Entries tagged with “Tommy Johnson”.


ARTIST
SONG
ALBUM
Sugar Boy Crawford Troubled Mind Blues30 New Orleans Classics
Sugar Boy Crawford What's Wrong30 New Orleans Classics
Sugar Boy Crawford Jock-o-Mo30 New Orleans Classics
Beverly Scott Southern California BluesHollywood Blues
Manny Nichols No One To Love MeDown Home Blues Classics: Texas 1946-52
Juke Boy Bonner Can't Hardly Keep From CryingGoin' To Louisiana
Walter 'Lightnin' Bug' Rhodes The Life Of Lightnin` Bug RhodesNow Hear This!
Walter 'Lightnin' Bug' Rhodes Now Hear This!Now Hear This!
Johnny Shines Your Troubles Can't Be Like MineStanding at the Crossroads
Johnnie LewisCan Hardly Get AlongAlabama Slide Guitar
Doctor Clayton Angels In HarlemDoctor Clayton & His Buddies
Son Willis Nothing But The BluesDown Home Blues Classics: California & The West Coast 1948-1954
Richard Nevins Interview
Charley Patton High Water Everywhere – Part 1The Return of the Stuff That Dream Are Made Of
Charley Patton Some These Days I’ll Be GoneThe Return of the Stuff That Dream Are Made Of
Tommy JohnsonLonesome Home BluesThe Return of the Stuff That Dream Are Made Of
Geeshie Wiley Last Kind Words BluesThe Return of the Stuff That Dream Are Made Of
Bukka WhiteThe Panama LimitedThe Return of the Stuff That Dream Are Made Of
Lottie KimbroughRolling Log BluesThe Return of the Stuff That Dream Are Made Of
Ishman BraceyWoman Woman BluesThe Return of the Stuff That Dream Are Made Of

Show Notes:

A mix show for the first hour of today's show as we pay tribute to the recently departed Sugar Boy Crawford, plus we feature artists like Walter 'Lightnin' Bug' Rhodes, Manny Nichols, Johnny Shines, Son Willis and Doctor Clayton among others. In the second hour we chat with Richard Nevins who runs the Shanachie/Yaz00 label. Today we spotlight tracks from The Return of the Stuff That Dream Are Made Of  the sequel to the highly acclaimed 20o6 release.

James “Sugar Boy” Crawford died Sept. 15th. He was 77. He formed a R&B band in High School and the group performed in local clubs and released a single on Aladdin Records. Leonard Chess, co-founder of Chess Records, happened to hear the band at radio station WMRY while in New Orleans. He made what was purportedly an audition tape of the group. Weeks later, a disc jockey at the station presented Crawford with a 78 rpm record of “I Don't Know What I’ll Do.” It was manufactured from the audition tape and credited to Sugar Boy & His Cane Cutters. In November 1953, at age 19, Crawford recorded his composition “Jock-A-Mo” with a band that included Snooks Eaglin on guitar. Released on the Chess subsidiary Checker Records, "Jock-A-Mo" was a hit during the 1954 Carnival season. Over the next decade, he recorded for various labels, including Imperial Records, releasing such singles as "I Bowed on My Knees,” “You Gave Me Love,” "Morning Star" and "She's Gotta Wobble (When She Walks)." But in 1963, his career, and life, took a tragic turn. En route to a show in Monroe with his band, he was stopped by police and badly pistol-whipped. He briefly attempted a comeback, but was discouraged by what he perceived as his diminished talent. He subsequently retired from music. For decades, he confined his singing to the church. It was his grandson, the pianist and singer Davell Crawford, who coaxed Crawford out of retirement. He appeared on Davell’s 1995 CD Let Them Talk, and subsequently joined his grandson onstage, including at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

We spin a pair of tracks by Walter 'Lightnin' Bug' Rhodes, who I've been listening to lately. He was a fine singer and songwriter who melded down home blues with a touch of soul. Rhodes was born in North carolina but moved to New York in 1950. He began performing with gospel groups and made his first appearance on record with the Golden Arrows. He eventually made the move to R&B working with different group, cutting a few records through the 60’s and 70’s for label like Hull, Le Sarge and Mascot, recording under the monikers The Blonde Bomber and Little Red Walter. Rhodes cut a couple of strong records for the German Swingmaster label and even toured Europe before passing in 1990.

We spotlight a couple of fine Texas bluesman in Manny Nichols and Son Willis, both who cut a handful of terrific sides in the late 40's and early 50's. Nichols cut nine sides between 1949-1953 for several small labels, first in Texas and then in California. He also may have recorded as West Texas Slim. Malcolm Willis was a blues singer and pianist from Fort Worth, TX. At sometime in his youth he made the trek to California to join the West Coast blues scene. He cut his first disc for J.R. Fullbright's Elko label in Los Angeles, CA. in 1951. In 1952 and 1953 he recorded eight more numbers for the Swingtime label billed as Little Son Willis. Willis owns a strong debt to the popular Doctor Clayton. Clayton is all but forgotten today but was very popular in the 40's and who, despite a small recorded output, wielded a big a influence on numerous singers. We spin Clayton's oft covered "Angel In Harlem" which he cut in 1946. Willis recorded a cover called "Harlem Blues" in 1952 and the song has also been covered by Smokey Hogg and Larry Davis.

Back in 2006 Yazoo issued The Stuff That Dream Are Made Of subtitled "The Dead Sea Scrolls of Record Collecting." The two-disc collection was a loving testament to impossibly rare records and the obsessive collectors who tracked them down. among the treasures was the long lost Son House record, "Mississippi County Farm Blues" and "Clarksdale Moan" which had just be found. The Return of the Stuff That Dream Are Made Of  is still a goldmine of rare records, although nothing as earth shattering as the Son House, and beautifully packaged with 46 tracks housed in a over-sized DVD package which sports an eye popping illustration by Drew Friedman. It includes a fascinating 54-page booklet with rare photographs and notes that chronicle the history of collecting old 78 records from beginning in the 1920s through the 1960s. Yazoo has always been at the top of the heap when it comes to remastering old 78's and these records sound incredible. The sound Nevins has achieved on the two Patton cuts, for example, is the best I've ever heard and the mastering on Yazoo's Best Of Patton set was pretty damn  good! Today Nevins and I chat about the history of 78 collecting, those crazy early collectors, Yazoo Records, Charlie Patton and more.

-Richard Nevins Interview/Feature (edited, 36 min, MP3)

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ARTIST
SONG
ALBUM
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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ARTIST
SONG
ALBUM
Willie Walker & Sam BrooksSouth Carolina RagRagtime Blues Guitar
Blind Boy Fuller & Gary DavisRag Mama RagBlind Boy Fuller: Remastered 1935-1938
Pink Anderson & Simmie DooleyEvery Day In The Week BluesTimes Ain't Like They Used to Be Vol. 4
Charley Patton & Willie BrownMoon Goin' Down Screamin' & Hollerin' The Blues
William Harris & Joe RobinsonI'm Leavin' TownThe Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of
Willie Ford & Lucious CurtisTimes Is Getting HardMississippi: Saints & Sinners
Buddy Moss & Fred McMullenJealous Hearted ManThe Slide Guitar Vol. 2
Blind Willie McTell & Curley WeaverBell Street Blues The Classic Years 1927-1940
Jim & Bob (The Genial Hawaiians)St. Louis BluesCountry Blues Bottleneck Guitar Classics
Shreveport Home WreckersFence Breakin' Blues Country Blues Bottleneck Guitar Classics
Tommy Johnson & Charlie McCoyBye, Bye BluesLegends of Country Blues
Ishman Bracey & Charlie McCoyLeft Alone BluesLegends of Country Blues
Johnny Temple & Charlie McCoyLead Pencil BluesLegends of Country Blues
Hattie Hart w/ Willie Borum & Allen ShawColdest Stuff In TownMemphis Blues 1927-1938
Geechie Wiley & Elvie ThomasPick Poor Robin CleanI Can't Be Satisfied Vol. 1
Sylvester Weaver & Walter BeasleyBottleneck BluesThe Slide Guitar Vol. 1
Kansas Joe & Memphis MinnieMy Wash Woman's GoneCountry Blues Bottleneck Guitar Classics
Garfield Akers & Joe CallicottCottonfield Blues Pt. 1Mississippi Masters
Ruth Willis w/ Fred McMullen & Curley Weaver Man of My Own Country Blues Bottleneck Guitar Classics
Curley Weaver & Fred McMullenWild Cat KittenAtlanta Blues
Famous Hokum BoysPig Meat StrutThe Complete Chess Recordings
Casey Bill WeldonYou Shouldn't Do ThatBottleneck Guitar Trendsetters
The Beale Street SheiksBeale Town Bound Masters of Memphis Blues
The Beale Street SheiksYou ShallMasters of Memphis Blues
Hi Henry Brown & Charlie JordanPreacher BluesCharley Jordan Vol.2 1931-1934
Big Joe Williams & Henry TownsendSomebody's Been Borrowin' That Stuff Big Joe Williams Vol. 1 1935 - 194
Two Charlies Don't Put Your Dirty Hands On MeCharley Jordan Vol.3 1935-1937
Long ''Cleve'' Reed & Little Harvey HullOriginal Stack O' Lee Blues Never Let The Same Bee Sting You Twice
Tarter & GayBrownie BluesSouthwest Virginia Blues
Sleepy John Estes & Son BondsLittle Laura BluesI Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More
Georgia Cotton PickersShe's Coming Back Some Cold Rainy DayGood Time Blues: Harmonicas, Kazoos, Washboards & Cow-Bells
Georgia BrownsDecatur Street 81The Slide Guitar Vol. 2
Lonnie Johnson & Eddie LangBlue Room Blues Lonnie Johnson Vol. 5 1929-1930

Show Notes:

On today's show we feature some of the greatest country blues guitar pairings of the pre-war era. The styles of playing fall roughly into a few distinct patterns. One is where one partner is doing intricate treble string runs and the other ornate bass notes and patterns. The arrangements weave back and forth with one guitar then the other taking the lead.

Then there's the "Boom-Chang" type, like the Beale Street Sheiks (Frank Stokes and Dan Sane), Frank Brasswell and Big Bill Broonzy (Famous Hokum Boys) and Memphis Minnie and Little Son Joe.  In these the lead guitar plays a normal sort of tune while the other adds supporting bass notes and runs and strummed chords. In this type the lead guitar part can be played as a arrangement by its self, which is not the case with the case mentioned above where neither part played alone would.

Another is the sort of arrangement found in Johnnie Temple and Charlie McCoy's "Lead Pencil Blues." Here the singer (Temple) plays a boogie pattern like Robert Johnson on the bass string with interspersed treble runs. The McCoy part consists of treble notes and runs. Here, unlike the Boom-Chang type, it's the bass part that can be played separately not the treble part.

Delta guitar duets like Charlie Patton and Willie Brown and Ishman Bracey and Tommy Johnson (both accompanied by Charlie McCoy) are sort of like two guitarists playing the same song together. Different parts, but either could probably make an adequate accompaniment by its self. Another is the "Together" style, like Joe Callicott and Garfield Akers. Often in their duets, like the great "Cottonfields Blues", it doesn't sound like two guitars, only one.

Geographically we move around a bit; Areas where the guitar duet style seemed prevalent was Memphis (by way of Mississippi) in the recordings of Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe, Frank Stokes & Dan Sane and Garfield Akers & Joe Callicott, in Atlanta in the recordings of Blind Willie McTell, Curley Weaver, Buddy Moss and Fred McMullen and South Carolina in the records of Blind Boy Fuller, Gary Davis and Simmie Dooley with Pink Anderson.

As a youth Frank Stokes learned to play guitar before moving to Hernando, Mississippi, home to guitarists Jim Jackson, Dan Sane and Robert Wilkins. In Hernando, Stokes worked as a blacksmith, traveling to Memphis on the weekends to play guitar. Stokes joined forces with fellow Mississippian Garfield Akers as a blackface songster, comedian, and buck dancer in the Doc Watts Medicine Show, a tent show that toured the South during World War I. During the 1920s he teamed with guitarist Dan Sane, joining Jack Kelly's Jug Busters to play white country clubs, parties and dances, and playing Beale Street together as the Beale Street Sheiks. All told, Stokes was to cut 38 sides for Paramount and Victor Records.

Memphis Minnie's duets with Kansas Joe drew inspiration from the guitar teamwork of Frank Stokes and Dan Sane as well as from her own early partnership with Willie Brown. Her marriage and recording debut came in 1929, to and with Kansas Joe McCoy, when a Columbia Records talent scout heard them playing in a Beale Street barbershop.Between 1929 and 1934 Minnie and Joe cut around one hundred sides together.

Garfield Akers was born in Brights, Mississippi in 1901 and was already performing locally when he moved to Hernando as a teenager. He stayed in that area most of his life and worked as a sharecropper, playing at weekends at house parties and dances, although he toured with Frank Stokes on the Doc Watts Medicine Show. Akers met up with Joe Callicott in the 1920's and they became lifelong friends and partners, the two of them taking turns to play lead and second guitar as they sang blues. Garfield made his first recording, "Cottonfield Blues Parts 1 & 2", in Memphis in 1929 with Callicott on second guitar. Akers and Callicott played together for more than 20 years finally going their own ways in the mid 1940's. Nothing is known about Akers after the pair split although it is believed that he died around the end of the 1950's or the beginning of the 1960's, possibly in Memphis. Callicott was rediscovered and made recordings in the late 60's.

Employing a second guitarist was particularly prevalent on the recordings of the Atlanta bluesmen who seemed to be a particularly tight knit group. Notable was among them was the underrated Curley Weaver. When he was nineteen years old Weaver partnered up with harmonica player Eddie Mapp and moved to Atlanta. There he teamed up with his old boyhood friends (Barbecue) Bob and Charley Hicks. The three guitarists, along with Mapp, played the streets around Atlanta. Barbecue Bob was the first to record and arranged for his brother and Curley Weaver to make their recording debuts. Weaver's successful debut led to more recordings, both solo and with Eddie Mapp and Barbecue Bob. It was also through the recording studio that Weaver met up with Buddy Moss, and the two went on to work together for the next ten years. It was during this period that Weaver met up with Blind Willie McTell. The two went on to play and record together for 20 years or more.

Bruce Bastin called Fred McMullen "a superb guitarist with a delicate touch." Virtually nothing is know of him. He made recordings under his own name in 1933 and backed artists Ruth Willis as heard on today's cut "Man Of My Own", Buddy Moss, heard on our track "Jealous Hearted Man", worked with Curley Weaver, heard on the rousing "Wild Cat Kitten", and was in a group called the Georgia Browns alongside Buddy Moss and Curley Weaver of which we spin "Decatur Street 81."Buddy Moss recalled him a little while Kate McTell who claimed McMullen introduced Blind Willie to Buddy Moss:"Buddy saw (McTell and Weaver) playing together …and he was playing with Fred McMullen, I believe. Buddy Moss was at the 81 Theater. The Willie asked him …would he like to record some records. …That's how he met him, through Fred McMullen."

"Blind" Willie Walker spent most of his life was spent in and around Greenville, South Carolina. on December 6, 1930 Walker had his only recording session. He cut four sides for Columbia in Atlanta with Sam Brooks on second guitar (two sides were never issued). He was described by blues musicians such as Reverend Gary Davis and Pink Anderson as an outstanding guitarist, Josh White called him the best guitarist he had ever heard, even better than Blind Blake.

Rev. Gary Davis only backed Blind Boy Fuller on two numbers for a 1935 session. Many of Fuller's records were played with his own guitar while others feature second guitar by Floyd “Dipper Boy” Council and Sonny Jones.

In 1916 in Spartanburg, SC Pink Anderson met Simeon "Blind Simmie" Dooley, from whom he learned to be a blues singer, this after experience in string bands. Anderson and Dooley would play to medicine shows in Greenville, Spartanburg, and other neighboring communities. They recorded four tracks for Columbia Records in Atlanta in April, 1928, both playing guitar and singing.

Moving to Chicago we spin tracks featuring Big Bill Broonzy and Casey Bill Weldon. The Famous Hokum Boys consisted of Georgia Tom, Frank Braswell, Big Bill Broonzy and singer Jane Lucas (Mozelle Alderson).The group specialized in raunchy blues numbers, recording some two-dozen sides in 1930 including some blistering twin guitar romps on numbers like our featured cut "Pig Meat Strut" as well as others like "Saturday Night", "Guitar Rag" and "Black Cat Rag."

Despite several busy years in the recording studio and a couple of medium-sized hits, very little is known about Casey Bill Weldon. Between 1927 and 1935 he cut just over 60 sides for Victor, Bluebird and Vocalion. He was also an active session guitarist, appearing on records by Teddy Darby, Bumble Bee Slim, Memphis Minnie, Peetie Wheatsraw and others. His first recordings were with Peetie Wheatsraw which clearly inspired his vocal style. His guitar style owes a clear debt to the Hawaiian guitarists and was even billed as the Hawaiian Guitar Wizard. 1937's "You Shouldn't Do That" with an unknown guitarist finds Weldon playing in a super fast, swinging, up-to-date style.

Also featured today are a trio of recordings featuring second guitar by Charlie McCoy. McCoy ranked among the great blues accompanists of his era and his accomplished mandolin and guitar work can be heard on numerous recordings in a wide variety of settings from the late 1920's through the early 40's. Jackson, Mississippi in the 1920's was a city with a vibrant blues scene including artists such as Tommy Johnson, Walter Vincson, Ishman Bracey, Johnnie Temple, The Chatmon Brothers (Bo, Lonnie and Sam were the most prominent) Skip James and Rube Lacey. Lacey recalled McCoy being among the best of this talented group: "But I really believe Charlie got to be a better musician than I was. He was young, but he got to be about the best musician there was in our band, Charlie McCoy. He was wonderful. He could play anything pretty well you sing. …He was good as I ever want to see." Today we spotlight McCoy behind Tommy Johnson, Ishman Bracey and on Johnnie Temple's classic "Lead Pencil Blues."

Worth mentioning are a few all time favorites by Sylvester Weaver, Jim & Bob and Oscar Woods. On October 23, 1923, Weaver recorded in New York City with the blues singer Sara Martin "Longing for Daddy Blues b/w I've Got to Go and Leave My Daddy Behind" and two weeks later as a soloist "Guitar Blues" b/w Guitar Rag". Both recordings were released on Okeh Records. Th later recordings are the first known recorded songs using the slide guitar style. Weaver recorded until 1927, sometimes accompanied by Sara Martin, about 50 additional songs. On some recordings from 1927 he was accompanied by Walter Beasley and the singer Helen Humes. Beasly and Weaver made a fine team, heard in sublime from on thier masterpice, "Bottleneck Blues."

Jim Holstein and Bob Pauole were a musical duo known as Jim and Bob, the Genial Hawaiians. They performed on the radio in Chicago and made a handful of impressive recordings that were released in the 1930's. Their instrumental take on "St. Louis Blues" is a knockout.

Oscar "Buddy" Woods was a Louisiana street musician known as "The Lone Wolf" and a pioneer in the style of lap steel, bottleneck slide guitar. With partner Ed Schaffer they recorded four songs in 1930 and 1932 as the Shreveport Homewreckers and under that name also backed country singer Jimmie Davis. In addition, Woods cut around a dozen sides between 1936 and 1940. The duo's "Fence Breakin' Blues" is one of my all time favorite numbers.

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ARTIST
SONG
ALBUM
Lane HardinI'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal YouModern Downhome Blues Sessions Vol. 4
Lane HardinKeep 'em DownModern Downhome Blues Sessions Vol. 4
Leroy Simpson & Lane Hardin13 HighwayModern Downhome Blues Sessions Vol. 4
Leroy Simpson & Lane HardinBluebird BluesModern Downhome Blues Sessions Vol. 4
King Solomon HillMy Buddy, Blind Papa LemonBlues Images Presents Vol. 2
Blind Lemon JeffersonFence Breakin' Yellin' BluesBlues Images Presents Vol. 9
Tommy JohnsonLonesome Home Blues – Test Blues Images Presents Vol. 8
Jaybird ColemanSave Your Money – Let These Women GoBlues Images Presents Vol. 8
Furry LewisCannon Ball Blues – Alternate Take Blues Images Presents Vol. 8
Blind Joe ReynoldsNinety Nine BluesBlues Images Presents Vol. 2
Jenny PopeMr. Postman BluesBlues Images Presents Vol. 9
Blind Willie McTell & Mary Willis Talkin' to You Wimmen About the BluesBlues Images Presents Vol. 5
Teddy Darby Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues Blues Images Presents Vol. 9
Charley Patton Jesus Is A Dying Bed MakerBlues Images Presents Vol. 9
John TeftellerInterview
Lane HardinCalifornia Desert Blues Blues Images Presents Vol. 9
Lane HardinHard Times Blues Blues Images Presents Vol. 9
Lane HardinCartey Blues Blues Images Presents Vol. 9
Papa Charlie JacksonPapa, Don't Tear Your PantsBlues Images Presents Vol. 9
Harum Scarum Come On In (Ain't Nobody Here)Blues Images Presents Vol. 9
Blind Joel TaggartPrecious LordBlues Images Presents Vol. 9
Blind Joel TaggartLittle Black TrainBlues Images Presents Vol. 9
Tampa RedMama Don't Allow No Easy Riders HereBlues Images Presents Vol. 9

Show Notes:

Today's program revolves around record collector John Tefteller who's record collection contains some of the rarest blues 78's in existence. We'll be chatting with John in the second hour who I've interviewed previously and each time I've found him to be extremely knowledgeable regarding blues from the 1920's with a keen insight into how the record companies operated and how they marketed blues records. 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 ninth year of the calendar and CD's and once again Tefteller has turned up newly discovered sides which I'll be featuring today. Among those are newly discovered sides by the mysterious Lane Hardin (I'll be playing all of Hardin's records today), guitar evangelist Blind Joe Taggart and as well as other records found in the past few years. 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.

For decades Lane Hardin has been one of those tantalizing, mysterious blues figures who cut a handful of brilliant, garnered much interest among collectors yet has remained a cipher, resistant to all research attempts.  Now seventy-five years after his debut we  get to hear a previously unknown Hardin side and a recently published article has given his life shape. For a long time it was thought his 1935 record, "California Desert Blues b/w Hard Time Blues" was the only record Hardin ever recorded. The record is very scarce with only five or six known copies. Tefteller purchased a copy at auction recently for $5,500. Unknown to most collectors Hardin cut a vanity record circa 1948 – the A-side is Hardin's “Cartey Blues” while the B-Side is by Hardin's stand up bass player (credited to Don Tempo). The record was found by collector Steve LaVere sometime in the 1990's in Los Angeles and purchased by Tefteller.

In around 1950 a group of artists sent in a batch of unlabeled acetates that were discovered at Modern in 1970. These recordings have remained a focal point for intense discussion ever since. When these sides were first issued on the Blues From The Deep South LP,  Arkansas Johnny Todd and Leroy Simpson were invented for two sides released. It turns out that Todd is actually Lane Hardin. We play both of those numbers today: "I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You" and Keep 'em Down." Hardin also backs Leroy Simpson on "13 Highway" and "Bluebird Blues" which we also feature. The identity of Simpson remains a mystery. All these sides have been reissued on the CD Modern Downhome Blues Sessions Vol. 4.

Only one person seems to have ever been interviewed about Hardin who actually knew him. That was Henry Townsend who remembered him from the 1930's St. Louis scene. As Townsend told Bill Greensmith in his autobiography, A Blues Life: "Now Lane Hardin was one of the least known (n) musicians around the city , because he had come into the city and hadn't exposed himself much. He had a job at Lewins Metal Company and hadn't been exposed by his music until he ran across (Peetie) Wheatstraw's buddy, Neckbones, who also worked over there. They got to  talking and found out about playing music, and that's how he got be discovered. They would meet at different houses and just do something for their own personal entertainment, but not for jobs that I know of. Lane Hardin also played out at McKnight's place in Kinloch. Lane could have been slightly older than me, but not by much. He lived on Biddle Street about Thirteenth or Fourteenth -they had built a little row of new houses, and he lived there."

In the August 2011 issue of Blues & Rhythm magazine Tony Russell published a lengthy article on Hardin, essentially reconstructing his life from public records. It's an impressive piece of research that traces Hardin's life from his birth in Kentucky to working as a deck hand on steamboats, to a residence in St. Louis from the late 1910's through the 30's (documentation includes  a lengthy police record), to a stint in Illinois and finally traces him to Los Angeles by the 40's. Hardin passed in 1975 and it's a shame no one ever tracked him down to document his story.

The other big find on Tefteller's new CD is the only existing copy of a crudely recorded acetate,  by pre-war gospel legend Blind Joe Taggart. The disc was found by collector Robert Buchholz shoved between some old 70's rock and roll records at what remains of Chicago's Maxwell Street Market. It was put on sale on ebay where it was purchased by Tefteller. Taggart made his first records for Vocalion in June 1927 then went to Paramount in 1928. He continued recording in the 30's but vanished after a final session for Decca in 1934. The new calendar also contains the only known photograph of Taggart, published for the first time.

We feature several other numbers from the latest CD including sides by Blind Lemon Jefferson, Jenny Pope, Teddy Darby, Charlie Patton, Papa Charlie Jackson and Harum Scarum. We round out the show with tracks from some of Tefteller's prior CD's including recently found sides by Tommy Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, Blind Joe Reynolds and others.

Jenny Pope was married to Will Shade leader of the famous Memphis Jug Band. Pope cut six sides at three sessions in 1929 and 1930. She may have recorded with the Memphis Jug Band under the name Jennie Clayton.

Teddy Darby recorded from 1929 until 1937 under the names of "Blind Teddy Darby", "Blind Darby", "Blind Blues Darby" and "Blind Squire Turner" for the Paramount, Victor, Bluebird, Vocalion and Decca labels. In 1960 he was "rediscovered" and recorded by Pete Welding of Testament Records, yet the recordings from this session were never released. In the late 1930s he gave up the blues and became an ordained deacon.

Papa Charlie Jackson was the first commercially successful male blues singer. Jackson is believed originally to have come from New Orleans before relocating to Chicago sometime in the early 1900's. He became a very successful street performer, especially on the Near West Side, where he routinely played at the famed Maxwell Street market. His popularity eventually led to him being signed by the Paramount label, where he waxed more than 60 sides between 1924 and 1929. Jackson also did session working backing artists such as Ida Cox, Lottie Beaman, Ma Rainey, Big Bill Broonzy and others.

Issued as Paramount 13104, Harum Scarum's "Come On In (Ain't Nobody Here) " was released in January 1931 and is extremely rare. No copy has been discovered on Paramount however the record was reissued on Varsity, a company from the 1930's that gathered up old masters they found interesting and issued them again. The Harum Scarums recorded four songs and consisted of Big Bill Broonzy, Georgia Tom and Mozelle Alderson.

King Solomon Hill signed to the Paramount label in 1932, soon traveling to Grafton, Wisconsin to record six tracks (two of them alternate takes). In 2002 Tefteller went to Grafton and discovered the long lost Hill 78 "My Buddy Blind Papa Lemon b/w Times Has Done Got Hard" in mint condition. Not much is known of Hill – whose real name was Joe Holmes. He was closely connected to Sam Collins and traveled with Blind Lemon Jefferson and Rambling Thomas. After his lone session, Hill returned to the juke joint circuit, eventually vanishing from sight; reputedly a heavy drinker, he died of a massive brain hemorrhage in Sibley, Louisiana in 1949.

A welcome surprise in recent years has been the discovery of several Tommy Johnson recordings of unissued material. In 1985 an untitled Tommy Johnson test pressing was found and issued on Document as "Boogaloosa Woman"/"Morning Prayer." Yazoo has issued "Morning Prayer" with the title "Button Up Shoes." In around 2001 yet another important batch of records came to light. A box of unissued Paramount and QRS test pressings (the QRS material likely obtained by Paramount from Art Satherley in 1930/31) has been found by an antique dealer in Wisconsin. Tefteller purchased the Tommy Johnson test pressing of "I Want Someone To Love Me" for over $12,000. The record has since been issued on the CD that accompanies the 2004 calendar. Today's featured track,is a test pressing of "Lonesome Home Blues" which was issued on the CD that accompanies the 2010 calendar.

In November 1929 at the Paramount Recording Studios in Grafton, Wisconsin, four songs were recorded at 78 rpm by a Louisiana street musician named Joe Sheppard who used the name Blind Joe Reynolds. Within a year, the four songs were released on two records. Neither record sold well, but almost 40 years later, one of the two attracted the attention of Eric Clapton who heard the song "Outside Woman Blues" on a reissue album. In 1967, Clapton and his Cream bandmates Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce recorded a more modern day version of "Outside Woman Blues" on their classic LP Disraeli Gears. The second record recorded in Wisconsin on that day, "Ninety Nine Blues" backed with "Cold Woman Blues" has been lost since it was first released in October of 1930. No copies in any condition were ever located until just a few years ago. The recorded was eventually bought and reissued on CD by John Tefteller.

In 2007 John Tefteller issued what is apparently the only known copy of Blind Willie McTell & Mary Willis' "Talkin' To You Wimmen' About The Blues." The track and it's flip side, "Merciful Blues", was issued on the CD that accompanies Tefteller's 2008 blues artwork calendar. To quote Tefteller: "the record…apparently has not been heard by anyone since its release back in the late fall of 1931. I have had this record in my collection for almost ten years. I had no idea that it was potentially a one-of-a-kind record! …Late last year, legendary Blues reissue producer Larry Cohn called me about his upcoming Blind Willie McTell box set. He told me he would like to borrow certain records from my collection …I sent him a list of what I had. To my amazement, he called immediately with the comment, "I've never heard the Mary Willis record!" Apparently, there is no master in the Columbia vaults. Cohn is aware of no other copy of the record anywhere. Finding this hard to believe, I started calling "all the usual suspects" and sure enough, none of them had the record or had ever heard it."

-John Tefteller Interview/Feature (edited, 53 min, MP3)

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ARTIST
SONG
ALBUM
Robert WilkinsGet Away BluesTrouble Hearted Blues
Robert WilkinsI Wish I Was In HeavenWhen I Lay My Burden Down
Champion Jack DupreeTee-Na-Nee-NaBarrelhouse Blues And Boogie Woogie Vol. 4
Champion Jack DupreeGravier Street RagBarrelhouse Blues And Boogie Woogie Vol. 1
Smokey HoggIn This World AloneTexas Guitar Killers
T-Bone WalkerBaby Broke My HeartTexas Guitar Killers
Lowell FulsonBlues Don't Leave MeTexas Guitar Killers
Tommy JohnsonLonesome Home Blues (Test)Blues Images Vol. 8
John D. FoxWorried Man BluesMississippi Masters: Early American Blues Classics 1927-35
Big Chief Ellis Dices, DicesRub a Little Boogie: New York Blues 1945-56
Square WaltonPepper Head Woman Rub a Little Boogie: New York Blues 1945-56
Bobbie HarrisFriendly AdviceRub a Little Boogie: New York Blues 1945-56
Duke Bayou (Alec Seward)Rub a Little BoogieRub a Little Boogie: New York Blues 1945-56
James P. JohnsonSnowy Morning Blues Snowy Morning Blues
James P. Johnson w/ Anna RobinsonHungry BluesJames P. Johnson 1938-1942
Country JimOld River BluesDown Home Blues Classics Vol.5: Memphis & The South
Johnny ShinesRed SunToo Wet Too Plow
Hammie NixonYeller YamsTennessee Blues Vol. 2
Memphis SlimChicago New Home Of The BluesBarrelhouse Blues And Boogie Woogie Vol. 5
Sunnyland SlimGet Further Little BrotherBarrelhouse Blues And Boogie Woogie Vol. 1
Blind Joe ReynoldsThird Street Woman BluesMississippi Masters: Early American Blues Classics 1927-35
Mississippi MoanerIt's Cold In China BluesAmerican Primitive Vol. II
The Beale Street Sheiks Half Cup of TeaBlues Images vol. 2
Sonny Boy Williamson IIAll My Love In VainThe Chess Years Box Set
Sonny Boy Williamson IICross My HeartThe Chess Years Box Set
Walter Bradford Reward For My babySun Records: The Blues Years 1950-1958
Houston BoinesCarry My Business OnSun Records: The Blues Years 1950-1958
Eddie SnowMean Mean WomanSun Records: The Blues Years 1950-1958
Henry GrayThat Ain't RightEarly Raw Electric Blues Masters
Hop WilsonA Good Woman is Hard to FindSteel Guitar Flash
Roosevelt CharlesCane Choppin' Blues, Prayer, Work & Trouble Songs
Roosevelt CharlesMean Trouble Blues Blues, Prayer, Work & Trouble Songs
Pinetop SmithJump Steady BluesShake Your Wicked Knees
Pinetop PerkinsPinetop's Boogie Woogie Memphis Blues (Important Postwar Recordings)

Show Notes:

A varied batch of blues today including artist spotlights of Robert Wilkins, James P. Johnson, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Roosevelt Charles and album features with tracks from the 4-CD set New York Blues 1945-1956 Rub a Little Boogie, Texas Guitar Killers and selections from Storyville's Barrelhouse Blues And Boogie Woogie series.

Robert Wilkins

Like several of the former bluesmen turned gospel artists, Reverend Robert T. Wilkins recorded only sparingly in later years; he cut one full length album Memphis Gospel Singer in 1964 plus several sides on various anthologies. His early sessions for Victor in 1928, Brunswick in 1929 and Vocalion in 1935 are classics. Wilkins employs plenty of variety on these early recordings and on our selection, "Get Away Blues", lays down a steady droning riff reminiscent of Garfield Akers. "I Wish I Was In Heaven", recorded decades later, finds Wilkins' playing and singing to have lost nothing in the intervening years. As Peter Aschoff writes in the notes to When I Lay My Burden Down: "By the time in the 1960's when Hernando, Mississippi's, Robert Wilkins entered the studio to record the four tracks that close this CD, his religious conversion had put many years between him and the songs that had originally shown him to be one of the most innovative and startlingly original songwriters and performers in pre-war blues. …While his lyrics may have changed, his fluid guitar playing remained firmly rooted in the rhythmically complex picking style of his early secular recordings, and his singing still made use of the unexpected twists phrasing and timing that have always marked Wilkins'  music."

I found myself listening quite a bit lately to the recordings of James P. Johnson. Johnson was a pioneer of the stride style of jazz piano and a model for Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Art Tatum and Fats Waller. Johnson composed many hit tunes including "Charleston" and "Carolina Shout" and remained the acknowledged king of New York jazz pianists until he was dethroned by Art Tatum. Before 1920 Johnson made dozens of superb player piano roll recordings. He developed into a fine accompanist, the favorite of Ethel Waters and Bessie Smith. Ethel Waters wrote in her autobiography that working with musicians such as Johnson " …made you want to sing until your tonsils fell out". His 1921 phonograph recordings of "Harlem Strut", "Carolina Shout" and "Keep off the Grass" were among the first jazz piano solos to be put onto record. The majority of his phonograph recordings of the 1920's and early 1930's were done for Black Swan and Columbia. He continued to record through the 40's. Johnson permanently retired from performing after suffering a severe, paralyzing stroke in 1951 and passed in 1955. Today we spin his "Snowy Morning Blues" from 1930, a song he recorded several times over the years. We also spin "Hungry Blues" as he accompanies singer Anna Robinson.

"Hungry Blues," a selection from a politically charged stage show with words by Langston Hughes, is a beautiful statement against segregation and inequity, invoking "…a brand new world, so clean and fine, nobody's hungry and there ain't no color line…." The show was called De Organizer. It dealt with the plight of Afro-American workers as they attempted to unionize. Anna Robinson was remembered by Milt Hinton as a merry libertine who partied hard. Strung out on narcotics, she was brutally murdered in an alley. This and the flip side, "Harlem Woogie", are the only recordings Robinson ever made.

Read Liner Notes

Well over a year back I did show revolving around the recordings made by folklorist Harry Oster and I was searching through my collection in vain trying to find the album he cut of the remarkable singer Roosevelt Charles. Well better late than never, we spin two tracks from this wonderful record. Charles was recorded by folklorist Harry Oster in 1959 and 1960 with tracks appearing on anthologies and one full-length album, the long out of print Blues, Prayer, Work & Trouble Songs. Oster wrote the following: “Classified as a habitual criminal, a four-time loser, Roosevelt Charles has spent most of his adult life (he is now 45) in prisons, principally, Angola, alternating short periods of freedom with long sentences. …Despite his lengthy police record, Charles is sensitive, personable, intelligent and imaginative – a highly gifted creator, performer and interpreter of Negro music. His rebellion against society appears at least in part the explosion which results when a driving, intensely creative man can find no outlets for his energies and talents – a particularity difficult problem for a bright but almost illiterate Negro born in the Louisiana farm country.”

Today we feature four sides from the excellent 4-CD JSP set Rub a Little Boogie: New York Blues 1945-1956. This is a collection of down-home blues from artists who migrated from the Eastern states like the Carolinas to New York but still retained their country roots to a degree. The most famous artists are Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee and Champion Jack Dupree who in addition to sides under their own name, appear on the records of many of the other artists on this collection. Other artists on this set include fine sides Big Chief Ellis, Alec Seward, Carolina Slim, Boby Gaddy, Bobbie Harris and others. From Ellis we hear "Dices, Dices," which he and McGhee recorded for Lenox in 1945. Our version was later recorded live on February 19 1949, at a WYNC Jazz Festival (they were the only bluesmen  present),  prefaced by a conversation between McGhee and Rudi Blesh. Little is known of Bobbie Harris who may have been from South Carolina and cut sides for several New York labels. He's a fine singer as expressed on the steamy R&B of our selection, "Friendly Advice", Backed by Dupree and McGhee and an unknown, but wailing tenor man. We also play the title track, the wild, romping "Rub A Little Boogie" sung by Alec Seward and again featuring Dupree and McGhee. Square Walton is another mystery man who cut a lone four-song session in 1953. "Pepper Head Woman" may be my favorite, a rough and tough number backed by Big Chief Ellis and Mickey Baker.

From the Storyville label we hear great piano numbers from Champion Jack Dupree, Sunnyland Slim and Memphis Slim. Karl Knudsen, a dedicated jazz fan, founded his Storyville Records label in Copenhagen in 1952 just as the groundswell for a blues and jazz revival began to sweep through Europe. Initially, the label simply reissued archival material from the States, but as more and more veteran blues and jazz players began touring Europe (and in many cases, relocating there permanently), he began setting up recording sessions with them, and Storyville ended up with an impressive catalog of original jazz and blues sessions from master performers. He recorded extensively some fine piano players including Champion Jack Dupree, Little Brother Montgomery, Speckled Red, Memphis Slim and others. A few years back Storyville issued five volumes of piano material under the title Barrelhouse Blues and Boogie Woogie which is where all our tracks come from.

While rooting around my collection I stumbled upon the 2-CD set Texas Guitar Killers. This was part of Capitol's ongoing development of its vaults, produced by the late Pete Welding. The 39 cuts feature T-Bone Walker, Gatemouth Brown, Lowell Fulson, Lightnin' Hopkins, Smokey Hogg and Pee-Wee Crayton, with sides drawn from their stints with Imperial and Aladdin spanning the years 1945-1953. Hogg is in fine form on the plaintive "In This World Alone", T-Bone at his best on "Baby Broke My Heart" while Fulson hollers the blues on on the stomping "Blues Don't Leave Me."

We conclude the show with a couple of Pinetops; Smith and Perkins. Clarence "Pine Top" Smith was one of the earliest pianists to recorded a boogie-woogie piano solo. His 1928 tune "Pine Top's Boogie Woogie" was the first recording to be labeled as such and and had a great deal of influence on all future pieces in that style. Pine Top toured the minstrel and TOBA vaudeville circuits throughout the 1920's performing with Mamie Smith and Butter Beans and Susie and other vaudeville acts. He was also a frequent solo performer at rent parties, taverns and whorehouses. Smith was accidentally shot to death at a dance in Chicago in 1929. He was twenty-five years old and left behind just eleven sides.

Pinetop Perkins died on march 21, he was 97. In 1943 Mr. Perkins moved to Helena, Ark., to work Robert Nighthawk. He later joined Sonny Boy Williamson’s King Biscuit Boys, before moving on to the band of the slide guitarist Earl Hooker. He also appeared on the recordings that Nighthawk made for the Chess label and that Hooker made for Sun in the 1950s. It was for Sun, in 1953, that he cut his first version of “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie,” the song that furnished him with his nickname and the number we feature today. When the pianist Otis Spann left Muddy Waters’s band in 1969 it was Perkins who took his place.

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