The Next Thing I’m Going To Give Him is Six Feet In The Cold Cold Ground
Posted in 1920s,Female Blues,Honey on 02.07.07

I’m not always the best at responding to comments, but I like challenges. And I really want to be P&G’s reason to wake up in the morning, so here is some Gladys Bentley per their request.

Gladys Bentley was a major star among the Gay and Lesbian community in New York , preforming elaborate stage shows with drag queens and backing bands, Bentley would also dress up in a full tux and preform songs from both male and female points of few, much like Frankie Jaxon. Unfortunately this side of her work was never recorded and her released numbers don’t display much of her transgressive musical act. They do display her incredible talent, both as a vocalist/scat singer and piano player and are good fun, though they are surprisingly clean considering her other project, but also compared to people like Lil’ Johnson.

Gladys Bentley – Red Beans and Rice (1929)

Gladys Bentley – Worried Blues (1929)

Bonus Video – Gladys Bentley on You Bet Your Life preforming Them There Eyes. I wish we had the game show part of the show, but she kills it on piano.

Unfortunately i can’t embedded the video, so head over to youtube and check it out.

And You Can’t Make Me Blue
Posted in 1920s,Female Blues,Honey on 02.06.07

If You haven’t check them out already – download a few of those Arizona Dranes tracks – they are all fantastic. Up next is a long lost classic from Trix Records. Before that I have a whole mess of new records and requests for single songs that I’m going to try to take care of first.

Priscilla Stewart is one of these female blues singers that appear out of the mist to recorded a batch of songs and then disappeared from which she came. She didn’t seem to be part of the vaudeville circuit – her singing style is refrained and modest and she does not appear in any newspaper advertisements or theater reviews. She recorded all of her songs with the great Jimmy Blythe (Lewis) who most likely also discovered her and got Paramount to record her. Her recorded sales were modest at best – she did record at 14 sessions, but each session only contained two issued sides at the most.

Priscilla Stewart – I Was Born A Brownskin And You Can’t Make Me Blue (1925) Link Fixed

Press My Button, Ring My Bell
Posted in 1930s,Female Blues,Honey on 01.03.07

Happy New Year, blues seekers.  I have lots of back burner projects I’m going really try finally get out of the door this year, such as Honey’s Intro to Blues that’s been half written for like 6 months now. This May will be Honey’s fourth year as the premier pre-war blues mp3 blog, and hopefully our best year yet.

To start off the year I picked Lil’ Johnson’s raunchy classic “Press My Button, Ring My Bell” one of her best dirty blues songs – and while the subject matter is pretty obvious it is still one of the better written songs she preformed.  She is backed on piano by the wonderful Black Bob which also help to raise this performance above normal dirty blues dreck.

Lil’ Johnson – Press My Button, Ring My Bell (1936)

My Baby Rocks Me
Posted in 1930s,Female Blues,Honey on 12.27.06

Thanks for all the well wishes over the holidays, and all the requests for out of print blues songs, I’m busy searching the depths of Honey H.Q. for some of these numbers, but it should be a fun few weeks as I start posting my findings. Also thanks to the poster who let me know that there are a few more Sam Collins tracks not on the Yazoo record I posted, I’ll get those songs up this week sometime.

This track is a request for one of Trixie Smith’s last recordings, and it’s a good one. My Daddy Rocks Me is a sexy and assured number from Trixie and doesn’t fall into the violent or minstrel styling of some of her work. Trixie is back by Sidney Bechet on clarinet and Sammy Price on piano. Unfortunately, she would only release one more song after this session, and would die without the body of work she deserved.

Trixie Smith – My Daddy Rocks Me (1938)
Trixie Smith – My Daddy Rocks Me No. 2  (1938)

If You Can’t Hold The Man You Love
Posted in 1920s,Female Blues,Honey on 11.21.06

Evelyn Preer (Evelyn Thompson) was a Chicago Blues/Jazz singer more known for her stage act than her recording career, which only includes a half-dozen songs split between two names, and these two songs were never issued. She’s not the best singer – but her band (including a young Duke Ellington on piano and Sonny Greer on drums on the second song) really shines on these tracks transforming an average batch blues songs into something hot and memorable.

Evelyn Preer – Make Me Know It (1927)
Evelyn Preer – If You Can’t Hold The Man You Love (1927)

Sisters And Brothers
Posted in 1920s,Female Blues,Honey on 11.14.06

Christina Gray mostly recorded vaudeville numbers with her partner Joe Lawrence,which aren’t my cup of tea really. However this solo track where she is speaking to the choir about how the preacher is her lover – has everything a blues song needs – solid piano playing by Joe Robichaux and a wonderful premise. The track is also fun because Gray doesn’t get around to singing much, which judging by her her duet tracks is a very good thing.

Christina Gray – The Reverend Is My Man (1929)

You Can’t Have It, Until I Give It To You
Posted in 1920s,Female Blues,Honey on 11.06.06

I’m Alive. And feel great. Thanks for the well wishes, I felt like I was close death, but I contiuned to fight because who would run the site if I died? That was the only thing that kept my head up through that tough weekend. Then I got Ms. Honey sick, though she was only sick for a day – more like faking being sick, am i right folks?

Apparently the man appeal of Gertrude Saunders was the was she sang, not her phrasing mind you, but the weird and twisted ways she would contort her face and going in and out of characters while she sang. Some of that is audible on this track, but I’m sure a video would help to understand what is going on with all of the different voices that she goes through during the song and why she was so popular for so long, despite only recording a handful of sides.

Gertrude Saunders – You Can’t Have It, Until I Give It To You (1927)

St. Joe’s
Posted in 1920s,Female Blues,Honey on 10.31.06

I’m feel pretty under the weather today, which may interrupt my Halloween plans to see Phantom of the Opera (1925) with live organ accompaniment tonight, which will make me sad. Gambler’s Blues/Crapshooters’ Blues/St. John’s Infirmary etc has always been one of my favorite blues songs and this version by Mattie Hite is one of the best that I’ve heard. Fletcher Henderson plays piano and Hite has a strong and beautiful voice, unfortunately this version was all but forgotten when Cab Calloway’s came out a few months later.

Mattie Hite – St. Joe’s Infirmary (1924)

A To Z Blues

There were a few requests in my inbox this morning for more Josie Miles, so I picked A To Z Blues, which she introduces but the song is taken over by Billy Higgins who doesn’t do her any favors by singing lead on this song. A to Z Blues is an interesting song because it might be the most violent of all the murder blues songs. It’s so gory in fact it’s almost comical and later versions of the song seem to follow that idea as they become more sing-songy rather than mean and forceful way Higgins sings the song. These are all the versions of the song that I have, are there any more?
Josie Miles – A To Z Blues (1924)
Blind Willie McTell – A To Z Blues (1949)

Blind Willie McTell – A To Z Blues (1956)

Butterbeans and Susie – A To Z Blues (1924)

Charley Jordan – Cutting My ABCs (1937)

I’d Wreck The City
Posted in 1920s,Female Blues,Honey on 10.23.06

Josie Miles recorded around 50 sides for several different labels in the mid-1920s. She was all over the place topically, starting out with traditional vaudeville songs and country blues songs and moving into more traditional pop blues numbers. She finished her career in 1928  with a handful of gospel recordings and her whereabouts are unknown until the time of her death sometime in 1950 or early 1960s. In 1924 she recorded a few bizarre and incredibly dark blues numbers the best of which is Mad Mama’s Blues where her anger at  her situation,  erupts into  her desire to destroy the whole city.

Josie Miles – Mad Mama’s Blues (1924)