A long time ago, This album was requested when I was posting a bunch of out of print things – and I’m finally making good on that promise. Trix Records was one of the best of the blues labels in post-war era though it never had the break through artists that would help propel Chess and others to major label status. This album Detroit After Hours is a collection of their musicians playing on the same piano and recored live at a house in Detroit’s “The Valley” a former black neighborhood that was the center of black entertainment after the war and was demolished over time in the 70s and 80s to make way for a freeway. The music is lively and really capture the spirit of a blues after hour party and all these songs are wonderful.
Pick a song or pick the full album.
Chuck Smith – The Train Is Coming (1973)
Detroit After Hours Vol. 1 (zip file)
By request here are the other four sides by Billy Bird. Mill Man Blues is a solid blues number, almost the equal Down in the Cemetery. The other two sides are Alabama Blues part 1 and 2. Theses numbers are based off Jim Jackson’s Kansas City Blues, thought they aren’t near as great as that number. Part 1 plays off T for Texas and Part 2 is a little more vulgar, and I think the better take of the song.
Billy Bird – Mill Man Blues (1936)
Billy Bird – Alabama Blues Pt. 1 (1936)
Billy Bird – Alabama Blues Pt. 2 (1936)
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Last night after writing my post I went through and updated my so so so out of date blogroll, and I didn’t know about all the crazy stuff that’s gone down in the last few months : Tuwa (!!!!) stopped posting, Rev. Frost got kicked out of his home, Big Rock Candy Mountain got their domain stolen! What’s going on people!?
Billy Bird is an unknown from Atlanta – and an outstanding blues singer. Bird isn’t a showy as a lot of the piedmont blues musicians (especially the Atlanta based ones) but his simple, yet poetic sound is what really draws me towards him. This song is painful blues songs about a man lamenting the death of of wife and features such great lines like “I’m going to make a hundred/ I’ll give you ninety-nine” and of course he rolls that “nine” off the tongue and guitar just like Blind Willie McTell would.
Billy Bird – Down in the Cemetery (1928)
I promise. It’s been a rough few months, thanks for sticking around.
I posted a track by Speckled Red way back in June of 05and it’s still up to download, which is remarkable I think. I don’t revisit too many of my old posts, there are far too many blues people to unearth to repeat the same dozen artists that CD compilations seems to be happy to produce. Speckled Red is also so fun and lively; this track will surely get you out of your seat – and it also provides a great counterpoint to the question I always get “Why are the blues so depressing?”
Speckled Red – You Got To Fix It (1938)