My Twenty Five
Posted in Delta,Honey,Meta,Mix,Post-War on 06.21.06

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):

  1. Rev. Isaiah Shelton – The Liar
  2. Son House – Death Letter
  3. Blind Boy Fuler – Why Don’t My Baby Write To Me?
  4. Blind Blake – Dry Bone Shuffle
  5. im Clark – Fat Fanny Stomp
  6. Ruth Ladson – What Do You Bet?
  7. Bertha “Chippie” Hill – Pratt City Blues
  8. Doctor Clayton – False Love Blues
  9. Louise Johnson – All Night Long
  10. Lucille Bogan – They Ain’t Walking No More
  11. Sara Martin – Death Sting Me Blues
  12. J.T. “Funny Paper” Smith – Heart Bleeding Blues
  13. Blind Jessie Harris – Been In The Jailhouse 1
  14. harley Patton – You’re Gonna Need Somebody When You Die
  15. Blind Willie Johnson – It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine 1
  16. Geechie Wiley & Elvie Thomas – Motherless Child Blues
  17. Jessie Derrick – If You’ll Come Back To Hollywood
  18. Bessie Smith – Them “Has Been” Blues
  19. Sippie Wallace – Murder Is Going To Be My Crime
  20. John Henry Barbee – Six Weeks Old Blues
  21. Rev. F.W. McGee and His Congregation – Fifty Miles of Elbow Room
  22. Victoria Spivey – Down Hill Pull
  23. Charley Jordan – Keep It Clean
  24. William Harris – Bullfrog Blues
  25. Lonnie Johnson – Southland Is Alright With Me

Son House – Death Letter Blues


I Was Shipwrecked
2
Posted in 1920s,Honey,Meta,Texas Blues on 06.19.06

I didn’t mean to take a week off from the blog, but I had a few days off for my birthday then I went to Cincinnati to see the Reds play (and lose) over the weekend. But I’m back with a fresh stock of blues discs thanks to Shake It Records. By “thanks” I mean they allowed me to spend more money than I wanted to, before finding out they have Document Records 3 for $28. I think my mouth hit the floor.

Jake Jones and The Gold Front Boys were a Dallas Based blues band featuring Jones on the mic backed by unknowns on banjo, guitar and clarinet. The clarinet in this song is star, matching Jones’ plaintive cry perfectly. This isn’t the first (or second) blues song to use the ocean as a metaphor for a relationship, but it does manage to avoid using the same “stuck between the devil and the deep blues sea” type lines as most of the other nautical blues songs.

Jake Jones and The Gold Front Boys – Southern Sea Blues (1929)


SQL Blues
Posted in 1920s,Delta,Honey,Meta on 06.06.06

The site was down for a good part yesterday as my host for whatever reason botched some move of their mysql server taking a bunch of sites down. Everything should be back to normal now. I was going to think of some clever 6/6/06 post today, but I mean, everyone is doing that. So here is my post from yesterday that didn’t make it up.

Here are the two sides Kid Bailey (as discussed here) recorded in 1929 in Memphis. I hear the resemblance to Willie Brown, especially in Rowdy Blues, but the voice and phrasing doesn’t seem like they are coming from the same guy.

Kid Bailey – Mississippi Bottom Blues (1929)

Kid Bailey – Rowdy Blues (1929)


Love’s Gone Bad
5
Posted in Honey,Post-War,Soul on 06.02.06

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.

Chris Clark – Love’s Gone Bad (1966)


M & O Blues
Posted in 1930s,1940s,Delta,Honey on 06.01.06

The Stagolee Archives are now up. If you have any other versions please send them along to pkpatnaik@prewarblues.org. The archives are up for donors only, sorry.
Willie Brown was an early delta blues singer who traveled and play with the delta greats like Son House, Charley Patton and Robert Johnson. He is most famous for being mentioned in Johnson’s Crossroad Blues but he was a strong guitar player with a great voice. These two songs were by request, M & O blues was recorded at the famous 1930 Paramount Records recording session that also brought us the first recordings of Son house. The second track was recorded in 1941 and features a calmer, softer Willie Brown leading to some debate whether or not the Willie Brown who recorded this song with Lomax was the same Willie Brown who had played with Patton and House some 11 years earlier.

Willie Brown – M & O Blues (1930)

Willie Brown – Make Me A Pallet On The Floor (1941)


Dangerous Blues
3
Posted in 1930s,Field Recording,Honey on 05.30.06

I hope everyone had a good Memorial Day weekend, I did and didn’t get around to doing much more than uploading the stagolee files. I’m working on the page today, but realistically it won’t be up until Thursday.

I don’t know a lot about Mattie May Thomas, as I have a promo cutout of the album this is pull from, but she has a great voice and loads of charisma. You can hear Alan Lomax talking to her before the song, so he recorded her on one his recording trips in 1939.
Mattie May Thomas – Dangerous Blues 


Let’s Go For A Little Walk
1
Posted in Honey,Pop,Post-War on 05.26.06

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.

Curtis Lee – Under The Moon Of Love


Devil And My Brown
1
Posted in 1920s,Honey,Piedmont Blues on 05.25.06

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)


Two Years
5
Posted in 1930s,Country Blues,Honey on 05.23.06

Honey turned two (14 in dog years) yesterday and I was so busy getting ready for the party today that i forgot to post! I’m working on getting all the bonus stuff backup and running, but dreamhost isn’t letting me configure that directory like I want it to be so I’m looking into other ways of allowing people to access that information.

More songs by request today – King Solomon Hill’s My Buddy Blind Papa Lemon/Times Done Got Hard is one of the rarest 78s with only one known copy in existence. Luckily the good fellows at Yazoo got the owner of the record to allow them to record both sides and spread the two songs out across their sprawling collection of rural southern music compilations “Times Ain’t Like They Used To Be.” Both songs are excellent country blues recorded by Paramount in 1932.

King Solomon Hill – My Buddy Blind Papa Lemon (1932)

King Solomon Hill – Times Done Got Hard (1932)


When I Stop Dreaming
Posted in Country,Honey,Post-War on 05.19.06

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.

Johnny Cash – When I Stop Dreaming