Boy, Do You Wanna Gamble?
Posted in Honey on 12.15.04

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is next week, I haven’t even started/finished my shopping !! Next week I’m going to try to have some blues Christmas songs, I have 5 or so, but if I run out I’ll be posting Elvis, so be warned. The new Dust To digital Christmas album shows that apparently there were a lot more blues Christmas songs in the pre-war era that I had realized.

I’m not sure what to say about this track. The Hokum Boys were a loose and ever changing group of blues musicians like Black Rob, Big Bill Broonzy and Blind Blake. They recording in several different sessions (this track is from 1929) and most recorded very risque and dirty blues. That said this track “I Had To Give Up The Gym” is a lot of fun, but I’m not really sure what if anything it is about. It’s a lot of fun, regardless of content and features some fun piano and guitar playing.

  • Hokum Boys (1929) – I Had To Give Up Gym

  • Sorry !
    Posted in Honey on 12.14.04

    Sorry about yesterday, just a really busy day down here, the feeling of which I still haven’t shaken. I’ve been listening to Jens Lekman pretty much non-stop for the past two weeks, and I don’t even have the full length yet! What a great voice and sense of humor.

    I post a song by Victoria Spivey way back in September, “Dirty TB Blues,” that went over pretty well, so I’m hoping that ya’ll will like this track also. Spivey’s collection of sides on Columbia is called “Moaning The Blues” which unlike record companies normal nicknames like King of Blues, Founder of the Blues or Queen of the Blues which seem to apply to any number of people, Moaning of the Blues really paints a great picture of Spivey’s sound. Spivey is a moaner, she launches her voice at words then holds on way past the last letter. It might be unusual at first, but it really grows on you and it’s not like any of the other female blues singers. This track “Blood Hound Blues” details a murder and a prison escape and features some very unusual instrumental backing. Lots of fun.

  • Victoria Spivey – Blood Hound Blues

  • Miss Rhythm
    Posted in Honey on 12.10.04

    This weekend I’m going to attempt to make a bread pudding, wish me luck! I’ve always loved bread pudding, and Paulia Deen made this Krispy Kreme bread pudding on her show this morning, while it looked sort of questionable (it had fruit!) it really got me in the mood for bread pudding.

    Ruth Brown was one of Atlantic records biggest recording stars fo the post-war era. Brown has the spirit of Bessie Smith and the attitude of Big Maybelle, but she can also be soft and tender like Dinah Washington. This track “Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean” was a number hit for Brown way back in 53 and is pretty rockin’. The title comes a line from a pretty famous blues song by Blind Lemon Jefferson, guess it and win a prize !

  • Ruth Brown – Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean

  • Gee’s Bend Final Day
    Posted in Honey on 12.09.04

    The worst part about not being able to control your own heat, is everything. Yesterday it was nice and warm outside, but the heat made me suffer in here, now today it’s cold and the heat is off! I’m cuddled up with the Gee’s Bend albums and a cup of tea. You can buy and view quilts from the Gee’s Bend at Quilts Of Gee’s Bend I also noticed that anthropologie has quilts claiming to be from the Gee’s Bend, but they don’t really look like the style and most likely don’t have anything to do with Gee’s Bend.

    Today is the final posting of songs from Gee’s Bend, and these recordings are from 2002. In 2002, documentary filmmakers went to Gee’s Bend to record some of the continuing quilt making practices and after hearing some of the older recordings, decided to also record the songs of Gee’s Bend. This batch of tracks and the first set of tracks are a lot smaller groups or duets as opposed to the choirs and larger groups of singers from the first, but the spirit and songs come from the same place. All of these songs are just amazing.

  • China Pettway and Jacklin Young Bates – I Know I’ve Been Changed
  • Creola B. Pettway and Arlonzia Pettway – It’s Going To Rain

  • Gee’s Bend Day Three
    Posted in Honey on 12.08.04

    I’ve been pretty pleased with the response these recordings have been getting this week. Today I’ll be posting some male led tracks from the 1941 recording sessions, then tomorrow the last day I’ll conclude with two more tracks from the 2002 recording sessions. Make sure you check out for more information and to purchase the discs.

    The first track is “Here Am I (Send Me)” led by Ernest Pettway, I really love the choir on this track, while Ernest Pettway sings the main verses, they create a percussion track with their chanting, very haunting and wonderful. The second track is a Oliver Pharr leading an uptempo version of Amazing Grace, I think that Pharr sounds a lot like Lead Belly.

  • Here Am I (Send Me) Led By Ernest Pettway
  • Amazing Grace (Somewhere To Lay My Head) Led By Oliver Pharr

  • Gee’s Bend Day Two
    Posted in Honey on 12.07.04

    What a rainy day, perfect day for the blues. Today is day two in the Gee’s Bend series of posts, and by request you can purchase this double album at, apparently does not stock the album, though it stocks the wonderful book.

    The Gee’s Bend community started out a community of former slaves who were moved to Alabama from North Carolina by their master in the late 19th century. During the 1930’s their owners had gone bankrupted and the bank took everything from the land, but the Federal Government bought back the land and gave it to the former slaves who formed a co-op and tended farm land. While the Federal Government was building the land back up, Robert Sonkin recorded the voices of the people of Gee’s Bend, in a more traditional gospel setting than the tracks from 2002 I posted yesterday. The 1941 recordings are mostly females, but have a few male led tracks that I will post tomorrow. I really love Seeball Kennedy’s version of “I Just Can’t Keep From Crying,” almost more than Blind Willie’s even, so tender and fragile it always just rips me apart. “You Needn’t Mind Me Dying.” is Lucy Pettway leading a church chorus in their own version of “Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed.”

  • Seebell Kennedy – I Just Can’t Keep From Crying
  • You Needn’t Mind Me Dying Led by Lucy T. Pettway

  • Gee’s Bend Day One
    Posted in Honey on 12.06.04

    I’m going to do a series of posts this week focusing on the Gee’s Bend recordings from 2002 and 1941. However, due to time I won’t be able to introduce the recordings until tommorrow, but here is a quick introduction and a couple of songs.

    (Essie Bendolph Pettway and Mary Lee Bendolph)

    Gee’s Bend is a small community in Alabama of quilt makers. There quiltmaking and singing are very much intertwined with their relgion, these songs normally sung while making quilts were recorded in 2002 as part of a great exhibt that showcased their quilts but also their voices.

  • Mary Lee Bendolph and Essie Bendolph Pettway – The Days Are Past And Gone
  • Georgiana B. Pettway with Creola B. Pettway and Arlonzia Pettway – You Can’t Hide (Death’s Got A Warrant)

  • Week-End.
    Posted in Honey on 12.03.04

    This should be a really nice relaxing weekend, hopefully I’ll be able to catch up on my movie backlog and also put together some webpage ideas. I found the Gee’s Bend album last night, so be sure that you check the site on Monday, these songs are some of the best I’ve heard.

    The Casanets make dreamy califone style alt country music that really welcomes fireplaces and cold weather. They are more song based than califone, but still have a good sense of soundscapes and not letting the noise get in the way of the songs. Cathedral is the name of the album, and it’s prolly top 20s of the year, real nice.

  • Castanets – Cathedral 2 (Your Feet On The Floor Sounding Like The Rain)

  • Morning Updates
    Posted in Honey on 12.02.04

    I thought that to see if updating in the morning would bring in more hits, instead of late afternoon. I’m pressing on with the gospel music today, I really wanted to post these amazing Gee’s Bend songs, but I can’t find the cds !!! A good portion of the weekend will be devoted to finding that set, never fear.

    Rev. Isaiah Shelton’s The Liar, is a stunning track, the first couple of times I heard it I didn’t notice that it was acapella because Shelton’s voice is so rhythmic it almost seems like there is a backing track. This type of track was very popular in the prewar era with people like F.W McGee and Rev. J.M. Gates being the most famous preachers who would record short sermons and songs preaching morality and sometimes even against blues or secular music. Ray Charles would eventually use the refrain from this track for his song “Leave My Woman Alone.”

  • Rev. Isaiah Shelton – The Liar

  • I Looked Down The Line…
    Posted in Honey on 12.01.04

    I was going to call the blog after this track and also a blues mix cd I made for way back when. Honey, Where You Been So Long sounded more blog worthy at the end, though. I’m thinking about redesigning the blog in a few weeks, to lose this template and to make it stand out more from the other blogs, a lot of which use this very same template. If anyone has suggestions or design skills (I have zero, and I was going to farm this out to one of my friends, but I figured blues fans would understand more) send me an email.

    Sister Rosetta Tharpe, much like Son House represents the duality in blues music to the fullest. Tharpe was an amazing guitar player, but as she recorded more and more there was great pressure to use fuller instrumentation and a more secular sound. Tharpe never sang anything but the gospel, but her sound was moving further away from the popular gospel sound of the time (which I posted about yesterday). It was unfortunate that she was being pulled by two great focuses, her secular music hides her guitar, but she could have never been just a guitar player with some preacher singing. This track “I Looked Down The Line(and I wondered)” is a great blues standard that showcases Tharpe’s wonderful guitar playing and stunning voice.

  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe – I Looked Down The Line (and I wondered)