Thursday, December 31, 2015


Richard & Linda Thompson • We Sing Hallelujah • 1974

Session musicians: Richard & Linda Thompson, vocals; Richard Thompson, guitar; Simon Nicol, dulcimer; Timi Donald, drums; Pat Donaldson, bass; John Kirkpatrick, Anglo concertina/accordion; Brian Gulland, Richard Harvey, krummhorn; Royston Wood, Trevor Lucas, backing vocals; CWS (Manchester) Silver Band. London, c. 1974

Get it: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight


Merle Haggard • If We Make It Through December • 1973

Get it: Down Every Road: 1962–1994

LP cover:

Monday, December 28, 2015


El Watson • Narrow Gauge Blues • 1927

El Watson, harmonica; Charles Johnson, guitar. Bristol, Tennessee, 28 July 1927

Sunday, December 27, 2015


Join us as we follow George and Tammy (and John and Iris) on an idyllic tour of some of the romantic capitols of the world: Rome, Athens, Paris. . . .

An Alternate 100* 
(We’re Not) The Jet Set • George Jones & Tammy Wynette • 1974

Special Blues All Kinds bonus
 (We’re Not) The Jet Set • John Prine with Iris DeMent • 1999

*“If we determined we had nothing much worthwhile to add to the conversation about a single, then that record didn’t make the cut, no matter how good it was. . . . [T]hose singles were were bumped down to “Once More with Feeling: An Alternate 100.” That supplemental list gathers, for the curious, our runners up, but, just as importantly, it presents an alternate, compressed version of the arguments made throughout the book.” —David Cantwell, Bill Friskics-Warren, “How to Use the Book” in Heartaches by the Number

Get ’em: Super Hits (the Jones and Wynette set); In Spite of Ourselves (the Prine and DeMent set)

Tammy Wynette & George Jones image: YouTube

Saturday, December 26, 2015

ODDS & ENDS Vol. 8

Granpa Joe • The Drunken Driver 

Image: internet, unknown source

Newly updated links for Woody’s “Do Re Mi,” Muddy’s “Country Boy,” and Uncle Dave & Skip’s Drunken Spree.

Friday, December 25, 2015


Steve Earle • Christmas in Washington • 1997

Get it: El Corazón


Chuck Berry • Merry Christmas Baby • 1958
(LP version)

Chuck Berry, vocal/guitar; Lafayette Leake, piano; Willie Dixon, bass; Fred Below, drums. Chicago, 19 Nov 1958

Find it: Johnny B. Goode: His Complete ’50s Chess Recordings


The Chosen Gospel Singers • No Room in the Hotel • 1954

Lou Rawls (1st lead), Sam Thomas (2nd lead), baritones; John Evans, J. T. Ratley, Preston Whitted, tenors; J. B. Randall, bass; unknown tambourine, bass drum. Hollywood, 10 February 1954

Get it: The Lifeboat

Photo: Lou Rawls (right) with Sam Cooke (left) and J. W. Alexander of the Pilgrim Travelers (second right); others unidentified. Russ and Gary’s The Best Years of Music

Thursday, December 24, 2015


 Jackie & The Cedrics • Silent Night Rumble • 1996

Get it: Silent Night Rumble / Santa Claus


Leadbelly • We Shall Be Free • 1944
with Woody Guthrie, Cisco Houston, and Sonny Terry

Get it: Leadbelly Sings Folk Songs

Album cover: All Music

Newly updated links for Serge Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin, Hop Wilson, Robert Johnson,
The El Dorados, The Ron-Dels

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015


Dirty Red • Mother Fuyer • 1947

Nelson Wilborn, vocal; James Clark, piano; Lonnie Graham, guitar. Chicago, 2 June 1947

Taste it: Eat to the Beat: The Dirtiest of Them Dirty Blues.

Sunday, December 20, 2015


In his book Invisible Republic, Greil Marcus refers to the singers and musicians that inhabit Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music as “the old, weird America.” As Bill Friskics-Warren counters in Heartaches by the Number, “Old, yes. Primitive, maybe. But much of the hillbilly music from that period was far from weird. . . . Still, applied to singer-banjo player Dock Boggs’s 1920s recordings, Marcus’s construct is spot-on. Boggs’s music was weird, his grinding voice the whir of a drill boring through bone, his finger-picked banjo owing more to the brooding blows of a Delta blues guitarist than to the good-time clawhammer banjoists of the day. . . .”

“As stiff a draught of hillbilly existentialism as any ever recorded, ‘Country Blues’ features only Boggs’s banjo and vocals. . . . The action [in the song] shifts abruptly between scenes of drinking, betrayal, and woe . . . until Boggs ends up in jail. . . .” To this writer, “Country Blues” has sometimes seemed like the very dark flipside to The Browns’ “The Three Bells”: “Finally, with his banjo racing ahead of him just as it has throughout his inexorable descent, he arrives at the site of his own grave. ‘Go dig a hole in the meadow, good people / Go dig a hole in the ground / Come around all you good people / And see this poor rounder go down. . . .’”

28.  Country Blues • “Dock” Boggs • 1927

Find it: Country Blues: Complete Early Recordings

Dock Boggs image: BBC

Saturday, December 19, 2015

ODDS & ENDS Vol. 8

Ronnie Hawkins • Further on Up the Road • 1964

Image: internet, unknown source

Note: Newly updated links for Mahieddine.


Lightnin’ Hopkins • Late in the Evening • 1953

Lightnin’ Hopkins, vocal/guitar. Houston, c. November 1953

Get it: The Remaining Titles Volume 1: 1950–1961

Friday, December 18, 2015


Muddy Waters • Streamlined Woman • 1948
“With Rythm Accompaniment”

Muddy Waters, vocal/guitar; Leroy Foster, guitar; Big Crawford, bass. Chicago, 30 November 1948

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Alfred G. Karnes • We Shall All Be Reunited • 1928

Alfred G. Karnes, vocal/harp-guitar. Bristol, Tennessee, 28 October 1928

Get it: The Bristol Sessions 1927–1928

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Nathan Abshire • Valse de Kaplan • 1976

Nathan Abshire, accordion; Dewey Balfa, vocal/fiddle; Will Balfa, fiddle; Rodney Balfa, guitar; J. W. Pelsia, steel guitar; Tony Balfa, drums/triangle. Ville Platte, Louisiana, c. 1976

Pictured: Dewey Balfa, Nathan Abshire

Monday, December 14, 2015


“Lord, they tell me that yellow corn
It makes the very best kind
But you better turn that corn into bread
And stop that drinkin’ moonshine. . . .”

Well, God he may not like all that drinkin’ and stuff, but I bet he sure does like that chunky lap steel ol’ Rev. Johnson's a-playin’. We sure do.

“I wasn’t talkin’ about anyone, I was just singin’ my song. . . .” 

Reverend A. Johnson • God Don’t Like It • 1953

Get right: Get Right with God: Hot Gospel


Looks like we’re on a South Africa kick around here lately. Or sounds like to be more accurate. So enjoy ’em if you wanta, we think you’ll like ’em. Regular same-o same-o programming to resume shortly. . . .

Transvaal Rockin’ Jazz Stars • Swaziland • 1958


Here’s a wild little rhumba to start your week, from South Africa’s Merry Blackbirds. . . .

Merry Blackbirds Orchestra

Sunday, December 13, 2015


Of today’s musical pairing Bill Friskics-Warren writes in HBTN, “Country music and the blues have always been close kin.” He quotes Howlin’ Wolf via Peter Guralnick’s Feel Like Going Home as claiming that “the yodeling of Jimmie Rodgers was the source of his hair-raising wail. . . . Yet Wolf’s trademark howl also owes a debt to Tommy Johnson . . . [whose] lilting 1928 recording of ‘Cool Drink of Water Blues’ provided the blueprint for Wolf’s . . . ‘I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline),’ right down to its lupine moan.” Friskics-Warren goes on to describe some of the similarities and differences between Rodgers’ and Johnson’s take on the blues and who might have influenced who as “academic hairsplitting,” “. . . What’s truly uncanny, though, is the resemblance between Johnson’s crying, field holler-inspired falsetto and Rodgers’s blue yodel, singular devices that each man tacked onto the end of vocal lines to heighten their emotional impact.”

35.  Blue Yodel • Jimmie Rodgers • 1928

36.  Cool Drink of Water Blues • Tommy Johnson • 1928

Get it: The Essential Jimmie Rodgers; Find it: When the Sun Goes Down: Walk Right In

Photos: Wikipedia

Saturday, December 12, 2015

ODDS & ENDS Vol. 8

Roll over John Coltrane and tell Pharoah Sanders the news. . . .

Elias Litos & Lazaros Rouvas

Get it: Five Days Married & Other Laments: Song and Dance from Northern Greece (1928–1958)

Image: internet, unknown source


L. C. Williams • Hole in the Wall • 1948

L. C. Williams, vocal; Lightnin’ Hopkins, guitar. Houston, 1948

Friday, December 11, 2015


Johnny “Geechie” Temple • Olds ‘98’ Blues • 1947

Johnny Temple, vocal/guitar. Chicago, c. 1947

LP cover: Discogs

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Thelonious Monk • We See • 1954

Thelonious Monk, piano; Frank Foster, tenor sax; Ray Copeland, trumpet; Curly Russell, bass; Art Blakey, drums. Hackensack, New Jersey, 11 May 1954

Get it: Monk

Album cover: London Jazz Collector

Monday, December 07, 2015


We come now to our “lucky 7” installment of the Blues What Am. And I am gratified as well as considering myself lucky to be here presenting this latest batch of hot rhythm & blues to you, the highly esteemed listening audience. This month our programmers have culled a number of obscured as well as a sprinkling of well known favorites as they trawl slowly through the BAK vaults. We are happy to feature recordings by performers such as the rare Harvey Hill String Band, El Watson’s very exciting train blues, a naughty one by one of the Red brothers tempered by a reprimand from the guitar slinging reverend, Anderson Johnson. We hope this latest compilation will take you, in the words of Bobby Blue Bland, “farther up the road” and will deposit you in your favorite “rocking chair.” —Melvin Cowznofski, furthermost blues authority and disc jockey (emeritus)

Harvey Hill Jr. • She Fool Me • 1953 
“Music by Harvey Hill String Band”

Harvey Hill, vocal/guitar; with harmonica; guitar; drums. Detroit, c. 1953

Sunday, December 06, 2015


Tho’ this record was originally released on Brunswick as a 78 rpm “single,” many of us first heard it on Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music set of LPs originally issued by Folkways in 1952. Primal early American “country” music. . . .

An Alternate 100*
East Virginia • Buell Kazee • 1927

*“If we determined we had nothing much worthwhile to add to the conversation about a single, then that record didn’t make the cut, no matter how good it was. . . . [T]hose singles were were bumped down to “Once More with Feeling: An Alternate 100.” That supplemental list gathers, for the curious, our runners up, but, just as importantly, it presents an alternate, compressed version of the arguments made throughout the book.” —David Cantwell, Bill Friskics-Warren, “How to Use the Book” in Heartaches by the Number

Get it: Anthology of American Folk Music

We’ve got a particularly exciting week ahead of us here on Blues All Kinds. So stay tuned and don’t miss great tunes by Harvey Hill, Fred Neil, Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Johnny Temple, Little Walter & Othum Brown, and Elias Litos & Lazaros Rouvas.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

ODDS & ENDS Vol. 8

Ry Cooder • Quicksand • 2011

Ry Cooder, vocal/guitar/bass; Joachim Cooder, drums; Lucina Rodriguez, Fabiola Trujillo, backing vocals.

Image: internet, unknown source

Friday, December 04, 2015


Joseph Shlisky • Omar Rabi Elozor • 1920


Dr. Clayton’s Buddy (Sunnyland Slim) • Illinois Central • 1947

Sunnyland Slim, vocal; Blind John Davis, piano; Big Bill Broonzy, guitar; Ransom Knowling, bass; Judge Riley, drums. Recorded in Chicago, 10 Dec 1947.

Photo: Sunnyland Slim and Sonny Boy Williamson. Blues All Kinds collection

Wednesday, December 02, 2015


Maria Callas • Ebben? ne andrò lontana • 1954

Get it: Maria Callas Sings Operatic Arias

LP cover: Discogs

This is the last installment of our “Girl Groups” series (until it resumes in March). . . . Join us next Wednesday for another Dinosauric Preception Roadmap Blues special surveying the latest and greatest from 1957, hosted by Laika the cosmo dog.

Monday, November 30, 2015


Lightnin’ Sam Hopkins • Meet You At The Chicken Shack • 1962

Lightning Hopkins, vocal/guitar; Spider Kilpatrick, drums. Houston, 23 January 1962

Lightnin’ wants to meet you at The Chicken Shack down on Arhoolie Avenue.


Whistlin’ Alex Moore had a long, if sporadic, recording career that began in the late twenties and continued up into the seventies. His first sessions for Columbia and Decca were made in 1929 and 1937; he had his “big hit” for Decca with “Blue Bloomer Blues” in 1937. Moore didn’t record again until he made an unissued private session in 1947; he picked up once again when he recorded an album’s worth of material for Chris Strachwitz and Paul Oliver in the summer of 1960 which was issued in the first batch of Arhoolie releases in the early sixties. In the late sixties Alex traveled to Europe and wowed audiences with his singing, playing, and whistling. In 1988 he recorded his final session for Rounder; he passed away the following year.

Alexander Moore • If I Lose You Woman • 1951

Alexander Moore, vocal/piano; Smokey Hogg, guitar; drums. Dallas, 1951

Get it: No More Doggin’ – The RPM Records Story Vol 1 1950-53

Sunday, November 29, 2015


In the HBTN entry for “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” co-author David Cantwell prefaces his fine blow-by-blow essay with a recounting of the 1954 Sun session that produced Elvis Presley’s version of Bill Monroe’s 1947 Columbia single. “In the original 1946 recording of the song, Monroe asks a blue moon to shine on a woman who has cheated on him. . . . It’s quite clear . . . that he feels hopeless. . . . The record is a waltz, but Monroe sounds like he’ll never dance again.

“Presley, on the other hand, sounds like he can barely stand still long enough to finish the song. In their version, Elvis, Scotty, Bill, and Sam add a giddy and unforgettable opening . . . ‘Blue moon, blue moon, blue moon / keep-a-shinin’ bright. . . .’

A few weeks after Elvis’ version came out, Bill Monroe went to the Stanley Brothers and reportedly told Carter Stanley, “You better do that number tomorrow if you want to sell some records.” “[T]he next day . . . the Stanley Brothers cut a marvelous 4/4 recording of ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky,’ one that retains Presley’s repeated ‘Blue moon, blue moon, blue moon’ at the top and spotlights the boogie-woogie picking of Charlie Cline, one of Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys.

“Next it was Monroe’s turn. . . . [Recorded the weekend following the Stanley Brothers version] Monroe began the song once again as a waltz, but it wasn’t the same. . . . [T]urning on a thrillingly thin dime, the song floors it to 4/4 . . . [and Monroe] fires off a solo that starts to cry . . . then changes its mind, dances a step or two, and shouts, ‘Look what I can do!’”

As Sam Phillips remarked after Elvis’ successful take, “Hell, that’s different. That’s a pop song now, nearly ’bout.”

41.  Blue Moon of Kentucky • Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys • 1946

42.  Blue Moon of Kentucky • Elvis Presley – Scotty & Bill • 1954

Blue Moon of Kentucky • The Stanley Brothers • 1954

40.  Blue Moon of Kentucky • Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys • 1954

Get ’em: Monroe 1946 - The Essential Bill Monroe; Elvis - Elvis at Sun; Stanleys - The Stanley Brothers & The Clinch Mountain Boys, 1953–58 & 1959; Monroe 1954 - Anthology 

Bill Monroe publicity photo (1940s):


We’re playing this slightly surreal Jimmie Rodgers travelogue today for one line, which has been making the rounds of our fevered brain in the past few days, in the hope of exorcising it:

“And the beavers paddle on walkin’ canes. . . .”

Jimmie Rodgers • Away Out on the Mountain • 1927

Image: Jimmie Rodgers, from The Singing Brakeman (Bear Family, 1992)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

ODDS & ENDS Vol. 8

Sylvie Vartan • Madison twist • 1962

Image: internet, unknown source

As we Madison Twist our way out of this week, why not follow us into the next? We’ll be blue mooning with Bill Monroe, The Stanley Brothers, and Elvis Presley; heading down to the Chicken Shack with Lightning and Spider; and singing the “Worker’s Marseillaise.” The fun never stops. Angela Strehli, Maria Callas, Ry Cooder, and Dr. Clayton’s Buddy will be on hand to fill in the gaps.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015


Less than three weeks after its release date, the whole world probably knows about the newest entry in Columbia/Legacy’s Bob Dylan sweepstakes: The Cutting Edge, a collection in three configurations of Mr. Dylan’s 1965–1966 sessions that produced Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde, as well as several non-album singles. The collection is made up primarily of outtakes, false starts, and alternate versions of songs many of us have been listening to in released form for years. Depending on your level of interest in this period of Dylan’s work, there is a 2-CD set of highlights, a 6-CD deluxe box, and for the high-rollers, an 18-CD limited edition available only from Sony’s Bob Dylan store. Lots of fascinating material to be sure. Here is an early version of “Outlaw Blues,” a little bluesier and funkier than the version that made it onto Bringing It All Back Home and with the added bonus of John Sebastian on harmonica. 

Bob Dylan • Outlaw Blues (Take 2 remake) • 1965

Get it: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge

Sunday, November 22, 2015


An Alternate 100*  
Hit Parade of Love • Jimmy Martin • 1956

*“If we determined we had nothing much worthwhile to add to the conversation about a single, then that record didn’t make the cut, no matter how good it was. . . . [T]hose singles were were bumped down to “Once More with Feeling: An Alternate 100.” That supplemental list gathers, for the curious, our runners up, but, just as importantly, it presents an alternate, compressed version of the arguments made throughout the book.” —David Cantwell, Bill Friskics-Warren, “How to Use the Book” in Heartaches by the Number

Saturday, November 21, 2015

ODDS & ENDS Vol. 8

The Tallest Man on Earth • Like the Wheel • 2010

Get it: Sometimes the Blues Is Just a Passing Bird

Image: internet, unknown source

Like a wheel we just keep rollin’. Roll with us and we’ll stop along the way for visits with Jimmy Martin, Whistling Alex Moore, Otis Rush, Mary Weiss, Wayne Raney, James “Jack of All Trades” McCain, Big Joe Williams, and . . . Sylvie Vartan.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


George Jones & Melba Montgomery

George Jones, vocal; Melba Montgomery, vocal; Bob Moore, bass; Hargus “Pig” Robbins, piano; other details unknown. Nashville, 8 Janaury 1963

Get it: Country & Western Hit Parade 1963

LP cover: Discogs

Monday, November 16, 2015


When this song came out on the LP pictured below in the late ’60s, it was credited to “Anonymous.” Though civil rights had officially been the law of the land for several years, when Mance Lipscomb recorded “Tom Moore’s Farm” in 1960, he was a 65-year old farmer and lived in east Texas in the same county that the powerful and infamous Tom Moore had his plantation, so “anonymous” seemed the prudent way to go. (When Lightning Hopkins made his version of the song in 1948, it was issued as “Tim Moore’s Farm” and after the record was released he was allegedly “told” by Moore himself not to sing the song publicly.) Mance made a number of recordings of the song over the years, and by the early ’70s, times changed somewhat, he even sang the song at the request of one of Mr. Moore’s sons at a house party, though Mance later told Arhoolie’s Chris Strachwitz he didn’t sing the least flattering verses.

Mance Lipscomb • Tom Moore’s Farm • 1960

Mance Lipscomb, vocal/guitar. Navasota, Texas, 30 June 1960

You can find plenty of Mance Lipscomb’s recordings here, both on CD and LP.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Story songs in the fifties didn’t get any better than this: cradle to grave in under three minutes. And the Browns’ plaintive Arkansas harmonies put this little saga across with such gentle power that, though I’ve probably listened to this hundreds and hundreds of times since 1959, it turns my insides into a quivering mass of ecto-emotion every time I hear it.

An Alternate 100*
The Three Bells (Les Trois Cloches) • The Browns • 1959

*“If we determined we had nothing much worthwhile to add to the conversation about a single, then that record didn’t make the cut, no matter how good it was. . . . [T]hose singles were were bumped down to “Once More with Feeling: An Alternate 100.” That supplemental list gathers, for the curious, our runners up, but, just as importantly, it presents an alternate, compressed version of the arguments made throughout the book.” —David Cantwell, Bill Friskics-Warren, “How to Use the Book” in Heartaches by the Number

“Three Bells” sheet music: PDX Retro

Saturday, November 14, 2015


Jean Jullien. Peace for Paris

ODDS & ENDS Vol. 8

Wherein Mr. Bear and Champion Jack walk it up and talk it up and get it all figured out . . . 
er . . . up.

Jack Dupree & Mr. Bear • The Ups • 1956

Champion Jack Dupree, vocal/piano; Teddy McRae, vocal; Larry Dale, guitar; Al Lucas, bass; Gene Moore, drums. New York City, 17 September 1956

Image: internet, unknown source

Next week we got The Browns; Mance Lipscomb; Patti Smith; Shirley Gunter & The Flairs; George Jones & Melba Montgomery; Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup; and let’s not forget The Tallest Man on Earth. . . .