So . . . you’ll have noticed that we feature a lot of cuts from Blues Classics LPs as well as from OJL and Yazoo. In the days before Yazoo started up, Blues Classics was one of the major pre- and postwar reissue labels and their releases could be found just about everywhere, no doubt due to good indie record store distribution by Bayside (or Jack’s Record Cellar, I can’t remember now). There was a period there in the mid- to late 60s when some of the greatest blues ever recorded were as easily available, at the right shops, as current pop music. So, for a beginning blues fan, what a time it was. Relatively good sound remastering, terrific selection, informative liner notes all in one package for about $3.00 a pop. How could you go wrong?
Sonny “Hootin’” Terry & His Night Owls
Harmonica Train • 1952
Sonny Terry, vocal whoops/harmonica; Bob Gaddy, piano; Brownie McGhee, guitar; Bob Harris, bass; George Wood, drums. Recorded in New York City, 1952.
Bo Diddley’s fifth single for Checker, “Who Do You Love,” featured “I’m Bad” on the flip, a sort of follow-up to his first record, “I’m a Man.” “I’m Bad” has a tougher sound than its predecessor (thanks to Jody Williams’ stinging guitar) which fits the more threatening lyrics perfectly. (Note the misspelling of the title on early pressings.)
Bo Diddley • I’m Bad • 1956
Personnel: Bo Diddley, vocal/guitar; Jody Williams, guitar; Clifton James, drums; Jerome Green, maracas. Recorded in Chicago, 24 May 1956.
“Ramiro Cavazos is one of the most soulful singers in the Norteño field and also an excellent bajo sexto player, songwriter, proprietor of the R y N label in McAllen [Texas] and record shop owner in the small town. . . . The slow waltz TODA MI ALMA is with the Banda brothers and I do not know the name of the accordionist but he is superb. The original record was overmodulated but despite such shortcomings I felt this disc had so much feeling it deserved inclusion [on the album Norteño Acordeon – Part 3].” *
Conjunto Hermanos Banda • Toda Mi Alma • c.1950s
* adapted from Chris Strachwitz’ 1978 notes to the LP Norteño Acordeon – Part 3: South Texas and Monterrey, N.L., The 1940’s and 50’s [Folklyric 9020 and amazingly still available from Arhoolie]).