|Bobby Bland||Good Time Charlie, Part 1||Angels In Harlem|
|Bobby Bland||Loan Me A Helping Hand||I Pity The Fool: The Duke Recordings Vol. 1|
|Guitar Slim And Jelly Belly||Keep Straight Blues||Ain't Times Hard: Political & Social Comment In The Blues|
|John Lee Hooker||That's My Story||That's My Story|
|Country Paul||One More Time||Devil's Jump: Important Indie Label Blues 1946-57|
|Buddy Boy Hawkins||Shaggy Dog Blues||Bullfrog Blues|
|Buddy Boy Hawkins||A Rag||Buddy Boy & His Buddies|
|Howlin' Wolf||I'll Be Around||Smokestack Lightning: The Complete Chess Masters|
|Sonny Boy Williamson||Your Imagination||The Chess Years Box Set|
|Little Wolf||White House Blues||45|
|Fannie Mae Goosby||Fortune Teller Blues||Female Blues Singers 7 G/H 1922-1929|
|Rosetta Howard||My Man Jumped Salty On Me||The 30's Girls 1932-1940|
|Billie And Dede Pierce||Dede And Billie's Blues||The Louisiana Joymakers Introducing Billie & De De Pierce|
|Unknown||Cold Iron Shackles||Negro Songs of Protest|
|Unknown||In Atlanta, Georgia||Negro Songs of Protest|
|Unknown||Mr. Tyree||Negro Songs of Protest|
|Mercy Dee||Ebony Baby||Texas Blues Vol. 2|
|Mercy Dee||Jack Engine||Mercy Dee|
|Mercy Dee||Mercy's Party||Mercy Dee|
|Martha Copeland||When The Wind Make Connection With Your Dry Goods||Martha Copeland Vol. 1 1923-1927|
|Connie's McLean Rhythm Boys||You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now||Jazzin' the Blues Vol. 1 1929-1937|
|Scott Dunbar||Forty-Four Blues||Music from the South, Vol. 5: Song, Play, and Dance|
|Robert Cage||Easy Rider||Can See What You're Doing|
|Kansas Joe McCoy||What's The Matter With You?||Too Late Too Late Vol. 1 1926-44|
|The New Mississippi Sheiks||Stop And Listen||The New Mississippi Sheiks|
|Anna Lee Chisholm||Cool Kind Daddy Blues||Blue Girls Vol. 3 1924-1938|
|Louis Lasky||Teasin' Brown Blues||Broke, Black And Blue|
|Big Bill Broonzy||C and A Blues||All The Classic Sides 1928-1937|
|Memphis Minnie||I'm Waiting On You||Four Women Blues|
|Washboard Sam||Mama Don't Allow No. 1||Washboard Sam Vol. 1 1935-1936|
|Bobby Bland||I Smell Trouble||I Pity The Fool: The Duke Recordings Vol. 1|
|Bobby Bland||Yield Not To Temptation||Angels In Harlem|
As always today's mix show covers a wide swath of blues, reflecting a number of things I've been listening to lately, some things that haven't fit into out usual theme shows and song things that will foreshadow future shows. We open and close the show on a sad note as we pay tribute to Bobby blue Bland. Also on deck featured sets of music from Buddy Boy Hawkins, Mercy Dee, Louis Lasky, a set of remarkable recordings made by Lawrence Gellert plus a number of fine blues ladies and more.
Bobby Bland passed on June 23 at the age of 83. Bland was a founding member of the Beale Streeters, the famous Memphis aggregation that also included B.B. King and Johnny Ace. He cut singles for Chess in (produced by Sam Phillips) and Modern in 1951 that failed to catch on. Bland hooked up with Duke in 1952 cutting a few singles before entering the army. His 1955 return was remarkable; with saxist Bill Harvey's band providing support, Bland sounded much more assured. Most of Bland's sides during the mid- to late '50s featured the slashing guitar of Clarence Hollimon, but the guitar riffs guiding Bland's first national hit, 1957's "Farther Up the Road," were contributed by Pat Hare. Later, Wayne Bennett took over on guitar, his fret work prominent on Bland's Duke waxings throughout much of the '60s. "Farther Up the Road” was a #1 R&B hit, the first of more than 20 R&B top ten records. During this period Bland toured the Southern chitlin circuit incessantly. Joe Scott steered Bland into smoother material as the decade turned; a mixture of blues, R&B, and soul on numbers like"I Pity the Fool," "I'll Take Care of You," and "Two Steps From the Blues" which were tremendously influential. Scott's brass arrangements provided the perfect backing on Bland's rockers like "Turn on Your Love Light" in 1961 and "Yield Not to Temptation." In 1973, Don Robey sold his labels to ABC Records, and Bland was part of the deal. Without Joe Scott and his familiar surroundings to lean on, Bland's releases grew less consistent although His California Album in 1973 and 1974's Dreamer were very strong. Bland re-teamed with his old pal B.B. King for a couple of mid-'70s albums. Since the mid-'80s, Bland has recorded for Malaco Records.
I got an email from a long-time listener who relayed some information regarding Mercy Dee Walton. Apparently there was a discussion about him on one of the blues forums and the upshot was that there appears to be several tracks he cut for Arhoolie that were released on vinyl but never made it to CD when the label reissued his recordings. Today's tracks include "Ebony Baby"(only issued on the LP Texas Blues Vol. 2) , a fine version of Joe Pullum's "Black Gal What Makes Your Head So Hard", "Jack Engine" and "Mercy's Party", the later two only available on the first pressing of the album Mercy Dee on Arhoolie recorded in 1961. I featured Walton and some of his California contemporaries last year.
Mercy Dee Walton was born in Waco, Texas on August 30, 1915.In the late 1930's he moved to California, where he worked on farms up and down the Central Valley while performing in local bars and clubs for the region's black farmworkers. In 1949 he recorded for the Fresno-based Spire label and had an immediate hit with "Lonesome Cabin Blues," which reached Number 7 on the R&B charts. The Imperial label signed him and recorded two sessions of twelve titles in 1950. By 1952 he was recording for Specialty, another Los Angeles label. His first track for them, "One Room Country Shack," was a hit in 1953, reaching Number 8 on the R&B charts. A recording for the small Rhythm label in 1954 had little impact, and in 1955 he recorded for the Flair label, part of the Modern Records stable in Los Angeles. He returned to his earlier situation of supplementing his earnings from music with agricultural work and settled in the Stockton, California, area. In 1961 Mercy Dee came to the attention of Chris Strachwitz, owner of the Arhoolie label. A series of sessions that year with backing by guitarist K. C. Douglas, harmonica player Sidney Maiden, and drummer Otis Cherry produced albums on the Arhoolie and Bluesville labels. Soon afterward Walton suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died in hospital in Murphys, California, on December 2, 1962.
We feature a trio of field recordings made by Lawrence Gellert which was inspired by a new book by Bruce Conforth titled African American Folksong and American Cultural Politics: The Lawrence Gellert Story. Gellert was born in New York City to Hungarian immigrants. When he was in his early 20's, he moved to Tryon, North Carolina for health reasons. He edited a newspaper there and began making friendships among the African Americans who lived in the area. Motivated by leftist political ideologies and inspired by the music-making of his neighbors, he began making recordings to pre-grooved zinc discs on a device of his own construction. The recordings he made were dangerous–both to himself and those who performed for him. Gellert was able to record songs that were more explicit in their complaint against the conditions of segregation than any other scholar before the 1960's. For this reason, in the 20 years he made these recordings he was careful not to document who made the recordings. The result was a body of songs so unprecedented that when Gellert published Negro Songs of Protest in 1936, some accused him of making up this collection of song texts himself. In the 70's Rounder issued two albums of Gellert's recordings (Negro Songs of Protest and Cap'n You're So Mean) and another album of material was issued on the Heritage label in the 80's (Nobody Knows My Name). I'm hoping to interview Conforth for an upcoming show and spotlight more of these remarkable recordings.
Today we feature a five song set revolving around the shadowy Louis Lasky. Lasky cut fives sides in 1935 as well as backing Anna Lee Chisholm, Big Bill, Memphis Minnie and Washboard Sam. It's been suggested he was a influence on Big Bill's guitar style. Nothing is known about Lasky's background but his style suggests a older musician, perhaps from the generation of Henry Thomas or Daddy Stovepipe. His first appearance was back in 1924 when he accompinaed Anna Lee Chisholm on "Cool Kind Daddy Blues." He didn't surface again until 1935 where he backed Broonzy on "C and A Blues", possibly appeared alongside Broonzy on two songs by the group the Chicago Sanctified Singers, backed Washboard Sam, Memphis Minnie and cut three sides under his own name; "How You Want Your Rollin' Done b/w "Teasin' Brown Blues" and the unissued pop song "Caroline" which surfaced and has been reissued.
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Several fine blues ladies on tap today including Fannie Mae Goosby, Billie Pierce and Martha Copeland. As David Evans wrote: "Fannie Mae Goosby was one of the first two blues singers (the other was Lucille Bogan) to be recorded in the Deep South. Although the 1923 Atlanta session for OKeh Records, arranged by Polk Brockman and supervised by Ralph Peer, is best known for launching the career of hillbilly artist Fiddlin' John Carson, the discovery of Goosby and Bogan was an equally worthy outcome." Goosby cut eleven sides at sessions in 1923 and 1928.
DeDe Pierce was born Joseph De Lacroix Pierce in New Orleans. Pierce's first gig was with Arnold Dupas in New Orleans in 1924. During his time playing in city nightclubs, he met Billie Pierce, who became his wife as well as a musical companion; the two were the house band at the Luthjens Dance Hall from the 1930's through the 1950's. They released several albums together but stopped performing in the middle of the 1950's due to illness, which left De De Pierce blind. By 1959 they had returned to performing, and De De Pierce toured with Ida Cox and played with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, before further health problems ended his career. There's quite a number of recordings by them including sessions for Original Jazz Classics, Riverside, Arhoolie among others.Martha Copeland recorded a total of 34 sides for OKeh, Victor and Columbia between 1923 and 1928 yet virtually nothing is known about her background. Her accompanists included many of the best known New York jazz musicians of the period.