|George And Ethel McCoy||Mary||Early In The Morning|
|George And Ethel McCoy||'Way Down South||Early In The Morning|
|George And Ethel McCoy||Miss Baker's Blues||Early In The Morning|
|Johnny Shines; Sunnyland Slim; Backwards Sam Firk||Two Long Freight Trains||Really Chicago Blues|
|Walter Horton; Honeyboy Edwards; Johnny Shines||Way Cross Town||Really Chicago Blues|
|John Lee Granderson; Big Joe Williams; Backwards Sam Firk||Stop Breaking Down||Really Chicago Blues|
|Sunnyland Slim; Johnny Shines; Backwards Sam Firk||Cuttin' Out||Really Chicago Blues|
|Sunnyland Slim; Big Joe Williams; Johnny Shines; Backwards Sam Firk||Bye Bye Baby||Really Chicago Blues|
|Furry Lewis||Why Don't You Come Home Blues||On The Road Again|
|Furry Lewis||On The Road Again||On The Road Again|
|Bukka White||Gibson Hill||On The Road Again|
|Rev. Gary Davis||Out On The Ocean Sailing||O, Glory - The Apostolic Studio Sessions|
|Rev. Gary Davis||Right Now||O, Glory - The Apostolic Studio Sessions|
|Mose Vinson||Bullfrog Blues||The Memphis Blues Again, Vol. 1|
|Sam Clark||Sunnyland Train Blues||The Memphis Blues Again, Vol. 1|
|Dewey Corley||Dewey's Walkin' Blues||The Memphis Blues Again, Vol. 1|
|Willie Morris||My Good Woman Has Quit Me||The Memphis Blues Again, Vol. 2|
|Hacksaw Harney||Hacksaw's Down South Blues||The Memphis Blues Again, Vol. 2|
|Van Hunt & Mose Vinson||Jelly Selling Woman||The Memphis Blues Again, Vol. 2|
|Sleepy John Estes||Drop Down Mama||The Memphis Blues Again, Vol. 2|
|Arthur Weston & George Roberson||Highway 49||Things Have Changed - Anthology of Today's Blues from St. Louis|
|Clarence Johnson||Baby Let Me Come Back Home||Things Have Changed - Anthology of Today's Blues from St. Louis|
|Henry Brown||Henry's Jive||Things Have Changed - Anthology of Today's Blues from St. Louis|
|Henry Townsend||Biddle Street Blues||Henry T. Music Man|
|Henry Townsend||Cairo Blues||Henry T. Music Man|
|Liner Notes: Pt. 1 – Pt. 2 – Pt. 3 –
Pt. 4 - Pt. 5 – Pt. 6
|Liner Notes: Pt.1 – Pt. 2 - Pt. 3 –
Pt. 4 – Pt. 5 – Pt. 6
I've been meaning to get around to the Adelphi label, a fine label that issued a small batch of excellent blues albums in the late 60's and early 70's. I was looking through Stefan Wirz's discography of the label and realized I had in fact all the albums so I figured now was the time. Not to mention that several have been long out-of-print which gives me an opportunity to make these heard by a wider audience. Our show will stick to the albums by the black blues artists, omitting the records by white artists, which is has always been the focus here on Big Road Blues. In the late 1990's and early 2000's Adelphi issued a number of unreleased recordings from the 60's on CD marketed as the Blues Vault Series and due to time constraints I'll been spotlighting those on a future show.
Adelphi was founded by siblings Gene and Carol Rosenthal, who were country blues enthusiasts. The Adelphi crew made extensive field recordings in 1969, from Chicago to St. Louis, Memphis, and the Mississippi Delta, in search of prewar blues artists. A few of these were released as compilations representing talent recorded at each major stop: Really Chicago’s Blues, The Memphis Blues Again, and Things Have Changed, which featured the artists from St. Louis. Individual albums by Little Brother’ Montgomery, George and Ethel McCoy, and Furry Lewis with Bukka White and Gus Cannon were released in the early 1970's, as were recordings by folk artists, including Roy Book Binder, Paul Geremia, and Chris Smither.
|George & Ethel McCoy photo by Joel Slotnikoff|
Some of the label's most interesting recordings are on the three regional anthologies. The Memphis Blues Again Vol. 1 & 2 were recorded in Memphis in October, 1969 and at the Peabody Hotel in June, 1970. By the 1960's urban renewal decimated Beale Street yet many old time musicians remained; veterans like Furry Lewis, Bukka White, Will Shade, Dewey Corley, Memphis Piano Red, Laura Dukes and Gus Cannon were still hanging on. During the blues revival of the 60's many went down to Memphis to record these old musicians with the results mostly issued on small specialty labels like Adelphi. Things Have Changed was recorded in East St. Louis, Illinois and St. Louis in 1969 and is an anthology of St. Louis artists including Henry Townsend, George & Ethel McCoy, Henry Brown, Arthur Weston and others. The 2-LP set Really Chicago Blues is a collection of informal acoustic blues featuring Johnny Shines, Honeyboy Edwards, Big Joe Williams, John Lee Granderson and Sunnyland Slim performing in different configurations. Both The Memphis Blues Again and Really Chicago Blues albums have been reissued on the Echo Music label but not on CD.
|Read Liner Notes|
All of the individual artists record have been reissued on CD except for the exceptional Early In The Morning by the under-recorded George and Ethel McCoy. George and Ethel McCoy were a brother and sister duo who lived in St. Louis and who's aunt was Memphis Minnie. From the Adelphi website: "The Adelphi crew were enchanted with the pair's music style, the result of a lifetime of playing together, but it was not until Ethel performed "Meningitis Blues" that the dots were connected. Mike Stewart asked if Ethel had learned the song from one of Memphis Minnie's 78 records and was stunned by Ethel's reply: 'No. She taught us the song. She was our Auntie.'" Early In The Morning is their first album and the duo was recorded again in 1981 with the results issued on Swingmaster.
Thirty years would pass after his last recording session before Sam Charters came knocking on Furry Lewis' door in 1959 subsequently recordings him for Folkways that same year with two more albums following for Prestige in 1961. There was nothing rusty about his playing as he had never stopped performing for neighbors and friends. Lewis was recorded often through the 1960's, with a slew of informal recordings issued posthumously. Bob Groom wrote in his book The Blues Revival that his "return has been one of the most satisfying of the [blues] revival."Furry appears on the album On The Road Again alongside Bukka White who returned to performing in the early 60's. The letter was addressed to: "Booker T. Washington White, (Old Blues Singer), C/O General Delivery Aberdeen , Miss." and forwarded to him by a relative. That was how John Fahey and Ed Denson found Bukka White in 1963 who was now living in Memphis and made his last recordings in 1940. Also on the record is Gus Cannon and Dewey Corley. Corley was the leader of the Beale Street Jug Band from the '30s onward, and played jug, washtub bass and kazoo. In his later years, he also acted as an A&R man, helping record companies such as Adelphi scout out missing Memphis blues legends such as Hacksaw Harney and guitarist Willie Morris.
The Reverend Gary Davis was one of the most renowned practitioners of the East Coast school of ragtime guitar; 35 years later, despite two decades spent playing on the streets of Harlem in New York, he was still one of the giants in his field and an inspiration to dozens of modern guitarist/singers including Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, and Jorma Kaukonen, Larry Johnson, David Bromberg, and Ry Cooder, who studied with Davis. Davis recorded prolifically in the post-war years starting with a few scattered sides in the 1940's, more in the 1950's and really picking up steam in the 1960's. O, Glory – The Apostolic Studio Sessions was recorded in 1969 and features Davis wife Annie and his Harlem neighbor and pupil Larry Johnson on harmonica.
|Read Liner Notes|
Henry Townsend, who has died aged 96 in 2006, had been the last blues musician who could trace his recording career back to the 1920s, having sat down before a recording microphone in November 1929 to sing his "Henry's Worried Blues" for Paramount. He recorded steadily, if not prolifically, through the decades cutting fine sides with Walter Davis through the 50's, a superb record for Bluesville in the 60's and in 1980 one of his finest records, Mule for the Nighthawk label. The Adelphi record, originally titled Henry T. Music Man and reissued on CD as Cairo Blues, was his second full-length album. The album also features Backwards Sam Firk (Mike Stewart), Henry Brown and Vernell Townsend.
Out of all the Adelphi albums the weakest is Little Brother Montgomery's No Special Rider recorded in 1969. Montgomery was an exceptional pianist and vocalist who first recorded in 1930 cutting"No Special Rider Blues b/w Vicksburg Blues" for Paramount. Montgomery's not at his best on this session and vocalist Jeanne Carroll is not a compelling blues singer.