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)

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)

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)

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)

Bogus Blues
Posted in 1920s,Hokum,Honey on 04.04.06

Bogus Ben Covington got his title for pretending to be a blind on the minstrel circuit. Ben Covington may have been Ben Curry, who recorded one of the earliest versions of the Dirty Dozens and was a travel mate of Speckled Red. I don’t think I’ve heard Ben Curry, but Oliver et al are normally right about this sort of thing. Convington was also known as “The Human Pretzel” which makes him easily the most talented blues musician to come out of the minstrel circuit. I mean Jim Jackson couldn’t even juggle.
Bogus Ben Covington – Adam and Eve In The Garden (1928)