SQL Blues
Posted in 1920s,Delta,Honey,Meta on 06.06.06

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)


15 Comments so far
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By Steve Sims on 06.09.06 7:22 am

Many thanks for sharing these tracks – Bailey is sometimes included on the usual “friends of Patton” collections, otherwise hard to find.
I agree with Rob Hutten’s comments below. Wardlow’s book “Chasin’ That Devil Music” has as much on Kid Bailey as anything I’ve seen. It mentions that Bailey was remembered by (among others) Ishmon Bracey and (the great) Walter Vinson.
Yeah, he does sound a lot like Willie Brown – who as Patton’s sidekick. probably influenced a few others.

By Kate on 06.15.06 5:45 pm

As a side note here,

Did you all hear the NPR report on Joe Holmes? He was an itinerant blues player recorded by John Work, a Fisk University musicologist, in 1941. Holmes never made a record, so this is all we’ve got of him.

NPR has the story in audio files online, as well as a link to the recording by Holmes himself.

Not prewar, but pretty darned close. Check it out at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5425762&ft=1&f=1042

By Steve Sims on 06.23.06 8:01 pm

Hi Kate,

According to the G D Wardlow book I mention above, Joe Holmes DID record commercially – he’s the mysterious King Solomon Hill who recorded a handful of slide masterpieces for Paramount in 1932.

Wardlow’s field research is convincing at least to me; and I think it’s now generally accepted that KSH was Holmes though there have been some controversies over this.

Thanks for the link – this does sound to me very like KSH albeit after a bit of Robert Johnson influence! He did seem to pick up bits’n’pieces from others; the 1932 tracks include a Lonnie Johnson cover, plus he was a follower/friend of Blind Lemon or at least so he claimed.

Do check out the 1932 King Solomon Hill sides especially the great “The Gone Dead Train”. Beware that some tracks are in his natural voice (like the Work recording), others in falsetto, so he doesn’t always sound quite the same.

BTW Honey Peter has posted some excessively rare KSH tracks recently – “Times Has Done Got Hard” & “My Buddy Blind Papa Lemon”.

Cheers, Steve

By Steve Sims on 06.23.06 8:24 pm

PS The Gayle Dean Wardlow book “Chasin’ That Devil Music” also includes a CD of tracks from his 78 collection – highly recommended, the best thing in my library after the indispensible “Blues And Gospel Records 1890-1943” (4th edition) – the latter expensive but the Blues Bible, must have!


PPS is there anything better than Henry Brown on ivories & Ike Rodgers on bone – check out Edith North Johnson’s “Good Chib Blues” – “aaahhhh play it for me little boy – get your mind on it” – coming through my ears right now! Oh boy I love this music, it’s even better than jass…

By peter patnaik on 06.24.06 1:09 am


good chib blues for download. johnson’s voice kills me everytime.

By Steve Sims on 06.24.06 2:16 am

Good Chib is a seriously anti-man song, “guess I’ll get my good chib, and get somethin’ good from you” (ouch) – even more so is Geeshie Wiley in Skinny Legs Blues: “I’m gonna cut your throat baby, gonna look down in your face … I’m gonna let some lonesome graveyard be your restin’ place” – tell me, do us guys really deserve this sorta revenge?

Well maybe we do, i’m no more innocent than any other. My fave is Ma Rainey’s Black Eye Blues – “You low down alligator, just watch me sooner or later, gonna catch you with your britches down” – the thought of this make me really very uncomfortable…

By peter patnaik on 06.25.06 1:21 am

according to bessie smith, whose man has done everything from pawning her clothes (ticket agent…) to hitting her with a rocking chair (them’s graveyard words) we do deserve:

I cut him with my Barlow,
Stabbed him in the side,
Stood there watchin’ over him,
While he wobbled ’round and died.(electic chair blues)

anti men songs are pretty fun, and sadly a lost art save for that dixie chick’s earl song and that one keshia cole song “i’ve should cheateed”

By gayle dean wardlow on 08.11.06 10:08 am

Thanks for promotinh my research and book. I will start emalinb gto you and writre more about KidBailey an an anzswer any questions aboug KDH. Please tell everyone thanks and I now live in Pensacola,Fl. My email is as above if someone wants to contact me. gdw. 8450-981-3783,

By Zygos Community Links on 02.22.08 5:46 am

The mysterious Kid Bailey…

Kid Bailey was a Mississippi Delta bluesman blessed with the kind of slightly gravel-tinged voice that emanates authority. His recording career was a very short one, however, consisting of…

By Max Haymes on 05.10.08 9:03 am

Hi there transatlantic blues-diggin’ peoples

The ticket agent referred to in a piece by Bessie Smith is a railroad ticket from the agent at the railroad depot!!!
Why not check out my book “Railroadin’ Some(railroads in the early blues)”. Max Haymes. Music Mentor Books. York UK. Available online

By Rhod on 10.27.11 3:37 pm

Thanks for the chance to hear Kid Bailey. I am reading Ted Gioia’s book “Delta Blues”and it has ignited my passion to find out more of these obscure blues players.



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