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)
I signed on a house last week, hopefully that means I’ll be able to unpack all my blues cds finally after their 6 or so months of captivity in old wine boxes. Durham will be my new home, I can already feel the Bull City pride sweeping through my consciousness.
If you were having problems downloading the last couple files, I believe I’ve fixed the extra “/” being inserted when uploading files.
Today’s track is from Elizabeth Johnson who spins Easy (See See, C.C) Rider into a first person narrative about leaving that man…then comes back for revenge with a “big long shiny barrel.” Despite the familiar premise the lyrics are strong, and Johnson breaks her monotone singing style for a few moments where she lets some guinie anger slip in when singing “I ain’t no dog/please don’t dog me around/it’s your time now…” The title seems ironic, as there’s no Sobbin’ in this side.
Elizabeth Johnson – Sobbin’ Woman Blues (1928)
I updated the release dates for the first blues mix below – I knew someone would call me out for not including it – yet here we are. Does anyone know if Yazoo Records is still releasing albums? Their website doesn’t seem like it has been updated since the last batch of Patton reissues, but I keep seeing new (at least to me) discs pop up every so often.
We have a trio of songs from Luella Miller today. Miller was was a well traveled blues singer – her topical songs seem to focus on St.Louis and Mississippi though she recorded in both New York and Chicago. The first track was her first release and feature guitar great Lonnie Johnson on violin! He would appear on several of her early recordings on guitar, but it’s interesting to hear him on violin – which I’ve only heard a handful of songs feature him on that instrument. The last two tracks are my favorite, and unfortunately her last recorded works – her voice has matured a lot in couple years between recordings and she’s back by her best band, especially on the on wonderful side Wee Wee Daddy Blues.
Luella Miller – Dago Hill Blues (1926)
Luella Miller – Chicago Blues (1928)
Luella Miller – Wee Wee Daddy Blues (1928)
If you remember the brief lived blog “Workbook” that was linked from this blog (back when I still had links) or if you were the guy who wrote that blog, please contact me, regarding one of the mixes you posted a few years ago.
I started this mix a few years ago, and just got around to completing it yesterday when I found my list of songs while cleaning up my back up drive. Part One is devoted to my favorite type of blues, female blues. It’s meant to be an overview of the genre with a balance between obvious classics and personal favorites, much those “rough guide to..” series of mixes. The first two mixes in the series will be available to everyone, though as I break it down into sub-genres and styles and personal those will through donation only.
Please leave suggestions and comments about future mixes in the comment sections. Also if you want to contribute a mix one a sub genre of pre-war music (not just blues) send me an email and we can work those details out.
Coming Soon – The Gents
01. Hattie Hart – I Let My Daddy Do That (1934)
02. Gertrude ”Ma” Rainey – Black Eye Blues (1928)
03. Lucille Bogan – Shave ‘em Dry (1935)
04. Victoria Spivey – Black Snake Blues (1926)
05. Viola McCoy – I Ain’t Gonna Marry, Ain’t Gonna Settle Down (1924)
06. Clara Smith – Death Letter Blues (1924)
07. Sara Martin – Death Sting Me Blues (1928)
08. Mamie Smith – Crazy Blues (1920)
09. Jessie Derrick – If You’ll Come Back To Hollywood (1926)
10. Bessie Smith – Cemetery Blues (1923)
11. Bessie Tucker – Got Cut All To Pieces (1928)
12. Arizona Dranes – My Soul Is A Witness For The Lord (1926)
13. Gladys Bentley – How Much Can I Stand (1928)
14. Louise Johnson – On the Wall (1930)
15. Memphis Minnie – Nothin’ In Ramblin’ (1940)
16. Sister Rosetta Tharpe – God Don’t Like It (1939)
17. Trixie Smith – You’ve Got To Beat Me To Keep Me (1925)
18. Ozella Jones – I Been a Bad, Bad Girl (Prisoner Blues) (1942)
Download Mix Here
I don’t really know anything about today’s singer – Genevieve Davis – outside of this track she recorded with Louis Dumaine’s Jazzola Eight is flat out fantastic. The song is a familiar theme of northern disillusionment that followed both great migrations northward best represented in the blues world in Lonnie Johnson’s Southland Is Alright By Me. Davis doesn’t go into the theme as deeply as Johnson – but her lyrics are particularly effective lines like “did you ever dream lucky/wake up gold [referring to her honey] in hand/and you didn’t have a dollar to pay your house rent man.” Davis’ work on the song is done pretty quickly at around the minute and the half mark – leaving the rest of the song up to the Jazzola Eight who really knock it out of park – incredible work and some of the best examples of pre-war New Orleans jazz that I’ve heard. It is also the first by the Eight that I’ve heard. If anyone has their solo or backing work – I’d love to hear it.
Genevieve Davis – Haven’t Got A Dollar To Pay Your House Rent Man (1927)
My recent request for help with my spam problem was a success, so I’m asking for some more tech help – Is anyone using WP- Mint – Popular Posts? I would like to track my downloads per file, something dreamhost doesn’t offer, and all the Mint plugins for download track use a php script that also prevents the songs from being saved – only streamed. If I could this mint popular post plugin working, at least I would know which posts people are reading the most, and hopefully also download the song the most, not ideal but at least I’d get some idea of what ya’ll are downloading. I have the plugin pointed at my Mint database – but I don’t know what to do from there. My WordPress theme isn’t widget aware is that the problem?
I recently discovered this Sara Martin track – Shipwrecked Blues and it’s unlike any Sara Martin song I’ve heard before. She sings in vaudeville pitch and the song has lots of strange pauses and breaks – and is only minimally backed up by a solo piano. The pace of the song is also really strange – it’s very rocky – side to side much like a ship making it hard to follow, not to mention Martin who is normally very clear mumbles and slurs her way through some of the stanzas and she also reaches for the higher notes (and does some awful rolling of them), something not typical of her style at all. It makes me wonder if this is her at all. Thoughts?
Sara Martin – Shipwrecked Blues (1926)
If anyone can help me out with my spam issue I’d love to know how to prevent it. I’m currently using Peter’s Custom Anti-Spam plugin for WordPress, but it doesn’t seem to work that well. Also it doesn’t seem to work with Safari.
I often search my archives to see what I’ve posted before – and upon searching Ida Cox, one of my favorite blues singers of all time – I noticed I’ve only posted her one other time. Of course in that post I expressed my outrange of that same fact. I’ve been listening to Ida sing Coffin Blues, quite possibly the saddest blues song I’ve heard this side of Lonnie Johnson’s Death Valley is Only Half Way To My Home. Backed by Jesse Crump on his beautiful and heartbreaking reed organ Ida sings about burying her man – without metaphor or happiness – this is the sadness of the blues at its most pure.
Ida Cox – Coffin Blues (1925)
Lizzie Miles was a New Orleans Singer who had a wide range of singing styles though I think she was only able to pull off jazz and blues – this track in particular is a fantastic blues performance and really shows why she was one of the biggest blues star of her time. She Is backed by Jelly Roll Morton on piano, and what a wonderful piano track this is – he almost steals the show from Miles who is at her somber and plaintive best.
Lizzie Miles – I Hate A Man Like You (1929)
I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe holiday – here at Honey H.Q. our holidays have been postponed until after the New Year because of shipping and logistic delays. I’ve fixed the Utah Smith link below – so everyone can hear that wonderful song, instead of me just teasing you with it. In the comments section of that post I was correct about the location of Mississippi Records, it is actually a domestic record shop in Portland,OR. I was able to track down one e-retailer that has it (Other Music out of NYC) Aquarius Records out of San Fransisco stock the record, but they are out of stock at the moment.
I’m going back to an older Trikont release today, Flashback #4 Blue and Lonely is a great introduction to pre-war blues and jazz. It covers most of the big names like Ma Rainey, Blind Willie Johnson and Tampa Red, but also has some more obscure artists and some other non-blues popular music from the period. I think it makes a much better introduction to blues as a whole than those Rough Guide To… compilation discs or even the Folkways Classic Blues series (as far as introduction to the genre goes). This track is by Lee Morse and the Blue Grass Boys, though it’s certainly not a bluegrass song – Morse goes in and out phrasing styles – from blues to vaudeville which might put some people off – but I find the song enjoyable despite the questionable choice of her flat delivery.
Buy the disc here!
Lee Morse and the Blue Grass Boys – Moanin’ Low (1928)
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)