Saturday, December 31, 2011

Water Coast Blues

Water Coast Blues – Big Bill Broonzy & His Fat Four – 1949

Photo: BBC.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas – Lightening Hopkins – 1951

Photo: Lightning Hopkins, 1967. Copyright © 2011 by Brad Barrett.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Only Love Me

Only Love Me – Timi Yuro – 1962

Photo: “Bill McCune and the Mellow Tones, with Timi Yuro, McClellan Air Force Base, Sacramento, circa 1972.” Bill McCune/Living Blues (November/December 1994)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Homer & Jethro with June Carter – 1949

Image: Homer and Jethro with June Carter, 1971. Courtesy

Friday, December 09, 2011

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Honky Tonk

Honky Tonk – The Ventures – 1960

Album cover courtesy Little Jimbo

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Current events—WWII edition

Pearl Harbor—Parts 1 & 2
The Soul-Stirrers with Willie Eason – c.1948

Photo: Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941. Photo # NH 50930. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Monday, December 05, 2011

’Board! . . . First train goin’ south

Orange Blossom Special – Rouse Brothers – 1939

Image: Thomas Hart Benton, The Sources of Country Music, 1975

Blue Monk

Blue Monk – Thelonious Monk – 1954

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Saturday, December 03, 2011


1965. Summer’s just about over. I’m driving around in my little 1960 blue Falcon, “radio tuned to rock’n’roll.” This country song keeps coming on and I immediately switch stations. What are they doing playing this kind of stuff on my station? One day I tune in just as the song ends and the DJ says, “That was ‘Act Naturally’ by The Beatles.” Whaaat?!? Well, after that, I started listening to it and, eating my prejudice for lunch, started to really like it. I mean, it was the Beatles. Sometime later, one of my friends played me a song he was learning on his guitar, “Buckaroo,” by some guy called Buck Owens. That was pretty fine too. Little by little. . . . Well, at some point along the way I heard Buck Owens’ original of “Act Naturally,” and though the Beatles’ version is still a favorite, there’s really no comparison. Conversion complete.

The Beatles • Act Naturally • 1965

Buck Owens • Act Naturally • 1963

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ballad of a Teenage Queen

Ballad Of A Teenage Queen – Cowboy Jack Clement
with Johnny Cash – 2004

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Current events

Causes – The Broadside Singers – 1964
(lead vocal: Pat Sky)

Collective personnel for this October 1964 session: Phil Ochs, Pat Sky, Len Chandler, Tom Paxton, David Blue, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Peter La Farge, Pete Seeger, Eric Andersen.

Struggle Blues

Struggle Blues – Woody Guthrie – c.1940s

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving. . . .

I Heard The Voice Of A Porkchop – Jim Jackson – 1928

Illustration from Li’l Abner by Al Capp, 12-22-1960

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Te quiero mucho

Te Quiero Mucho – Mexican Institute of Sound – 2009

You have one new message

Poemfone Message: 
11:28 PM 17 Syllables From East 12th Street
Allen Ginsberg – 1995


“You’ve Got The Power” – duet with Bea Ford

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Make Up Your Mind

Make Up Your Mind – Anna King – 1964


This seems to be Staples week around some of the music blogs I follow. Cussin’ and Carryin’ On has an interesting piece tracing the evolution of the Staple Singers from being primarily straight gospel singers to having a more all encompassing vision of the power of their music to effect change after Pop Staples heard Martin Luther King, Jr. speak. Then over at The Singing Bones, Ana B discusses the Staples’ first two Vee-Jay LPs, and offers a listen to their 1959 single “So Soon,” with a lead by Mavis Staples, “. . . whose voice qualifies as a force of nature. . . .”

I’ve also posted a few Staple Singers tunes here this past week (and previously), and today I’d like to add a couple more early favorites, the B-sides to their first two Vee-Jay singles. The first is probably my favorite Mavis lead, 1955’s “God’s Wonderful Love”—I haven’t any words to describe how powerful and moving her singing is on this stark side. Next up is the Roebuck-led “I Know I Got Religion,” with his high vocal and shimmering guitar anchored by the responsive “certainly, Lord”s of Mavis, Cleo, and Pervis. 

The Staple Singers • God’s Wonderful Love • 1955

The Staple Singers • I Know I Got Religion • 1956

Sunday School

Let Your Light Shine On Me
Mud Boy And The Neutrons – 2001

Thursday, November 17, 2011


The Staple Singers • For What It’s Worth • 1967


Buck Owens • Release Me • 1963

click on song title to play

Jay McDonald, pedal steel guitar; Buck Owens, guitar; Don Rich, fiddle; Jelly Sanders, guitar; Kenny Pierce, electric bass; Ken Presley, drums. Recorded in Hollywood, California, 14 Feb 1963.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Slim’s gimmick

The Gimmick – Memphis Slim – 1965

Why did you stumble and why did you fall
on the journey

Featuring the unbelievably, stupendously [add more adjectives here] sensational Rev. Julius Cheeks on lead vocals . . . not to mention the soaring harmonies of the ’Gales and Carl Coates’ basso buh-bm-buh-bm-buh-bm-bms.

A Closer Walk With Thee – The Sensational Nightingales – 1958

Sunday School

Old Rugged Cross
Phil Alvin & The Dirty Dozen Brass Band – 1994

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cliston Blues

Cliston Blues – Cliston Chanier “King of the South” – 1954

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I got rhythm

I Got Rhythm – Larry Adler – 1938

Larry Adler, chromatic harmonica; Django Reinhardt, guitar; Joseph Reinhardt, guitar; Eugene Vees, guitar; Stephane Grappelly, piano; Roger Grasset, bass. Recorded in Paris, May 31, 1938.

“Is he poppin’?”
“Yeah, man!”

Old Taylor – Memphis Slim – 1941

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Old Man Walking Blues

Here’s a strange one, issued in the late ’60s, and primarily a vehicle for tunes by John Fahey and Robbie Basho; it also contained this spacey oddity by Bukka White. Heard in certain, er, states, it tended to elicit silly grins from yours truly its listeners. . . .

Old Man Walking Blues – Bukka White – 1964

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Lawrence Walker

Lawrence Walker is another of the Cajun accordion greats, a great player and a soulful singer, with a sense of sadness that permeates even his uptempo songs. He had a band with his brother Elton that recorded several sessions during the Depression, but seems to have hit his stride as a bandleader in the Fifties and Sixties with many great sides recorded for Khoury, La Louisianne, and Swallow. All the songs in the playlist below are originally from singles made for La Louisianne around 1961 and later reissued on the LP pictured. They feature Walker’s beautiful singing and playing, a fine band, and Dick Richard’s standout steel playing.

All but one of the songs here are available on The Essential Collection of Lawrence Walker (Swallow SW6221, 2010), along with the best of his Swallow and Khoury recordings.
For more information on Lawrence Walker, see Ann Savoy’s book Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People, 
Volume 1, Bluebird Press, Inc., 1984.