Daptone Records (home of the wonderful Sharon Jones, among others) head went down to Panola County, Mississippi to record local gospel singers – this record is a sampler of sorts – showcasing what he recorded and introducing some of the acts who will be releasing albums on their own later. The trip is documented here through a series of videos about each artist.
The quality over all is excellent – the arrangements are fresh and exciting and there is just no doubt the sheer power of these voices. These are my two favorites – Como Mamas ft. Mary Moore, a family group that sing with an urgency that’s not often heard in modern gospel music. M other favorite track is from the eldest members, husband and wife duo Brother and Sister Walker, on this disc and they only ones who were present during one of Lomax’s trips through their county, a trip that found Fred McDowell among others.
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Charlie Louvin released a new gospel album, revisited some of his classic gospel songs from his Louvin Brothers days as well as some new takes on classic standards. Overall I find the disc rather middling – it lacks the punch of last years self-titled disc that brought him back into the music. Most of the problems lie in the production that’s overly sweet for Louvin’s voice these days – but I do find his new take on “There is a Higher Power,” the only song on this disc that makes appropriate use of the gospel choir that is featured on all the tracks.
Document’s recordings of Monkey Joe have always been the one disc I’ve always put back on the shelf/remove from my Amazon cart, maybe it’s the nick name that always rubbed me wrong – but it is a shame that I didn’t around to listening to him until last month.
Jesse Coleman recorded his first track in 1935 – but continued to play in blues clubs until at least the 1970s. Working as both a session player – he is most known for his aggressive piano playing style and his almost welping singing style. Both of these features are present on the first track a wonderfully original blues number, “Gonna Beat It Back To Memphis” an angry blues letter to world and the blues – he’s not taking the blues lying down on this one. The wonderful Walter Vincson plays guitar on this track – but he’s all but obscured by Coleman’s piano being way too high in the mix. Th e track is credited to Monkey Joe and his Music Grinders – a group consisting of Honey’s favorite Blind Joe Davis on piano and Willie Bee James on guitar -Coleman “only” sings on this side, I Was Laying ‘Em Down, but Davis’ style compliments the track a lot better and allows for the band to really carry the track which is always a pleasure to hear in pre-war era that was dominated by solo performances.
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Today’s songs are from Carolina Slim a lesser known North Carolina blues player – great voice and a prime example of the Piedmont blues as it matured in the post-war era. Carolina Slim in particular borrows a lot from post-war Texas blues musicians. Both tracks here, Ain’t it Sad and Money Blues, show Slim at a stylistic crossroad – and one that would be extremely interesting to follow if his life wasn’t cut short at the young age of 30.
I hope that everyone had a lot of fun with the St. James’ posts. I keep going back to the second set of songs personally. I think almost all of those songs are top notch. We are back to our normal, yet sporadic posts of blues joy around these parts.
We are starting off with a wonderful batch of instrumentals by groups of players in Georgia in 1929. The first track is an dual harp instrumental version of “Honey, Where You Been So Long” The harmonica players are Eddie Mapp and James Moore and are back by Guy Lumpkin on guitar. Only Mapp is somewhat known for playing on a few tracks with Curley Weaver. The second track is Mapp back by Slim Barton on Guitar – and Mapp shows what a talented harmonica player he really was – as he leads this take on 4th Avenue Blues.
Eddie Mapp/James Moore – Where You Been So Long? (1929) Eddie Mapp/Slim Barton – Fourth Avenue Blues (1929)
This is the final release of The St. James Infirmary collection here at Honey. There are some real gems in this group, Blind Willie McTell, Jimmie Rodgers and Two Gallants are my favorites in this batch. Thanks again to all the readers who submit files – This couldn’t have come together without ya’ll.
I’ve updated the Stagolee page again, reducing the number of MIA tracks, thanks to Bert and others who have sent in files recently. The Final (!!) update to St. James should be up on the donors page tonight (or at least by 9/2) – apparently I like downloading, deleting and re-downloading those files over and over again. I know I’ve lost a few on the way because of that. If you donated tracks for these collections and haven’t heard from me by tomorrow night (9/2) send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for your password.
This song was requested awhile ago, but I’m just now getting around to putting it up. I wasn’t familiar with George Hannah before this request, I just had a few of his tracks scattered across a few discs. Hannnah isn’t the best singer, but he is a very unique songwriter – focusing on the other side of city life in the pre-war era. Boy in Boat is a great observation of city life, and sound somewhat like Tom Waits in parts. Freakish Man Blues goes more into details about his own personal leanings and is quite fun. Hannah is backed on both tracks by Meade Lux Lewis who is always a pleasure to hear.
I’ve updated and cleaned up the Stagolee page. I moved a bunch of songs down to the Missing in Action section (please send?) and added about 20 new songs thanks to Robert who also sent in a bunch of wonderful St James sides. Speaking of St. James – the addendum will be out this week some time so keep your eyes and RSS feeders peeled.
Mason sent in this AWESOME St. James video of pre-Oingo Bongo theater group Mystic Knights doing their take of the song from a documentary called Forbidden Zone. The Same user has them doing Minnie The Moocher and recreating the Betty Boop cartoon that’s pretty awesome also (it’s not work safe).
I’m happy to present So Young, So Cold, So Fair: The Saint James Infirmary Blues, a collection of songs of loss and love regarding The St. James Infirmary. Honey was established over four (!) years ago around the idea that it was too hard actually listen to pre-war blues without buying out of print or import blues records. I try to present the music on this site without too much editing – I don’t make everyone suffer through every single female blues side I get my hands on (though you might think so by reading my email) and as everyone points out I haven’t posted Robert Johnson (This is changing soon) but I think most blues collections have covered the basics to death – and that my site as the next step where you can hear Jessie Derrick and not just Ma Rainey.
This idea of presenting the blues then evolved into I really want to listen to 80 versions of Stagolee and 100 versions of St. James Infirmary right now. With these large collections I don’t edit for quality – The Doors version on here is almost as bad as the Beach Boys take on Stagolee – thought the quality of St. James Songs is far higher than Stagolee. By far. Enjoy!
1. A BIG thanks for everyone who contributed to this collection – it would of have been twenty versions by Jack Teagarden with out you.
2. The numbering is off because I didn’t remove duplicates until after I ordered and numbered the tracks.
3. There will be an appendix with Dock Boggs and a few other people released later.
4. Please share the page, not the links.
For those who have donated – the full download for the St. James Infirmary is ready to be downloaded here. If you contributed, and haven’t donated, please send me an email and I’ll send you a password.
I’m working on a post for everyone else with each track being able to be donwloaded – but it is taking sometime to type in all those hyperlinks!