Lead Belly Video
Posted in Honey on 03.01.06

There are some changes going on at Honey, the first one you won’t really notice but I’ve finally upgraded to the new WordPress which gives me a lot of fun ajax stuff going on behind the scenes. More importantly the new WordPress has a great ajax template called K2 which I will hopefully be migrating to soon – as it runs smoothly and has fun features like live search and lots of cool web 2.0 style nonsense. If anyone knows a quick and dirty way to port this site to K2 (as i don’t really understand how it is set up) let me know. There is a test site up here, but nothing is there yet.

I have also uploaded the only video of Lead Belly known to exist to the Blues Videos section of the blog. It’s from 1945 and it’s wonderful. I have another Big Bill Broonzy video still to upload, hopefully by tomorrow it will be up. Please use VLC as your video player as it don’t sweat the codecs game. To help out with the bandwidth usage of hosting the blues videos they are donor only, so if you like the site and want to see the videos I am hosting please consider donating. As a teaser to the video here is Lead Belly in 1934 singing while in prison for Alan Lomax.

Lead Belly – Midnight Special

Posted in Honey on 02.24.06

I was going to post some Jay-Dee songs today, but I didn’t know if that would go over well. If you are interested in the late-beatmaker the Detroit Free Press has a great article about his life and his tragic death here.

Dust-To-Digital are one of the best reissue groups around right now. After their success of Goodbye Babylon, they release a solid if not overly impressive Christmas album. Their latest box set is a collection of Fonotone Records releases, which has me pretty confused. Fontone Records was founded by Joe Bussard and some of his friends doing old-timey music and release it all on 78s. A lot of the material is tongue-in-cheek, recording almost every song under a different name like Jolly Joe’s Jug Band. The music is confusing because it’s really solid – all the members are talented and for the most avoid embarrassing attempts at “blues voices” but they never really break out of the “oh we are doing old-timey songs” there’s nothing new and fresh about their interpretations, just solid music.

Kid Future – Delta Crapation
Joe Bussard and Oscar Myers – The Flight of Astronaut John Glenn

I Helped You Sick Man
Posted in Honey on 02.23.06

I know I don’t spotlight blogs enough here, but the return of The Oak Room has got me all pumped. The Oak Room focuses on the Triangle music scene (to those of you not from North Carolina, that’s Chapel Hill/Durham/Raleigh) and had been on hiatus since September, but now he’s back for what hopefully becomes a regular Friday post.

Katherine Baker has one of the strongest, most assured voices I’ve heard. She’s backed quite wonderfully by Henry Johnson and his band who give this song a slow blues dirge. A wonderful for song for the ever changing weather we are having around here.

Katherine Baker – I Helped You Sick Man, When You Were Down And Out

City Of The Dead
Posted in Honey on 02.21.06

We went to Hem last night in Charlotte and it was a good time, the stripped down band sounded good (minus the awful keyboard piano sound) and Sally’s voice is even more amazing live. The new songs sound really good, and hopefully it will help me forget that their last release, the b-sides collection “Whatever Happened To Tom?” was almost all bad.

Lena and Sylvester Kimbrough hail from Kansas City and recorded a handful of piano blues tracks that are all really solid. My favorite is this surprisingly melancholy tribute to New Orleans blending both New Orleans and Kansas City blues into one really wonderful song. The recording is a bit rough but, turn it up a little bit and everything will come through. Lena has a beautiful voice that really shines despite the recording, the instrumentation is really good, but hard to hear trough the static.

Lena and Sylvester Kimbrough – City Of The Dead

I’m Gonna Buy Me A Rooster
Posted in Honey on 02.16.06

While my love for violin in blues is well documented, I’ve started to love the accordion in blues, even more. I’m not sure if it’s going to reach my love for the violin, but that’s mainly due the availability of good accordion blues sides. This side is from Walter Rhodes who I believe only recorded one other side (Leaving Home Blues) but is a wonderful accordion player back by two guitars (and a few rooster sounds). Document Records compiled his two sides on one of their Memphis Blues collections, but the Patton box set on Reverent (which this was ripped from, though I believe I own the Document collection as well) implies that Rhodes was from Mississippi and that the guitar playing brothers were from Arkansas.

Walter Rhodes – The Crowing Rooster

Honey Is For Lovers
Posted in Honey on 02.14.06

From our hearts at Honey, we hope that you are having a happy Valentine’s day and that the Choxie chocolates are flowing freely. We celebrated early last night at the Fiery Furnaces concert, but that’s just how we roll ’round here.

I spent way too much time this afternoon trying to find the perfect Valentine’s day song, then the day was almost up, so I just went with Oliver Brown’s Oh You Devil You a standby from my radio day’s and the song I was going to post on Monday. Oliver Brown recorded only a couple of songs, and this one is easily his best – his other side “I Ain’t Got Nobody” might be the worst version of that song ever. He’s a fantastic piano player and an okay singer, but this track really moves.

Oliver Brown – Oh You Devil You

Kansas City Stomp
Posted in Honey on 02.10.06

The Grammy’s are such an old man’s event – but they did managed to knock the “reissue/historical” category out of the park, giving the award to the wonderful Complete Library of Congress Recordings of Jelly Roll Morton by Alan Lomax. The box is a wonder to look at, shaped like a piano that opens to reveal the 8 discs held in two slim sleeves, the full legth biography Mister Jelly Roll by Lomax and then another 80 page linear notes detailing the recording sessions. The last disc also has a .pdf file with transcriptions of Alan Lomax’s notes. It’s big and pricey, but it’s a essential part of any jazz/blues collection.

The structure of the recordings are Lomax interviewing Morton at a piano and he responds and plays musics and explains jazz and the world as he sees it. Here is Morton explaining the song Kansas City Stomp and the difference between a break and swinging.

Jelly Roll Morton – Jazz Discords and Story of Kansas City Stomp
Jelly Roll Morton – Kansas City Stomp, continued

Posted in Honey on 02.06.06

January marked the first month since the move that the old site wasn’t the top referrer. Big ups to Said the Gramophone.

Top songs for Janurary 2006.

1. Bille Holiday – Don’t Explain
2. Walter Cole – Mama Keep Your Yes Ma’am Clean
3. Superwolf – I Gave You
4. Montana Taylor with Bertha Chippie Hill – Worried Jailhouse Blues
5. Walter Taylor – Diamond Ring Blues
6. Issac Hayes – Runnin’ Out Of Fools
7. Lead Belly – Stewball
8. Andrew and Jim Baxter – Operator Blues
9. Kid Prince Moore – Honey Dripping Papa
10. Dick Justice – Brownskin Blues

harry reser and band

Harry Reser sort of makes me feel like i’m going crazy. His quick tenor banjo playing, backed with a full band feels weird to me – and it so damn fast. He wrote the first Heebe Jeebes, which is fitting. The other song posted is Crackerjack is an amazing in about every way – and I’m not really a sucker for banjo instrumentals – but this is so different than what pre-war country was doing that it really grabs me.

Harry Reser – Heebe Jeebes (link fixed)
Harry Reser – Crackerjack

When I Get Drunk, I’m Evil
Posted in Honey on 02.02.06

Juneberry 78s is a fantastic resource, the owner rips/remasters his expansive 78 collection and offers some low quality samples for the cd-r compilations he sales. I’m not sure about the legality of selling the cd-rs, but the samples and information on the site are top notch.

Edith Johnson seems to be a smaller female blues singer, she’s backed by Henry Brown’s Orchestra, featuring probably the best muted trombone that I’ve ever heard. Johnson is a great singer, her phrasings are exact and she has great charisma during the spoken parts.

Edith Johnson – Good Chib Blues

She’s Got A Nice Line
Posted in Honey on 01.31.06

You’ve probably noticed Frankie doing a great job providing all sorts of great details about recent posts, he also runs a Done Gone, a great site that has some pre-war mp3s, but also a lot of technical details about the songs that I don’t often post about.

Today’s track comes to us from Ed Bell and Pillie Bolling, two blues musicians from Alabama. Ed Bell of course is known for Mamlish Blues, but he recorded very sparingly in his 3 years of active recording. Pilli Bolling was a traveling companion of Ed Bell, and the only of their group of friends who would record either with Bell or solo. Bolling sings lead, and has a softer voice that Bell, but his voice style is highly influenced by Bell.

Ed Bell and Pillie Bolling – She’s Got A Nice Line