynn's innovative performance style, involving dancing, stomping and other on-stage histrionics, was being widely copied by the next generation of L.A. tenor wild men and in an effort to maintain variety in his act he began playing the more cumbersome baritone saxophone. Wynn disbanded his regular combo in the mid 1950s', becoming an indispensable session saxophonist on many of the blues, r&b, pop and soul recordings commissioned by the myriad California independent labels through the late 1950's and 1960's. During the same period, Big Jim Wynn was also an integral part of Johnny Otis' big r&b revue band, a post he would maintain until the mid 1970's.

Joe Lutcher was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana and moved to Los Angeles joining his sister Nellie who had relocated there in the mid-1930s. He led the house band at the Look Café in Los Angeles, before relocating to the more prestigious Café Society, where his band were renamed The Society Cats. He also worked as a bandleader for Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr. and the Mills Brothers. In 1947 he was heard by Art Rupe, who signed him to his new record label, Specialty. However, Lutcher was unhappy with Rupe's request that he only record slow blues, and at the behest of his sister Nellie also recorded (as "Joe Lutcher's Jump Band") for Capitol Records. Lutcher's first hit was "Shuffle Woogie" on the Capitol label, which reached # 10 on the Billboard "Race Records" chart in March 1948. "Rockin' Boogie", on Specialty, reached # 14 in September 1948. In 1949 he signed with Modern Records, where he recorded his own composition, "Mardi Gras". Lutcher's version reached # 13 on the R&B chart, but the tune became better known in later modified versions by Professor Longhair and Fats Domino. He later recorded for Peacock Records in Houston, Texas, and for several smaller labels, but with diminishing success.


Joe Green, Joe Battle...Rock Island LineLibrary of Congress Website
Gene Raymond, Jimmie Lee Hart, Hattie Ellis...Cap'n Don't 'low No Truckin' Rround in HereLibrary of Congress Website
Curtis Jones Private Talk BluesCurtis Jones Vol. 3 1939-1940
Bill Gaither Bloody Eyed WomanBill Gaither Vol. 4 1939
Cripple Clarence Lofton House Rent StruggleCripple Clarence Lofton Vol. 2 1935-1939
Tommy McClennan Cotton Patch BluesBluebird Recordings 1939-42
Alfred Fields '29 BluesChicago Blues 1937-1941
LeadbellyNoted Rider BluesLeadbelly: The Remaining LOCR Vol. 5 1938-1942
Smith Casey Shorty GeorgeTwo White Horses Standin' In Line
Roger "Burn Down Garnett Lighthouse BluesThe Frog Blues & Jazz Annual No. 1
Bukka White Po' BoyThe Complete Bukka White
Rosetta Howard Men Are Like StreetcarsMen Are Like Streetcars
Alberta Hunter Chirpin' The BluesAlberta Hunter Vol. 4 1927-1946
Ida CoxOne Hour MamaThe Essential
Jimmy Yancey State Street Special Hey! Piano Man
Roosevelt Sykes Papa LowThe Essential
Albert Ammons Shout For JoyHey! Piano Man
Mattie May Thomas No Mo' freedom Women from Parchman Penitentiary: Jailhouse Blues
Ace Johnson & L. W. Gooden Mama Don't 'low No Swingin' Out In HereJailhouse Blues
Beatrice Perry I Got A Man On The WheelerField Recordings, Vol. 8: Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi 1934-1947
Big Bill Broonzy Just A DreamBig Bill Broonzy Vol. 9 1939
Tampa Red Bessemer BluesThe Guitar Wizard: 1935-1953
Big Joe Turner Lovin' Mama BluesBig Joe Turner 1938-1940
Pete JohnsonClimbin' and Screamin'Pete Johnson 1938-1939
Mary James with Four Girls Go 'Way Devil Leave Me Alone Field Recordings, Vol. 8: Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi 1934-1947
Richard L. Lewis and Wilbert Gilliam Long Freight Train BluesTwo White Horses Standin' In Line
Unidentified performersWe Don't Have No Payday HereLibrary of Congress Website
Blu Lu Barker Lu's BluesBlu Lu Barker 1938-1939
Rosetta CrawfordI'm Tired Of Fattenin' Frogs For SnakesThe 30's Girls
Lonnie Johnson Why Woman Go WrongHe's a Jelly Roll Baker
Johnnie TempleJelly Roll BertThe Very Best Of Teddy Bunn
Merline Johnson Reckless Life BluesMerline Johnson Vol. 2 1938-1939
Memphis Minnie Bad Outside FriendsMemphis Minnie Vol. 4 1938-1939

Show Notes:

Library of Congress Note Cards

Today’s show is the thirteenth 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. 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. 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. From 1934 until 1945 there were three main race labels, all selling at 35 cents: Decca, the Brunswick Record Corporation's Vocalion, and RCA-Victor's Bluebird. There were two other labels that featured a fair number of blues during this period; the store group Montgomery Ward, with a label of the same name, drew at various times on Gennett, Decca and Bluebird and Sears Roebuck used ARC material on its Conqueror label. Race record sales were up around 15 per cent in 1937. Sales were a bit down by 1938 and by 1939 a quarter of of race releases were gospel, against an eighth the prior year. In the post-'37 years most releases were by established artists: Blind Boy Fuller, Big Bill, Washboard Sam, Tampa Red, Bill Gaither, Walter Davis, Peetie Wheatstraw, Sonny Boy Williamson and Sonny Boy Williamson (Kokomo Arnold and Bumble Slim had stopped recording in 1938).

Outside of the commercial recordings, 1939 was notable for some excellent field recordings captured by John Lomax and Herbert Halpert. Lomax made a three-month, 6,502-mile trip through the southern United States beginning in Port Arkansas, Texas, on March 31, 1939, and ending at the Library of Congress on June 14, 1939. Some 700 recordings were made. In 1938 and 1939, folklorist Herbert Halpert traveled through the mid-Atlantic states recording  songs funded in part by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) and Columbia University. Most notable were some remarkable recording in the notorious Parchman Farm in 1939.

1939 Decca Advertisement

The Lomax's first visited Parchman in 1933 and returned numerous times to record blues, work songs, spirituals, and personal interviews with inmates. One of the most famous bluesman the Lomax's recorded was Bukka White. In 1937 White recorded a minor hit, “Shake ‘Em On Down,” in Chicago, but that year he was also sentenced for a shooting incident to Parchman, where John Lomax recorded him performing two numbers in 1939. After his release White recorded twelve songs at a Chicago session in 1940. Among the songs he recorded were two songs about his time in prison: "Parchman Farm Blues" and "When Can I Change My Clothes?." Parchman isn't the only prison the Lomax's recorded at; other recordings were made at Cummins State Farm in Gould, Arkansas, Goree State Farm, Women's Camp, near Huntsville, Texas, State Penitentiary ("The Walls"), Huntsville, Texas and the Florida State Prison (Raiford Penitentiary).

One of the best performers the Lomax's recorded was Smith Casey. He was born in 1895, probably in Riverside near Huntsville, and learned music in San Jacinto and Jackson Counties.  While serving time in prison, he performed on a remote weekly radio program from the Huntsville Penitentiary called 'Thirty Minutes Behind the Walls'.  He was paroled in 1945 and moved to Huntsville, dying of tuberculosis in 1950." He was recorded by the Lomax's at Clemens State Farm, Brazoria in Texas on April 16, 1939.

I've always been fascinated by the females who recorded at Parchman and whom I first heard on the album Jailhouse Blues on the Rosetta label. These recordings were made in May and June 1939 by Herbert Halpert in the sewing of the Woman's Camp in Parchman. Camp 13 was the woman's camp where white and black women occupied separate wards. The women's primary work was making clothes for the prisoners, mattresses and bedding. The woman also did canning and helped out in the fields. The Parchamn women were asked to sing a song, any song they chose. There were no restrictions about length or subject, but most of the songs were short and some merely fragments. The best of those singers is the remarkable Mattie May Thomas. Thomas was a senior member at Parchman for she had served twice before. She recorded four sides.

Read Liner Notes

The most prolific artists of 1939 were those performing in the urban blues style such as Curtis Jones (18 sides), Bill Gaither (33 sides), Tampa Red (18 sides), Sonny Boy Williamson I (24 sides), Washboard Sam (16 sides) and Big Bill Broonzy (33 sides). A couple of down home blues artists were popular including Blind Boy Fuller, who had been recording since 1937, and newcomer Tommy McClennan who cut forty sides (at five eight-song sessions), every one issued at the time, between 1939 and 1942.

Some the classic women blues singers reappeared briefly including Trixie Smith (1938-1939), Alberta Hunter (1939) and Ida Cox (1939). Cox was invited to participate in the Carnegie Hall concert series From Spirituals to Swing, (the first concert was in 1938) produced by John Hammond in 1939. It gave her career a much-needed boost and she resumed recording, with a series of sessions for Vocalion Records in 1939 and Okeh Records in 1940. Several other woman singers made notable records including Blu Lou Barker, Memphis Minnie, Merline Johnson and Rosetta Howard among others.


J.T. 'Funny Paper' SmithHoney BluesThe Original Howling Wolf
Bo CarterTellin' You 'Bout ItThe Essential
Chuck NorrisRockin' After HoursThe Fabulous Swing, Jump Blues Guitar Of
Rollie McGill w/Chuck Norris People Are Talkin' The Fabulous Swing, Jump Blues Guitar Of
Brother Son Bonds & Hammie NixonI Want To Live So God Can Use MeBlues Images Vol. 12
The Delta Boys Don't You Want to Know Sleepy John Estes Vol. 2 1937-1941
CeDell Davis Lonley NightsKeep It To Yourself - Arkansas Blues Vol. 1
W.C. ClayStanding At My WindowKeep It To Yourself - Arkansas Blues Vol. 1
Luke 'Long Gone' MilesBad Luck ChildCountry Boy
Johnny Fuller Strange LandFuller's Blues
Lafayette ThomasParty With MeOakland Blues
Speckled Red Down On The Levee Speckled Red 1929-1938
Meade "Lux" Lewis Tell Your StoryTell Your Story
Big Bill BroonzyGood Liquor Gonna Carry Me DownThe Young Big Bill Broonzy
Turner Parrish The FivesMama Don't Allow No Easy Riders Here
Robert McCoyYou Got To Reap What You SowBye Bye Baby
Robert McCoyDirty DozensBlues And Boogie Woogie Classics
Robert McCoyMcCoy BoogieBlues And Boogie Woogie Classics
Sam Collins New Salty DogJailhouse Blues
Willie BakerCrooked Woman BluesCharley Lincoln & Willie Baker
(John Lee) Sonny Boy Williamson You've Been Foolin' Around Town Sonny Boy Williamson Vol. 2 1938-1939
Jed DavenportSave Me SomeMemphis Shakedown: More Jug Band Classic
Frank EdwardsGotta Get TogetherJook Joint Blues
Tampa RedYou Got To Reap What You SowThe Essential
Leroy CarrYou Got To Reap What You SowSloppy Drunk
Jazz GillumGot to Reap What You Sow Bill ''Jazz'' Gillum Vol. 2 1938-41
Arthur CrudupYou Gotta Reap Arthur Crudup Vol. 1 1941-1946
Robert Pete WilliamsBetter Have Your WaySugar Farm
Blue Charlie MorrisDon't Bring No FriendBluesin' By The Bayou: I'm Not Jiving
Charlie Singleton Never Trust A WomanCharlie Singleton 1949-1953
Big Jim WynnPut Me Down BluesBig Jim Wynn 1947-1959

Show Notes:

We're back with a live show after a three week break. Lots of interesting records today including a two sets of excellent piano blues, a pair of tracks featuring Son Bonds, two spotlighting guitarist Chuck Norris, two off Keep It To Yourself – Arkansas Blues Vol. 1, a set of songs tracing the history of "You Got To Reap What You Sow", some tough horn blowers and much more.

Read Liner Notes
Read Liner Notes

We devote one of our piano sets to the great but obscure Robert McCoy. McCoy was born in 1912 in Aliceville, AL but raised on Birmingham's North Side and by 1927 was a well-known local artist. Two of McCoy's six brothers, Johnny an Willie, played piano and used to run around with the great Jabo Williams. Cow Cow Davenport and Pinetop Smith played at McCoy's house whenever they were in town and had a profound influence on McCoy. Between March 3rd and April 7th 1937, ARC (The American Record Company) sent a mobile recording unit on a field trip firstly to Birmingham, Alabama in search of new talent. Over a two week period set about recording a number of gospel and blues musicians. Among those were Charlie Campbell, Guitar Slim (George Bedford) and James Sherrill (Peanut The Kidnapper) all of whom were backed by the lively piano of McCoy who did not record under his own name. In 1963 McCoy was recorded by Pat Cather, a teenaged Birmingham blues fan. Cather issued two albums on his Vulcan label: Barrelhouse Blues And Jook Piano and Blues And Boogie Classics. Both albums were cut in extremely small quantities and are very rare. Delmark has reissued some of this material on the CD Bye Bye Baby including some unreleased material and the Oldie label reissued some sides as Blues And Boogie Woogie Classics. In 1964 Vulcan issued a couple of singles and the same year a couple of singles were issued on the Soul-O label (Robert McCoy and His Five Sins) with McCoy backed by an R&B band in an attempt to update his sound. In later years McCoy became a church Deacon. He passed in 1978.

Our other piano set features fabulous sides by Speckled Red, Meade Lux Lewis, Black Bob and Turner Parrish. Little is known about pianists Turner Parrish but census records link him to Indianapolis. Parrish recorded eight songs for Gennett/Champion in Richmond, Indiana at three different sessions, from 1929 to 1933. He covered Leroy Carr’s "My Own Lonesome Blues" and "Fore Day Rider" at his 1932 session although the record has never been found. He also backed up Teddy Moss in 1929. Census records show him living in Indianapolis in 1920 and passing there in 1966.

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.Son Bonds 78 Broonzy and Bob cut dozens of sides together between 1934 and 1937 including our featured number, "Good Liquor Gonna Carry Me Down."

Charles "Chuck" Norris was born in Kansas City, MO. on August 11, 1921. Norris worked in Chicago until the mid-'40s, when he moved out to the West Coast following a failed marriage. Between 1947 and 1951 he recorded several records in Los Angeles for Coast, Imperial, Selective, Mercury and Aladdin. His final two recordings were made in New York City for Atlantic in 1953. He backed artists such as Floyd Dixon, Little Willie Littlefield, Ray Agee and others. He cut a full-length live album titled The Los Angeles Flash in 1980. He passed in 1989.Norris is in fine form on his own " Rockin' After Hours" and backing Rollie McGill on " People Are Talkin'."

Son Bonds was born in Brownsville, Tennessee. He was also billed on record as "Brownsville" Son Bonds and Brother Son Bonds. Sleepy John Estes, in his earlier recordings, was backed by Yank Rachell (mandolin) or Hammie Nixon (harmonica), but by the late 1930s he was accompanied in the recording studio by either Bonds or Charlie Pickett (guitar). Bonds also backed Estes on a couple of recording sessions in 1941. In return, either Estes or Nixon played on every one of Bonds's own recordings. The music to one of Bonds's songs, "Back and Side Blues" (1934), became a standard blues melody when John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson from nearby Jackson, TN, used it in his classic "Good Morning, (Little) School Girl" (1937). According to Nixon, Bonds suffered an accidental death in August 1947. While sitting on his front porch late one evening in Dyersburg, Tennessee, Bonds was shot to death by his short-sighted neighbor, who mistook Bonds for another man. we spin "I Want To LIve So God Can Use Me" featuring his pal Hammie Nixon.

A couple of weeks back we traced the history of the song "Some Cold Rainy Day" which was originally recorded by singer Bertha “Chippie” Hill in 1928 with Tampa Red on guitar. The following year Tampa cut "You Got to Reap What You Sow", an instrumental with exactly the same melody. We spin a few version of this song today. That same year Leroy Carr waxed a version of "You Got to Reap What Sow" with lyrics. Other versions of the song were recorded by Mance Lipscomb, Walter Davis, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee and others. A gospel song with a similar title has been recorded by several groups but is a different song. The song is based on Galatians 6:7: "…Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap" which in various forms has long been a proverbial saying: You gotta reap just what you sow because the Good Book says it." The line shows up in many other blues songs as part of the lyrics but not in the title, notably Charlie Patton's "Pea Vine Blues" from 1929.

Keep It To YourselfA few weeks back we spotlighted sax man Maxwell Davis. We spin a couple of his contemporaries today, Charlie Singleton and Big Jim Wynn. Born in Kansas City around 1930, alto and tenor saxophonist Charlie Singleton went to the same school as Charlie Parker had a few years earlier and even studied with Bird's music teacher Leo Davis. In 1949, Singleton started making records under his own name in New York City.

By the mid 1930s, Wynn had formed his own band and was playing tenor sax at a Watts club called Little Harlem where he first met a dancer by the name of T-Bone Walker. As vocalist and guitarist, Walker began sitting in with the Wynn band; the beginning of an association that was to last for over 17 years. Wynn made his debut in 1945 for the 4Star and Gilt Edge Records, leaving to join the Modern label the following year. The Wynn band recorded sporadically thereafter for Specialty (1947), Supreme, Modern, Peacock (1949), Mercury and Recorded In Hollywood (1951) and Million (1954), recording a final single in 1959 for short-lived Hollywood indie, Great Records. Wynn disbanded his regular combo in the mid 1950s, becoming an indispensable session saxophonist on many of the blues, R&B, pop and soul recordings commissioned by the myriad California independent labels through the late 1950s and 1960s. During the same period, Wynn was also an integral part of Johnny Otis' big R&B revue band, a post he would maintain until the mid 1970s.

Keep It To Yourself – Arkansas Blues Vol. 1 (1983) is a collection of solo blues guitar, harmonica and piano performances recorded in Arkansas in 1976 by Louis Guida under a Bicentennial grant. Guida traversed the state to record in nightclubs, at artists' homes and inside a prison unit. We play tracks by Cedell Davis and W.C. Clay. Clay, was the guitarist on the King Biscuit Time radio show in the early 1950's. Meet Me In The Bottom- Arkansas Blues Vol. 2 has recently been released.


Just a head's up that I'll be out of town the next couple of weeks so there will be no new shows. We will be running some older shows those weeks so tune in live or to the stream. Also make sure to listen to the new  “Jazz90.1 Swing & Blues” stream (see the previous post).


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