I’ve posted about the Geraldine Fibbers before, but I haven’t posted any solo Carla Bozulich tracks yet, her song by song cover of Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger was one of the best albums of 2003 and her new album Evangelista is easily the best album I’ve heard this year. Bozulich mixes folk and outsider sensibilities with post-rock supplied by members of GY!BE and A Silver Mount Zion and it sounds so so good. This track, Steal Away, comes after the sensational (and far too long to be posted on here) title track so it’s more of a lullaby than the songs before and after it.
Carla Bozulich – Steal Away (2006)
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Seth Richards recorded a couple tracks under his real name in 1928, which would be his last recordings until he recorded as Skoodle Dum Doo and Sheffield in 1943. This track is where he got that moniker suggesting that it was a pretty solid seller. Richards attack this this track with great frenzy and frantic kazoo playing, but that frantic energy dies down and Richards settles into reciting Blind Willie McTell lyrics.
Seth Richards – Skoodledum Doo (1928)
Kansas City Strummers were an unknown string band, with a great sense of rhythm and a wonderful vocalist who weaves and slurs his way through this song. I like this song a bunch because it really stands out from the the countless string bands that dotted the Midwest like railroad spikes who avoid numbers like this.
Kansas City Strummers – Broken Bed Blues (1926)
Bessie Brown and George Williams recorded a series of duets through out the twenties and early thirties to some success, though the never really broke out of the blues husband and wife formula. The Bessie Brown here is not the Bessie Brown who recorded as “The Original Bessie Brown” and she’s not really as talented or as interesting as that one, or even her husband George Williams. This song is not a duet, but a solo track with Williams singing and Fletcher Henderson on piano and it’s a great and much more serious and low-key and their duet work.
George Williams – Hard Headed Gal (1924)
I get a bunch of emails from electronic/idm/techno bands trying to get me to promote their albums, which i never really understood because Honey and I’m guessing the readership of Honey is the opposite of that style of music. I never ever get emails or albums from roots or blues musicians, until the other day when I got some links from Television Hill promoting their new album Twilight that’s filled with good blues number including the excellent take on Jinx Blues.
Moral of the story. Send me (pre-war) blues music.
Television Hill – Ginx Blues (link fixed)
It’s taking me forever to ready this mix, but it’s finally done. I’ve picked my twenty five favorite blues songs of all time, most of them are pre-war though a few slip into the post war era. The most notable post-war recording is Son House’s Death Letter Blues recorded in 1965 which made the list over his 1941/1942 recordings with Lomax (a record I often call my favorite blues recording of all time) because it was this recording that got me into the blues more so than anything else. It’s so hard to limit your favorite records of all time to twenty five, so a few artists dear to my heart were left off: Rev. Gary Davis, Ida Cox, Elizabeth Cotten, The Gee’s Bend Singers, Blind Willie McTell, Tommy Johnson, Walter Davis, Blind John Davis all missed the cut and I’m sorry, but there’s gotta be room for another twenty five.
The mix is available for download here for donors. To donate click here.
My Favorite Twenty Five Tracklist (not in order or rank):
- Rev. Isaiah Shelton – The Liar
- Son House – Death Letter
- Blind Boy Fuler – Why Don’t My Baby Write To Me?
- Blind Blake – Dry Bone Shuffle
- im Clark – Fat Fanny Stomp
- Ruth Ladson – What Do You Bet?
- Bertha “Chippie” Hill – Pratt City Blues
- Doctor Clayton – False Love Blues
- Louise Johnson – All Night Long
- Lucille Bogan – They Ain’t Walking No More
- Sara Martin – Death Sting Me Blues
- J.T. “Funny Paper” Smith – Heart Bleeding Blues
- Blind Jessie Harris – Been In The Jailhouse 1
- harley Patton – You’re Gonna Need Somebody When You Die
- Blind Willie Johnson – It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine 1
- Geechie Wiley & Elvie Thomas – Motherless Child Blues
- Jessie Derrick – If You’ll Come Back To Hollywood
- Bessie Smith – Them “Has Been” Blues
- Sippie Wallace – Murder Is Going To Be My Crime
- John Henry Barbee – Six Weeks Old Blues
- Rev. F.W. McGee and His Congregation – Fifty Miles of Elbow Room
- Victoria Spivey – Down Hill Pull
- Charley Jordan – Keep It Clean
- William Harris – Bullfrog Blues
- Lonnie Johnson – Southland Is Alright With Me
Son House – Death Letter Blues
I didn’t mean to take a week off from the blog, but I had a few days off for my birthday then I went to Cincinnati to see the Reds play (and lose) over the weekend. But I’m back with a fresh stock of blues discs thanks to Shake It Records. By “thanks” I mean they allowed me to spend more money than I wanted to, before finding out they have Document Records 3 for $28. I think my mouth hit the floor.
Jake Jones and The Gold Front Boys were a Dallas Based blues band featuring Jones on the mic backed by unknowns on banjo, guitar and clarinet. The clarinet in this song is star, matching Jones’ plaintive cry perfectly. This isn’t the first (or second) blues song to use the ocean as a metaphor for a relationship, but it does manage to avoid using the same “stuck between the devil and the deep blues sea” type lines as most of the other nautical blues songs.
Jake Jones and The Gold Front Boys – Southern Sea Blues (1929)
The site was down for a good part yesterday as my host for whatever reason botched some move of their mysql server taking a bunch of sites down. Everything should be back to normal now. I was going to think of some clever 6/6/06 post today, but I mean, everyone is doing that. So here is my post from yesterday that didn’t make it up.
Here are the two sides Kid Bailey (as discussed here) recorded in 1929 in Memphis. I hear the resemblance to Willie Brown, especially in Rowdy Blues, but the voice and phrasing doesn’t seem like they are coming from the same guy.
Kid Bailey – Mississippi Bottom Blues (1929)
Kid Bailey – Rowdy Blues (1929)
Chris Clark is a musical oddity, a white woman who dated Berry Gordy, and recorded a handful of tracks for his Motown label and pulled it all off. Clark is most often compared to Dusty Springfield, but her voice to me sounds a lot like Nancy Wilson’s voice especially on End of Love. Clark never really made it big, this track Love’s Gone Bad barely hit in the top 50, but it features some stellar Motown production and her voice is just perfect.
Chris Clark – Love’s Gone Bad (1966)
The Stagolee Archives are now up. If you have any other versions please send them along to firstname.lastname@example.org. The archives are up for donors only, sorry.
Willie Brown was an early delta blues singer who traveled and play with the delta greats like Son House, Charley Patton and Robert Johnson. He is most famous for being mentioned in Johnson’s Crossroad Blues but he was a strong guitar player with a great voice. These two songs were by request, M & O blues was recorded at the famous 1930 Paramount Records recording session that also brought us the first recordings of Son house. The second track was recorded in 1941 and features a calmer, softer Willie Brown leading to some debate whether or not the Willie Brown who recorded this song with Lomax was the same Willie Brown who had played with Patton and House some 11 years earlier.
Willie Brown – M & O Blues (1930)
Willie Brown – Make Me A Pallet On The Floor (1941)