Entries tagged with “Mississippi Sheiks”.


ARTISTSONGALBUM
Bukka White Strange Place Blues The Complete Bukka White
Casey Bill Weldon You're Laughing, NowCasey Bill Weldon Vol. 3 1935-1938
Freezone Indian Squaw BluesCountry Blues: The Essential
James Son Thomas After The WarGateway to the Delta
Big Joe Williams A Change Gotta Be MadeBig Joe Williams (Storyville)
Wright Holmes Alley BluesAlley Special
Mother McCollum Jesus Is My Air-O-PlaneBlues Images Vol. 11
Blind Gussie Nesbitt God Is Worried At Your Wicked WaysBlues Images Vol. 11
Big Joe Turner Nobody In MindBig Joe Rides Again
Big Joe Turner Married WomanRhythm & Blues Years
Robert Cooksey & Alfred Martin Hock My ShoesBobby Leecan & Robert Cooksey Vol. 1 1924-1927
Sleepy John Estes Whatcha Doin'I Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More
Will Ezell Pitchin' BoogieShake Your Wicked Knees
Frank Tannehill Four O'Clock Morning BluesRare Country Blues Vol. 4 1929-c.1953
Lonnie Clark Broke Down Engine Down In Black Bottom
Jimmy Yancey Jimmy's RocksShake Your Wicked Knees
Littl Brother MontgomeryOut West BluesFaro Street Jive
Otis Rush So Many RoadsDoor To Door
Tiny PowellDone Made It OverBay Area Blues Blasters Vol 1
Blind Blake Miss Emma LizaBlues Images Vol. 11
Mississippi Sheiks Cracking Them ThingsBlues Images Vol. 11
Mance Lipscomb You Be Kind To MeThe Unexpurgated Folk Songs of Men
Mance Lipscomb Stavin' ChainThe Unexpurgated Folk Songs of Men
Babe Reid One Dime BluesMusic from the Hills of Caldwell County
Willie DossCoal Black MareBlues at Newport 1964
Furry LewisGood Morning JudgeGood Morning Judge
Lightnin' Slim Lightning Slim BoogieThe Ace Records Blues Story
Slim HarpoWhat's Goin' OnThe Legendary Jay Miller Sessions Vol. 4
Silas HoganOut And Down BluesTrouble: The Excello Recordings
Charley Patton Magnolia BluesBlues Images Vol. 11
Jim ThompkinsBedside BluesBlues Images Vol. 11

Show Notes:

2014 Blues Calendar

Another mx show today, this one leaning heavily on some great pre-war blues cuts and some excellent down-home blues sides from the post-war era. In addition we twin spin rare sides by Mance Lipscomb, a pair by Big Joe Turner a fine set of piano blues plus plenty of other interesting sides.

Today's show spotlights a half-dozen tracks from the vaults of collector John Tefteller who's record collection contains some of the rarest blues 78's in existence. According to his website he has the world's largest inventory of blues, rhythm & blues and rock & roll 78's with over 75,000 in stock. Every year around this time Tefteller, through his Blues Images imprint, publishes his Classic Blues Artwork Calendar with a companion CD that matches the artwork with the songs. The CD’s have also been one of the main places that newly discovered blues 78’s turn up. This year marks the eleventh year of the calendar and CD's and once again Tefteller has turned up some long lost 78's which I'll be featuring today. Among those are "Miss Emma Liza b/w Dissatisfied Blues” which is he last known missing record by Blind Blake. The record was found last year at a flea market in North Carolina. Cut in the heart of the depression, the record obviously sold poorly explaining its extreme rarity.

Then there's Blind Gussie Nesbit who was a guitar evangelist from Georgia. His first recording session was in 1930 in Atlanta for Columbia. Four titles were recorded but only two were issued. Five years later he had his second and final session in New York City for Decca. Ten songs were recorded in one day, but only four made it onto shellac. Between his two sessions, Nesbit also recorded two duets with Jack Gowdlock for Victor in 1931. Those were also held back. His 78 "The Joy of My Salvation b/w God Is Worried At Your Wicked Ways” is reissued for the first time on this collection. I asked John about this record and he told me that he "had the Mint copy that was used. Had it for some time and didn't realize it hadn't been re-issued until someone requested I put them out on one of my CD's."

The Unexpurgated Folk Songs of Men
Read Liner Notes

Although the Mississippi Sheiks were very popular, the record included on this CD, “Cracking Them Things b/w Back To Mississippi” is very rare. Tefteller reached out to the community of blues record collectors for a copy but none was to be found. Obviously someone has a copy because it was issued on Document's complete reissue of the Sheiks output although Tefteller's reissue sounds light years better. This transfer comes from the original metal master that still resides in the Sony/Columbia vaults.

We also feature pristine, newly discovered 78's by Jim Thompkins, "Bedside Blues", and Charlie Patton's "Magnolia Blues" that are  superior to previous issued copies. Thompkins (credited in the Brunswick ledger as Peg Leg Jim Thompkins) cut two songs, “Bedside Blues” and “Down Fall Blues”, the latter never issued. When issued on 78 the flipside of “Bedside Blues” was "We Got To Get That Thing Fixed" by Speckled Red. This copy is a much superior copy to the one previously issued and comes from an old store stock copy in Dallas.

In addition, several years ago Tefteller uncovered a huge cache of Paramount promotional material. Paramount marketed their "race records", as they were called, to African-Americans, most notably in the pages of the Chicago Defender, the weekly African-American newspaper, and sent promotional material to record stores and distributors. Tefteller bought a huge cache of this artwork from a pair of journalists who rescued them from the rubbish heap some twenty years previously and has been reprinting the artwork in his annual calendars. Other newly discovered record promotional material are reprinted in the calendars and this year is notable for great photos of Henry Thomas, Mother McCollum (her "Jesus Is My Air-O-Plane" is featured today), Furry Lewis and Bessie Smith.

Every year Tefteller manages to top himself with these calendars and the 2015 edition is already one to get excited about. If you haven't heard the news, Tefteller just won an ebay auction for Tommy Johnson's  extremely rare "Alcohol And Jake Blues b/w Ridin' Horse" (Paramount 12950) for a whopping $37, 000 which as far a I know is the most ever paid for a blues 78. I asked John about the record and he wrote me that he "picked up the Tommy Johnson on Thursday, LOOKS Beautiful! Will play it at Nevins house next week in NJ." That's Richard Nevins head of Yazoo records who also does all the remastering for the CD's.

The two Mance Lipscomb numbers featured today come form the rare anthology The Unexpurgated Folk Songs of Men collected by Mack McCormick. I had pulled this record out recently when I was writing notes for a reissue of the great Buster Pickens album on Heritage which will be put out by Document. There happens to be two Pickens numbers on the album which hopefully will be reissued as well. The contents were described in the notes as "…An informal song-swapping session with a group of Texans, New Yorkers, and Englishmen exchanging bawdy songs and lore, presented without expurgation…" The album was originally issued in a generic white cover without any printing. Song titles are listed on the disc labels, but none of the many performers are credited anywhere on the release. Included inside the cover sleeve was a large, 14-page booklet explaining the history of the songs, as well as a large disclaimer presenting the recorded material as a scholarly document which, along with the generic white sleeve and anonymous performers, were evidently measures taken against possible charges of obscenity. Some of the performers have been ostensibly identified by researchers. The album was later reissued with a cover as Raglan R 51.

Farro Street Jive
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We hear several fine pianists today including Will Ezell, Frank Tannehill, Lonnie Clark, Little Brother Montgomery and Jimmy Yancey. Born in Texas, pianist Ezell played in the jukes around Shreveport before moving to Detroit and Chicago. He was a frequent accompanist for Paramount Records and even took Paramount’s star, Blind Lemon Jefferson's body back to Texas for burial. Ezell cut sixteen sides for the label between 1927 and 1929 and backed artists such as Lucille Bogan, Elzadie Robinson, Bertha Henderson, Blind Roosevelt Graves and others.

A pianist from Dallas, Frank Tannehill backed Pere Dickson on his two 1932 recordings made in his hometown. Tannehill began his own recording career with two songs recorded in Chicago in 1937. 1938 found him in a San Antonio studio waxing four more songs. His third and final session was in 1941 in Dallas for a four song session. He was never heard from again.

"Out West Blues" was first recorded by Little Brother at his legendary 1936 session in New Orleans. Our version comes from a marvelous record he cut for Folkways called Farro Street Jive. Brother cut three fine record for Folkways in the 60's including Blues and Church Songs.

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ARTISTSONGALBUM
Texas Alexander Days Is LonesomeTexas Alexander Vol. 2 1928 - 1930

Bo Carter Tellin' You 'Bout ItGreatest Hits
Mississippi SheiksIt's Done Got WetBo Carter & The Mississippi Sheiks
Lindberg Sparks I.C. Train BluesSparks Brothers 1932-1935t
Dorothy Baker Steady Grinding BluesBarrelhouse Mamas
Ernest RogersBaby Low Down, Oh Oh Low Down Dirty DogField Recordings Vol. 16 1934-1940
Blind Pete & George RyanBanty Rooster Screamin' & Hollerin' The Blues
John BrayTrench BluesDeep River Of Song: Louisiana
Bumble Bee SlimSail On Little Girl, Sail OnWhen The Sun Goes Down
Leroy CarrBlues Before SunriseWhiskey Is My Habit, Women Is All I Crave
Scrapper BlackwellMorning Mail BluesScrapper Blackwell Vol. 2 1934-1958
Lucille Bogan Pig Iron SallyShave 'Em Dry: The Best of Lucille Bogan
Walter Roland Big MamaWalter Roland Vol. 2 1934-1935
James “Iron Head” Baker Black BettyDeep River of Song: Big Brazos
LeadbellyTake A Whiff On MeLeadbelly: Important Recordings 1934-49
Joe PullumBlack Gal What Makes Your Head So Hard?Joe Pullum Vol. 1 1934-1935
Buddy MossSomeday BabyThe Essential Buddy Moss
Son BondsTrouble, Trouble BluesSon Bonds & Charlie Pickett 1934-1941
Bertha LeeMind Reader BluesI Can't Be Satisfied Vol 1
Charlie Patton'34 BluesPrimeval Blues, Rags, and Gospel Songs
Mary Johnson Peepin' At The Risin' Sun Mary Johnson 1929-1936
Peetie WheatstrawThrow Me In The AlleyFolks, He Sure Do Pull Some Bow!
Barrelhouse Buck McFarlandMercy Mercy BluesPiano Blues Vol. 2 1927-1956
Bob CampbellStarvation Farm BluesA Richer Tradition
Memphis Jug Band Jug Band QuartetteMemphis Shakedown

Big Bill Broonzy Serve It To Me RightAll The Classic Sides
Alfoncey Harris Absent Freight Train BluesThe Piano Blues Vol. 11: Texas Santa Fe
John OscarOther Man BluesChicago Piano 1929-1936
Lee GreenMemphis FivesThe Way I Feel: The Best Of Roosevelt Sykes & Lee Green
Joe McCoyI'm Going Back HomeThe Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of
Charlie McCoy Charity BluesAin't Times Hard: Political & Social Comment In The Blues
Moses Clear Rock PlattThat's All Right, BabyBlack Texicans
Wilson Jones (Stavin' Chain)Can't Put On My ShoesField Recordings Vol. 16 1934-1940

Show Notes:

Charlie Patton: 34 Blues

Today’s show is the eighth 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. To feed the demand other record companies conducted exhaustive searches for new talent, which included making trips down south with field recording units. 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 in 1934, and in addition to labels like Gennett and Columbia a new label emerged that year. Decca Records began recording in New York and Chicago in August and by the end of the year had issued dozens of race records. During this period it was the urban style of blues that dominated the market – artists such as Tampa Red, Roosevelt Sykes, Memphis Minnie, Big Bill Broonzy, Bumble Bee Slim and Leroy Carr recorded prolifically. Still some down home blues artists were recorded such as Texas Alexander and Charlie Patton. In parallel to the commercial recordings were some remarkable field recording made by John Lomax for the Library of Congress. All those and more can be heard on today's program.

From 1934 until 1945 there were three main race labels, all selling for 35 cents: Decca, the Brunswick Record Corporation's Vocalion, and RCA-Victor's Bluebird. Whereas Decca had a special race series, Bluebird and Vocalion numbered blues and gospel material in their general series. Although the Gennett label went under at the end of 1934, Decca bought the Gennett material and bought the Champion trademark. Later that year they started their second race series, the Champion 5000s; it feature some reissues of Gennett blues, some reissues from Paramount as well as some material recorded by Decca. The Brunswick Record Corporation bought Columbia issuing records by Papa Charlie Jackson and the Memphis Jug Band. They also operated five "dime-store labels" – Perfect, Oriole, Romeo, Banner and Melotone which sold for 25 cents.

A sign that the market was reviving was the fact that the labels were once again sending out field recording units. Much of the activity was in Texas where Brunswick-ARC recorded Texas Alexander in San Antonio and Fort Worth, Bo Carter and the Mississippi Sheiks in San Antonio and a new artist called Joe Pullum. Texas Alexander cut sessions in 1934 in the company of the Mississippi Sheiks, the jazz band His Sax Black Tams, the guitar duo of Willie Reed and Carl Davis for a total of two dozen sides. These were his last sides until 1950 where he cut a lone 78 for the Freedom label.The popular Mississippi Sheiks cut fourteen sides on March 26 and 27th. "Black Gal What Makes Your Head So Hard?” was a huge and influential hit in 1934 for Joe Pullum. After Pullum recorded it in April 1934 it was covered by Vocalion by Leroy Carr, for Decca by Mary Johnson and Jimmie Gordon (under the pseudonym of Joe Bullum!), and by Josh White—all within ten months. Pullum went on to cut four sessions in less than two years which produced thirty songs including two sequels to "Black Gal" , yet few sold very well.

With the popularity of the urban blues it's not surprising that Leroy Carr and his imitator, Bumble Bee Slim, recorded prolifically. Slim waxed around fifty sides apiece in 1934 and Carr even more.  Slim cut sides for all three major labels in 1934. Carr cut some iconic songs in 1934 including blues classics like “Blues Before Sunrise” and “Mean Mistreater Mama” among others, most with his partner Scrapper Blackwell.

Thanks to a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies, John Lomax was able to set out in June 1933 on the first recording expedition under the Library of Congress' auspices, with his son Alan in tow. John and Alan toured Texas prison farms recording work songs, reels, ballads, and blues from prisoners such as James "Iron Head" Baker, Mose "Clear Rock" Platt, and Lightnin’ Washington. In 1934, Lomax was named Honorary Consultant and Curator of the Archive of American Folk Song, and he secured grants from the Carnegie Corporation and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others, for continued field recordings. In September 1934, Lead Belly, who was out of prison, wrote to Lomax requesting employment, since he needed to have a job in order not to be sent back to prison. At the urging of John, Jr., Lomax engaged Lead Belly as his driver and assistant and the pair traveled the South together collecting folk songs for the next three months. We spin some remarkable sides today by James "Iron Head" Baker and  Mose "Clear Rock" , who Lomax had recorded the previous year, plus new discoveries like Wilson Jones (Stavin' Chain).

Leadbelly was "discovered" by folklorists John Lomax and his then 18-year-old son Alan Lomax during a visit to the Angola Prison Farm in 1933. They recorded him on portable aluminum disc recording equipment for the Library of Congress. Those recordings are very poor quality. They returned to record with new and better equipment in July of the following year (1934). From those sessions we hear Leadbelly deliver a powerful version of "Take A Whiff On Me."

Stavin' Chain playing guitar and singing the ballad "Batson," (fiddler also in shot), Lafayette, La, 1934.
Photo by Alan Lomax.

Notable this year were the last recordings by Charlie Patton. Patton's last recording sessions were in New York where he cut twenty-six sides for Vocalion between January 3oth and February 1st. Seventeen of those sides were unissued. On January 31st Patton backed his common-law wife Bertha Lee on three sides, one of which was unissued.  On the morning of Saturday, April 28, 1934, Charlie Patton was buried the following day at Longswitch Cemetery, less than a mile from his last home at Holly Ridge. He was 43. Patton was a popular performer among both whites and blacks, and at Dockery's Plantation he often played on the porch of the commissary and at all-night picnics hosted by Will Dockery for residents.. In “34 Blues” Patton sang of being banished from Dockery by plantation manager Herman Jett, apparently because Patton was running off with various tenants’ women.

There were some notable piano blues recorded in 1934. St. Louis had an abundance of talented blues pianists including Henry Brown, Peetie Wheatstraw, Roosevelt Sykes, Lee Green, and Aaron "Pinetop" Sparks all who were recorded during the year. Also notable were pianists Alfoncey Harris who was recorded in Texas and John Oscar who was recorded in Chicago.

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ARTISTSONGALBUM
Percy MayfieldTo Me Your Name Is LoveWalking On A Tightrope
Percy MayfieldWalking On A TightropeWalking On A Tightrope
Big Mama ThorntonLife Goes OnAll Night Long They Play The Blues
Phillip WalkerLaughin' And Clownin'All Night Long They Play The Blues
Ironing Board SamI've Been UsedBlues Is Here To Stay
L.C. McKinleyMind Your BusinessHave A Good Time: Chicago Blues
Tommy JohnsonLonesome Home BluesBlues Images vol. 8
George ToreyMarried Woman BluesBlues Images vol. 3
Charlie PattonIt Won't Be LongThe Best Of
Frank Patt Just A Minute BabyJericho Alley Blues Flash! Vol.2
Gus JenkinsDrift OnJericho Alley Blues Flash! Vol.2
Fenton RobinsonI Hear Some Blues DownstairsI Hear Some Blues Downstairs
Turner Foddrell Crow JaneUnreleased
Marvin & Turner FoddrellLonesome Country Boy Blues The Original Blues Brothers
Marvin & Turner FoddrellSweet Little WomanThe Original Blues Brothers
Louis MyersThat’s Allright 45
Louis MyersMoney Marbles and ChalkThe Aces Kings of Chicago Blues, Vol.1
Barbecue BobCalifornia BluesBarbecue Bob Vol. 2 1928-1929
Jim JacksonHesitation Blues Jim Jackson Vol. 2 1928-1930
Newton GreerBorn DeadHarmonica Williams With Little Freddie King
Little OscarSuicide BluesWhen Girls Do It
Willie WilliamsWine Headed WomanRaw Unpolluted Soul
Charles WalkerJuice Head WomanBlues From The Apple
Boyd RiversWhen I Cross OverYou Can't Make Me Doubt
Robert Curtis SmithSunflower River BluesClarksdale Blues
Fred McDowell Fred McDowell's BluesDownhome Blues 1959
Roosevelt SykesEagle Rock Double Barreled Boogie
Memphis Slim & Roosevelt SykesTalking About Miss Ida BDouble Barreled Boogie
Memphis SlimMiss Ida B Double Barreled Boogie
Bukka WhiteSpecial Stream LineTrouble Hearted Blues 1927-1944
Mississippi SheiksNew Shake That ThingBlues Images Vol. 5
Kokomo Arnold Salty DogKokomo Arnold Vol. 3 1936-1937
Dusty BrownYes She's GoneHand Me Down Blues

Show Notes:

Read Liner Notes

Lots of interesting records on tap for our latest mix show.  We spotlight a few artists today including a period of later period Percy Mayfield cuts, two by Louis Myers, a trio of sides by the marvelous Foddrell brothers and a set revolving around Roosevelt Sykes and Memphis Slim. In addition we spotlight a number of fine unheralded artists who recorded between the 50's and 70's like  Little Oscar, Willie Williams, Newton Greer, Dusty Brown and Charles Walker among others. Also on board are some heavyweights from the pre-war era like Bukka White, Charlie Patton, Mississippi Sheiks, Kokomo Arnold and Barbecue Bob.

Percy 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. He stuck with the label through the decade, cutting a few singles for Chess, Cash and Imperial along the way, but never matched his early success. In the 1960's Mayfield's song "Hit The Road, Jack"came to the attention of Ray Charles who was also starting his own record label called Tangerine. Charles hired on Mayfield as a writer and also gave him a chance to record for the label. Mayfield was at the height of his abilities penning songs for Charles like "Hide Nor Hair", "At The Club", "Danger Zone" and "On The Other Hand, Baby." Mayfield's own sides for Tangerine were every bit as good and have been collected on Rhino's limited addition, His Tangerine And Atlantic Sides. After leaving Tangerine Mayfield moved to Brunswick, cutting the exceptional Walking On A Tightrope album in 1968 which we spotlight today. The album features an excellent band arranged by Willie Henderson and remembered by the singer only as "Chicago cats." Mayfield's fine run of albums extended into the 70's with a 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).

Read Liner Notes

Marvin and Turner Foddrell were born into a musical family near Stuart in the Virginia Piedmont and for the major parts of their lives played regularly only at community gatherings, never professionally. Discovered in the 1970s', the Foddrells became a regular fixture at the annual Blue Ridge Folklife Festival at nearby Ferrum College (the college's he Blue Ridge Institute recorded the brothers extensivley) and were also featured at many other festivals including some in Europe. The Foddrell Brothers recorded only two commercial records: The Original Blues Brothers on Swingmaster and Patrick County Rag on Outlet (unfortunately I have yet to track down a copy of the latter). They also appeared alongside more famous traditional musicians on a number of recorded anthologies. Both brothers have since passed away. Pete Lowry recorded them extensively in 1979 but none of these recordings were ever issued. Pete was nice enough to let me play Turner Foddrell's "Crow Jane" which Pete notes  is "different from most."

Louis Myers will forever be recognized first and foremost as a top-drawer sideman and founding member of the Aces, the band that backed harmonica wizard Little Walter on his classic early Checker waxings. Myers played with Otis Rush, Earl Hooker, and many more. But his own recording career was practically non-existent; after a solitary 1956 single for Abco, it wasn't until 1968 that two Myers tracks turned up on Delmark. The Aces re-formed during the '70s and visited Europe often as a trusty rhythm section for touring acts. Myers cut a fine set for Advent in 1978 called I'm a Southern Man. He cut a final album in 1991 before passing in 1994. From 1968 we hear Myers with magic Sam on "That's All Right" and "Money Marbles and Chalk" from 1971 with the twins guitars of Sammy Lawhorn and Eddie Taylor.

We spotlight a trio of cuts from the album Double Barreled Boogie the results of a collaboration in a studio in Paris in 1970. Roosevelt Sykes was a major blues pianist-vocalist since the late 1920s, inspiring Memphis Slim who emerged a decade later. Sykes and Slim reminisce about the old days, talk about the origin of some of their songs, and joke a bit on this charming set. Utilizing two pianos, they play together (taking "M & S Boogie" as an instrumental) and alternate vocals.

We spotlight several lesser known, little recorded artists today including Little Oscar, Newton Greer, Dusty Brown and Charles Walker. Little Oscar Stricklin cut some terrific 45's in the 60's and 70's for a batch of tiny Chicago labels. The best known was his "Suicide Blues" cut in 1967 which has been reissued several times on various anthologies. After the cutting these sides he basically dropped out of sight. Newton Greer pops up on just one song, "Born Dead", a mesmerizing reading of the J.B. Lenoir song of the same name. The song comes for the 1971 album Harmonica Williams with Little Freddie King issued on the Ahura Mazda label and supposedly the first electric blues album recorded in New Orleans. Charles Walker was a fine New York musician who cut handful of sides in the 50's, 60's and early 70's. His "Juice Head Woman" comes from the fine out-of-print album Blues From The Apple issued in 1974 on the Oblivion imprint. Dusty Brown was born in Mississippi in 1929 and migrated to Chicago in 1946. In 1955 he cut four sides for the Parrot label and four more sides for Bandera in 1958. Dusty embarked on a tour of Europe in 1972. In 1975 he opened a lounge in Chicago Heights, Illinois called Dusty's Lounge and featured many of his Chicago blues friends. He moved back down South in the early '90's and in recent years returned to Chicago where he has been reviving his music career appearing at many clubs and festivals

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ARTISTSONGALBUM
Big Walter Price If Blues Was MoneyThe Crazy Cajun Recordings
Big Walter Price To The Married MenThe Crazy Cajun Recordings
Big Walter Price Gamblin' WomanG.L. Crockett Meets Big Walter Price
Mississippi SheiksStop And ListenTommy Johnson & Associates
Willie LoftonDirty MistreaterTommy Johnson & Associates
Pete Johnson Mr. Freddy Blues1944-1946
Wee Bea BoozeMr. Freddie Blues Boogie Woogie Piano Vol. 2 1938-1954
Meade Lux Lewis Mr. Freddie BluesHey Mr. Piano Man
Lazy Lester All Because of YouJuicy Harmonica
Eddie BurnsBiscut Bakin' Mama
Juicy Harmonica
Little Daddy WaltonSpend My MoneyJuicy Harmonica
Alberta HunterMoanin' Low Chicago - The Living Legends
Victoria SpiveyI'll Never Fall in Love AgainVictoria Spivey Vol. 3 1929-1936
Little Miss JaniceScarred KneesWest Coast Guitar Killers Vol. 1
Jack Owens B & O BluesGoin' Up The Country
Short Stuff MaconShort Stuff's CorrinaHell Bound And Heaven Sent
Robert McCoy Gone Mother BluesBye Bye Blues
Sunnyland Slim Get to Hip to Yourself Plays The Ragtime Blues
Otis SpannSpann´s Blues American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1965
Rosa HendersonDo Right BluesThe Essential
Rosa HendersonPoplar Bluff BluesThe Essential
Monte Easter & Jimmy Nolen Slow Freight Back HomeMonte Easter Vol. 2
Cecil GantIt Ain't Gonna Be Like ThatCecil Gant Vol. 7 1950-1951
Freddie Keppard's Jazz Cardinals with Papa Charlie JacksonSalty DogBreaking Out of New Orleans
Walter Coleman Mama Let Me Lay It On YouMama Let Me Lay It On You 1926-1936
Willie HarrisBullfrog BluesThe Best There Ever Was
Sonny Boy NelsonLow DownMississippi Blues Vol. 3

Show Notes:

It's pledge drive time again and as always we would love to hear from our blues listeners.  Jazz90.1 receives no support from anybody but our listeners so if you enjoy the music, and have the means, please think about pledging your support. As usual during the pledge drive we have a mix show lined up for today. We open and close today by paying tribute to Big Walter Price the elder statesman of the Houston blues scene. Price, a legendary blues singer from Houston died March 8th at the age of 97. Price was already in his early forties when he made his first records, for Bob Tanner's TNT label in San Antonio. Three TNT singles were released in 1955. Later in 1955, Walter moved to Houston and joined his friend Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown at Don Robey's Peacock label. Five Peacock singles were issued in 1956-57. In 1958, Price recorded two singles for Eddie Shuler's Goldband label and the 60's saw releases on Myrl, Global, Tear Drop, Jet Stream and some fine sides for the Crazy Cajun label.

Also on today's show we spin a trio of covers of a boogie classic, spin twin spins of Rosa Henderson and Eugene Powell, play some fine blues ladies and batch of great piano blues. A couple of weeks back we played Freddie Shayne's 1935 of  “Mr. Freddie Blues” and today we hear some fine covers.  Shayne, the composer of "Mr. Freddie Blues" is a shadowy figure who spent his life working in Chicago. He first time on record was backing singer Priscilla Stewart on “Mr. Freddie Blues.” Shayne also made a very rare piano roll of this song. In 1935 Shayne recorded a solo record, “Original Mr. Freddie Blues b/w Lonesome Man Blues.” “Mr. Freddie Blues” became something of a boogie standard covered by many artists both as an instrumental and as a vocal. Today we hear great instrumental versions by Pete Johnson and Meade Lux Lewis and a fine vocal performance by Wee Bea Booze from 1944 backed by pianist Sammy Price.

I've played the neglected blues queen Rosa Henderson several times on the program. I think it's hard for modern listeners to appreciate some of these early woman singers. The problem is twofold; the earliest records, before 1925, were recorded acoustically which doesn't make for a great listening experience and the other problem is that unless the singer was one of the big names, like Bessie Smith or Ma Rainey, the available recordings are usually presented in pretty rough shape, with little or no mastering done to spruce them up. Several years back the Document label issued a series of  very well mastered 2-CD sets under the title The Essential. I picked up the Rosa Henderson one just recently and it's great to hear her in much improved sound. Henderson, began recording in 1923, sometimes using such pseudonyms as Flora Dale, Mamie Harris, Rosa Green, Sarah Johnson, Sally Ritz, Bessie Williams, Josephine Thomas, and Gladys White on her records. In the late 1920's she started gradually dropping out of the music scene although she continued performing now and then into the mid-1930's. She cut close to one hundred sides between 1923 and 1932 with fine backing by musicians like Fletcher Henderson, Coleman Hawkins, Louis Metcalf, Fats Waller, and James P. Johnson and had some very good songs. Henderson deserves a higher profile and if you're interested, The Essential is the place to start.

Speaking of the ladies we also spin sides by Alberta Hunter, Victoria Spivey and Little Miss Janice. The Hunter selection is from Chicago: The Living Legends cut for Riverside in 1961 and backed by Lovie Austin and her Blues Serenaders. Lovie Austin and band the Blues Serenaders accompanied many of the Classic Blues singers of the 1920s, including Ma Rainey, Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter, and Ethel Waters. Austin's song "Down Hearted Blues" was a big hit for Bessie Smith. The Serenaders recordings used many of Chicago's best hot musicians including, Johnny Dodds, Tommy Ladnier, Kid Ory, Natty Dominique, and Jimmie Noone.

From 1936 we spin Spivey's jazzy "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" backed by Her Hallelujah Boys who were actually, Dot Scott's Rhythm Dukes, featuring the great growling trumpet of Randolph Scott.

Little Miss Janice is a mystery. What little is know about her is that she came from Texas, she played guitar and she had a knack for songwriting. After this recording for Proverb, she went on to cut for Paul Gayten’s Pzazz label. Johnny Adams covered “Scarred Knees” on his first LP for Rounder and Esther Phillips did a great cover on her album From A Whisper To A Scream.

Together with his half brother Ben on a mandolin, Eugene Powell began to play as a novelty act at picnics and suppers and for prisoners at Mississippi State Penitentiary. The Powell Family, again, moved to Hollandale in Washington county in the early 1920's. This is when Eugene Powell began his formative years with the Chatmon Family who formed the popular Mississippi Sheiks. His early recordings stem from one session cut on October 15, 1936 at the St. Charles Hotel, New Orleans, LA where he cut sides as Sonny Boy Nelson and also backed artists Mississippi Matilda and Robert Hill. He recorded again from the 70's through the 90's, his recordings appearing on numerous anthologies. He passed in 1997.

As always we hear some excellent piano blues with tracks by Robert McCoy, Otis Spann and Sunnyland Slim. Alabama barrelhouse blues pianist Robert McCoy had two rare LP's in the early 60's on the Vulcan label. Delmark has reissued this material on CD as Bye Bye Baby. These were his first recordings as leader although he recorded at a 1937 session backing fellow Alabama artists Guitar Slim, Charlie Campbell and Peanut The Kidnapper. Our selection, "Gone Mother Blues", is superb reading of the Leroy Carr number.

We spin a tracks from two great Chicago pianists, Sunnyland Slim and Otis Spann. Slim's "Get to Hip to Yourself" comes from the oddly titled Plays The Ragtime Blues on Bluesway which was released in 1972. Despite the title this is an exceptionally strong, well recorded set of Chicago blues finding Sunnyland backed superbly by Carey Bell and The Aces (Louis Myers, Dave Myers and Fred Below). From the 1963 American Folk Blues Festival we hear Otis Spann on the romping "Spann's Blues."

I've been listening to some vintage jazz lately, in particular the 4-CD set Breaking Out of New Orleans 1922-1929 which features terrific sides by Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, Sam Morgan's Jazz Band, Celestin's Original Tuxedo Orchestra and Freddie Keppard's Jazz Cardinals who we feature today. 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" from 1926 featuring Papa charlie Jackson. The performance concluded with a rousing aside of “Papa Charlie done sung that song!” Jackson first cut the song in 1924 which made him a recording star. Old-time New Orleans musicians from Buddy Bolden’s era recalled hearing far filthier versions of “Salty Dog Blues” long before Papa Charlie’s recording.

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ARTISTSONGALBUM
Blind Willie McTellSavannah MamaThe Classic Years 1927-1940
Blind Willie McTellLay Some Flowers On My GraveThe Classic Years 1927-1940
James Iron Head BakerBlack BettyDeep River of Song: Big Brazos
Moses Clear Rock PlattDats All Right HoneyField Recordings Vol. 13 1933-1943
Washington (Lightnin') Long JohnField Recordings Vol. 6: Texas 1933-1958
Will BattsCountry WomanMemphis Masters: Early American Blues Classics
Jack Kelly R.F.C. BluesRuckus Juice & Chittlins Vol. 2
Coot Grant & Wesley Wilson Meat Cuttin' BluesRaunchy Business: Hot Nuts & Lollypops
Eva Taylor Organ Grinder BluesClarence Williams & His Orchestra Vol. 1 1933-1934
Curley Weaver Some Cold Rainy Day
Atlanta Blues
Fred McMullen Poor Stranger Blues Georgia Blues 1928-1933
Curley Weaver Tippin' TomAtlanta Blues
James ''Stump'' Johnson Steady Grindin' Down On The Levee: The Piano Blues of St. Louis Vol. 2
Sparks BrothersChicago's Too Much For MeDown On The Levee: The Piano Blues of St. Louis Vol. 2
Georgia Boyd Never Mind BluesSt. Louis 1927-1933
Joe Stone (J.D. Short)It's Hard TimeWhen The Sun Goes Down
Ruth Willis Man Of My OwnGeorgia Blues 1928-1933
Lucille BoganGroceries On The ShelfShave 'Em Dry: The Best Of Lucille Bogan
Memphis MinnieToo LateQueen Of Country Blues
St. Louis Jimmy Sitting Down, Thinking BluesSt. Louis Jimmy Oden Vol. 1 1932-1944
Walter Davis Oil Field BluesWalter Davis Vol. 1 1933-1935
Henry TownsendShe's Got What I WantSt. Louis Country Blues 1929-1937
Sonny Scott Rolling WatersWalter Roland Vol. 1 1933
Walter RolandEarly This Morning ('Bout Break Of Day)Walter Roland Vol. 1 1933
Josh WhiteBlood Red River BluesJosh White Vol. 1 1929-1933
Buddy MossHard Road BluesSlide Guitar Bottles, Knives & Steel Vol. 2
Buddy MossJealous Hearted Man BluesSlide Guitar Bottles, Knives & Steel Vol. 2
Whistlin' RufusWho's Gonna Do Your Sweet Jelly Rolling Piano Blues Vol. 6 1933-1938
Turner Parrish The FivesBarrelhouse Piano Blues & Stomps 1929-1933
Carl Rafferty Dresser With the DrawersRoosevelt Sykes Vol. 3 1931-1933
Charlie ''Specks'' McFaddenLow Down Rounders BluesTwenty First. St. Stomp: The Piano Blues Of St. Louis
Roosevelt Sykes Devil's Island Gin BluesThe Essential
The Mississippi Sheiks Show Me What You GotThe Road To Robert Johnson And Beyond
Teddy Darby Bought A Bottle Of GinBlind Teddy Darby 1929-1937

Show Notes:

Today’s show is the seventh 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. To feed the demand other record companies conducted exhaustive searches for new talent, which included making trips down south with field recording units. Between 1927-1930 Atlanta was visited seventeen times, Memphis eleven times, Dallas eight times, New Orleans seven times and so on. The record companies advertised their records in black newspapers, mainly in the Chicago Defender, which was the nation’s most influential black weekly newspaper. The Depression, with the massive unemployment it brought, had a shattering effect on the pockets of black record buyers. By 1931 race records were selling about a tenth as well as they had four years previously. For example, Paramount went from waxing over a hundred blues and gospel items in 1930 but only about three dozen in 1931, Columbia had no new artists and its releases were cut by over a third and Victor also cut their releases by a third. In 1932 they were half that. Things hit rock bottom in 1932 with less than 150 new issues – the lowest level since 1922. Many of the era's top sellers like Leroy Carr and Lonnie Johnson made no records at all. Labels took several measures: cutting record prices, making one take instead of two and maximizing studio time by recording lengthier sessions. As always there were still plenty of good records by artists such as Blind Willie McTell, Buddy Moss, Jack Kelly, Roosevelt Sykes, Walter Davis, J.D. Short among others.

A 1930's ad for the Perfect label. Top row: Spark Plug Smith, Weaver and McMullen, Curley Weaver, and Ruth Willis.Bottom row: Buddy Moss, Coot Grant and Sox Wilson, Fred McMullen, Joshua White. All of these artists recorded in 1933.

In order to survive the hard times, Victor for example, were forced to follow ARC-BRC and enter the cheap record market. Their 35-cent label, Bluebird, was launched of old Victor material-by Walter Davis, the Memphis Jug Band, Cannon's Jug Stompers and Rev. Gates. Victor also needed new material In the past, tent tiles a day was a good days work. Now, as a further economy, engineers were told to make maximum use of the studio facilities and their own time. Thus, on Wednesday August 2, 1933, no less than thirty-five race titles  were recorded in Chicago, by a dozen artists including Roosevelt Sykes (as Willie Kelly), the Sparks brothers,  and Walter Davis. The Walter Davis items were put out simultaneously on Bluebird, at  35 cents, and in the Victor 23250 series, at 75 cents. However, it soon became apparent that there was little point in continuing to produce 75-cent race records and at the end of 1933 the Victor race series-which had reached 23432- was withdrawn.

1933 was a particularly good year for the talented Atlanta artists: Blind Willie McTell, Buddy Moss and Curley Weaver. Over the course of several days in September 1933, Blind Willie recorded four sessions for Vocalion in New York City resulting in some two-dozen sides all featuring Curley Weaver.  Several sides were unissued at the time only too be issued decades later. Weaver recorded around two-dozen sides at six session in 1933 for Vocalion, Brunswick and ARC.  Some sides were unissued. Fred McMullen was recorded around th same time, cutting seven sides for Brunswick and ARC with each playing some of the others sessions. Ruth Willis, Buddy Moss and Blind Willie also show up on Weaver's sessions from this period. Moss cut some two-dozens sides at several sessions in 1933 for Brunswick and ARC in New York City. Some sessions featured fellow Atlanta friends Blind Willie McTell, Ruth Will, Curley Weaver and Fred McMullen.

Buddy Moss playing guitar in the Green County Convict Camp

Other artists who recorded prolifically during 1933 were Jack Kelly,  Roosevelt Sykes, Walter Davis, Walter Roland, Sonny Scott and Josh White. Singer/guitarist Jack Kelly was the front man of the South Memphis Jug Band, a popular string band whose music owed a heavy debt to the blues as well as minstrel songs, vaudeville numbers, reels and rags. He led the group in tandem with fiddler Will Batts, and they made their first recordings in 1933, cutting some two-dozen sides between August 1 and 3rd for Banner and ARC. Roosevelt Sykes cut two sessions in 1933 for Victor and Bluebird and was busy backing several artists like Walter Davis, Carl Rafferty, St. Louis Jimmy, Clarence Harris and Charlie McFadden. Walter Davis cut two-dozen sides in 1933 for Blue Bird all backed by Sykes. Walter Roland and Sonny Scott recorded on the same dates for Vocalion between July 18-20, 1933 and playing on each others sessions. Roland cut eighteen sides while Scott cut fourteen sides. Josh White cut a dozen sides for Brunswick in 1933.

By 1933 the era of the blues Queens was past with Bessie Smith making her last sides in 1931, Clara Smith in 1932, Rosa Henderson in 1931, although several hung in there for a bit longer like Ida Cox, Victoria Spivey and Eva Taylor who was one of the only ones to record in 1933. In 1920 Taylor moved to New York City, where she became a popular singer in the night clubs of Harlem. The following year she married pianist, publisher and producer Clarence Williams. The couple collaborated on many projects. In 1922 Taylor made her first record for the African-American owned Black Swan label, who billed her as "The Dixie Nightingale". She would continue to record dozens of Blues, Jazz and popular sides for Okeh and Columbia throughout the 1920s and 1930s. She made a handful of strong sides in 1933 backed by Clarence Williams' Jug Band which included Willie "The Lion" Smith and Banjo Ikey Robinson among others.

Among some older styles that were hanging on were some of the vaudeville styled blues, namely with some sides cut by  Coot Grant and Wesley Wilson. Coot Grant was the main stage name of Leola B. Pettigrew, a blues singer from Alabama whose legal name became Leola Wilson following her marriage to performing partner Wesley Wilson. The husband and wife, billed as Grant & Wilson, Kid & Coot, and Hunter & Jenkins, cut over sixty sides between 1925 and 1938, often backed with top jazz artists such as Fletcher Henderson, Mezz Mezzrow, Sidney Bechet, and Louis Armstrong. They also performed in musical comedies, vaudeville, traveling shows, revues, and in film.

In addition to commercial recordings there was some important non-commercial sides recorded by John Lomax for the Library of Congress. Through a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies, John Lomax was able to set out in June 1933 on the first recording expedition under the Library of Congress' auspices, with Alan Lomax (then eighteen years old) in tow. In their successful grant application they wrote, that prisoners, "Thrown on their own resources for entertainment . . . still sing, especially the long-term prisoners who have been confined for years and who have not yet been influenced by jazz and the radio, the distinctive old-time Negro melodies." They toured Texas prison farms recording work songs, reels, ballads, and blues from prisoners. They also recorded music from many others not in prison. The most important find was Leadbelly but also were recorded were fine singers like  James Iron Head Baker, Moses Clear Rock Platt and Washington (Lightnin'), all of whom are featured today.

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