Entries tagged with “Hot Lips Page”.


ARTISTSONGALBUM
Albert Macon & Robert Thomas Someday Baby Blues and Boogie from Alabama
Albert Macon & Robert Thomas Don't Nothing Hurt But My Back And Side Blues and Boogie from Alabama
Good Rockin' Charles I Wish I Had Somebody American Blues Legends 1979
Eddie Guitar Burns Bury Me Back In The USA American Blues Legends 1975
Billy “The Kid” Emerson Buzzard Luck American Blues Legends 1979
Lottie Merle Howlin' In The Moonlight 45
Lincoln Jackson Big Fat Mama Old Country Blues
William Floyd Every Time I Need You Baby Southern Comfort Country
Jim Bledsoe Old River BluesJuke Joint Blues 2
Ernest Lewis You've Got good Business
Lovey Williams Going Away BluesBothered All The Time
Big Boy Knox Blue Man Blues San Antonio Blues 1937
Tricky Sam Stavin' ChainTexas Field Recordings 1934 -1939
Little Hat JonesCross the Water BluesTexas Blues: Early Blues Masters from the Lone Star State
Sonny Rhodes The Highway Is Like A Woman Blue Bay - Anthology of Bay Area Blues
Hi Tide Harris Never Will Forget Your Love Blue Bay - Anthology of Bay Area Blues
Big Boy Henry My Ten Women Strut His Stuff
Big Boy Henry Stop Hanging Around Strut His Stuff
Big Walter Nothing But The Blues Nothing But the Blues
Otis Spann I'm AccusedUp In The Queen's Pad
Big Joe Duskin Storm In Texas San Francisco Blues Festival Vol.2
Little Sylvia & Hot Lips Page Chocolate Candy Blues Hot Lips Page 1950-1953
Hot Lips Page Pacifying Blues Hot Lips Page 1950-1953
Blind Lemon Jefferson Prison Cell BluesThe Best There Ever Was
Blind Willie McTellMama, 'Taint Long Fo' DayThe Early Years
Frank Stokes Frank Stokes' DreamThe Best Of
Larry Dale Larry's Joint
John and Sylvia Embry I'm Hurtin'After Work
James "Guitar Slim" Stephens Your Close Friend Eigth-Hand Sets & Holy Steps
Elester Anderson Out On The Farm Eigth-Hand Sets & Holy Steps
Algia Mae Honey Babe Eigth-Hand Sets & Holy Steps

Show Notes:

Lots of vinyl on today's mix show. Today we hear twin spins from out-of-print records by Albert Macon & Robert Thomas, Big Boy Henry, a set of field recordings by Begnt Olsson and a set by Glen Hinson, plus some fine recordings of more contemporary blues from the 70's and some excellent piano records by Otis Spann and Big Walter (The thunderbird). And as always, plenty of fine pre-war blues recordings.

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We play some superb field recordings that I haven't featured before. We open up with the duo Albert Macon & Robert Thomas. Macon, born in 1920 in Society Hill, played a type of music he called "boogie and blues," which he learned from his father, Buster Macon, at house parties and frolics in the rural Macon County community. Macon began teaching Robert Thomas to play blues guitar when Thomas, who was nine years younger than Macon, was about 15 years old. For over 40 years the two men played music together at fish fries, parties and festivals in Georgia. Macon and Thomas recorded Blues and Boogie from Alabama, on the Dutch Swingmaster label, with other tracks appearing on anthologies.

My friend  Axel Küstner is a big admirer of Begnt Olsson and its prompted me to dig a bit deeper into the recordings he captured. Olsson taped some supreb field recordings in Tennessee and Alabama between 1969 and 1974. He was also a very good writer as the liner notes he wrote prove and also authored the classic  Memphis Blues and Jug Bands which was published in 1970 by Studio Vista and now long out-of-print. His life's work, Memphis Blues, was slated to be published by Routledge in 2008 but with Olsson's passing in January of that year it looks like the book has been permanently shelved. Olsson first came to the United States in 1969, first to Chicago and then to Memphis were he made some recordings. Olsson was back in 1971, where he made recordings in Memphis and Alabama. He recorded several talented artists including Lum Guffin (his album Walking Victrola was issued on Flyright), Lattie Murrell and Perry Tillis among others. In addition to the Lum Guffin record, Olsson's recordings have been issued on three compilations on the Flyright label. Some of these recordings appear on the CD On the Road – Country Blues 1969-1974. Several years back Birdman Records purchased Olsson's entire library of recordings. So far the label has issued two releases: Old Country Blues Vol. 1 and Bishop Perry Tillis: Too Close. In 2010 the Sutro Park label issued a vinyl album titled Wolf's At The Door: Lost Recordings From The Spirits Of The South which inlcuded some unreleased recordings by Olsson. I’ll be featuring more of Olsson’s recordings on an upcoming show.

We wrap up the program with a set of field recordings from the album Eigth-Hand Sets & Holy Steps. This album is a document of black folk music from the North Carolina region and recorded in in that state in the 1970's by folklorist Glen Hinson. As the notes state, Hinson "packed up portable tape-recording gear and traveled the state; front porches, living rooms and church sanctuaries served as recording studio." Today we  feature superb performances by under-recorded blues artists James "Guitar Slim" Stephens, Elester Anderson and Alga Mae Hnton. See below for a scan of the booklet that accompanies this collection.

Jumping up to the 70's and 80's we spin some more out-of-print records on the Big Bear and Razor labels. The American Blues Legends tour of 1973, 1975 and 1979 was put on by Big Bear Records  and included Homesick James, Snooky Pryor, Billy "The Kid" Emerson, Lester Davenport, Eddie C. Campbell, Good Rockin' Charles, Nolan Stuck, Chico Chism, Tommy Tucker, Billy Boy Arnold, Eddie Burns and others. This tour spanned a number of weeks and hit many countries in Europe.  Today we spin tracks from the 1975 and 1979 tours and the albums that resulted. There is also an album form the 1973 tour that I believe has been issued on CD.

Sylvia Embry began playing piano as a child and sang in church choirs, moving to Memphis at the age of 19. In the 60s she settled in Chicago, where she met and married blues guitarist Johnny Embry, who taught her to play bass guitar. In the 70s she worked for several years with Lefty Dizz. She shared the credit with her husband on a 45 for Razor Records and the album After Work (1980) on the same label, was part of Alligator Records’ Living Chicago Blues project, and had an album released under the name Blues Queen Sylvia on the German L&R label. Living Blues magazine reported in 1985 that she had turned her back on blues and was playing gospel music. She passed in 1992.

We spin a trio of terrific piano tracks by Otis Spann, Big Walter (The Thuderbird) and Big Joe Duskin. To my mind Otis Spann was the finest ofthe post-war piano players and he left behind an outstanding recorded legacy despite passing at the age of forty in 1970. I finally tracked down one of the more elusive Spann recordings, Up In The Queen's Pad, issued on Victoria Spivey's Spivey label which was recorded at her Brooklyn apartment in 1969. Now Spivey recordings are always quirky affairs, production values are decidedly low-fi and the albums have that slapped togther look. All that applies here but Spann is in great form and ably back by guitarist Sammy Lawhorn and ond of course Spivey herself.  The two clearly were fond of each other which comes through not only on this recording but on the others he did for the label which include both volumes of Bluesmen of the Muddy Waters Chicago Blues Band and the Everlasting Blues vs. Otis Spann album

Also from the out-of-print bin Big Walter Price's "Nothing But The Blues" which comes from the album Houston Ghetto Blues on Flyright. This is a tremendous talking blues number recorded privatley in a Houston club. "Storm In Texas" is Big Joe Duskin's fine rendition of "Texas Flood" and comes from the album San Francisco Blues Festival Vol.2.

I should also mention a couple of tracks we spin by the great Hot Lips Page. Page was of the great swing trumpeters in addition to being a talented blues vocalist, Hot Lips Page's premature passing left a large hole in the jazz world. Page gained early experience in the 1920's performing in Texas, playing in Ma Rainey's backup band. He was with Walter Page's Blue Devils during 1928-1931, and then joined Bennie Moten's band in Kansas City. Page freelanced in Kansas City and in 1936 was one of the stars in Count Basie's orchestra but, shortly before Basie was discovered, Joe Glaser signed Hot Lips as a solo artist. He died in 1954 at the age of 36. Today's recordings are from 1950 and  inlude one featuring Little Sylvia, "Chocolate Candy Blues", which are her first recordings.she was 14 at the time and like Little Esther, sounded wise beyond her years. . She would soon garner big success when she teamed up With Mickey Baker as Mickey & Sylvia.

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ARTISTSONGALBUM
Ida Cox I Got The Blues For Rampart Street The Essential
Bertha Chippie Hill Pratt City BluesHow Low Can You Go?: Anthology of the String Bass
Victoria SpiveyBlack Snake SwingMen Are Like Street Cars: Women Blues Singers 1928-1969
Harlem Hamfats Oh Red!Harlem Hamfats Vol. 11936
Brown Bombers of Swing (Casey Bill Weldon) Walkin' In My SleepCasey Bill Weldon Vol. 3 1937-1938
Frankie "Half-Pint" JaxonDown At Jasper's Bar-B-QueFrankie 'Half-Pint' Jaxon Vol. 1 1926-1929
Laura Smith Don't Leave Me HereLaura Smith Vol. 1 1924-1927
Sippie WallaceI'm A Mighty Tight Woman First Time I Met the Blues (When the Sun Goes Down series)
Rosetta HowardMen Are Like Street CarsMen Are Like Street Cars: Women Blues Singers 1928-1969
Texas Alexander Tell Me Woman BluesTexas Alexander Vol. 2 1928-1930
Peetie Wheatstraw Gangster's BluesPeetie Wheatstraw Vol. 7 1940-1941
Wingy Carpenter Preachin' Trumpet Blues
Jazzin' The Blues Vol. 2 1939-1946
Oliver Cobb Cornet Pleading Blues Male Blues Of The Twenties
Blind John DavisJersey Cow BluesBlind John Davis 1938-1952
Edna Winston I Got A Mule To RideLeona Williams & Edna Winston 1922-1927
Edith Wilson He Used To Be Your Man But He's My Man NowJohnny Dunn Vol. 1 1921-1922
Mamie SmithGoin' Crazy With The BluesJazz The World Forgot Vol. 1
Blind BlakeCC Pill Blues All The Published Sides
Frenchy's String BandTexas And Pacific BluesSunshine Special: Texas 1927-1929
Freddie Keppard's Jazz Cardinals & Papa Charlie JacksonSalty DogBreaking Out of New Orleans 1922-1929
Louis Armstrong & The Hot FivesI'm Not Rough The Complete Hot Five And Hot Seven Recordings
Original Washboard Band & Julie Davis Jasper Taylor BluesJohnny Dodds 1927-1928
Oscar "Papa" Celestin & Sam MorganShort Dress GalBreaking Out of New Orleans 1922-1929
Elizabeth Johnson Empty Bed Blues Part 1American Primitive Vol. 1
Sara Martin Death Sting Me BluesSara Martin Vol. 4 1925-1928
Teddy PetersGeorgia ManKing Oliver: Sugar Foot Stomp
Hot Lips Page Down On The LeveeHot Lips Page: 1938-1940
Washboard Rhythm KingsI'm Gonna Play Down by the OhioWashboard Rhythm Kings Vol. 2 1932
Ben NorsingleRover's BluesSunshine Special: Texas 1927-1929
Joe PullumWoman Trouble BluesJoe Pullum Vol. 2 1935-1951
Bessie SmithGimmie A Pigfoot Bessie Smith Volume 8 (Frog)
Trixie SmithMy Daddy Rocks MeTrixie Smith Vol. 2 1925-1929
Ma RaineyYonder Comes The BluesMother Of The Blues

Show Notes:

Today show is call Jazzin' The Blues and as the title suggests, we explore the jazzy side of early blues recordings and the bluesy side of jazz. Not surprisingly we play a number of women blues singers of the 1920's who were often backed by jazz bands. When Mamie Smith cut “Crazy Blues”, the first recorded blues by a black singer, her band was called the Jazz Hounds. Following in that tradition, singers like Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey and Victoria Spivey were often paired with top flight jazz musicians such as King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Johnny Dodds, Coleman Hawkins and others. As the era of the classic woman blues singers faded the men gained the spotlight, first playing and singing solo, then evolving to bigger bands that often included horns and elements of jazz and swing. Many of the jazz outfits of this period incorporated plenty of blues and today we hear the bluesier side of artists such as Louis Armstrong, Hot Lips Page, Freddie Keppard and others.

Throughout today's backing band are quite a few jazz luminaries who backed the classic blues ladies of the 1920's. We spin several sides today featuring King Oliver and Louis Armstrong. King Oliver made his landmark recordings in 1923 with his Creole Jazz Band featuring his protege Louis Armstrong,  clarinetist Johnny Dodds, trombonist Honore Dutrey, pianist Lil Harden, and drummer Baby Dodds. Oliver continued to make recordings through 1931 although he seemed to fade from the spotlight not long after his initial recordings. From May to December, 1928, Oliver did some 22 sessions with his old friend, Clarence Williams, who had played with him around Louisiana and who had manged clubs like the Big 25 and Pete Lala's. Williams had become a music publisher, entrepreneur and early A&R man around New York. Seeing Oliver down on his luck, Williams used him as a backup player for several blues singers. Prior to 1928 Oliver had accompanied artists such as Butterbeans & Susie in 1924 ("Kiss Me Sweet b/w Construction Gang"), Sippie Wallace in 1925 ("Morning Dove Blues b/w "Every Dog Has His Day" and "Devil Dance Blues"), Teddy Peters ("Georgia Man"), Irene Scruggs ("Home Town Blues b/w Sorrow Valley blues"), Georgia Taylor in 1926 ("Jackass Blues") plus several others.

Among the notable recordings of 1928 included six sides backing Sara Martin including the superb "Death Sting Me Blues" which features a suitably mournful solo from Oliver plus equally fine playing on "Mean Tight Mama" and "Mistreating Man Blues."  His two numbers with Texas Alexander, "Tell Me Woman Blues b/w Frisco Train Blues," work surprising well with Oliver playing some beautiful, sympathetic fills on both numbers offset by the elegant guitar work of Eddie Lang. Lang and Oliver also back Victoria Spivey on "My Handy Man b/w Organ Grinder Blues" although Oliver is less prominent. Among the best recordings from this period are his backing of the terrific Elizabeth Johnson, an obscure singer who waxed only four sides at two session in 1928. "Empty Bed Blues Part 1 & 2" has Johnson's expressive vocals finding a marvelous counterpoint in Oliver's earthy responses.

In the early 1990's the Affinity label issued the comprehensive Louis Armstrong And The Blues Singers 1924-1930, a six CD set that I believe covers all the sessions Armstrong did backing blues singers. During 1924-26 (and to a lesser extent 1927-30) Armstrong made many recordings other than his own sessions, arranged by an old friend from New Orleans, pianist Clarence Williams Those he backed include some of the era's best woman blues singers like a Ma Rainey, Sippie Wallace, Bertha "Chippie" Hill, Bessie Smith, Clara Smith and Victoria Spivey. We also spin the marvelous  "I'm Not Rough" as recorded by Louis Armstrong & The Hot Fives featuring Lonnie Johnson.  This is the final recording session with the "classic" Hot Five lineup (plus Lonnie Johnson). Hereafter, the "Hot Five" would be whoever Armstrong happened to be recording with.

Other classic jazz artists who appear more than once on today's program are Freddie Keppard and Johnny Dodds. After playing with the Olympia Orchestra Keppard joined Frankie Dusen's Eagle Band, taking the place recently vacated by Buddy Bolden. Soon after Bolden was off the music scene Keppard was proclaimed "King Keppard" as the city's top horn player. About 1914 Joe "King" Oliver won a musical "cutting contest" and claimed Keppard's crown. Keppard made recordings in Chicago between 1924 and 1927 including two versions of "Salty Dog", which we feature today,  from 1926 featuring Papa charlie Jackson. Jackson first cut the song in 1924 which made him a recording star. We also hear him back Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon on the rollicking "Down At Jasper's Bar-B-Que." Jaxon was a vaudeville singer, comedian and female impersonator. He traveled extensively throughout the United States between 1916 and 1921 and in the early 1920's he often appeared on the bill with King Oliver and Freddie Keppard in Chicago. Throughout the rest of the 1920's and 1930's he continued to tour the vaudeville circuit, and record. On record he was backed by jazz musicians such as Keppard, Punch Miller, Henry “Red” Allen and others.

Johnny Dodds was one of the greatest clarinetist of the 1920's who had a very soulful, bluesy style of playing.He worked with most of the major Hot Jazz bands of the era including the bands of Kid Ory, King Oliver amd Louis Armstrong. Dodd's appears on several of today's recordings including those with Keppard, Armstrong, as a member of Jasper Taylor's Original Washboard Band, backing Sippie Wallace on the 1929 version of her classic "I'm A Might Tight Women" and backing guitarist Blind Blake.  We hear Dodds backing singer Julia Davis who cut one 78 for Paramount in 1924 and one final terrific record in 1928, "Jasper Taylor Blues b/w Geechie River Blues", backed by the Original Washboard Band featured washboard player Jasper Taylor.

During the spring of 1928 Blind Blake cut some of his most ambitious records. Jimmy Bertrand manned xylophone for "Doggin' Me Mama Blues" and played slide whistle on our featured track,  "C.C. Pill Blues" while the great Johnny Dodds soloed on clarinet. Dodds and Bertrand provided more accompaniment on Blake's "Hot Potatoes" and "South Bound Rag." Bertrand, Dodds, and Blake were also teamed on "Elzadie's Policy Blue b/w Pay Day Daddy Blues" with singer Elzadie Robinson.

We spin several jazz artists and groups who often worked on the bluesy side of the street including Papa Celestin, Hot Lips Page and the Washboard Rhythm Kings. Papa Celestin was one of the most popular of New Orleans cornet players, and considered a major player in the development of jazz. Most of the great New Orleans players up to 1950 played for him one time or another. In 1910 Celestin started the Original Tuxedo Jazz Orchestra which would become one of the most enduring bands and featured Louis Armstrong among others. elestin began recording with his own groups for Okeh from 1925 until the Depression forced him to give up the group. With singer Sam Morgan we hear him on "Short Dress Gal."

In his early years, Hot Lips Page played in circuses and minstrel shows and backing such blues singers as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Ida Cox. Page's main trumpet influence was Louis Armstrong. He joined the Blue Devils circa 1927, staying until1931, when he joined the Bennie Moten Orchestra, the leading dance band out of Kansas City.Though not a regular member of the band, Page appeared as a vocalist, emcee and hot trumpet soloist with Count Basie's Reno Club orchestra after the Moten band finally disbanded upon that leader's sudden death in April, 1935. Page embarked upon a solo career during this period, playing with small pick up bands out of Kansas City. We hear his wonderful "Down On The Levee" cut for Decca in 1938.

The Washboard Rhythm Kings were a loose aggregation of jazz performers, many of high calibre, who recorded as a group for various labels between about 1930 and 1935. The band played good-time swinging music, featuring spirited vocals, horns, a washboard player and occasionally kazoo. Today we feature their swinging "Down by the Ohio" from 1931.

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ARTISTSONGALBUM
Julius Daniels Ninety-Nine Year Blues Atlanta Blues
Blind Willie McTell King Edward Blues The Classic Years 1927-1940
Cousin Leroy CrossroadsLivin' That Wild Life: Herald/Ember Blues & Gospel Masters
Cousin Leroy Waitin' At The Station Livin' That Wild Life: Herald/Ember Blues & Gospel Masters
T-Bone Walker Here In The DarkComplete Recordings of T-Bone Walker 1940-1954
Hot Lips Page Trio Thirsty Mama Blues The Very Best Of Teddy Bunn
Champion Jack Dupree She's GoneEarly Cuts
Ma Rainey Chain Gang Bound Mother Of The Blues
Mattie Delaney Tallahatchie River Blues Blues Images Vol. 3
Georgia Boyd Never Mind Blues St. Louis 1927-1933
Lonnie Johnson Blue And All AloneBlues, Ballads And Jumpin' Jazz Vol. 2
Percy Mayfield Highway Is Like A WomanBlues Laureate: RCA Years
Eddie Vinson I'm Gonna Wind Your Clock Ham Hocks And Cornbread
Sonny Boy Nelson Pony Blues Catfish Blues - Mississippi Blues Vol. 3
Robert Petway Ride 'Em On Down Catfish Blues - Mississippi Blues Vol. 3
Tommy McLennan Cotton Patch Blues Complete Bluebird Recordings
Jack Owens B & O BluesGoin' Up The Country
Bill "Boogie Bill" Webb Love Me Mama Rural Blues Vol. 1
Sonny Boy Williamson Miss Stella Brown BluesThe Original Sonny Boy Williamson Vol. 2
Sonny Boy Williamson Better Cut That OutThe Original Sonny Boy Williamson Vol. 2
Baby Face Leroy Red Headed Woman The Blues World Of Little Walter
Magic Sam Call Me If You Need Me With a Feeling 57-67: The Cobra, Chief & Crash Recordings
Whispering Smith Crying Blues More Louisiana Swamp Blues
Walter 'Cowboy' Washington West Dallas Woman The Piano Blues Vol. 8: Texas Seaport 1934-1937
St. Louis Jimmy Good Luck Blues Livin' That Wild Life: Herald/Ember Blues & Gospel Masters
Eddie Boyd Lonesome For My BabyLivin' That Wild Life: Herald/Ember Blues & Gospel Masters
Blind Joe Reynolds Cold Woman Blues Screamin' & Hollerin' The Blues
Kansas Joe McCoy Joilet Blues Tommy Johnson And Associates
Hop Wilson My Woman Has A Black Cat Bone Steel Guitar Flash

Show Notes:

As we take a pause between theme shows we turn to a wide ranging mix show, spanning the years 1925 through 1970. We spin several thematic sets including a twin spin of sides by Sonny Boy Williamson I, a batch of sides from the recent 2-CD collection collection Livin' That Wild Life – The Herald-Ember Blues & Gospel Masters Vol. 1 and a the usual mix of excellent pre-war blues.

We spotlight a pair of superb post-war sides by Sonny Boy that come from the 4-CD JSP set The Original Sonny Boy Williamson: The Later Years 1939-1947 which collects all the sides he waxed between 1944 through 1947. Talking about the 1946 session that produced one of our selections,  Neil Slaven writes: "Sonny Boy's next three sessions represented his golden age- when song after song underlined his new-found maturity. Sonny Boy's Cold Chills, Hoodoo Hoodoo, Shake The Boogie, Mellow Chick Swing, Polly Put Your Kettle On, Apple Tree Swing, all benefited from the work of Blind John Davis, Eddie Boyd, Willie Lacey, Big Bill Broonzy, Ransom Knowling, Willie Dixon and Charles Sanders. These were the songs that influenced a generation of singers and laid the groundwork for the ascendancy of Chicago blues over the next decade." From his very last session, in November 1947 we spin the romping "Better Cut That Out." There's little doubt Sonny Boy would have been a major force on the vibrant Chicago blues scene of the 50's and would have thrived during the blues revival of the 60's, undoubtedly playing Europe to adoring fans. Sadly it was not to be, Sonny Boy's blazing career came to a untimely end with his murder in June 1948.

We spotlight four tracks  from the fine recent 2-CD collection on Acrobat, Livin' That Wild Life – The Herald-Ember Blues & Gospel Masters Vol. 1. Herald was founded in 1951 by music veteran Fred Mendelsohn but was inactive until he took on partners Al Silverman and Jack Braverman. Herald issued some terrific blues including tracks by Little Walter, St. Louis Jimmy, Cousin Leroy and some of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ best sides. Among those tracks are cuts by St. Louis Jimmy which was originally recorded for De Luxe in 1949 and Eddie Boyd's "Lonesome For My Baby" which was first issued on Regal in 1950 before being picked up by Herald. We also feature two tracks by the mysterious Cousin Leroy. Nothing is known about him except that  he cut two sides for Groove in 1955 and several for Herald and Ember in 1957.  He was backed by great musicians including Larry dale, Sonny Terry and Champion Jack Dupree. Leroy's songs are mainly reworking of traditional material including the ominous "Crossroads"  which incorporated Muddy Waters' "Rolling Stone" with references to the the crossroads myth:

Well I walked down, by the crossroad
Just to learn how, to play my guitar
Well a man walked up, 'son let me tune it'
That was the devil
(2x)

Today's program features a set of fine blues ladies including Ma Rainey, Mattie Delaney and Georgia Boyd. Rainey first appeared onstage in 1900, singing and dancing in minstrel and vaudeville stage revues. In 1902 she married the song and dance man William "Pa" Rainey and from then on became known as Ma Rainey. The couple formed a song and dance act that included Blues and popular songs and toured the country, but primarily the South. It was not until 1923 that Ma Rainey signed a recording contract with Paramount. She was billed as the "Mother of the Blues", which wasn't far off the mark. She ended up recording 100 songs between 1923 and 1928 on Paramount Records. Nothing is known of Delaney and Boyd who each cut a lone 78.  In 1930 Delaney cut two magnificent numbers for Vocalion, "Down The Big Road Blues b/w Tallahatchie River Blues" featuring herself on guitar.  In 1933 Boyd cut "Never Mind Blues b/w I'm Sorry Blues" with J.D. Short laying down some tough guitar on the former.

In 1936, Eugene Powell, along with Mississippi Matilda, Willie Harris and some of the Chatmon family traveled to New Orleans to record for the Bluebird label.  Setting up at the St. Charles Hotel, Powell cut six sides during these sessions under the moniker Sonny Boy Nelson. Among these numbers were classics such as "Street Walkin' Woman" and our selection "Pony Blues". He also accompanied Matilda on four tracks and harmonica player Robert Hill on 10 more. It would be another 34 years before Eugene Powell would have the opportunity to record again.

Also from the pre-war era, we spin numbers by Robert Petway and his pal Tommy McClennan. Little biographical information is available on Robert Petway. He was the first to record “Catfish Blues” which became a blues standard and may have composed the song. Big Bill Broonzy reported to researcher Paul Oliver that Petway played with Tommy McClennan and that the two grew up together as kids. McClennan was born and raised on the J. F. Sligh farm about ten miles north of Yazoo City in 1908 and it seems likely from Broonzy's recollection that Petway was about the same age and raised on the same farm.

McClennan was an influence on David “Honeyboy” Edwards, who learned songs like “Catfish Blues” and "Bullfrog" from him. In another account Edwards states that he learnt “Catfish Blues” in person from Petway. McClennan was stylistically similar to Petway because the two played together often. McClennan and Petway would play at house parties, and in the juke joint at Three Forks crossroads, famous now as the place where Robert Johnson was poisoned. In 1939 McClennan moved to Chicago and had three successful recording sessions by the time Petway had his first. It seems likely that McClennan sent for Petway to come to Chicago and record. Petway recorded eight sides for Bluebird Records in 1941 and followed those up with eight more in 1942.

McClennan's brand of  rough-around-the-edges blues is not far removed from singer Walter "Cowboy" Washington who Paul Oliver called a "bar-fly on the waterfront who worked as a cowpuncher." Backed by the superb piano of Andy Boy the rough voiced singer tells a gritty tale in his "West Dallas Woman" about a woman (a reference to Houston's Fourth Ward)  who's "trying to make twenty-five cents just to get a half-a-pint of corn." Washington cut just four sides in San Antonio in 1937 including another gritty number, "Ice Pick Mama."

Also worth mentioning are tracks by Percy Mayfield, Hot Lips Page and Baby Face Leroy Foster. Mayfield’s main hit making period was from 1950-1952 when he scored seven top ten hits for the Specialty label including “Please Send Me Someone To Love”, the biggest hit ever for the label. Much less well known are the trio of superb records he cut for RCA in the 1970's, all unfortunately out of print: Percy Mayfield Sings Percy Mayfield (1970), Weakness Is A Thing Called Man (1970) and Blues…And Then Some (1971). 25 tracks from these albums are available on the CD Blues Laureate: RCA Years.

Between 1948 and 1952 Baby Face Leroy Foster waxed a handful absolutely terrific sides under his own name for a number fledgling Chicago labels aided by some of the windy city’s best blues musicians. In addition his vocals, drumming, and guitar playing can be found backing some of the greatest Chicago blues records of the era. His death in 1958, at the age of 38, robbed the blues world of a singular, memorable talent.

Known as a scorching  soloist and powerful vocalist, Oran “Hot Lips” Page was one of the Midwest's top trumpet players. He began his professional touring career when he joined “Ma” Rainey's band in the 1920s. Page traveled the Southwest with Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox and other touring acts. From 1928 to 1931 Page was a member of the Blue Devils; in 1932 he joined Bennie Moten’s orchestra, remaining until 1935. After Moten's death, he continued to work with Count Basie. He recorded as the Hot Lips Page Trio for Bluebird in 1940 before joining Artie Shaw where he worked from 1941-1942. Starting in 1944 he recorded for Commodore and Savoy, fronting his own. In May 1949, Page traveled for the first time to Europe, where he played at the Jazz Festival in Paris. He visited Europe again in 1951 and 1952, to make a tour of Scandinavia and France. From 1952 until his health began to deteriorate in 1953, he worked various jazz shows around the United States. "Thirsty Mama Blues" from 1940 sports some melancholy blowing, a fine world weary vocal from page reminiscent of Jimmy Rushing and some knockout guitar from Teddy Bunn. It's not surprising the song is featured on the CD The Very Best Of Teddy Bunn 1937-1940.

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