How Can I Be Your “Sweet Mamma?”
Posted in 1920s,Female Blues on 10.16.07

Today’s update isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I honestly love the early female blues vaudeville voice. It’s nasally and not quite blues, but not jazz either – it reminds me jazz club scenes in cartoons, which maybe is the reason I love it so much . Warnings aside, Lavina Turner has one of the best examples of this style voice – and one I think will appeal to those who normally hate this style of blues. This song is sort of awkwardly titled “How Can I Be Your “Sweet Mamma” When You are “Daddy” To Someone Else” which might be the longest title for a blues song. The double entendres come quick in this song, though they aren’t as well developed as what would come later on in female blues.

Lavina Turner – How Can I Be Your “Sweet Mamma” When You are “Daddy” To Someone Else (1922)

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)

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

Apparently I’ve made an enemy over in Amsterdam. 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

Wicked Treatin’ Blues
Posted in 1920s,Country Blues on 06.06.07

I haven’t really posted any real down blues songs recently, blame the weather I guess. But this side from Slim Burton and Eddie Mapp, culled from the wonderful Georgia Blues 1928-33 disc from Document is as blue as it gets. A gut wrenching harmonica and vocal duet by these two country blues masters is slow and painful – and might be the song that Lonnie Johnson would sing while walking through Death Valley.

Slim Burton and Eddie Mapp – Wicked Treatin’ Blues

Songbird !
Posted in 1920s,Female Blues on 05.30.07

The good people over at Mozilla (the birds behind Firefox) have developed a new media player for XP, Vista, OSX and Linux that is really spiffy – and can do all the fancy functions of iTunes, without being awful and bloated. The coolest part about the player is that it has an integrated browser that when pointed to your favorite music blog, say Honey, Where You Been So Long?, it will find all the mp3s on the front page, give you track info and allow you to download them all in one swoop. You can even subscribe to the page so it will automatically down the songs to a folder and place it in your library everyday. Not to sound like they are paying my bills, but this seriously blowing my mind.

download it here! and then go to the forums and force them to add me to the bookmarks that come with the download.

Laura Smith was a popular blues singer of the time, recorded more than 20 songs in her recording career and touring across the midwest as a blues singer. She’s mostly known for her violent blues numbers, although some of them like the wonderfully titled “I’m Gonna Kill Myself” comes up more silly than anything else. This track Gravier Street Blues is her best song and one of the best murder ballads, though it’s mostly a mix of other murder ballads. Gravier Street is a street in the French Quarter in New Orleans, though I can’t find any seedy back story to the street.

Laura Smith – Gravier Street Blues

M.C. Blues
Posted in 1920s,Female Blues,Honey on 05.07.07

I love whistling. Even though I’m unable to whistle in a proper manner (i suck in, rather than blow out) I lover the sound of a proper whistle. It doesn’t seem that whistling was all that popular int pre-war blues music, although country and jazz music of the era featured whistling promtely. It seems when the moment arises to whistle in blues music the kazoo is always pulled out – and I mean I love the kazoo – Tampa Red’s especially, it’s no substitute for the whistle.

Marie Grinter published three songs for Okeh in her recording career and is unknown for good reason – she wasn’t spectacular, although I place the blame on her backing musicians rather than her voice, because while unrefined it’s better a lot of female blues singers who recorded 20 or 30 sides. This song, M.C. Blues features a great whistling chorus, though you know your career isn’t going to take off when the get the name of your signature song wrong (it should be M.G. Blues). She used whistling on another song East and West blues recored in the same session, it’s not nearly as good as M.C. Blues , but I’ve included it for thematic sake.

Marie Grinter – East and West Blues
Marie Grinter – M.C. Blues (1926)

Kansas City Frank Melrose
Posted in 1920s,Piano Blues on 04.26.07

I’ve really been enjoying the Tiger Administration Page for WordPress, created by the guys over at Orderedlist. It’s so much cleaner and easier to navigate than the standard administration page – and it looks really nice too.

Kansas City Frank Melrose, also known as Broadway Rastus, recorded a couple of sides for Paramount in the late 20s. Funnily enough, the two sides Melrose was first known for were the alternative unissused takes of his songs, the song presented here today are the ones actually released in the Winter of 1929. Whoopee Stomp is a simple dance number with Melrose’s playful piano in a duet with Tommy Taylor’s drums – it’s quiet breezy and makes you want to stomp yr feet and pray that winter is finally over.

Kansas City Frank Melrose – Whoopee Stomp

Stormy Night Blues
Posted in 1920s,Female Blues on 04.17.07

I moved the logo over to the left side of the page last night, hopefully that will help those with lower resolution monitors – and those with higher resolution monitors get a nice wave of bees. We’ll mess around with color shades with the type tonight and see if we can get to a more readable shade for everyone.

Fannie May Goosby has stolen my heart. I don’t normally go for the higher, dramatic voices. She nails it. She’s sweet and succinct and doesn’t drag her vaudeville career into many of her recorded songs (and the few vaudeville style duets she did do aren’t so bad either). Fannie also wrote most of her own songs, a rarity in female blues and they show her to be a clever and smart writer along with her solid singing its a shame she did not become as popular as Lucille Bogan who was recorded at the same session in Atlanta in 1923.

Fannie May Goosby – All Alone Blues (1923)
Fannie May Goosby – Stormy Night Blues (1928)