|Lucille Bogan||Black Angel Blues||Lucille Bogan Vol. 2 1930-1933|
|Tampa Red||Black Angel Blues||Tampa 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. King||Sweet Little Angel||The Vintage Years|
|B.B. King||Sweet Little Angel||Live At The Regal|
|Earl Hooker||Sweet Brown Angel||Simply The Best|
|Tony Hollis||Cross Cut Saw Blues||Chicago Blues Vol. 1 1939-1951|
|Tommy McClennan||Cross Cut Saw Blues||Complete Bluebird Recordings|
|Albert King||Crosscut Saw||Born Under A Bad Sign|
|Curtis Jones||Tin Pan Alley Blues||Curtis Jones Vol. 4 1941-53|
|Guitar Slim Green||Alla Blues||California Blues 1940-1948|
|Jimmy Wilson||Tin Pan Alley||Bob Geddins' Big Town Records Story|
|James Reed||Roughest Place In Town||R&B Guitars 1950-54|
|Johnny Fuller||Roughest Place In Town||West Coast R&B And Blues Legend Vol.1|
|Ray Agee||Tin Pan Alley||West Coast Blues Vol. 2 1952-1957|
|The Sparks Brothers||I Believe I'll Make A Change||Down On The Levee: The Piano Blues of St. Louis|
|Jack Kelly & his South Memphis Jug Band||Believe I'll Go Back Home||Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band 1933-1939|
|Josh White||Believe I'll Go Back Home||Josh White Vol. 2 1933-1935|
|Carl Rafferty||Mr. Carl's Blues||Roosevelt Sykes: The Essential|
|Kokomo Arnold||Sagefield Woman Blues||Bottleneck Trendsetters|
|Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell||I Believe I'll Make A Change||Whiskey Is My Habit, Women Is All I Crave: The Best of Leroy Carr|
|Robert Johnson||I Believe I'll Dust My Broom||The Centennial Collection|
|Washboard Sam||I Believe I'll Make A Change||Washboard Sam Vol. 4 1939-1940|
|Arthur Crudup||Dust My Broom||When The Sun Goes Down|
|Robert Lockwood||Dust My Broom||Rough Treatment: The J.O.B. Records Story|
|Elmore James||Dust My Broom||Elmore James: Early Recordings 1951-56|
|Robert Petway||Catfish Blues||Catfish Blues: Mississippi Blues Vol. 3 1936-1942|
|Tommy McClennan||Deep Sea Blues||Complete Bluebird Recordings|
|Muddy Waters||Rollin' Stone||The 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|
In 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 he 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.
"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.