Thanks to the couple of people who sent me some of the 1960s Black Ace recordings. These were recorded by Arhoolie in 1960 during the start of the blues/folk revival and this song in particular shows that Black Ace was still incredible slide guitar player some 40 years after he first recorded. It’s a shame he wasn’t able to support himself recording during those in-between years – or even record more during his first and last sessions he was certainly capable of recording wonderful music.
Black Ace – Bad Times Stomp (1960)
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)
As requested, Jack Owens was one of the last links to pre-war blues music this country had left when he passed in 1997. A bother-in-law for a time to Skip James, his music came from the same place, it was darkly meditative, though Owens wasn’t as skilled as James. This track features Bud Spires on harmonica and was recorded by Alan Lomax in the mid 60s.
Rob Hutton of Long Sought Home(which unfortunately has closed down, though he is preparing his next venture) has a great piece about Owens here.
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 – PrattCity 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
Chris Clark is a musical oddity, a white woman who dated Berry Gordy, and recorded a handful of tracks for his Motown label and pulled it all off. Clark is most often compared to Dusty Springfield, but her voice to me sounds a lot like Nancy Wilson’s voice especially on End of Love. Clark never really made it big, this track Love’s Gone Bad barely hit in the top 50, but it features some stellar Motown production and her voice is just perfect.
All the Donor stuff is back up! The password for the pages is the USERNAME from the old login. All of the tracklists/video lists have been moved to Donor’s Bonus Page so you can view before you decide to donate. Stagolee will go up over the weekend.
I’m in total love with this song as un-cool as it might be. Curtis Lee had his one-hit with Pretty Little Angel Eyes back in 1961, but I think this track “Under The Moon of Love” that features some spectacular hand-claps and deft production by Phil Spector is much better.
Let me be clear: I don’t like Johnny Cash’s American recordings. I think there are a few good songs, maybe an EP of good material scattered across the four main albums (i haven’t really listened to the box set of unreleased stuff) but most of it is really tired and fluff. Personal File (to be released this coming Tuesday) is different. Recorded by Cash between 1973-1980 as demos/ideas for future recordings Personal File is a small selection of the thousands of songs found after his death. One disc is secular, on gospel and I think they are pretty even in quality. There are some clunkers – his take on Saginaw, Michigan is really limp as is his take on the traditional In The Sweet Bye and Bye which should have been an easy home run. My favorite track is a cover of a Louvin Brothers song “When I Stop Dreaming,” Johnny explains when he first heard this song and how he got to eventually meet and play with the Brothers. It’s a wonderful little moment and prelude to a perfect take on the song.
I ment to post this last friday as it’s a post-war track, but I figured a late Monday post is as good as Friday. I’m not familiar with Clapton or many of the people who covered this track, so I’m assuming that the person who requested this is looking for this version of “Hey Hey” by Big Bill Broonzy which features some of the finest guitar playing I’ve heard.
I’ll be out of town until Monday or Tuesday because my Sister-In-Law has gone into labor, so I’ll be in Nashville playing the uncle role. Here is my favorite song – and a perfect introduction to this world.