I mean, I don’t want to get political – but today is pretty fantastic.
Dusky Dailey was a Texas (perhaps by the way of Louisiana) piano player who recorded a handful of blues songs in the late 30s both as a solo preformer and as band leader. I prefer his solo work, which is rough and more exciting than the smooth blues of his big band work both both settings show off his amazing skills on the keys and his less than amazing singing voice. This track Flying Crow Blues was recorded by a few other blues artists before him, most notable Black Ivory King – though I think this might be my favorite.
Dusky Dailey – Flying Crow Blues (1937)
Three Fifteen and His Squares might be the best blues band name I’ve heard, it sounds straight out of 80s power-pop not piano blues in the 1930s. The band itself is as enigmatic as its name, Dave Blunston is the vocalist on these tracks and the rest of the band, and where they are from/how they got their name is unknown. The band most likely hails from Louisiana because of references to Texas Avenue and the horn work is very hot jazz/New Orleans. Blunston isn’t much of a vocalist, but he holds the tracks together and allows for the backing band to do some incredible work.
Three Fifteen and His Squares – Drop My Stuff (1937)
I’m heading out to Nashville to see my nephew this weekend and hopefully will be able to get some quality record shopping in while we aren’t babbling over how cute the baby is, though I mean, it might be the cutest baby ever. Even cuter than Suri.
Hastings Street should have made my shortlist for favorite blues songs. It has a great piano performance by Charlie Spand, whose might be my favorite piano player in the pre-war era. And then it has a great guitar performance by Blind Blake, what more can you want out of a blues side?
Charlie Spand with Blind Blake – Hastings St. (1929)
I’ve been on hold with my ISP for the past hour now, and I keep getting transferred across the globe and company and yet have been able to talk to someone in the right department. I mean that seems like it should be the easiest part. So if this post is filled with errors, it’s because I’m typing with my phone between my head and my shoulder.
Kingfish Bill Tomlin recorded four sides for Paramount in 1930 most likely both on piano and vocals, though it’s up for debate if he’s playing the piano. He’s a unique blues singer, with a great big voice that bellows out from the speakers. The last part of the side is my favorite as Tomlin decides to speak the last verse way off beat with the piano. Really fantastic.
Kingfish Bill Tomlin – Hot Box (1930)
My car’s alternator died last night. The place I took my car to doesn’t really seem to be in much of a hurry to jump on this project, which I mean would be pretty helpful if they would at least take a gander at the issue and give me a call back.
To lighten my mood, I listened to Billy Mitchell all morning. Mitchell recorded half a dozen tracks in 1936 in his drunken, rambling blues piano style that apparently didn’t endear him to blues listeners as he never recorded any other tracks. This songs are really fun, and don’t stray too much in cheesy talking piano bar blues material.
Billy Mitchell – Looking For A Cherry (1936)
New York was New York. I had a blast, but I’m glad to be back in Greensboro, though we have a severe lack of rice pudding restaurants. I’ve also updated my blogroll with Basement Songs which a great blog out of NYC with a good selection of contemporary indie music and great photos.
Earl Thomas recorded four terrific sides in 1936, but was poorly received in the crowded blues piano marketplace at the time. Sounding almost exactly like Leroy Carr didn’t do him any favors either. Thomas was a skilled if not exceptional piano player and his vocal style is almost too similar to Carr’s but these songs are so good, it doesn’t really matter to me.
Earl Thomas – Sugar Girl Blues(1936)
Earl Thomas – Bonus Men (1936)
Me and Ms. Honey are going to NYC this weekend for a few days, from what I can tell most of the real good record stores have closed. Is this true? Is there some hidden blues record store I must goto, or should I just go to Kim’s and call it a day.
Sylvester Palmer was a St. Louis blues singer who recorded a handful of sides with Wesley Wallace in the late 1920s. Palmer was a solid if not spectacular singer, whose voice is much better than the songs he recorded. This track Lonesome Man Blues is a run down of almost every St. Louis blues line without going into a Stagolee tale. Wesley Wallace is wonderful as usual on the piano.
Sylvester Palmer – Lonesome Man Blues (1929)
Poor Boy Burke recorded four sides for Columbia in 1941, though they would sit around unreleased until the early 90s. Nothing is known about Burke or this session, Burke is the singer and quite a polished one at that suggesting that he has been singing for many years before this recording and he is backed by a very good, but unknown band. The whole side has a high degree of polish that isn’t really found a lot until after the war.
Poor Boy Burke – Old Vet Blues (1941)
St. Louis Red Mike (who I think should of just kept his name St. Louis Red) whose real name was John McBailey, is a pretty typical St. Louis blues singer, slow and sweet, but dangerous and violent at the same time. He is backed on this recording by the great Blind John Davis on piano and an unknown most likely Willie Bee James on guitar. The song itself is about Red courting the Devil’s sister, marrying her and taking over hell, is something you don’t hear much of in blues music, even from the Devil’s Son-In-Law himself, Peetie Wheatstraw. Maybe Peetie wasn’t the ambitious type.
St. Louis Red Mike – Hell Ain’t Nothing But A Mile And A Quarter (1937)
Bessie Brown and George Williams recorded a series of duets through out the twenties and early thirties to some success, though the never really broke out of the blues husband and wife formula. The Bessie Brown here is not the Bessie Brown who recorded as “The Original Bessie Brown” and she’s not really as talented or as interesting as that one, or even her husband George Williams. This song is not a duet, but a solo track with Williams singing and Fletcher Henderson on piano and it’s a great and much more serious and low-key and their duet work.
George Williams – Hard Headed Gal (1924)