Entries tagged with “Robert Petway”.

Lucille Bogan Black Angel BluesLucille Bogan Vol. 2 1930-1933
Tampa RedBlack Angel BluesTampa Red Vol. 5 1931-1934
Robert Nighthawk Sweet Black Angel Prowling With the Nighthawk
Tampa Red Sweet Little Angel Tampa Red Vol. 14 1949-1951
B.B. KingSweet Little Angel The Vintage Years
B.B. King Sweet Little Angel Live At The Regal
Earl Hooker Sweet Brown Angel Simply The Best
Tony HollisCross Cut Saw BluesChicago Blues Vol. 1 1939-1951
Tommy McClennanCross Cut Saw BluesComplete Bluebird Recordings
Albert King Crosscut Saw Born Under A Bad Sign
Curtis Jones Tin Pan Alley BluesCurtis Jones Vol. 4 1941-53
Guitar Slim Green Alla Blues California Blues 1940-1948
Jimmy WilsonTin Pan Alley Bob Geddins' Big Town Records Story
James ReedRoughest Place In TownR&B Guitars 1950-54
Johnny FullerRoughest Place In TownWest Coast R&B And Blues Legend Vol.1
Ray Agee Tin Pan AlleyWest Coast Blues Vol. 2 1952-1957
The Sparks BrothersI Believe I'll Make A ChangeDown On The Levee: The Piano Blues of St. Louis
Jack Kelly & his South Memphis Jug BandBelieve I'll Go Back HomeJack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band 1933-1939
Josh WhiteBelieve I'll Go Back Home Josh White Vol. 2 1933-1935
Carl Rafferty Mr. Carl's BluesRoosevelt Sykes: The Essential
Kokomo ArnoldSagefield Woman BluesBottleneck Trendsetters
Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell I Believe I'll Make A ChangeWhiskey Is My Habit, Women Is All I Crave: The Best of Leroy Carr
Robert Johnson I Believe I'll Dust My BroomThe Centennial Collection
Washboard SamI Believe I'll Make A ChangeWashboard Sam Vol. 4 1939-1940
Arthur Crudup Dust My BroomWhen The Sun Goes Down
Robert LockwoodDust My BroomRough Treatment: The J.O.B. Records Story
Elmore JamesDust My BroomElmore James: Early Recordings 1951-56
Robert PetwayCatfish Blues Catfish Blues: Mississippi Blues Vol. 3 1936-1942
Tommy McClennanDeep Sea BluesComplete Bluebird Recordings
Muddy Waters Rollin' StoneThe Complete Chess Recordings
Muddy Waters Still A Fool The Complete Chess Recordings
John Lee Hooker Catfish Blues John Lee Hooker: Vol. 4 Detroit 1950-51
B.B. King Fishin' After Me (Catfish Blues)The Vintage Years

Show Notes:

Johnny Fuller: Roughest Place In TownIn our first show of the year we traced the origins and evolution of several classic blues songs. I got some good feedback on the show so we today do a follow-up. On today's program we provide the history and context behind classics like “Black Angel Blues“, “Crosscut Saw“, “Tin Pan Alley“, “I Believe I'll Make A Change (Dust My Broom)“ and “Catfish Blues."

The song known today as either "Sweet Black Angel" or "Sweet Little Angel" is one of the most popular and frequently recorded songs in the blues. Although composer credits are often given to Tampa Red, whose "Black Angel Blues" appeared in March 1934, the first recorded version was Lucille Bogan’s, whose "Black Angel Blues" was recorded mid-December 1930. The two artists shared recording sessions in 1928 and 1929, and it is probably impossible at this late date to determine who originally created the song. Although Bogan’s recording credits "Smith" as the composer, she wrote many of her own songs and made be the author of the song. During the early post–World War II era, the lyrics of the song began to change. In 1949, Robert Nighthawk had gone back to the song’s prewar roots cutting the song for Aristocrat Records as "Black Angel Blues (Sweet Black Angel)", but in 1950 Tampa Red was the first to record it as "Sweet Little Angel". B.B. King did the same in 1956; he also changed the song’s final line from ". ..bought me a whiskey still" to "…gave me a Cadillac de Ville." We also spin B.B.'s classic live version from Live At The Regal. Guitar legend Earl Hooker recorded two versions during his career; 1953 saw him record "Sweet Angel (Original Sweet Black Angel)" for the Rockin’ label and in 1962 he recorded a reworked version titled "Sweet Brown Angel" for Checker, which went unreleased at the time.

"Cross Cut Saw Blues" was first released in 1941 by Mississippi bluesman Tommy McClennan. Tony Hollins, a Mississippi bluesman and contemporary of Tommy McClennan, recorded a version of "Cross Cut Saw Blues" with similar lyrics on June 3, 1941, three months before McClennan. The song was not released at the time, but eventually appeared in 1992. In an interview, John Lee Hooker, who knew Tony Hollins, was asked "Well, did Tony Hollins or Tommy McClennan do it first? They both recorded it around the same time". Hooker responded "I think Tommy McClennan did it first."Eddie Burns knew Hollis in Clarksdale in the 40's and recalled that Tommy McClennan: Cross Cut Saw Blueshe was very popular. Burns recalled him singing "Cross Cut Saw", "Crawlin' King Snake" and "Tease Me Over" all of which he recorded in 1941. In 1966, Albert King recorded his version calling it "Crosscut Saw". The same lyrics as McClennan's "Cross Cut Saw Blues" were used, except for two verses which were replaced by guitar solos. However, King uses a different arrangement. The song was a success, reaching No. 34 in the Billboard R&B chart.

Pianist Curtis Jones composed “Tin Pan Alley Blues” which he recorded in 1941. Guitar Slim Green recorded "Alla Blues" in 1948, a retread of the Curtis Jones number. Green said that he and his partner Turner wrote it and that producer Robert Geddins stole it from him. Green and Turner's version would become some kind of West Coast national anthem. Jimmy Wilson’s mournful, bluesy voice ensured him a huge hit in California in 1953 with his version of "Tin Pan Alley," a masterpiece with an unmistakable gloomy tone. The song was soon revived under the original title by West Coast artists Ray Agee and by Johnny Fuller and James Reed under the title "Roughest Place In Town." In more recent years the song was popularized by Stevie Ray Vaughn who recorded "Tin Pan Alley (aka Roughest Place in Town)" on 1984's Couldn't Stand the Weather.

"I Believe I’ll Make a Change" was first recorded on February 25, 1932, by Aaron and Milton Sparks in Atlanta, Georgia, for Victor Records. Other musicians were to use the song’s melody on their own recordings, including Jack Kelly and His South Memphis Jug Band in 1933 (as "Believe I’ll Go Back Home,"), Josh White (1934), and Leroy Carr with Scrapper Blackwell (934). Other version of "I Believe I’ll Make a Change" continued to appear through 1942, including Washboard Sam’s rendition for Bluebird in 1939. The tune is best known today by the title "I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom," first recorded to those words by Robert Johnson on November 23, 1936, for the ARC label. Lyric antecedents for the "dust my broom" stanza can be found in songs such as "Mr. Carl’s Blues" by Carl Rafferty with Roosevelt Sykes in 1933 and "Sagefield Woman Blues" by Kokomo Arnold in 1934 for Decca. The "Dust My Broom" version of the song would continue to be played as bluesmen traveled between Mississippi and Chicago. Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup recorded one version in March 1949 for Victor, Johnson protege´ Robert Lockwood cut another in November 1951 for Mercury. Elmore James is the post–World War II musician most identified with "Dust My Broom," waxing four versions between 1951 and 1962.

Robert Petway: Catfish Blues"Catfish Blues" was first recorded on March 28, 1941, by Mississippi bluesman Robert Petway for RCA Bluebird. Another version, titled "Deep Sea Blues," was made by Petway’s contemporary Tommy McClennan on September 15, 1941, also for RCA Bluebird. There s a good case for believing that Petway composed it: "He just made that song up and used to play it at them old country dances. He just made it up and kept it in his head," says Honeyboy Edwards, who learned the song from Petway in person. After the Petway and McClennan versions were released other treatments of "Catfish Blues" included John Lee Hooker (1951, Gotham) and, a bit later, by B. B. King (as "Fishin’ After Me (Catfish Blues)," 1960, Kent). Two distinctive recordings were made by Muddy Waters for Chess Records in the early 1950's. The first was "Rollin’ Stone" (1950, Chess), which was simply a retitling of the standard "Catfish" tune and lyrics. Nonetheless, the title would be adopted in 1962 by the Rolling Stones and in 1968 for the rock publication Rolling Stone. The second was "Still a Fool" (1951, Chess), featuring a two-electric guitar accompaniment.

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

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.



Show Notes:

We have a wide ranging mix on today's program spanning the years 1925 to 1978. We feature many artists from the 1920's and 30's including several artists like Lonnie Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, Eugene Powell, Victoria Spivey and Robert Wilkins who bridge both the pre-war and post-war eras. We spotlight three from Lonnie Johnson. Unlike many blues artists who recorded in the 1920's and were later rediscovered, Lonnie was only out of the music business for a relatively short spell; he was not musically active and made no recordings between 1954 and 1959. He came back strong in the 1960's through the assistance of Chris Albertson who got Lonnie signed to Bluesville, resulting in a number of strong recordings and an active touring schedule. Featured today are "I'm Not Rough" one of six sides Lonnie recorded with Louis Armstrong in 1927 and 1929. From the 1961 Bluesville album, Another Night To Cry, we spin "Fine Booze and Heavy Dues" and from 1963 "Lonnie's Traveling Light" from the LP Spivey Blues Parade. The latter record is a grab bag of previously unreleased numbers recorded for the Spivey label and put together as a blues revue. Other artists include Sippie Wallace, Sonny Boy Williamson and Walter Horton among others.

Among the other artists who recorded in both the pre-war and post-war eras we spin tracks by  Son House and Mississippi John Hurt. We hear Son on the magnificent "Pearline" which like "Empire State Express" and "Louise McGhee" are newer songs. Hurt's wonderful "Richland Woman Blues" is from a 1965 Oberlin College concert which has been issued in various configurations and sequences by several labels under different titles and with different cover art over.

Victoria Spivey, Otis Spann and Samuel Lawhorn

Victoria Spivey made her last pre-war blues in 1937 and reemerged in the early 1960's. Shortly before she formed her own Spivey label in 1961, Spivey made a fine duo album, Woman Blues!, with  Lonnie Johnson whom she had last recorded with back in 1929. Today's two tracks come from her Spivey LP's; "Diving Mama" finds her teamed up with Otis Spann and comes from the album The Muddy Waters Blues Band: They Done It Again! Vol. 2 while "Inter-Mission State" finds her partnered with Walter Horton and comes from the album Spivey's Blues Parade.

Less well known than the above artists is Eugene Powell who also recorded in the pre-war and post-war eras. 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. From that session we spin "Pony Blues." In the 1970's Powell began playing festivals and recording again. He died in 1998.

Among the other fine early blues performances are some excellent piano blues. Charlie McFadden was an expressive  St. Louis singer who made some superb sides between 1929 and 1937 backed by St. Louis pianists like Roosevelt Sykes (heard on our selection, "Gambler's Blues"), Eddie Miller and "Pine Top" Sparks.
The exciting barrelhouse pianist Louise Johnson cut four songs for Paramount at the legendary 1930 session that also included sides by Charlie Patton, Willie Brown and Son House. You can hear Patton, Son House and Willie Brown shouting encouragement in the background. Turner Parrish cut eight sides between 1929 and 1933 including the the rollicking instrumental "The Fives", a song also recorded by Hersal Thomas, Cripple Clarence Lofton and Jimmy Yancey.

Also worth mentioning is the mysterious Kid Cole of whom we play his "Niagra Fall Blues" which coincidentally makes no reference at all to the famous landmark. Kid Cole was a Cincinnati blues artist who cut four sides for Vocalion in 1928. According to Steven C. Tracy's Going To Cincinnati, Cole most likely also recorded as Bob Coleman, cutting three sides under that name in 1929 and two sides with the Cincinnati Jug Band the same year. It's also been suggested that he recorded under the moniker Sweet Papa Tadpole for a six song 1930 session with Tampa Red and the same year as Walter Cole for Gennett.

Also on tap are some fine Chicago blues including sides by Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Eddie Boyd and Sunnyland Slim. Muddy's "Forty Days And Forty Nights"comes from the new release, Authorized Bootleg: Live at the Fillmore Auditorium – San Francisco Nov 04-06 1966. This excelelnt set features the great George "Harmonica" Smith who played with Muddy for only a short stint. From the out-of-print LP Blues Southside Chicago we spin Eddie Boyd's "Where You Belong" a session supervised by Willie Dixon. Mike Leadbitter discusses the aim of the record in his liner notes: "This album was recorded In Chicago's Southside by Willie Dixon with one aim in mind-to provide the English enthusiast with blues played as they are played in the clubs, without gimmicks and without interfering A & R men. This album is not intended to be commercial in any way and by using top artists and top session men an LP has been produced that doesn't sound as cold as studio recordings usually do."