‘Way After One
Posted in 1920s,Female Blues,Honey on 08.30.06

On Saturday evenings KSVY out of the Sonoma Valley as a radio program called Rootsock & Vine that features a great mix of pre-war blues and other blues based music. It streams live from 5-7 pm (PST) and is worth checking out, and then bugging the dee jay to post his playlists.

I know that I always say this, but I mean it every time. Edna Winston should of been huge. Her voice is a wonderful blend of rough and dirty blues and polished New York pop jazz singing. Think Lil’ Johnson meets Bertha Chippie Hill. She’s backed on her few sides by a wonderful band including Buddy Christian on banjo and the wonderful Mike Jackson on piano, sure she’s not as polished as a lot of the women who because the classic blues singers, but she has a spark and unique phrasing that I just love. Alas.

Edna Winston – ‘Way After One And My Daddy Ain’t Come Home Yet (1927)

When The Levee Breaks
Posted in 1920s,Country Blues,Honey on 08.23.06

I’ve been so wrapped up in Spike Lee’s Katrina Documentary, that I forgot that PBS’ had an hour long documentary about Alan Lomax as part of their POV series premiere last night. Did anyone catch it? Hopefully my local PBS station will be replaying this soon, or a quick turnaround to dvd.

Not to point any fingers at those in governmental positions who dealt with the Katrina disaster, but Kansas Joe and Memphis predicted the Levee’s breaking way back in 1929 (the basis of this song is of the “Great Mississippi Flood of 1927“). Kansas Joe, Minnie’s husband sings lead on this track which is a shame because Minnie has that great voice, but Joe is perfectly fine and the track features Minnie’s wonderful guitar work. To show how out of touch I am with blues rock, I didn’t know until today that Led Zep covered this song, though I can’t imagine it being very good. Though I could be wrong about that.
Kansas Joe and Memphis Minnie – When The Levee Breaks (1929)

Don’t You Wish Your Baby…
Posted in 1920s,Honey,Texas Blues on 08.16.06

The Pussycat Dolls don’t have anything on Texas Alexander. Alexander was one of the first Texas blues singers, and along with Blind Lemon Jefferson and Blind Willie Johnson really created an unique Texas blues sound, one that’s different from other forms of country blues. This track was recorded in 1928 and I believe it has Lonnie Johnson on guitar and of course Alexander’s wonderful sleepy blues voice that lulls me in and out of this summer day.

Texas Alexander – Don’t You Wish Your Baby Was Built Like Mine? (1928)

Looking For A Cherry
Posted in 1930s,Honey,Piano Blues on 08.14.06

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)

Hard Workin’ Woman
Posted in 1930s,Country Blues,Honey on 08.07.06

This is track is a suggestion/request from Megan of the Roulette Sisters, I hadn’t heard of Mississippi Matilda before she suggested and now I don’t know how I lived so long without her. Matilda was married to the wonderful guitar player Sonny Boy Nelson (Eugene Powell) who backed her this song, Hard Workin’ Woman, which details her job has a house worker. I can imagine that must of been one happy baby, to have Matilda sing to her in the most perfect, almost high lonesome voice that rivals Texas Gladden for sheer beauty.

The request part is if any one has a transcription of the lyrics. It doesn’t seem too hard, I might give it a go this week.

Mississippi Matilda – Hard Workin’ Woman (1936)

Mistreatin’ Mama
Posted in 1920s,Country Blues,Honey on 08.02.06

If you have some extra money laying around in a shoebox somewhere, you might want to check out this highly dubious auction for Robert Johnson’s guitar. In more worthwhile news, Paramount GIG is raising money for a Paramount Records Walk-Of-Fame as well as other preservation works of blues culture in Grafton, WI.

Jaybird Coleman was born in Alabama as Burl C. Coleman, Jaybird was a nickname he would pick up in the military. He was a popular harmonica player and blues singer who toured around Alabama through out the 1920s, both solo and as part of various jug bands. He made his first recordings in 1927, and would only record one other time in 1930 as part of the Birmingham Jug Band. This track is a solo number from 1927 and is quite good and so much better than almost all of the harmonica/vox songs that from the pre-war and post-war eras.

Jaybird Coleman – Mistreatin’ Mama (1927)

The Roulette Sisters
Posted in Contemporary,Country Blues,Honey on 07.28.06

The Roulette Sisters are a quartet out of New York that plays country blues like country blues should be played, with a washboard, foot stomps and guitar. Their album “Nerve Medicine” is a collection of eleven wonderful versions of traditional country blues songs. These two songs “Black Dog Blues” and “You’ve Been Fooling” are my favorites, and the show of the ladies great voices and solid and lively instrumentation.

Visit the Sisters at their website, where they also have their album for sell.

The Roulette Sisters – Black Dog Blues (2005)

The Roulette Sisters – You’ve Been Fooling (2005)

You Can’t Sleep In My Bed
Posted in 1920s,Female Blues,Honey on 07.27.06

Mary Dixon was a Texas blues singer who recorded 10 tracks in 1929, who should have been allowed to recorded dozens and dozens more. Dixon’s voice is a strong as any of the classic blues singers and her originality of voice and lyrics is only equaled by the larger talents. Her voice delivers these songs with such vigor it’s hard to believe that she didn’t become the next Sara Martin. This track “You Can’t Sleep In My Bed” has some scat singing at the beginning and settles into an aggressive piano driven piece as Dixon tells her man that he shouldn’t come home late, or really come home at all.

Mary Dixon – You Can’t Sleep In My Bed (1929)

Sugar Girl Blues
Posted in 1930s,Honey,Piano Blues on 07.25.06

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)

I’m Mama’s Bad Luck Child
Posted in 1920s,Honey,Piano Blues on 07.17.06

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)