Friday, August 31, 2012

I’d weave a magic strand

Oh, had I a golden thread

And a needle so fine
I’d weave a magic strand
Of rainbow design
Of rainbow design.

In it I’d weave the bravery
Of women giving birth,
In it I’d weave the innocence
Of children of all the earth,
Children of all the earth.

Show my brothers and sisters
My rainbow design,
Bind up this sorry world
With hand and heart and mind,
Hand and heart and mind.

Far over the waters
I’d reach my magic band
To every human being
So they would understand,
So they’d understand.

Oh, had I a golden thread
And needle so fine
I’d weave a magic strand
Of rainbow design
Of rainbow design.

Oh, Had I A Golden Thread – Joan Baez – 1967

Lyrics by Pete Seeger as sung by Joan Baez.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Don’t go baby

Here’s an unissued tune by The Cubans (aka the Ivory Tones aka Little Caesar & The Romans) harking back to their gospel origins as the Northern Crusaders, sounding to me a little like a secular Archie Brownlee & The Blind Boys, which is why I’ve always kind of liked this one, not to mention their name, just right for success in 1959. . . .

Don’t Go Baby – The Cubans – 1959

More photos and info at Doo-Wop.

Monday, August 27, 2012

That’s reason I’m sittin’ here singin’
everybody’s blues

Everybody’s Blues – Lil’ Son Jackson – 1951

Illustration: Joe Ciardiello from Lil’ Son Jackson, The Complete Imperial Recordings, 1995.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012


You know I’m a country boy
and I always will treat you wrong

Muddy Waters & His Guitar • Country Boy • 1951

Muddy Waters & His Guitar = Muddy Waters, vocal & guitar; Little Walter, harmonica & exclamation; Len Chess, bass drum.

Get it: Muddy Waters – The Anthology

Friday, August 17, 2012


Uncle Dave Macon • Last Night When My Willie Came Home • 1926

Skip James • Drunken Spree • 1931

Uncle Dave Macon, vocal; Sam McGee, guitar. April 14, 1926; Skip James, vocal & guitar. c.February 1931

Get drunk: My Rough And Rowdy Ways: Badman Ballads & Hellraising Songs, Vol. 2 (Uncle Dave); Hard Time Killin’ Floor (Skip)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

All by myself, alone, at home a-feelin’ blue

I Wonder, I Wonder, I Wonder—Part 2 – The Four Aces – 1946

Label photo courtesy

Friday, August 10, 2012

It’s too late now

One of the most obscure blues recordings of the postwar era, “Too Late Baby” by Stick Horse Hammond is a real country blues classic. It was originally issued on a Shreveport label with no relation to Chicago’s J.O.B. imprint. That’s not much hard info, but then there’s always the record itself, just a simple blues tune, easy enough to enjoy on its own.

Too Late Baby – “Stick-Horse” Hammond – 1950

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Now, this is the blues

Good Morning Blues – Huddie Leadbelly – 1940

Photo: Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly) and Martha Promise Ledbetter, Wilton, Conn. February 1935. The Lomax Collection/Library of Congress.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Can you feel him watching over you right now

Someone Watches – The Original Five Blind Boys 
(Jackson Harmoneers) – lead: Archie Brownlee – 1959

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Chicago Blues – The Fifties – part 3

Here, for your listening pleasure, is our third and final 1950s Chicago blues playlist, picking up where the previous post left off c.1954 and bringing us up to the end of the fifties and just beyond. Eddie Taylor’s debut single for Vee-Jay, the tough “Bad Boy” with Jimmy Reed on harmonica, starts things rolling, followed by Muddy Waters at the apex of his Chicago “big band” period with “I’m Ready,” featuring a soaring Little Walter harp solo (the original record label credits “Muddy Waters & His Guitar” even though those semi-solo days are long past and he now has the support of Jimmy Rogers and a full rhythm section); “Dissatisfied” features the great SBW on amplified harmonica, a rarity for him. By the mid- to late-fifties, the South and West sides of Chicago were beginning to usher in the modern blues guitar sound pioneered by B. B. King, with young turks like Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Magic Sam, and others leading the foray. Even Elmore James was sporting a tough new sound and Memphis Slim, formerly fronting a sax-led band, was using Matt Murphy on guitar to great effect.

Photo: Elmore James and Sonny Boy Williamson, Chicago, c.1953 by Big Bill Broonzy/Yannick Bruynoghe Collection. From Living Blues No. 55, Winter 1982/83.