Voting Line Blues
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Posted in Honey on 10.20.04

The line at the early voting venue was out the door. I can’t imagine how long the wait is going to be on the second. My advice vote early,vote often! In blog news, I think a good friend of mine will be joining the writing force here at Honey, Where You Been So Long fairly soon and helping to maybe expand to other forms of blues and soul, but the site will still remain a prewar blues site.

That said, today’s track is from the very end of the prewar era of blues. Rev. Utah Smith first recording career was from 1944-1953, and his style of guitar based gospel music mixed equal parts Willie Johnson and Blind Boy Fuller. I picked this track “Take a Trip” not because of his guitar playing, which on this track is okay, he has better tracks that show off his slide guitar skills. The thing I love about this track is the chorus handclap backing, that’s totally awesome and very much anticipates the deep soul sound. It’s a very lively and joyful gospel track that makes you equal part want to get up and dance as it spreads its message. Fans of that Rev. Charlie Jackson reissue from last year, take note.

  • Rev. Utah Smith – Take A Trip
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    Twos and Fews
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    Posted in Honey on 10.19.04

    For the British readers who wanted to know the shipping information for the mix cd, I forgot to ask when I was at the post office yesterday, but I will go today and email both of you back today and let you know the price. I will also post a note on the main ordering page about overseas shipping. It shouldn’t be too bad, as these packages are pretty light.

    Reminder: Radio Show Tonight ! 9-11pm EST. Streaming at www.wuag.net

    It is a very overcast and rainy day here in Greensboro, so instead of wallowing in the grayness of the day, here is a great piano duet track from two of the best piano players. Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis recorded this track live at the first Blue Note recording session back in 1939. The track is Twos and Fews, the two players are in perfect sync through the recording, Ammons is the more forceful of the two and while he shines brighter on this track, I normally favor Lewis’ work on a whole. Ammons and Lewis also represent a pure talent, they are not showing off on these recordings , as later the genre would fall into the hands of kids who would reduce it to musical masturbation, they are developing a sound that represents the move from rural Texas piano halls into the more urban Chicago jazz clubs and how the blues is relevant in both places.

  • Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis – Twos and Fews
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    Mail Rag
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    Posted in Honey on 10.18.04

    I sent the weekend batch of mixes off this morning, hopefully ya’ll will get them with great speed. Let me know how you like the mix, also. I’m going to send the next batch out of mixes on Wednesday or Thursday depending on my other work load. I’m still real exciting that so many of ya’ll have order these mixes, thanks a bunch !

    I first heard the guitar of Sylvester Weaver on a Sara Martin (standing) track a few years ago. His work was strong enough that I thought it was Lonnie Johnson ! Both Marion and Weaver are from Louisville and have done a number of really great tracks together. Weaver’s solo material is almost if not all instrumental and this is his most famous instrumental “Guitar Rag” which was later adapted by country music as the famous “Steel Guitar Rag.” Weaver’s original has a tenderness that most guitar instrumentals lack, he isn’t just showing off his considerable skills, but he’s using the guitar to make a greater musical statement, a quality that even more well know player tend to brush off and just focus on showing their talent off. Weaver’s simple yet beautiful slide guitar must be heard.

  • Sylvester Weaver – Guitar Rag
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    The Sidewalks of Chicago
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    Posted in Honey on 10.15.04

    I’m really excited that so many of you want the mix cds! I’ll be shipping this first batch out on Monday so if you order over the weekend you still have time to make the first shipping batch. I’m guessing after this first initial push of orders it will slow down and I’ll ship the same day when I get the order.

    Today has two somewhat unrelated tracks, but both are really fantastic.

    The first track is by one of the most famous bar-bands Chicago’s Sundowners. This song “Sidewalks of Chicago” features some real awesome steel guitar and great harmonies. It’s also such a great country tears-in-yr-beer track. Their collection on Bloodshot is worth every penny.

    The Hem track is from their new album on Rounder. I the production is much grander and Sally’s voice has really matured and become a lot more assured than it was on Rabbit Songs. This track is another great late-night bar track, it seems like a lot of people would have one last dance to this song before stumbling out of the bar and going their separate ways.

  • The Sundowners – Sidewalks Of Chicago
  • Hem – Dance With Me, Now Darling
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    Mix CD Tracklist and Ordering Information
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    Posted in Honey on 10.14.04

    I’m awful at making webpages, and for the life of me I can’t figure out how to get rid of that space between the 12th and 13th and 14th tracks. Also I’m not sure how to add a space between the link to the track list and the Links section of my blog. For those who don’t like to click links here is the track list:

    Honey, Where You Been So Long?:
    Volume 1 (22 May 2004 to 15 October 2004)

    1. Pink Anderson – Every Day In The Week Blues
    2. Charley Jordan – Keep It Clean
    3. William Harris – Bullfrog Blues
    4. Elizabeth Cotten – Oh Babe It Ain’t No Lie
    5. Willie Ford and Lucious Curtis – Payday
    6. Aaron ‘Pinetop’ Sparks – Tell Her About Me
    7. Leroy Carr – Blues Before Sunrise
    8. Ma Rainey – Sleep Talking Blues
    9. Sippie Wallace – The Man I Love
    10 Leola Manning – Satan Is Busy in Knoxville
    11. Tampa Red – Hellish Old Feeling
    12. Elvie Thomas – Motherless Child Blues
    13. Hollis ‘Fat Head’ Washington – Early In the Morning
    14. Barbecue Bob – Easy Rider Don’t You Deny My Name
    15. King Solomon Hill – Gone Dead Train
    16. Bessie Smith – Them “Had Been” Blues
    17. Lonnie Johnson – Death Valley is Just Half Way To My Home
    18. Peetie Wheatstraw – 304 Blues
    19. Ruth Ladson – Who Do You Be?
    20. Sara Martin – I Want Every Bit Of It, I Don’t Like It Second Hand

    I think it came together rather nicely,I love ending with that Sara Martin track. I tried to include all the types of blues I showcase on my blog with out focusing on one type so I hope ya’ll enjoy it. I figure shipping should be about $1.50 so just paypal/send me money or something and I’ll fire off a disc for ya. And I’ll leave this up forever and ever so it’s not a limited time offer by any means.

    No update today beyond this, I need to run some errands and burn some CDs, I hope that ya’ll order and enjoy the discs!

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    Them’s Graveyard Words
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    Posted in Honey on 10.13.04

    I’m normally very skeptical about band reunions, but then new American Music Club album is really good. Eitzel’s lyrics are as sharp as ever and the music is very assured and solid. I’m almost glad they took a break when they did, because I really dislike their last album.

    I forgot to remind ya’ll about my radio show last night, it was a lot of fun, I played a lot stuff I hadn’t thought about it a long time. One of those tracks is featured today! I think it’s fun, I’ll play some track that I haven’t heard in months, then it will be in my head for several days afterwards. It’s like that quote from Shadow of a Doubt “Sometimes I get a tune in my head like that, and pretty soon I hear somebody else humming it too. I think tunes jump from head to head.”

    I posted “Them There Blues” by Bessie Smith way back in July, and it was received warmly. This track is one of her murder ballads, Them’s Graveyard Words. I don’t normally post murder ballads much, but I really think that Smith makes them more human and personal than other interpretations. She doesn’t try to shock the listener or even plead with the listener, but to allow the listener understanding why she did the crime. Them’s Graveyard Words features a man who beats her with a rocking chair (!) and tells Bessie about the other woman. Bessie gets her revenge, though as sure as 2 and 2 is four. Smith is accompanied by a great New Orleans dirge backing her song of sorrow and revenge.

  • Bessie Smith – Them’s Graveyard Words
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    Lost and Found
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    Posted in Honey on 10.12.04

    The Mix CD track listing will be up later today, it’s shaping out to be pretty awesome I think. Last night I had my first dream about the blog (I hope this a common thing) and it was pretty weird. What happened was that I was checking the comments on my blog and there were a whole lot of them, each had like 500 hyperlinks words and none of them made sense and there were pages and pages of them. Then I checked my email and it had the same thing. Then I woke up in a sweat, or in my bed. Or something. But it was pretty weird either way.

    This was the track (I think) in my dream. I guess it was weird that I posted this track because it’s not really indicative of Blind Willie McTell’s style. East St. Louis Blues is a fine track regardless, it is his last recording for Vocalion and one of his very last proper studio recordings. It features classic Mctell guitar runs, but his voice is not as strong on this track as most of his other songs.

  • Blind Willie McTell – East St. Louis Blues
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    See What You Have Done?
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    Posted in Honey on 10.07.04

    Apparently my roommate after hearing that he would have to make some expensive repairs to his car, went to our landlord’s office and cussed them all out. This had three funny results. 1) A call to me from the secretary that said that they never want to see him again (but they will see him again at 4) and that he can be scary and rude. 2) our toilet was finally fixed. 3) They let it slip that they sold the building, that’s why we had to move rather than the structural problems (if any) the building had.

    I used to think that I liked songs about Blind Lemon Jefferson, than the man himself. I discovered later that Jefferson was a really amazing songwriter with a great and calming voice. It’s hard to tell the origins of blues songs, but it seems that Blind Lemon Jefferson, wrote them all, much like Shakespeare, before anyone else had the chance to.

  • Blind Lemon Jefferson – Corrina Blues
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    Oh Babe, It Ain’t No Lie
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    Posted in Honey on 10.06.04

    I thought the radio show last night went pretty well, I had some strange drunken requests for depressing songs, which I’m not sure if I should comply with. Now that I have moved and gotten somewhat settled in, I will be compiling the track list and cds this weekend. I’m going to have a permanent link (somehow) to a separate page just for the mix cd information sometime next week, So keep yr eyes and ears peeled for the latest news.

    Today we are featuring another postwar track, this time from Elizabeth Cotten. Cotten, born right here in North Carolina was one of my main reasons for getting into blues music, and I still haven’t found anything that’s quite like her. Vocally she has the tenderness of Mississippi John Hurt but the guitar playing ability of Blind Blake. This song “Oh, Babe It Ain’t No Lie” is one of my favorite tracks of all time, and I hope ya’ll love it just as much.

  • Elizabeth Cotten – Oh Babe, It Ain’t No Lie
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    Live!
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    Posted in Honey on 10.05.04

    Radio Show Tonight, streaming at www.wuag.net 9-11pm EST. Listen in or be square.
    It will be a world weary show, as I’m pretty exhausted, but the new Hem album is making me feel very fall and wonderful. I’ll put up some tracks from it this Friday.

    I know I don’t normally stray too far from postwar blues, but I ran across this track and I think it’s wonderful. Mississippi John Hurt was one of the biggest names during the folk revival. This track was recorded at a show at Oberlin College in Ohio. Hurt’s voice is wonderful and wise and his guitar playing doesn’t feel like he’s lost anything since the 30s. Wonderful and it feels a lot like fall to me, Since I’ve Laid My Burden Down.

  • Mississippi John Hurt – Since I’ve Laid My Burden Down
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