Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Goin’ to Memphis, stop at Jim Canan’s

On the Wall – Louise Johnson – 1930

Record label: What’s wrong with this picture?!

Monday, January 28, 2013

We’ll be cuddlin’ soon

By the Light of the Silvery Moon – Little Richard – 1958

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Burgundy Street Blues

Burgundy Street Blues
George Lewis & His New Orleans Music – 1950

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Before you do something smart . . .

Songs with references to other song titles or characters, songs with lots of characters, songs with narration or sermonizing, cut-in records, tunes that quote other tunes, sequels, answer records . . . oh, I’m a sucker for all of ’em. “Short Fat Fanny” and “Splish Splash” come to mind. Bob Luman’s “Let’s Think About Livin’.” Lil’ Son Jackson’s roll call of his “hits” in “Everybody’s Blues.” After that build-up, “Honey, Don’t Let Me Go” is a fairly slight entry, “just another” Jimmy Reed record. Eddie Taylor and Earl Phillips lay down the “Jimmy Reed beat” as Jimmy namechecks “High and Lonesome,” “Roll and Rhumba,” “Boogie in the Dark,” “Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby,” and “Rockin’ with Reed” and throws in a couple of his signature harmonica solos.

Honey, Don’t Let Me Go – Jimmy Reed – 1956

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Carry Me Home

Carry Me Home – The Swan Silvertones – 1962

(Louis Johnson, lead; Claude Jeter, tenor; Paul Owens, John Myles, baritones; William “Pete” Connor, bass; with Linwood Hargrove, guitar; unknown, bass.)

Photo: The Swan Silvertones in 1965. Top row, left to right: Louis Johnson, William Connor, Paul Owens. Bottom row, left to right: Linwood Hargrove, Claude Jeter, John Myles. From The Gospel Sound by Tony Heilbut, Simon and Schuster, 1971

Friday, January 18, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I get a real good feeling

In the mid-60s, if you liked blues, or pop, or whatever it was still possible to go into a record store and buy 45s and albums of anything that suited your fancy. On the downtown business strip of my home town, there was a store called Lloyd’s Music City which carried a good selection of the blues records I was beginning to become taken with. Most amazingly, to me at that time and even more now when I think of what has become of the innocent act of buying music you like, Lloyd’s carried years-old records right next to the currently popular stuff and at everyday prices. These weren’t reissues, they were originals that either hadn’t sold, or that were restocked if enough people continued to buy them. I probably bought some Bob Dylan albums and singles as they came out, and as my tastes broadened, I would browse the blues and folk sections. One day I was surprised to find they stocked old Chess-label 45s, records that at that point were five or six years old. I remember buying 45s one day by Otis Rush and Elmore James, and on a subsequent trip, Junior Parker’s recent single “Man or Mouse” on Duke. I had read Tony Glover’s raves about a Sonny Boy Williamson single (“Temperature 110”/“Lonesome Cabin”) that wasn’t on any albums at the time so I went down to the drugstore near my house and ordered it; the record came in the next week. Price: $1.00. There was another store, a big one, called White Front, kind of a precursor to Costco, that had a music section and you could order LPs out of one of those big yellow catalogs. I had recently discovered Big Mama Thornton and wanted to see what was available. I ordered a Duke album called Like ’Er Red Hot that had “Hound Dog” as well as tunes by Bobby Bland, Junior Parker, Johnny Ace and others. When it came in, I looked at the chile pepper-themed cover, turned it over to see what was on it, chickened out, and put it back on the rack! Too heavy for me.

Here is one of the Elmore James tunes that was originally on the Chess 45 I bought from Lloyd’s. It’s the flip of “The Sun Is Shining” and both sides are just great. I had only heard one Elmore James record at that point, his first recording of “Dust My Broom.” This Chess single confirmed to me that Elmore James was somebody I definitely wanted to hear more of. Next stop: Original Folk Blues on Kent. . . .

I Can’t Hold Out – Elmore James – 1960

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

O Cize, bô qu’ê luz di nha vida

Oh, Cize,
You are the light of my life

Cize – Cesaria Evora – 1991

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I’m headed down toward the ocean

This Is The End – James Reed & His Blues Band – 1954

LP cover: Bay Area Blues Blasters, Ace LP CHD 224 (1987); source: American Music.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Smoke gets in your eyes

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – Thelonious Monk – 1954

LP cover: discogs

Friday, January 11, 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Friday, January 04, 2013


Mance Lipscomb • Long Way To Tipperary • 1964

Photo: Mance Lipscomb, Ash Grove. 1968. Photo by Brad Barrett, copyright © 2013

Thursday, January 03, 2013

1950, Lord, was not my year

1951 Blues – Luther Huff – 1951

Photo: Delta Blues—1951, ALCD 2702

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

I made a New Year revolution

New Year’s Resolution – Lil’ Son Jackson – 1950

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

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

What’s the picture . . . year after year?

from Iron Horse – Philip Glass – 1993
libretto by Allen Ginsberg

vocal ensemble: Elizabeth Futral, Mary Ann Hart, Richard Fracker, Gregory Purnhagen, Nathaniel Watson