I haven’t posted in awhile because I moved to Chapel Hill in November and I don’t have a place to put up my CDs yet, so they are all in boxes and it’s a pretty big pain to get to them at the moment, Ms. Honey assures me that her patent pending shelving system will be put up the week – and posting should pick up around then. I got a new job in the non-profit sector in Orange County, which is a welcomed change from the banking world. The other bit of news is that I got engaged towards the end of last year which is pretty thrilling. The hunt is now on for “appropriate” pre-war blues songs about lasting romance. (please suggest some)
Over holiday I picked up the 2009 Classic Blues Artwork From The 1920s Calendar, which seems like an awfully specific title, especially since its not accurate as most of the images are from the 1930s. The main draw for the calendar is that it has the newly found Blind Blake tracks (as well as some new Ben Curry sides) which are loan from Old Hat records (though it looks like Yazoo might have put the disc together) which came as as shock to me as I figured that they would want first crack at releasing those sides.
Night and Day is the first of the lost Blind Blake tracks, recorded in 1932 it by the numbers “woke-up-without-my-woman” blues song that’s strangely punctuated by some wonderful upbeat ragtime guitar work between stanzas – the guitar trying to be the force Blake wish for “to move these blues away” but I’m not sure if it works.
Sun To Sun fairs better I feel – I know most people don’t listen to Blake for his lyrics – but this song is pretty solid I love “I’ve lived on water/I’ve lived on land/I ain’t find no woman whose been fine with one man” line that ends the song.
Blind Blake – Night and Day (1932)
Blind Blake – Sun To Sun (1932)
These are the tracks that have come in since the last list was posted, I’ve made a few corrections to the first list as well. I still need help tracking dates, especially on the primary list – any help would be wonderful. I haven’t decided if I’m going to separate The Gambler’s Blues away from St. James, but this list includes them together.
John Lomax Jr.
1. Arlo Guthrie (2007)
2. David Van Ronk (1959?)
3. Harlem Hot Chocolates (1930)
4. Snooks Eaglin (1958)
5. David Van Ronk & Ramblin’ Jack Elliot (1999)
6. Alex Hill and his Orchestra (1929)
7. George E. Lee and his Novelty Singing Orchestra (1929)
8. Mattie Hite (1930)
9. Rube Bloom & His Bayou Boys (1930)
10. Roy King (1952?)
11. Jimmie Rodgers (1930)
12. Hokum Boys (x2 1929)
This brings us up to 55 take on the song!!!
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Sorry for the recent silence. My beloved Macbook’s logicboard died over the weekened and I’m furiously F5ing the Apple repair site for a status update. I wouldn’t be so worried if the status wasn’t shippment pending – I remember when I worked at an Apple repair shop we sent everything out next day shipping, our store also didn’t sound like a teen club also.
In other techincal news Verizon users can download Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee ringtones. Where are my Bessie Smith ringtones?!
We should be back up in running by the end of the week, with any luck.
Sorry for avoiding the blog for a few weeks but i’ve slowly but I’ve started the slow crawl to unemployment as my work contract has unexpectedly terminated, or rather will be terminated sometime in January or February whenever I finish what I’ve been working on recently. I think I’ve come to the acceptance phase of termination and I’m pretty excited to move on to other and hopefully better employment or possibly grad school.
I am looking for recommendations on graduate schools – I’m interested in getting into a southern studies/history or a musicology program like the one at University of Memphis where I could focus on southern musical culture or history. In my brief search I’ve discover programs at both Ole Miss and University of Memphis that excite me , but I’m open and interested in other programs around the country. I’m sort of nervous about going into a music department because I’ve never taken any music courses (I was a history major in undergrad) and a lot of music programs have very daunting requirements for someone who can’t read music. But please send me your recommendation and advice to pkpatnaik at prewarblues.org
I was sent this album a few weeks ago by a reader it was released by a small british label, Mississippi, called Life is a Problem – and I can’t get it out of my head. This track in particular has really changed my mind about Utah Smith – a post-war gospel guitar player who until I heard both of his tracks on this album I thought he was so boring and all coffee shop hype. This track in particular “I Am Free” with his noisy electric blues guitar and his backing chorus with handclaps and shouts that really bring this song alive.
The two releases that I’ve heard of by this label are available for purchase here (UK) and are vinyl only.
For domestic readers of this site – Other Music stocks the album online – here.
Utah Smith – I’m Free
Apparently I never realized how broken the Stagolee Archives are. I fixed some of the files, but apparently I’ve lost all of my backups of Stagolee songs, so I’ll need some help fixing the links. I’ll post the ones I need later today or tomorrow.
This album is the Complete Recorded Works of Arizona Dranes 1926-1929, as released by Document Records. It is currently out of print and asks for silly prices on eBay/Amazon. Rare gospel singers aren’t only for the rich – so here are the first batch of songs off that record.
1. Arizona Dranes – In That Day
2. Arizona Dranes – It’s All Right Now
3. Arizona Dranes – John Said He Saw A Number
4. Arizona Dranes – My Soul Is A Witness For The Lord
5. Arizona Dranes – Crucifixion
6. Arizona Dranes – Sweet Heaven Is My Home
7. Arizona Dranes – Bye and Bye We’re Going To See The King
We’ve been working hard on a new revision for the website, I think it will be ready by next month – but I’m most excited about our new logo which looks pretty awesome:
Arizona Dranes (Drane) was a Texas gospel singer who recorded a couple dozen tracks during the 20s, and mixed scared singing and up and coming Texas blues sounds like barrelhouse piano to make up her unique sounds. This sound is so incredibly fresh and exciting today – Dranes leads the chorus while playing piano in a style that would never be aloud in any church of the time and predicts Ray Charles’ blend of gospel and soul by some thirty years. I believe her complete works are out of print now – so if interest is high I’ll post the rest of her songs this week.
Arizona Dranes – Lamb’s Blood Has Washed Me Clean
I’m out of town until the 20th. I hope everyone is still enjoying the Sam Collins.
For last minute Holiday gifts please consider donating to the Music Make Foundation, they do a great job of not only providing aging blues artists with access to health care but also do wonderful recordings with them. Right now if you make a donation you get a great CD/DVD set. Check it out at:
The Music Maker Foundation
I’m pretty late on this news as normal, but the US Post Office put out a line of Gee’s Bend Stamps last month and they are pretty swell. Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts just wrapped up the second major viewing of Gee’s Bend quilts and now it’s touring a number of modern art museums across the land, more information on the exhibit is here.
Yesterday was Ms. Honey’s birthday, as her internet based gift, I’m sharing two of her favorite songs with ya’ll. Well two of her favorite songs, not called “I’m In Love With A Stripper”
Nina Simone – Love Me Or Leave Me
Talking Heads – Girlfriend Is Better
I’ve updated the Blind Boy Fuller post below with the Blind Willie McTell and Blind Blake songs mentioned in the comments section. If anyone has anymore variations of the tune send them to pkpatnaik @ prewarblues.org and we’ll put together a nice little post.
It’s taking me forever to ready this mix, but it’s finally done. I’ve picked my twenty five favorite blues songs of all time, most of them are pre-war though a few slip into the post war era. The most notable post-war recording is Son House’s Death Letter Blues recorded in 1965 which made the list over his 1941/1942 recordings with Lomax (a record I often call my favorite blues recording of all time) because it was this recording that got me into the blues more so than anything else. It’s so hard to limit your favorite records of all time to twenty five, so a few artists dear to my heart were left off: Rev. Gary Davis, Ida Cox, Elizabeth Cotten, The Gee’s Bend Singers, Blind Willie McTell, Tommy Johnson, Walter Davis, Blind John Davis all missed the cut and I’m sorry, but there’s gotta be room for another twenty five.
The mix is available for download here for donors. To donate click here.
My Favorite Twenty Five Tracklist (not in order or rank):
- Rev. Isaiah Shelton – The Liar
- Son House – Death Letter
- Blind Boy Fuler – Why Don’t My Baby Write To Me?
- Blind Blake – Dry Bone Shuffle
- im Clark – Fat Fanny Stomp
- Ruth Ladson – What Do You Bet?
- Bertha “Chippie” Hill – Pratt City Blues
- Doctor Clayton – False Love Blues
- Louise Johnson – All Night Long
- Lucille Bogan – They Ain’t Walking No More
- Sara Martin – Death Sting Me Blues
- J.T. “Funny Paper” Smith – Heart Bleeding Blues
- Blind Jessie Harris – Been In The Jailhouse 1
- harley Patton – You’re Gonna Need Somebody When You Die
- Blind Willie Johnson – It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine 1
- Geechie Wiley & Elvie Thomas – Motherless Child Blues
- Jessie Derrick – If You’ll Come Back To Hollywood
- Bessie Smith – Them “Has Been” Blues
- Sippie Wallace – Murder Is Going To Be My Crime
- John Henry Barbee – Six Weeks Old Blues
- Rev. F.W. McGee and His Congregation – Fifty Miles of Elbow Room
- Victoria Spivey – Down Hill Pull
- Charley Jordan – Keep It Clean
- William Harris – Bullfrog Blues
- Lonnie Johnson – Southland Is Alright With Me
Son House – Death Letter Blues