The Answer To Everyone’s Favorite Question: Today!
Posted in Honey,Piedmont Blues on 09.19.07

To access all the cool special stuff at the top of the screen click on the To Donate link. Thanks!

Last night after writing my post I went through and updated my so so so out of date blogroll, and I didn’t know about all the crazy stuff that’s gone down in the last few months : Tuwa (!!!!)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)


Make The Devil Leave Me Alone
3
Posted in 1930s,Country Blues,Field Recording,Honey on 05.16.07

I have some great requests coming up on Friday, so be on the look out. Today we are still going through my backlog of field recordings I’ve been meaning to post for a few months now. These recordings come from a trip John and Ruby Lomax took the infamous Parchman State Prison in 1939. These recordings took place in the Sewing Room in the Woman’s area of the prison and all of the women Lomax would record show off an amazing talent pool that matches any of the female country blues artists on the Paramount or Columbia roster. My favorite out of the batch is Mattie May Thomas’ Dangerous Blues, an extremely insightful look at the duality of poverty and violence and the status of black females in the pre-war era.

Mary James – Make The Devil Leave Me Alone (1939)
Beatrice Tisdall – Workhouse Blues (1939)
Mattie May Thomas – Dangerous Blues (1939)
Annabelle Abraham – To Be Sho’ (Hey Logan) (1939)


M.C. Blues
8
Posted in 1920s,Female Blues,Honey on 05.07.07

I love whistling. Even though I’m unable to whistle in a proper manner (i suck in, rather than blow out) I lover the sound of a proper whistle. It doesn’t seem that whistling was all that popular int pre-war blues music, although country and jazz music of the era featured whistling promtely. It seems when the moment arises to whistle in blues music the kazoo is always pulled out – and I mean I love the kazoo – Tampa Red’s especially, it’s no substitute for the whistle.

Marie Grinter published three songs for Okeh in her recording career and is unknown for good reason – she wasn’t spectacular, although I place the blame on her backing musicians rather than her voice, because while unrefined it’s better a lot of female blues singers who recorded 20 or 30 sides. This song, M.C. Blues features a great whistling chorus, though you know your career isn’t going to take off when the get the name of your signature song wrong (it should be M.G. Blues). She used whistling on another song East and West blues recored in the same session, it’s not nearly as good as M.C. Blues , but I’ve included it for thematic sake.

Marie Grinter – East and West Blues
(1926)
Marie Grinter – M.C. Blues (1926)


Upgrade.
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Posted in Honey on 04.15.07

I’m uploading the new wordpress as well as our new, wonderful layout so the site may be up and down for the next hour or so. 5: 11 EST.

Done. Let me know if you like it! The Blogroll is down until I weed out the billion of dead links on the old link sidebar.


Men Don’t Forget Your Wives
6
Posted in 1920s,Gospel,Honey on 04.09.07

Rev. Edward Clayborn is often dismissed as being a one-dimensional guitar player and lyricist, which isn’t without merit. However, that one plodding driving bass line that underscores most of his recorded work is really good. Granted he isn’t as diverse lyrically as Rev. Gary Davis or Blind Willie Johnson, but he is good at what he does – translating Bible scripture into easily understandable music lyrics that never feel preachy or didactic.

Rev. Edward W. Clayborn – Men Don’t Forget Your Wives For Your Sweetheart
(1928)


I Liked The Black Lips Song (Here Is A Stagolee Track)
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Posted in Contemporary,Honey,Soul on 04.04.07

Jeez.

New Stagolee track from the (awesome) soundtrack to Tarantino’s Death Proof, that also features Joe Tex and Eddie Floyd. The track is a pretty close telling of the story by Pacific Gas and Electric. I hadn’t heard of this 70s soul/funk band before Thomas sent me this track – but it is so awesome, I’m ordering their albums today.

Pacific Gas & Electric – Staggolee
(1969)


Los Valientes Del Mundo Nuevo
6
Posted in Contemporary,Honey on 03.30.07

I’m pretty out of touch of what the new blues punk kids are doing, which is a shame because from what do hear it sounds pretty awesome. Atlanta’s Black Lips have been doing this blues punk thing for a few years now, and just released their first live album recorded in a Mexican bar – and it’s fantastic. The bar gives the record a feel that in moments recalls the best of Etta James’ live album from 1953 in front of a rowdy Memphis bar crowd. This track Boone doesn’t capture the feel of the bar as much some of the other ones, but it is such a fantastic in your face blues punk performance it doesn’t really matter.

Black Lips – Boone (2007)


I’ve Been The Queen, Devil and The Deep Blue Sea
2
Posted in 1920s,Female Blues,Honey on 03.29.07

Big thanks! to Jeff for solving the blues mystery – you guys are the best readers a boy could hope for. If anyone else has a song mystery on their hands – send it into pkpatnaik at prewarblues.org and the bees will jump right on it.

Virginia Liston was a well traveled singer by the time she recorded these sides for Okeh in the early 20s. Liston had fallen ill and forced to stop touring as much and so she started to record pretty standard female blues numbers, though I doubt these were the same songs she was singing in New York and Chicago blues bars at the time. She does bring an intersting perspective to these songs though, she’s not docile or angry – but consistently blue. The first track here, You Thought I Was Blind But Now I See, she keeps her temper and stands up strong to her man, in this well written third person narrative. The second track presented today is a pretty rough transfer, but it’s so so blue. Liston has given up on men – she prefers to be alone – and if IF she’s with a man, it’s just for money and show. Right On Virginia.

Virginia Liston – You Thought I Was Blind But Now I See (1923)
Virginia Liston – I Don’t Love Nobody (1924)


Blues Mystery
Posted in Honey,Piano Blues on 03.26.07

A reader sent me this me this song the other day to get my help identifying the actual performer of the song. The compilation it comes from lists this song as being preformed by Cool Papa Smith who I don’t have any reference for, the compilation also calls Funny Paper Smith, Funny Pappa Smth, so it’s not the best researched CD. The song is If You Change Your Ways Woman, which I only know that Big Maceo sang, but it is possible that the song title is wrong also.

Anyone know this song?

“Cool Papa Smith” – If You Change Your Ways Woman (link fixed)
(m4a file)


Hello Central, Give Me 209
Posted in Country Blues,Honey,Post-War on 03.21.07

Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.

(it won’t happen again)

Robert Lee Westmoreland – Hello Central, Give Me 209 (1953)
Robert Lee Westmoreland – Good Looking Woman Blues (1953)