Disclosure: I work for one of the banks that’s in process of being absorbed. Hire me
Today’s songs are from Carolina Slim a lesser known North Carolina blues player – great voice and a prime example of the Piedmont blues as it matured in the post-war era. Carolina Slim in particular borrows a lot from post-war Texas blues musicians. Both tracks here, Ain’t it Sad and Money Blues, show Slim at a stylistic crossroad – and one that would be extremely interesting to follow if his life wasn’t cut short at the young age of 30.
Carolina Slim – Ain’t It Sad (1951)
Carolina Slim – Money blues (1952)
Virgil Childers recorded a handful of sides in Charlotte, NC a recording site more known for pre-war country than blues. Childers is a really light/pop piedmont blues artist (though his style isn’t pure piedmont like Fuller) he has an enjoyable voice and is a pretty solid guitar player. He also recorded Dago Blues, which combined with the version below by Luella Miller are the only two versions I know about. I also enjoy his take on Red River Blues, one of my favorite songs.
Virgil Childers – Dago Blues (1938)
Virgil Childers – Red River Blues(1938)
Even though I seem to be the only one obsessed with this song, I’m going to keep posting versions of Dying Crapshooter Blues until it becomes the “new” Stagolee. This version was recorded by John Lomax in 1940 on one of his trips to Atlanta. Blind Willie McTell is in fine form here – and he lays claim to writing this song, which is a dubious claim at best – however the lyrics and the story in this version differs significantly from the traditional takes on the song. McTell’s delivery on this song might be the best I’ve heard from him, which is saying a lot as I think he had the best delivery in pre-war blues.
Blind Willie McTell – Dying Crapshooter’s Blues (1940)
Ruth Willis might be my favorite female country blues singer. Of course Memphis Minnie gets all the mainstream press and the cool kids and their overpriced reissues love Geeshie Wiley (though its hard to fault them for that) but Ruth Willis gets my heart. Best known for her fantastic work with Blind Willie McTell she also recorded a handful tracks with Fred McMullen (himself a lost Georgia blues treasure) that I think are even better than her work with McTell. Willis is backed on this track by McMullen and Curley Weaver (or perhaps Buddy Moss) but it’s Willis’ vocal ability that really sells this track – driving each word into your heart with incredible precision.
Ruth Willis – I’m Still Sloppy Drunk (1933)
By request here are the other four sides by Billy Bird. Mill Man Blues is a solid blues number, almost the equal Down in the Cemetery. The other two sides are Alabama Blues part 1 and 2. Theses numbers are based off Jim Jackson’s Kansas City Blues, thought they aren’t near as great as that number. Part 1 plays off T for Texas and Part 2 is a little more vulgar, and I think the better take of the song.
Billy Bird – Mill Man Blues (1936)
Billy Bird – Alabama Blues Pt. 1 (1936)
Billy Bird – Alabama Blues Pt. 2 (1936)
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Last night after writing my post I went through and updated my so so so out of date blogroll, and I didn’t know about all the crazy stuff that’s gone down in the last few months : Tuwa (!!!!) stopped posting, Rev. Frost got kicked out of his home, Big Rock Candy Mountain got their domain stolen! What’s going on people!?
Billy Bird is an unknown from Atlanta – and an outstanding blues singer. Bird isn’t a showy as a lot of the piedmont blues musicians (especially the Atlanta based ones) but his simple, yet poetic sound is what really draws me towards him. This song is painful blues songs about a man lamenting the death of of wife and features such great lines like “I’m going to make a hundred/ I’ll give you ninety-nine” and of course he rolls that “nine” off the tongue and guitar just like Blind Willie McTell would.
Billy Bird – Down in the Cemetery (1928)
Sam Montgomery isn’t known for being the most original blues player around – he emulates Kokomo Arnold and Peetie Wheatstraw a little too well. But don’t you wish more people emulated Arnold and Wheatstraw? He’s a better slide guitar player than he is a vocalist (he doesn’t actually pull off the Wheatstraw vocal patterns very well) but his recordings are still a lot of fun, originality aside.
Sam Montgomery – Mercy Mercy Blues
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
So Which one of the lovely Honey followers bought me this? I really wonder what the reserve price is, because the package isn’t worth much more over 400 maybe 500 dollars and the person thinks he’s going to get full ebay price (around 8 dollars) for each disc, especially for a random allotment of discs.
I haven’t really posted Blind Boy Fuller since 2004, which is shocking because he might be the blues artist I listen to the most. This track is one of his earlier numbers recorded in 1937 and features the wonderful Bull City Red on washboard and Dipper Boy Council (what a name) on guitar. The song is basically a riff on Southern Can Is Mine by Blind Willie McTell, but I prefer Fuller’s take on the track.
Blind Boy Fuller – If You Don’t Give Me What I Want (1937)
Blind Willie McTell – Southern Can Is Mine (1931)
Blind Blake – West Coast Blues (1926)
Bo-Weavil Jackson is one of those mythical blues musicians who record a few tracks under a few different names (Sam Butler was his Vocalion Records name) but are so unique that those few records are all it takes for their names to be remembered as one of the blues greats. Jackson is a brilliant and unusual guitar player who plays it fast and precise while shouting/speaking the lyrics just as fast, but not nearly as precise.
Bo-Weavil Jackson – You Can’t Keep No Brown (1926)
Bo-Weavil Jackson – Devil And My Brown Blues (1926)