Hell’s Highway
Posted in 1930s,Hokum on 05.24.10

Two tracks today from Charlie Burse & his Memphis Mudcats. Burse isn’t known outside of his work with the Memphis Jug Band as a guitar player and sometimes spoon player. Document’s new release of his complete record works outside of the Memphis Jug Band show a versatile talent and one that’s equally Lonnie Johnson as Skip Jones.

Charlie Burse & his Memphis Mudcats – Baby, You Win (1939)
Charlie Burse & his Memphis Mudcats – I’m In Buddy’s Wagon (1939)
Charlie Burse & his Memphis Mudcats – Hell’s Highway (1939)

Even To Atlanta, GA
Posted in 1930s,Female Blues,Honey on 04.05.10

Had a couple of comments via web/email about the wonderful Irene Scruggs – so here are a couple more tracks. Irene Scruggs only recorded a small batch of songs – 12 or so under her own name, another four with Clarence Williams and his band and the songs with Blind Blake. She would only sing for a unti 1935 unfortunately, but at least she was able to record a good number of songs at least compared with many of the female blues singer I pine for who only had one record in their recorded careers.

The first track I originally uploaded way back in 2007, but the second track is new to the blog and continues Scruggs’ song cycle about falling in love with married men.

Irene Scruggs – Voice of the Blues (1930)
Irene Scruggs – Borrowed Love (1930)

Married Man Blues 2 & 3
Posted in 1930s,Country Blues on 04.01.10

I finally got around to picking up the 2010 Blues Images calender. Like last year they still insist that the images and music are all from the 1920s, which isn’t the case. This year’s disc is a better compilation of rarities and classics than last year so you have Charley Patton’s High Water Everywhere, Ida Cox’s Mojo Hand Blues paired with 3 sides being issued for the first time ever. It’s a good package and if you dig old blues imagery the calender is pretty good and it has a bunch of blues/jazz singers birth and death dates on the calender part.

Two of the unreleased songs are takes from Irene Scruggs and Blind Blake’s Married Man Blues tk 2 and 3. Not the strongest of their partnership but still very good, I could listen to Irene Scruggs sing all day and sometimes I do! Take 3 has some harmonizing between Blake and  Scruggs that’s not that great,  but both takes are very similar otherwise.

Buy Blues Calendar Here

Irene Scruggs and Blind Blake – Married Man Blues tk 2 (1931)

Irene Scruggs and Blind Blake – Married Man Blues tk 3 (1931)

You Have A Hatchet Under Your Pillow
Posted in 1920s,1930s,Instrumental on 03.29.10

I kinda like Twitter. Follow Me. I’ve also added some social media links to my posts to bug all your friends with.

I’ve posted about Lonnie Johnson a bunch on this blog, he’s easily one of my favorite male blues artists – and his ranges of styles makes him appropriate for any day. A good cross section of his stuff are these two sides – one an attempted murder ballad about a man who knows his woman is out to kill him in various ways in this warning to all cuckold men. The second is the aptly titled duet “Four Hands Are Better Than One” a fun and fast dance number that is a showy display of both his and his unknown piano companion’s talents.

Lonnie Johnson – Man Killing Broad (1937)

Lonnie Johnson – Four Hands Are Better Than One (1927)

She’s A Hard Boiled Rose
Posted in 1920s,1930s,Country on 01.18.10

A lot of really wonderful pre-war discs came out towards the end of the 2009 and I missed them all. Of course I get emails promoting pretty much everything BUT pre-war music so I’m playing catch up now. The first of these discs is Gastonia Gallop, a collection of pre-war country/folk songs from Gaston County, North Carolina a place that holds special place in my heart as my Grandparents lived there for most of their lives. As a kid I can remember my Grandfather driving me through the mill houses, for the mill that had long been closed, showing where his friends/cousins lived and how what the  impact the mill closing had on the city and the riot of 29 that changed the racial landscape of the city.

This is and Old Hat release, a North Carolina based reissue label who, all state pride aside, are doing the best work around. Their releases are singular in thought and vision. They don’t make sprawling multi disc releases covering everyone who passed through Gaston County, but a selection of important records covering the scope of material – and presented with a strong point of view and narrative that is supplemented by wonderful liner notes. Both tracks presented here are great examples of how “urban” Gaston County musicians sounded  – compare this to the string bands to the east and blues musicians to the north during the same time period and it’s a night and day difference from instrumental complexity to just the sound of the recordings, both things not normally associated with pre-war country. It’s great fun to compare the second side here with a lot of the Piedmont blues songs from this period, men had the same thoughts about Carolina girls every where.

Buy Gaston Gallop here!

Wilmer Watts & The Lonely Eagles – She’s A Hard Boiled Rose (1929)

David McCarn – Take Them For A Ride (1930)

Treated Me So Unkind, I Swear I Lost My Mind
Posted in 1930s,Piano Blues on 12.04.09

These are my favorite types of murder ballads – ones that start of as a typical blues sing, in this case “You Hear Me Knocking” or  a “Lost My Woman” style of blues song, but around the halfway mark it turns darker – Leroy Carr kills his woman for running around with another man. This song is simliar to the great Bessie Smith track “Send me to the ‘lectric chair,” though Carr doesn’t plead to be killed but pleads that his woman had it coming for running around with another man. Carr’s piano is a relentless fever, Scrapper Blackwell backs Carr as usual, but is mixed far to low in the mix which is unfortunate.

Leroy Carr – Court Room Blues (1934)

Laffing Rag
Posted in 1930s,Hokum on 11.16.09

We are alive. Still listening to blues.

I’m pretty bad at self-promotion, among other things as readers of this oft lapsed blog might have noticed. I wrote a piece for a book called Hang The DJ about female murder blues ballads. You can pick it up at Amazon now! I did a reading of it at the Nashville Book Festival as well, which saw me at my nervous best.

Famous last words, but I’ll have the tracks from that piece up later this week.

A very long time ago someone asked for the newly found Ben Curry tracks. Again these are from the weird 2009 blues calendar that the Blind Blake tracks came from. Ben Curry is another mostly unknown blues player, I posted a track by him back in 2006 under his name Bogus Ben Convington “Adam and Eve in the Garden” which is just as fun as these newly found tracks under his real name. These tracks are somewhat rougher sounding and weaker lyrically than that one, they still are pretty funny – and have that great medicine show guitar sound that I love.

Bogus Ben Covington – Adam and Eve In The Garden (1928)

Ben Curry – Laffing Rag (1932)
Ben Curry – Hot Dog (1932)

You May Cock Your Pistol In My Face/But You Ain’t Done Nothing To Me
Posted in 1930s,Country Blues on 03.31.09

There is a great new blog from France called “Old Weird America” that uses The Anthology as a jumping off point for different variations on the songs presented there. About mid-way down the front page there is a fantastic post compiling 100!!! different versions of John Henry. Pretty essential stuff. We are planning on joining forces on a couple of songs, so keep your eyes peeled.

I got a couple of emails this month about the thirst for more Memphis Minnie tracks, as I think only one of the two times I’ve posted about her is still up. This first side, “You Ain’t Doing Nothing To Me,” is one of my favorites by her even though her guitar isn’t really the focus – instead we have Black Bob (Honey Session Player Hall of Famer) on piano backing Minnie who is giving one of her very best vocal performances. The last 15 or seconds of the side are some of my favorite of all time.  The second track is Minnie solo doing “Ain’t No Use Trying To Tell On Me,” a song that sounds like it was ripped right out of Blind Willie McTell’s songbook (Southern Can) that I think is a great sound for her.

Memphis Minnie – You Ain’t Doing Nothing To Me (1935) *fixed*

Memphis Minnie – Ain’t No Use Trying To Tell On Me (1933) *fixed*

She’s Got Jordan River In Her Hips
Posted in 1930s,Country Blues,Hokum,Honey on 02.27.09

With the new WordPress 2.7 is it not possible to use the new Links feature if your blog isn’t “widget” enabled? I guess it is time for an update for the 2.7 world, but it seems weird that Links doesn’t publish a page anymore.

The next line in the song, She’s Got Jordan River In Her Hips is just as a good as the title, but I won’t spoil it for you. This track was recorded by R.T Hanen who may be Jaydee Short, though I’m not hearing it – especially when Jaydee Short has such a unique voice. Most “dirty” blues songs get pretty old quickly, this one had me laughing all week. I’m also posting a great Jaydee Short song (and one I posted way back in 04) for comparison sake. Listening closer to the Jaydee Short makes me wonder if it was pressed at the wrong speed – the balance of guitar speed and voice pitch seem to be off somewhat.

R.T Hanen – She’s Got Jordan River In Her Hips (1931)

Jaydee Short – Barefoot Blues (1932)

Warm Wipe Stomp
Posted in 1930s,Country Blues,Instrumental on 02.02.09

Does Anyone else think that “Add New” is a strange way to phrase the create new post feature in WordPress 2.7? It took me awhile to figure it what it was referring to, but maybe I’m not into the swing of posting again yet.

Speaking of oddly titled things – Warm Wipe Stomp is a great dance number by Peg Leg Howell and His Gang – one of the best early blues bands, and one I haven’t really talked about on this site much. This track has a great energy to it and features both violin and mandolin two instrustments mostly found in country recordings – but both feel right at home on this side.

Peg Leg Howell and His Gang – Warm Wipe Stomp (1930)