Saturday, March 03, 2012

Blues in the bottle

During the sixties folky revival there were certain songs you’d hear a lot . . . . “Hesitation Blues” and “Blues in the Bottle” were a couple of them. Both went way back, “Hesitation Blues” to W. C. Handy but probably heard by most in a version by Charlie Poole & The North Carolina Ramblers. “Blues in the Bottle” begins (on record at least) with fiddler Prince Albert Hunt (the Alfalfa/Alfred E. Neuman-looking character pictured below right). Here’s his 1928 original followed by the Holy Modal Rounders’ 1964 take replete with new lyrics befitting the times. Both versions feature non-standard pronunciations of “Chattanooga.” Prince Albert Hunt made it to 1931 and the age of 30 before being murdered by a jealous husband. Pete Stampfel and Steve Weber of the Rounders are still with us and surface from time to time.

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