|Big Joe Turner||Too Late, Too Late||In The Evening|
|Big Joe Turner||I Just Didn't Have The Price||Nobody In Mind|
|Mississippi Fred McDowell||When I Lay My Burden Down||Amazing Grace|
|Charles Henderson, Butch Cage & Willie Thomas||Jesus On The Mainline||Country Spirituals|
|Leroy Carr||My Woman's Gone Wrong||Whiskey Is My Habit, Women Is All I Crave: The Best of Leroy Carr|
|Memphis Jug Band||My Love Is Cold||Memphis Shakedown|
|Kokomo Arnold||Lonesome Southern Blues||Kokomo Arnold Vol. 1 1930-1935|
|Whispering Smith||I Tried So Hard||The Real Excello R&B|
|Little Boyd||Bad Man Don't Live To Long||Blues Is Here To Stay|
|Elmore James||Goodbye Baby||Early Recordings 1951-56|
|Jimmy Reed||I Had A Dream||Let The Bossman Speak!|
|Blind Willie McTell||Little Delia||Atlanta Twelve String|
|Bukka White||The Atlanta Special||The Sonet Blues Story|
|Maggie Jones||Anybody Here Wants To Try My Cabbage||Maggie Jones Vol. 1 1923-1925|
|Billie Young||When They Get Lovin' They's Gone||Female Blues Singers Vol. 14 1923-1932|
|Albinia Jones||The Rain Is Falling||Vocal Blues & Jazz Vol. 4 1938 -1949|
|Blind Lemon||DB Blues||The Complete Classic Sides|
|Skip James||If You Haven't Any Hay Get On Down The Road||Complete 1931 Recordings|
|Papa Charlie Jackson||Drop That Sack||Papa Charlie Jackson Vol. 1 1924-1926|
|Jaybird Coleman||Mistreatin' Mama||The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of|
|Roosevelt Charles||Uncle Bud||Blues, Prayer, Work and Trouble Songs|
|Dave Tippen & Group||Write My Mama One More Letter||Catfish, Carp & Diamonds: 35 Years of Texas Blues)|
|Grey Ghost||Way Out On The Desert||Catfish, Carp & Diamonds: 35 Years of Texas Blues)|
|Mississippi Sheiks||The New Shake That Thing||Blues Images Vol. 5|
|'Blind' Willie Reynolds||Third Street Woman Blues||Mississippi Masters: Early American Blues Classics 1927-35|
|Charlie Patton||Bird Nest Bound||The Best Of|
|Jimmy Liggins||You Ain't Goin' To Heaven No How||Joe Liggins 1944-1946|
|Brother Bell w/ Ike Turner||If You Feel Froggish||Rocks The Blues|
|The Rockers||What Am I To Do?||The Federal Records Story 1955-1960|
This has been a busy summer and I have been taking quite a bit of time off. It's been a struggle getting these shows together on time and this one just got in under the wire. Nevertheless a good mix show lined up for today opening with a pair of lengthy cuts from the tail end of Big Joe Turner's career. Along the way we hear some superb pre- war blues from heavy hitters like Charlie Patton, Kokomo Arnold, Mississippi Sheiks and others, several fine blues ladies, a few field recordings, a batch of tough blues from the 50's through the 70's plus some spirituals with a blues feel
When Big Joe Turner began his series of recordings for Norman Granz' rejuvenated Pablo label, he was a somewhat neglected figure. Big Joe sustained a successful career through the 50's when he signed with the Atlantic label in 1951. He became one of the few black R&B stars to crossover to rock'n'roll but seemed to founder a a bit in the 60's. He didn't really seem to fit in with the general tone of the blues revival. Big Joe eventually moved to California and began appearing irregularly on jazz festivals and L.A. clubs. In 1972 producer and former civic rights activist Norman Granz decided to launch a big band tour of Europe, he chose to reunite old Kansas City partners, Count Basie and his Orchestra with Big Joe. The tour proved to be so successful that Granz recorded the Paris concert live and issued it on his Pablo label. This started a new association between Turner and Granz that resulted in nine LP's through 1978.
I won't claim this is Big Joe's finest period but these records deserve better than the general reputation. There are a number of overly long jams and familiar songs but Big Joe is a consummate blues singer and he's helped along by all-star band that included Count Basie, Sonny Stitt, Pee Wee Crayton, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Clark Terry, Harry Edison and others. I believe a good chunk of this material is now out-of-print.
We spotlight some fascinating field recordings captured by Tary Owens and Harry Oster. Funded by a Lomax Foundation grant in the 1960's, Tary Owens traveled around Texas recording a variety of folk musicians, prison songs, including guitarists Mance Lipscomb, Freddie King, and Bill Neely, as well as barrelhouse piano players Robert Shaw and Roosevelt T. Williams, also known as the “Grey Ghost.” Owens remained involved in the lives of these musicians for the next several decades and, in some cases, was largely responsible for helping rescue them from obscurity and resurrect their professional careers. In the 80's and 90's he operated the Catfish and Spindletop labels. Our two recordings come from a special limited edition disc of Owen's favorite recordings cut between 1965 and 1999 titled Catfish, Carp & Diamonds: 35 Years of Texas Blues.
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Through the 50's and 60's Harry Oster captured some incredible field recordings in Louisiana made in and around towns such as Baton Rouge, Eunice and Scotlandville. In 1959 Oster went with New Orleans jazz historian Richard B. Allen to the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola prison, to record blues, spirituals sung by choirs and soloists, sermons and personal interviews. Among those he recorded he were Robert ‘Smoky Babe’ Brown, James ‘Butch’ Cage, Roosevelt Charles, Clarence Edwards, Hogman Maxey, Willie B. Thomas. Otis Webster, Guitar Welch, Snooks Eaglin and perhaps most famously Robert Pete Williams. Today we spin selections from a pair of hard to find albums: Charles Henderson, Butch Cage & Willie Thomas performing "Jesus On The Mainline" from the album Country Spirituals and Roosevelt Charles singing "Uncle Bud" from a wonderful record on Vanguard called Blues, Prayer, Work And Trouble Songs. Several years back I did a show devoted to Oster's recordings and will likely do a sequel when Arhoolie unveils their Harry Oster box set sometime in the future.
We opened the show with some 70's sides by Big Joe and from the same period play a fine Jimmy Reed cut. Reed's records hit the R&B charts with amazing frequency and crossed over onto the pop charts on many occasions, a rare feat for an bluesman. Reed has a long association with Vee-Jay and with his his third single, "You Don't Have to Go" backed with "Boogie in the Dark," made the number five slot on Billboard's R&B charts, the hits pretty much kept on coming for the next decade. Reed's slow descent into the ravages of alcoholism and epilepsy roughly paralleled the decline of Vee-Jay Records, which went out of business at approximately the same time that his final 45 was released, "Don't Think I'm Through" in 1965. His manager, Al Smith, quickly arranged a contract with the newly formed ABC-Bluesway label and a handful of albums were released into the '70's. Our selection, "I Had A Dream", comes from 1971 the album Let The Bossman Speak! cut for Al Smith's short lived Blues On Blues label.
As usual we shine the light on several fine blues ladies including Maggie Jones, Billie Young and Albinia Jones. Maggie Jones was born Fae Barnes in Hillsboro, Texas, around 1900. She moved in the early 1920's to New York City, where she began to perform in local clubs billed as the "Texas Nightingale." On July 26, 1923, she became one of the earliest female Texas singers to record, cutting some three dozen sides for a variety of labels including Black Swan and Columbia through 1926. Sometime in the early 1930's she returned to Texas and was last known to have been performing in Fort Worth area in 1934. Today we hear her on the risque "Anybody Here Wants To Try My Cabbage." Billie Young left behind only one record backed by Jelly Roll Morton on piano. Albinia Jones first recorded for National Records in late 1944.The following year she recorded for Savoy backed by Dizzy Gillespie, Don Byas and Sammy Price. She was promoted at the time as the "New Queen of the Blues" and toured widely with Blanche Calloway, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Tiny Bradshaw and the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra.She recorded again with Price for Decca Records in 1947 and made her last records in 949.