Monday, June 30, 2014


Summer of ’76 I worked briefly as a stripper (no! not that kind) in a print shop and one of the guys in the department always had the radio tuned to Country. The station played this record several times a day, must’ve been a big hit. It was by some guy called Willie Nelson who I’d never heard of before. But I liked it pretty well, it was a rockin’ little number and helped mitigate some of the other dreck that got played all day. So, I didn’t know who Willie Nelson was, and certainly had no idea he was singing a Lefty Frizzell song from a decade and a half earlier. The next year I was working at another place where they sometimes played Country on the radio and here’s Willie Nelson again, chiming in on the final chorus of Waylon Jennings’ “Luckenbach, Texas.” These days it seems like I’ve been a fan of the music of Waylon and Willie most of my life but it really started here with these two songs.

Waylon Jennings • Luckenbach, Texas (Back To The Basics Of Love) • 1977

Get ’em: Ol’ Waylon and The Sound in Your Mind

First week o’ July (that starts tomorrow) we got The Five Blind Boys, Bo Weavil Jackson, Ray Kinney, The Ventures, and a special guest star. . . .

Sunday, June 29, 2014

ODDS & ENDS Vol. 3

Chris Hillman & Steve Earle • High Fashion Queen • 1999

Saturday, June 28, 2014


Here’s Mercy Dee’s first record, and the A-side of “Baba-Du-Lay Fever,” posted here a couple of years ago.

Mercy Dee • Lonesome Cabin Blues (Log Cabin Blues) • 1949

Friday, June 27, 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Jesse James recorded four songs for Decca in Chicago in 1936; only two of these were originally issued, “Southern Casey Jones” being the most well known today. In 1948 one of the unissued sides, “Sweet Patuni,” was put out on a bootleg 78 label, Post, as “Ramrod” by Hooker Joe with a song by Walter Davis on the flip. “Sweet Patuni” may have been a little too naughty for a major label to issue in the thirties though it seems pretty tame by today’s standards. Pretty fun listening, though, as Mr James stops just as he’s about to sing what he’s not supposed to and replaces it with something else that fits the rhyme. Other songs with “edge of the cliff” lyric changes have been recorded through the years, a couple of good postwar records being Fluffy Hunter’s “The Walkin’ Blues” and Mercy Dee’s “Red Light.”

Jesse James • Sweet Patuni • 1936

Label photo: American Music

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Milton Brown & His Brownies • St. Louis Blues • 1935

Milton Brown, vocal; Cecil Brower, fiddle; Bob Dunn, electric steel guitar; Fred Calhoun, piano; Ocie Stockard, 
tenor banjo; Derwood Brown, guitar; Wanna Coffman, string bass. Chicago, 27 Jan 1935

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


One of the first covers (along with Rockin Robin Roberts’ version) of Richard Berry’s “controversial” classic. Wasn’t a hit. Shoulda been.

Little Bill with The Adventurers & Shalimars
Louie, Louie • 1961

Monday, June 23, 2014

Saturday, June 21, 2014

ODDS & ENDS Vol. 3

First day of summer, y’all. . . .

Sam Cooke • Summertime • 1958

Next week, St. Louis Woman, sitting a thousand miles from nowhere watching the river flow, opts for a barefoot adventure but as she sees Louie Louie sail off with Sweet Patuni, realizes it’s the last time. . . .

Friday, June 20, 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014


This one’s been on the back burner to post for reasons that may or may not be obvious. But if you stay around to the end, the punch line is worth waiting for, and shows that some of our friends “across the pond” at least had a sense of humor about the value of what they were doing. . . .

The Animals • Story Of Bo Diddley • 1964

LP cover: Discogs

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Seventies Scene: At a publication where I worked we’d have slide shows to pick the next issue’s cover photo as well as images for the inside, and for inspiration I’d crank up my cheapie cassette player with a tape of bluesy guitar tunes. Here’s a short selection of some of our office favorites.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience • Red House • 1967

Fred McDowell & His Blues Boys • When The Saints Go Marching In • 1969

Lonnie Mack • Memphis / Wham! • 1963

For Steve P.

Get it: Smash Hits

Album cover: All Music

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Sonny Terry • Lost John • 1944

Sonny Terry, whooping/harmonica; Woody Guthrie, narration/guitar. New York City, 20 April 1944

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Reverse time machine, aka sonic update: This 2014 post now has better sound thanks to the 2015 Ace Tampa Red compilation Dynamite! The Unsung King of the Blues.

Tampa Red • She Want to Sell My Monkey • 1942

Tampa Red, vocal/guitar; Big Maceo, piano/spoken; Clifford “Snags” Jones, drums. 24 June 1941

Label pic: Joe’s Music Rack

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Here’s Andre’s 1996 update of his 1957 hit “Jailbait” with a sly performance and over the top vocal asides he probably wouldn’t have been able to get away with in the fifties; the El Dorados are along to help push things past the limit.

Andre Williams Chicago Blues & Rhythm Band 
with the El Dorados • Jail Bait • 1996

New tunes, starting tomorrow, from Tampa Red and Big Maceo! Junior Wells! Sonny Terry and Woody Guthrie! The Jimi Hendrix Experience! Fred McDowell & His Blues Boys! Lonnie Mack! The Animals! Mel Tormé! and to start summer off right, Sam Cooke! Don’t miss ’em!

Friday, June 13, 2014


I would humbly submit that this unissued Bo Diddley track trumps “Stranded in the Jungle” and “Ubangi Stomp” both, easily, and it lay in the Chess vaults for nearly fifty years before seeing the light of day. It’s also the first appearance of our namesake, Frank Jive (“I bring ’em back alive!”)

Bo Diddley • Bring Them Back Alive (Funny Talk) • 1960

Bo Diddley photo: Stupefaction

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Twenty-one year old Johnnie Taylor singing lead. . . .

The Highway Q-C’s • Somewhere To Lay My Head • 1955

Cf. “Somewhere To Lay My Head,” live by the Sensational Nightingales in the 60s.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I first came across this little helium-filled ditty in a junk store in Pasadena on the same day John Harmer turned me on to the Soul Stirrers and the Dixie Hummingbirds. I paid something like twenty cents or a quarter for it. A long time perversonal favorite, still got the 45. A Stuart Hamblen (“This Ole House”) outer space production to be sure.

The Cowboy Church Sunday School

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


As it’s the birthday today of the ever great Howlin’ Wolf (May 10, 1910, West Point, Mississippi) we’re featuring a demo from what is probably his first recording session (at Memphis Sound & Recording Service, later Sun Records) in 1951. Accompanied only by drummer Willie Steele and probably Pat Hare on guitar, Wolf leads a nice harmonica driven romp through a song that would later be re-recorded and issued on RPM.

Howling Wolf • Riding in the Moonlight
(demo acetate #1) • 1951

Photo and music from Howling Wolf Sings the Blues (Ace, 2004) which collects the original Crown LP along with 10 additional tracks.

ODDS & ENDS Vol. 3

The best surf band in the land. (Home: Raton, New Mexico!)

Fireballs • Nearly Sunrise • 1959

Monday, June 09, 2014


Oscar Alemán y su Quinteto de Swing • Caminos Cruzados • 1944

Label photo from Oscar Alemán 100.

Sunday, June 08, 2014


Orkiestra Brati “Holatiky-Kuziany”
Obertana Z Molodom (Hoedown With The Bride) • 1928

Photo from the booklet to Aimer et Perdre: Songs, 1917–1934 (Tompkins Square, 2012)

Saturday, June 07, 2014


“The tradition of Byzantine liturgical music is believed by most historians to be the oldest from of music still practiced to this day, as well as the earliest notated music (ekphonic semiography). Byzantine chant most commonly refers to the music of the Eastern Orthodox Church as first notated in the Roman Empire during the ‘Middle 
Ages. . . .’

“In the context of Eastern Orthodox liturgy, the hymns are now led by a chanter. . . . The title of chanter was only earned after many years of both musical and religious training. . . .

“Chanter P. (mostly likely Petros) Manea made only a few recordings for the Odeon label mostly in the common monophonic tradition with organ accompaniment. This specific hymn ‘IIatepa Yion’ or ‘Father and Son’ recorded in 1930 is a rather uncommon arrange-
ment for a liturgical hymn as it is sung by a mixed choir in polyphony . . . [and] is quite welcoming to the ears, exemplifying the traditional purpose of polyphony as viewed by the early church, to convey emotion.” —Frank Fairfield, excerpted from the notes to Unheard Ofs & Forgotten Abouts (Tompkins Square, 2010).

Chanter P. Manea with Choir • IIatepa Yion • 1930

Coming up next week: Great music from Orkiestra Brati, The Fireballs, Oscar Alemán y su Quinteto de Swing, The Cowboy Church Sunday School (again?!), The Highway Q-C's, Andre Williams Chicago Blues & Rhythm Band, and Bo Diddley! Y’all come back now, hear?

Friday, June 06, 2014


Beginning of a sea change here. Many thanks to John Harmer for playing these two records for me on a cold day in Pasadena sometime around 1971 or ’72 . . . and pointing me towards the “good stuff.”

Sam Cooke with The Soul Stirrers
Must Jesus Bear The Cross Alone • 1956

The Dixie Humming Birds • Move On Up A Little Higher • 1949

Get “Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone”: The Complete Specialty Recordings

Label photo: Record Connexion

Thanks also to Marie at Bless My Bones.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

ODDS & ENDS Vol. 3

This is the flip of “Say Man, Back Again.”

Bo Diddley • She’s Alright • 1959

Bo Diddley, vocal/guitar; Jerome Green, maracas; Clifton James or Frank Kirkland, drums; Lafayette Leake, piano; Bo Diddley, Jerome Green, Peggy Jones, backing vocals. Chicago, Sep 1959.                                                                                                                           

Wednesday, June 04, 2014


Leave it to ole Frank to find a steel guitar where you’d hardly expect to hear one, like f’rinstance Italo-American groups masquerading as Texas-Mexican string bands or a country brother guitar duo like the Delmores. Alton and Rabon hardly need a steel player, but here you have it, and it sounds pretty cool. . . .

Delmore Brothers (Alton & Rabon)
The Wabash Cannon-Ball Blues • 1940

Alton Delmore, Rabon Delmore, vocal duet; Ted Brooks, electric steel guitar; Alton Delmore, guitar; Rabon Delmore, tenor guitar. Atlanta, 6 Feb 1940.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014


The Soul Stirrers • Jesus, Wash Away My Troubles • 1956

LP cover: hhv


“Through the smoke and the racket of the noisy Chicago bar float Louisiana bayous, muddy old swamps, Mississippi dust and sun, cotton fields, lonesome roads, train whistles in the night, mosquitoes at dawn, and the Rural Free Delivery that never brings the right letter.” —Langston Hughes on Memphis Minnie

Memphis Minnie • I Got to Make a Change Blues • 1941

Many thanks to Mudwerks and Time Is the Architect.

Memphis Minnie, vocal/guitar; Little Son Joe, guitar; unknown, string bass. Chicago, 21 May 1941.


“Jay McDonald front and center with his steel guitar.”*

Buck Owens • Release Me • 1963

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.

*LP notes

Monday, June 02, 2014


About all I know of this song is that it’s sung by a Tunisian singer, Mme. Fritna Darmon, and was possibly recorded in the mid-40s. I also know that I like it a lot and hope some among you out there will too. (I know, I said the same thing about the last Tunisian record I posted, but that’s just how it is. To misquote Lyndon B. Johnson, “Ah may not know nothin’ about art, but ah know what ah like.”)

Mme. Fritna • Aroubi Rasd Eddil, Pt. 2 • c.1940s

Sunday, June 01, 2014


Here’s a rare example of a Mississippi blues accordionist. His name is Walter Rhodes and he recorded four songs for Columbia in 1927, two of which were issued. Here’s his take on Patton’s “Banty Rooster Blues” with sympatico guitar accompaniment from Pet and Can (aka the Harney brothers, Maylon and Richard).

Walter Rhodes with “Pet” & “Can”
The Crowing Rooster • 1927

Coming so far this month we’ve got tunes for you from all over the roadmap—Madame Fritna, Buck Owens, The Delmore Brothers, Bo Diddley, Sam Cooke & The Soul Stirrers, The Dixie Hummingbirds, Chanter Petros Manea, The Fireballs, Oscar Alemán, The Highway Q-C’s, Andre Williams; and that’s just the first two weeks. Stay tuned. . . .