|I Give You All My Money,/All My Lovin’ Too|
I went to my local Border’s yesterday to pick up the collection of Fox Noir movies (they didn’t stock the complete set so I had to buy them at Best Buy) and to my dismay they had relocated their blues section (that at one time was pretty solid) to two four foot sections at the end of the always poorly stocked rap section. They had gotten rid of their Yazoo compilations that were always misfiled and Document series discs they had are long gone. I was interviewed earlier that day by a Newsweek writer about the increasing digitalization of “old-timey” music that is occurring with the increasing number of recordings being available on the internet but in the marketplace that doesn’t seem to be happening, my local Best Buy doesn’t have a blues section any more and the country section is average at best. It is true that these fragile 78s are being preserved for generations through digital media, but who has access to it? In twenty years we’ll have Robert Johnson still, but will anyone remember Geeshie Wiley?
Speckled Red, born Rufus Perryman, has a story similar to Jelly Roll Morton though on a much smaller scale. Red burst on to the blues scene in 1929 with his amazing “The Dirty Dozen” and sold a bunch of records, but his next batch of recordings failed to sale (though they are all really great) and by the mid-30s he was without a record deal and only a few scattered sessions the rest of his life. This track, “What Makes You Treat Me Mean,” was from his last pre-war recording session in 1938, and it is still as fresh and inventive as his Dirty Dozen recording ten years earlier. Speckled Red was a fantastic piano player and vocalist who had the ability to flow in and out of playing styles very smoothly, often in the same track. This recording has some splendid piano playing and some quick talking singing – he should have recorded at least fifty more sides.
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