Sunday, April 29, 2012

Saturday, April 28, 2012


About a month ago, The Singing Bones posted an awesome quartet version of an old lining hymn, “A Charge to Keep” by the Echoes of Zion. The Echoes’ song is reminiscent of an earlier quartet record by The Pilgrim Travelers, “I Love the Lord” (also recorded by Rev. Robert Crenshaw in a congregational version). All of these records bring to mind another really fine congregational lining hymn recorded in a Chicago church service by Deacon Leroy Shinault around 1957. Alan Lomax writes, in his notes to Negro Church Music (Atlantic LP 1351), “The most vigorous survival of early black religious folk culture is the lined-out psalm, which is not black in origin, but goes back to the beginning of the Reformation in Europe. . . . The early Protestant leaders needed hymns by means of which they could teach their radical doctrines to an illiterate congregation. Therefore their song leaders intoned the psalms line by line. After each line was given out, the song leader led the congregation in singing it.” Though the Deacon Shinault record is rarely seen (or heard) in its original incarnation on Ping, and it certainly isn’t here, it (and its flip) has been reissued over the years on LP and CD and should be relatively easy to find.

Deacon L. Shinault • Lord I Come To Thee • 1957

Friday, April 27, 2012

Button up shoes

Walking Shoes (Button Up Shoes) – Tommy Johnson – 1929

“Walking Shoes (Button Up Shoes)” is an unissued Paramount test recording made in 1929 and first discovered in an attic in Waukegan, Illinois in 1985.

Illustration adapted from booklet to On the Road Again, Muskadine One, 1970.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

Slide . . . banjo

Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home – Banjo Joe – 1927

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hunka hunka

Burning Love – Elvis Presley – 1972

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How many more years. . .

You Gonna Wreck My Life – Howlin’ Wolf – 1958

Howlin’ Wolf, vocal & harmonica; Otis Spann, piano; Lee Cooper, guitar; Willie Dixon, bass; Earl Phillips, drums. Recorded in Chicago, March 18, 1954.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Father Death Blues

Father Death Blues – Philip Glass – 1993
libretto by Allen Ginsberg

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blues on my ceiling

Blues On My Ceiling – Judy Roderick – 1964

Friday, April 13, 2012

Shake it up baby, now

Twist And Shout – The Shangri-Las – 1964

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tanner’s Boarding House

Tanner’s Boarding House – Gid Tanner–Riley Puckett – 1934

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Singing the Blues

Singing The Blues – Marty Robbins – 1956

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Friday, April 06, 2012

Swing, daddy, swing

Swing Daddy Swing – Jerry Hawkins – 1958

Label pic: Thanks to Rockin’ Country Style.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Current events—WWII edition

Each Night At Nine – Floyd Tillman & His Favorite Playboys – 1944

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Please shun that house in New Orleans. . . .

The Rising Sun Blues – Georgia Turner – 1937

Photo: E. J. Bellocq, c.1912, from “Storyville Portraits” series.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Monday, April 02, 2012

Ballad of a Thin Man

Joan Baez’s 1965 venture into “folk rock,” Farewell, Angelina, contained, in addition to songs by Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, and Woody Guthrie, this Red Hayes composition, probably best known as a 1955 number one country hit for Porter Wagoner. It was always one of my favorites from the Baez album along with Dylan’s “Farewell, Angelina” and a German-language version of Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” Bob Dylan’s 1980 LP Saved opens with a very un-country version that pretty much saves an otherwise unredeemable album. One day around 1986 I finally heard Porter’s version on an RCA comp, Best of the ’50s, nestled between songs by Hank Snow, Don Gibson, and The Browns. Well, Porter Wagoner’s version promptly moved to the top of the list, for no other reason than that it’s really great. So, without further gabbing about it . . . here is “A Satisfied Mind” as sung by none other than the thin man from West Plains, Porter Wagoner.