I Got Diamonds On My Hands Now
Posted in 1920s,Hokum on 08.14.07

I have added a verification box to the comments section. Basically you have to enter the phrase in the box to prove that you are a real person and not a machine sent to wreck my comments section with ads for various pills and other things not related to blues. Of course if you are a machine – and you have learned to read letters in boxes, my site is yours to wreck.

Way back in ’04 I posted a track by the Hokum Boys which was the Georgia based group featuring Blind Blake and Black Rob, these Hokum Boys were session players in the Chicago jazz scene and were thrown together as a quick cash in the Hokum craze. I’m not the biggest Hokum fan around, but regular Honey readers will know I do love a good version of the Gambler’s Blues also known as St. James Infirmary. These Hokum Boys recorded two takes on the song and both are fantastic and feature some non standard instrumentation for the song – No. 2 features a great banjo lead and No. 1 has a little Spanish influence in the guitar runs, though I think the vocal preformance really steals the show from the guitar/piano work.

The Hokum Boys – Gambler’s Blues (1929)
The Hokum Boys – Gambler’s Blues No. 2 (1929)

Don’t Put That Thing On Me
Posted in 1920s,Country Blues on 08.14.07

Clifford Gibson worked mostly as a sessions man for musicians recording in St. Louis, he did record a bunch of wonderful sides for Victor in 1929 as part of that labels recording blitz of the city that netted such greats as Alice Moore and Roosevelt Sykes. Gibson never rose to that sort of fame, even though he was an extremely talented musician both lyrically and on the guitar which commands masterfully in both of these sides. Bad Luck Dice in particular shows off what an amazing talent he was – I heard it for the first time over the weekend and it just floored me – a perfect blend of Peetie Wheatstraw and Lonnie Johnson , and it really conveys the power of the blues. This would be great track to play for someone who has just heard Robert Johnson or Mississippi John Hurt for the first and wants to know where to go next.

Clifford Gibson – Don’t Put That Thing On Me (1929)
Clifford Gibson – Bad Luck Dice (1929)

Put Me In Six Feet Of Ground
Posted in 1930s,Female Blues on 08.13.07

Ruby Walker recorded under the name Ruby Smith, and it’s pretty easy to hear why. On this cover of Bessie Smith’s ‘Lectric Chair Blues she attempts (and mostly succeeds) at sounding just like Bessie Smith. While this doesn’t make her the most interesting of the female blues singers it does make her a pretty solid one. Besides most female blues singers couldn’t even hold a candle to Bessie’s singing talent – Ruby Walker has a few lit.

Ruby Walker (Smith) – ‘Lectric Chair Blues

Voice Of The Blues
Posted in 1920s,1930s,Female Blues on 08.08.07

Apparently I’ve made an enemy over in Amsterdam. Prewarblues.org was under “attack” sometime over the weekend – which is pretty lame. I mean i know I took some time off, but that’s no reason to try to crash my site…right?

Irene Scruggs won a talent contest for Okeh which allowed her to record a handful of sides for that label and also allowed her to travel around as part of several groups as well as forming her own band in St.Louis. For a relatively unknown blues singer she recorded with some of the best in the industry: Lonnie Johnson, King Oliver and Clarence Williams. The first track here Worried Love is a duet with Johnny Hodges on piano – and it’s quite fun in the mood of Lonnie Johnon’s duets with Victoria Spivey. The second track is her with a fantastic, but unknown guitar player -in a much more standarded blues number “The Voice of the Blues.”

Irene Scruggs – Worried Blues Pt. 1
Irene Scruggs – Voice of the Blues (1930)

Jinx !
Posted in 1920s,Female Blues on 08.02.07

The best part about packing up and moving is that you realize that you have a bunch of cds that aren’t even opened. This could also be the worst part – as it really exposes how deep my addiction goes. In a releated note Document Records is having a huge mid-summer cd sale with a bunch of titles from £2.99 – £5.99, that’s GBP so about 6 to 9 USD.

This cut from Ora Brown is from the Tiny Parham and the Blues Singers, Parham was a band leader but he also worked as a talent scout for Paramount Records and these singers are some of the ladies he was pitching to Paramount, who unfortunately never recorded a bunch of songs. I don’t know anything about Ora Brown – she recorded these two songs in 1927 with Will Ezell and this version of Jinx Blues might be my new favorite.

Ora Brown – Jinx Blues