Murder On Friday
Posted in Honey on 07.29.05

I need some help: I’ve been messing around with a few ideas on how to display the Stagolee archives and I had made up a page that had a brief introduction by me and then all the songs and the blurbs. Well it looked awful and even without the blurbs it’s hard to navigate and use. What’s the best way to go about allowing ya’ll to down the tracks and hopefully (but not necessarily read the blurbs)?

This year has been a great year for Alt.Country (whatever that is) and music in general. Two songs in particular have been running through my speakers a lot this week and both happen to be murder ballads, not that I’ve been feeling particularly murderous – but they’ve just caught my ear. The first is a version of Poor Ellen Smith (perhaps the only murder ballad written by an actual murder) by Laura Cantrell off her new album Hummingbird Flower (the album is a lot better than the title, thankfully). Cantrell has one of the best female voices around, and she puts it to really wonderful use on this track. There’s something about ladies singing murder ballads that I love. Next up is a original song by Robbie Fulks off his new album Georgia Hard. “If They Could See Me Now” has jumped up into my top 5 songs by him already – its a wonderful tale about a broken marriage, murder and class featuring some really great imagery.

Laura Cantrell – Poor Ellen Smith
Robbie Fulks – If They Could Only See Me Now (Link Fixed)

You Treat Me Baby, Like Somebody You Never Seen
Posted in Honey on 07.28.05

I got my hands on the new Yazoo releases where they went back and remastered the 1931 Skip James recordings (and the Son House ones also) as well as a handful of Charley Patton recordings where they approach the recordings with new ears. They discovered that the recordings were mastered at the wrong speed and correct the errors, resulting in a new and wonderful sound. They should be going up soon so keep yr eyes peeled.

Not much is known about Gene Campbell, He was most likely a Texas native or at the very least a Texas resident for part of his life as he mentions several Texas areas in his songs. He’s also heavily influenced by Blind Lemon Jefferson both lyrically and in his guitar playing, but he also shows off a level of originality to his phrasing and style that other Texas blues guitars lack. This track “Doggone Mean Blues” is just a fantastic Texas blues songs and one of the best examples of the genre.

Gene Campbell – Doggone Mean Blues

Hot Time Blues
Posted in Honey on 07.27.05

Quick Update today, sorry.

I posted about William Harris a little over a year ago, so it is time to revisit him. Harris was a somewhat popular entertainer in Mississippi region before recording a handful of blues and ragtime songs in between 1927 and 1928. Harris is a really great guitar player despite not having a typical blues background – one of the most talented that I’ve heard – though his lyrical ability it not as complex as his peers it gets the job done. This track “Hot Time Blues” lifts the tune from Charley Jordan’s Keep It Clean and then speeds it up about five more times.

William Harris – Hot Time Blues

Shadow Blues
Posted in Honey on 07.26.05

I picked up some really great finds at Reader’s Corner yesterday – all for really cheap. It’s also (mainly) a really fantastic book store. I’m not sure why they had all these Document albums for cheap, but there they were. I also want to remind people that I do take down songs after a few weeks so that the links past page one are not guaranteed to work.

Today’s track is by Cow Cow Davenport and Ivy Smith – one of the most famous “couples” in pre-war blues, yet nothing is really known about their relationship or Ivy Smith in general. Cow Cow Davenport is an amazing piano player on his solo work but when he is accompanying someone it seems like he shifts into auto-mode and is really sparse and minimalistic. His work with Ivy Smith is very much like that it, but it works really well – Ivy’s voice matches his style perfectly giving tracks like “Shadow Blues” a sadness that often escapes similar blues songs. The way Ivy moans at the beginning of this track gives me the chills even in this 100 degree weather.

Ivy Smith and Cow Cow Davenport – Shadow Blues

More Capital City Fun
Posted in Honey on 07.25.05

I got a pretty hot tip of a store in Raleigh that is selling Document CDs for about 9 bux, so I’m heading up there right now. But first a great pre-war blues track from Chicago. Billie (Willie Mae) McKenzie was a blues singer from Chicago who was mostly known for her dirty blues tracks – but unlike Lil’ Johnson she was also able to make some really great non-dirty blues sides. This song “I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water” features Billie at her most vulnerable. It’s a perfect morning after song.

Billie McKenzie – I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water

Before I Faint
Posted in Honey on 07.21.05

I can’t wait until I get my new AC unit on Friday, These fans just aren’t cutting it anymore. How is everyone liking the Lightnin’ Hopkins Videos?

Another Blues Women request – Margaret Carter, an obscure blues singer who only recorded two sides in 1926. Carter sounds a lot like Bessie Smith and is almost as talented. These two songs show both skill in interpretations of blues standards as well as a good original song. She’s also back by a stellar band that includes both Charlie Irvis and Buddy Christian. It’s a shame she didn’t record more songs, she has a lot of fun with both of these tracks and shows that she did have the talent to make it in the blues world if everything would have worked out.

Margaret Carter – Come Get Me, Papa, Before I Faint
Margaret Carter – I Want Plenty Of Grease In My Frying Pan

Lightnin’ Hopkins and More!
Posted in Honey on 07.20.05

The eight (!!) Lightnin’ Hopkins videos have been uploaded and are ready to be downloaded over in Blues Videos – they are post war of course, but they are still really wonderful and features some stunning guitar work. A couple more videos are still left to post, I’ll also put the codec that each video needs once I figure them all out – but most should be divx or xvid.

Blind John Davis has always been one of my favorite blues session piano players. It was only recently learned that he did a handful of pre-war recordings under his own name. This track “Anna Lou Breakdown” features some really great piano playing – Davis was never a flashy player, but he had the best piano “sound” around and a few stanzas of lyrics. The real treat here of course is the wonderful piano playing by Davis who never really got to shine as a session player.

Blind John Davis – Anna Lou Breakdown

Old Commandment Blues
Posted in Honey on 07.19.05

By the end of the day eleven (11!!) new blues videos will be available to download so be sure to come back this evening get ’em. Big thanks goes out to Mike Cable for making this happen.

Today’s track digs deep into the unknown blues women book and finds a really wonderful track. Margaret Williams, who sounds more than a little bit like Ida Cox, wrote this song that uses ones of the commandments as a jumping off point for a pretty risque blues track. Sadly this is the only track that has been found of Margaret’s output – but she’s quite the talent, both lyrically and vocally.

Margaret Williams – Old Commandment Blues

I Wake Up Every Morning With Travelin’ On My Mind
Posted in Honey on 07.18.05

I’ve been working diligently on a page to house the stagolee week stuff so that should be up this week. Also a bunch of videos will be going up soon thanks to very generous reader. Also, I’m not sure how i missed the first couple of posts of this but the Locust St has just finished up an amazing series of posts all based around the seven sins – really great writing and even better tracks.

Today’s track again hails from Texas, likes a lot of my recent posts, but it doesn’t subscribe to the economy of words like most of the guitar based Texas blues. Son Becky is a San Antonino blues piano player who plays it fast and loose and reminds me a lot of a Chicago blues players whose lyrics are rooted in the Piedmont. This track features a great piano and washboard combo and some really fun lyrics and spoken parts back his backing band.

Son Becky – Mistreated Washboard Blues

Ain’t No Method To This Blues’N Soul Madness
Posted in Honey on 07.15.05

My good friend and two-time Honey contributer Mark Coltrain has been nice enough to grace us with a splendid mix cd before he leaves us to big and brighter pastures in Mississippi. Let me tell you this mix is awesome – displaying a range of blues and soul from the familiar to the obscure. The full zip of the mix is for donors only, but here is a sneak peak at the full thing.

Update: The link to the mix tape download is fixed

Freddy King – Sen-Sa-Shun
Paul Gayten and Annie Laurie – I Ain’t Gonna Let You In