I’d Bring Singing Birds
Posted in Honey on 06.15.05

So let’s face it, my RSS feed doesn’t work. I thought it did work because when I add it to my live bookmarks it shows up fine, but apparently that’s just because it’s in my browser’s cache. I’m picking through the WordPress codex for solutions, if anyone else has dealt with this holla at me.

If Mae Clover was in my situation she’d handle it a lot differently than me. She talks about her problem solving technique in this wonder and very risque blues track “Gas Man Blues.” This is one of those dirty blues tracks that stand out to me because it doesn’t recycle the same phrases from the dirty blues handbook. “Gas Man Blues” is also notable for the fun interplay between the two singers as well as almost story telling quality – Clover doesn’t hid much behind pretty words.

Mae Clover – Gas Man Blues

Hot Summer Fun
Posted in Honey on 06.14.05

I’ve gotten a number of emails in regards to donations recently in which I’ve stated the new donation policy in these emails but not to the site at large. I’m not going to do the month by month thing anymore. Instead I’m only asking for one donation a year – the overwhelming success of the donations has lead me to believe that this site only needs to have a fundraiser once a year. So if you donate this year your password will work until 2006. Thanks again for all ya’lls support !

“King” Bennie Nawahi is one of the great Hawaiian steel guitar players, and one of the most innovative as his signature blend of hot jazz and blues standards shows. Nawahi started out as a ukulele player and vocalist, but by the early 30s he had moved to the steel guitar where he found his own style. This track, recorded in 1931, features some of the best git-up-and-dance hot jazz playing I’ve heard it’s a wonderful track for the hot and sticky summer we are having down here in North Carolina.

“King” Bennie Nawahi and his Red Devils – Dinah

They Chase You Like A Bloodhound
Posted in Honey on 06.13.05

Sorry again about Friday, I took the weekend off for my birthday though I had planned to post about Big Mama Thorton, it will have to wait ’til this Friday. My birthday went well, it was filled with Red Velvet cake and other good things. I also got an iPod (!) now I can officially be inducted into the blogger club.

Today we are featuring two tracks by Billie Young, a unusual singer (at best) backed by Jelly Roll Morton. These tracks are real puzzles to me, they both start off with a blues yodel which helps date Young as an older blues singer as she had most likely picked up that type of singing from the vaudeville days – the rest of the song varies from typical blues phrasing to awkward jazz style, but I can’t stop listening to them, they are just oddly hypnotic.

Billie Young – You Done Played Out Blues
Billie Young – When They Get Lovin’ They’s Gone

I Give You All My Money,/All My Lovin’ Too
Posted in Honey on 06.09.05

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.

Speckled Red – What Makes You Treat Me Mean

I Cross My Heart/Raise My Hand To The Lord
Posted in Honey on 06.08.05

Sorry about yesterday, work caught up with me, also I can’t stop watching the Sister Rosetta Tharpe video – so awesome. I’m working on two more videos – Big Bill Broonzy and Lead Belly.

Hattie Hudson only recorded a couple of songs in her career but they both are stunning. They also both feature Willie Tyson on piano who is right up there in my book with Lonnie Johnson, Black Bob and Blind John Davis the best backing piano players in pre-war blues. My favorite of the two is Black Hand Blues that features Hudson screaming toward god about her bad luck. It’s a wonderful and original tune that holds up much better than Doggone My Good Luck Soul which is as awkward sounding as the name implies and is much more indebted to Blind Lemon Jefferson’s Bad Luck Blues than her other side.

Hattie Hudson – Black Hand Blues

Hattie Hudson – Doggone My Good Luck Soul

Was I Drunk?
Posted in Honey on 06.06.05

Last Night’s Robbie Fulks show at the Pour House in Raleigh was pretty awesome though a bit short – only one solo song? no Anything For Love but a Ronnie Milsap cover and an awful song by the lead guitar player. Despite some odd choices the show was pretty awesome and featured an amazing version of Banks Of The Marianne. In blog news, the link to the Sister Rosetta Tharpe song is now fixed. If you’ve donated the login password for the mix is the same one for the videos though it looks like most of y’all figured it out. In other blog news Spread The Good Word has an awesome flash based radio jukebox on his site. I might steal that idea.

Georgia White and Bumble Bee Slim

Georgia White started out by recording hokum style blues songs that are okay but nothing special, however by the mid 30s she was recording for Decca and making some amazing blues music back by the best musicians the blues world could offer. This track “Was I Drunk?” was recorded with Richard Jones (one of the great blues piano plays and lyricists) and Charlie McCoy and features a very strong vocal performance by Ms. White as she ponders the night before.

Georgia White – Was I Drunk?

Blues Videos
Posted in Honey on 06.03.05

Blues Videos are up for donors: Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Roy Smeck are up and pretty awesome. Also please use http://prewarblues/feed/ for all your RSS needs, the atom feed doesn’t seem to work.

You Had Plenty Of Money In 1922
Posted in Honey on 06.02.05

Playlist magazine, which is the digital audio part of Macworld, has an article about mp3 blogging that mentions Honey as well as a few quotes bashing the JSP records by me. Not that I don’t have and enjoy JSP box sets, they have some highly dubious business practices.

Lil' Green

Today’s track is by Lil’ Green a fantastic blues singer from Chicago (by way of Mississippi) that has been forgotten by modern blues fans. Green worked with Big Bill Broonzy as a blues singer before she sat down and recorded her most famous song “Why Don’t You Do Right” with a jazz band. This song was a big hit on the jazz scene but didn’t become a cross over success until Peggy Lee covered it and made it one of her signature songs. Green’s version has a sultriness to it that Peggy Lee nor Jessica Rabbit could come close to capturing. Green continued to preform in Chicago jazz clubs until her death in 1954, without any recognition for her original (and much superior version) of “Why Don’t You Do Right.” Like Jessie Derrick, who I posted about yesterday, Green should of been a huge success and not a side note in pop music history.

Lil Green – Why Don’t You Do Right

Monthly Recap And Great Lost Blues Track !
Posted in Honey on 06.01.05

Top 10 tracks for May are as follows:

1. Lilian Miller – Kitchen Blues
2. Mississippi Sheiks – West Jackson Blues
3. Sonny Boy Williamson – Decoration Day
4. The White Stripes – Take Take Take
5. Red Allen – Biffly Blues
6. Blues Birdhead – Mean Low Blues
7. Zutty Singleton – King Porter Stomp
8. Glory Bernard – Cockroach Blues
9. Jelly Roll Morton – I Hate A Man Like You
10. Madelyn James – Long Time Blues

Mandy Lee and Ma Rainey made a strong showing despite being posted late in the month, I was hoping that the Funny Paper Smith songs would take off more – they are really wonderful tracks. Two mixes should be going up this week for donators – the Volume One Mix and a post-war blues mix as well as some other surprises.

Jessie Derrick was a rare bird – a blues singer based out of L.A and backed by a fantastic New Orleans style jazz band. There is a since of urgency and passion in the blues track “If You’ll Come Back To Hollywood” that is so hard to capture on record (in the pre-war era I can only think of Louise Johnson having so much energy on record). This recording is pretty rough, it’s very scratchy – but still loud and it’s hard if not impossible to make out any of the lyrics – but the energy and passion of the music comes through despite the poor condition of the side.

Jessie Derrick – If You’ll Come Back To Hollywood