Monday, June 29, 2015


Willie May Williams • Where the Sun Never Goes Down • 1949

Willie May Williams, vocal/guitar. Philadelphia, October 1949

Sunday, June 28, 2015


There’s an old story that’s been around for years that Elvis Presley and his ilk ruined country music by capturing the hearts and minds of formerly country record buying youth, probably propagated by fading country singers, and so they had to invent the Nashville Sound to compete for those record and live appearance dollars. David Cantwell, in Heartaches by the Number, puts forth an intriguing counter argument: That Elvis, in a way, actually invented the Nashville Sound via some of his early RCA singles. “Don’t Be Cruel” . . . “included all of the defining characteristics of the Nashville Sound. The spare instrumentation and restrained playing that left lots of open spaces; the at-ease yet crisply defined production with just a touch of echo; the singer’s voice (and the bass) way out front in the mix; the backing bop-bop-bop vocals by the Jordanaires, the ‘head’ arrangements devised on the spot by the musicians; and, of course, no fiddle and no pedal steel. . . . the result was a new kind of rock & roll, a new kind of pop, and the beginnings of what would be a new kind of country music.” I kind of like that.

5.  Don’t Be Cruel • Elvis Presley • 1956

Elvis Presley, vocal/guitar; Scotty Moore, guitar; Bill Black, bass; D. J. Fontana, drums; Shorty Long, piano; The Jordanaires, vocals. New York City, 2 July 1956

“Don’t Be Cruel” is on the Elvis Presley collection Artist of the Century.

Italian picture sleeve:

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Willie Lofton • Dark Road Blues • 1935

Willie Lofton, vocal/guitar. Chicago, 1 November 1935.

You can find “Dark Road Blues” on the CD that accompanies The Frog Blues & Jazz Annual No 3: Musicians, Records, Music of the 78 Era“Dark Road Blues” and its flip side “Beer Garden Blues” is also available on the 2015 Classic Blues Artwork from the 1920’s calendar and CD from Blues Images.

Next up: Elvis Presley x 2, Clifton Chenier, Jimmy Smith, Lucille Bogan, Willie May Williams,
and Greg Brown.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Lidya Mendoza • Pajarito Herido • 1935

Lydia Mendoza, vocal/12-string guitar. San Antonio, Texas, 13 August 1935

Hear “Pajarito Herido” on the Lydia Mendoza collection Mal Hombre.

Illustration: Ben Shahn. Four Piece Orchestra, 1944

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Water Boy • 1960

Odetta, vocal/guitar. Carnegie Hall, New York City, 2 May 1960

Photo: Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev and farmer Roswell Garst at Garst’s farm, Guthrie County, Iowa, 
September 23, 1959. Photo source: Bolshevik Mean Girls

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


B. B. King • Highway Bound • 1953

B. B. King, vocal/guitar; Floyd Jones, trumpet; George Coleman, alto sax/tenor sax; Bill Harvey, tenor sax; Connie Mack Booker, piano; James Walker, bass; Ted Curry, drums. Houston, late 1952

Get it: The Vintage Years

Monday, June 22, 2015


Dock Boggs • False Hearted Lover’s Blues • 1929

Dock Boggs, vocal/banjo; Emry Arthur, guitar. Chicago, c. September 1929

Sunday, June 21, 2015


By the time we get to position number 4 in HBTN with the Carter Family’s 1935 remake of “Will 
the Circle Be Unbroken,” authors Cantwell and Friskics-Warren will have taken us through four decades in country music history, the forties through the seventies, although the entries are not and won’t be chronological. Today, in the second decade of the twenty-first century, the circle appears to be very broken judged by much of the scheiße coming out of Nashville these days. 
But this is a jigsaw puzzle we’re workin’ on here, remember? So the end product remains to be seen. Meanwhile, we might take comfort in the Carters’ assertion that “there’s a better home 
a-waiting . . . bye and bye.” (No quotes from HBTN today, just a little opining by your host, 
Frank Jive.)

Carter Family • 1935

Sara Carter, Maybelle Carter, A. P. Carter, vocal trio; Sara Carter, autoharp; Maybelle Carter, guitar. New York City, 
6 May 1935

You can find most of the Carter Family’s 1935 and 1940 ARC recordings on Sony/Legacy’s Can the Circle Be Unbroken.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


“I know they’re wading through blood
and water, trying to come home” —Dixie Hummingbirds, 1952

Thelonious Monk Septet • Abide with Me • 1957

Ray Copeland, trumpet; Gigi Gryce, alto saxophone; John Coltrane, Coleman Hawkins, tenor saxophones. 
New York City, 26 June 1957

“Abide with Me” is the opening track on Monk’s Music.

Original LP cover: Cover Jazz

Coming your way next week: Willie Lofton, Dock Boggs, Lydia Mendoza, the Carter Family, 
B. B. King, Odetta, and Van the Man. Six out of seven’s not bad, eh?

Friday, June 19, 2015


The Boswell Sisters • Old Yazoo • 1932

Illustration: Ben Shahn. Four Piece Orchestra, 1944

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Here are the sixteen Top Ten hits of 1960 made famous and broken nationwide by station XBAK in sunny Lompoc, California, one-time home of H. R. Haldeman, and nearby to Surf Beach which was featured in the much lauded 1959 documentary film Surf Safari. XBAK’s original disc jockey Fats Terminal began at the station sometime in the 1950s but later gave up his spot to other record spinners such as Irving Snurd and Melvin “Kukai” Cowsnofski after he became station manager. Mr. Cowsnofski originally hailed from Smackover, Arkansas where he became enamored of the rockabilly stylings so prevalent at the time and which influenced his programming of some of the great hits purveyed by XBAK under his song selecting genius as evidenced by our new series of selections presented here on Blues All Kinds. We feel tremendously honored to be able to present this Wonderful top ten representing all modes and genres of American popular music from the very beginning of that eventful decade known in the present day as The Sixties. After listening to these dozen records you will easily understand how this period became better known as “the swinging sixties.” And it all started right here, or there, in Lompoc, California, in a little town in 1960. “Sixteen Reasons” indeed. 
—Irving Snurd, disc jockey emeritus, radio station XBAK, Lompoc, CA    

For our first selection we have chosen Ray Charles’ early ABC single of “Worried Life Blues.” Ray plays Big Maceo and his producer Sid Feller plays the fool; still and all, if you can get through the first minute with Uncle Sid, you’ll probably enjoy Ray’s faithful take on “Worried Life Blues” right down to his quoting Maceo’s aside, “Naw, boy, I ain’t gonna worry my life no more.” And then Fathead’s sax comes in. . . .

Ray Charles & His Orchestra • Worried Life Blues • 1960

Ray Charles, vocals/electric piano; David Newman, alto saxophone (solo); Edgar Willis, bass; Milton Turner, drums; 
Sid Feller, spoken vocal intro. New York City, 27 April 1960

Find “Worried Life Blues” on the Ray Charles collection Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles.

Photo: Nicky & The Khrushchevs play “Jimmy Crack Corn” at the Iowa State Fair in September 1959. Photo source: Bolshevik Mean Girls

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Howlin’ Wolf • The Natchez Burning • 1956

Howlin’ Wolf, vocal/harmonica; Hosea Lee Kennard, piano; Willie Johnson, Otis “Smokey” Smothers, guitars; Willie Dixon, bass; Earl Phillips, drums. Chicago, 19 July 1956

Get it: The Real Folk Blues / More Real Folk Blues

Monday, June 15, 2015


Jimmy Reed • I’ll Change That Too • 1962

Jimmy Reed, vocal/harmonica/guitar; prob. Lefty Bates, guitar; Jimmy Reed Jr., bass; Al Duncan, drums; overdubbed trumpets, tenor sax, organ. Chicago, 1962

This LP version of “I’ll Change My Style” is on the LP/CD Just Jimmy Reed, out of print but still available if you look for it.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Of “Crazy,” David Cantwell writes in HBTN, “. . . Patsy Cline . . . express[es] the misery and confusion in Willie Nelson’s lyric by making her voice break and sob. . . . Every element is calculated for effect, yet nothing in the effect feels calculated—there’s just a woman in pain. . . . Forty years later, ‘Crazy’ unexpectedly comes on the radio or jukebox and conversations just stop.”

3.  Crazy • Patsy Cline • 1961

Patsy Cline, vocal; session personnel: Harold Bradley, electric bass; Floyd Cramer, organ/piano; Walter Haynes, steel guitar; Buddy Harman, drums; Randy Hughes, acoustic guitar; Grady Martin, electric guitar; Bob Moore, electric bass. Nashville, 21 August 1961

“Crazy” is on the Patsy Cline collection Sweet Dreams : The Complete Decca Studio Masters, 1960–1963.

Image: Billboard

Saturday, June 13, 2015

ODDS & ENDS Vol. 7

Bud Shank • Shoeless Beach Meeting • 1961

Bud Shank, alto sax/baritone sax; Bob Cooper, tenor sax; Carmell Jones, trumpet; Dennis Budimir, guitar; 
Gary Peacock, bass, Shelly Manne, drums. Los Angeles, November 1961

“Shoeless Beach Meeting” is from the Barefoot Adventure soundtrack.

Photo: Pete Chatto, Ocean Beach, Summer 1962. Copyright © 2015 by Brad Barrett. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Odds & Ends goes on summer surfing hiatus with today’s posting; it’ll return in the fall with more odds . . . and ends. Coming next week on Blues All KindsPatsy Cline! Jimmy Reed! Howlin’ Wolf! Ray Charles! Them! The Boswell Sisters! and Thelonious Monk without Thelonious Monk! Howz that for a lineup. . . ?

Friday, June 12, 2015


“Funny Paper” Smith (The Howling Wolf)
 Fool’s Blues • 1931

J. T. Smith, vocal/guitar. Chicago, 10 July 1931

Illustration: Ben Shahn. Four Piece Orchestra, 1944

Thursday, June 11, 2015


It wasn’t until 1980 and human jukebox extraordinaire Sleepy LaBeef’s foot-to-the-accelerator version of today’s song that I really connected with it. Heresy though it might be to admit, I’ve always preferred covers of Hank Williams songs to the original recordings. Part of that, I think, is because ol’ Hank is just too scary for me; he conjures up feelings that I generally like to stay far from for my everyday safety and sanity. As Bill Friskics-Warren writes in his essay for the “Lost Highway” entry in Heartaches by the Number, “‘Lost Highway’ [is] one of the eeriest records ever made. But what’s unsettling here isn’t so much that Hank sees himself as bound for hell as that he sounds like he’s already there, which in a very real sense he was.”

2.  Lost Highway • Hank Williams with His Drifting Cowboys • 1949

Label shot: Zero to 180

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


La Niña de Los Peines • Alegrías • c. 1930s

“Alegrías” can be found on the Yazoo collection The Secret Museum of Mankind, Vol. 1.

Photo of Pastora Pavón (La Niña de Los Peines) from booklet to Niña de Los Peines: Cante Flamenco (Fandango 
FCD-6, 1989)

We’re gonna interrupt our “Girl Groups” series here for a few weeks to make way for the return of a special edition of “Dinosauric Preception Roadmap Blues.” “Girl Groups Down for the Count” will resume after this scheduled interruption.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015


Louis Armstrong • Beale Street Blues • 1954

Louis Armstrong, trumpet/vocal; Trummy Young, trombone; Barney Bigard, clarinet; Billy Kyle, piano; Arvell Shaw, bass; Barrett Deems, drums. 12 July 1954

Get it: Louis Armstrong Plays W. C. Handy

Monday, June 08, 2015


B. B. King • Down Hearted • 1963

B. B. King, vocal/guitar; Maxwell Davis, piano; bass; drums; Plas Johnson, overdubbed tenor sax. Los Angeles, 
9 January 1962

“Down Hearted” is on the Ace B. B. King collection The Vintage Years.

Sunday, June 07, 2015


Dusty Springfield • Wishin’ And Hopin’ • 1964

Get it: Stay Awhile/I Only Want to Be with You

Album cover: All Music

Saturday, June 06, 2015

ODDS & ENDS Vol. 7

 Bobby Fuller • Miserlou • 1964

El Paso Rock Volume 2: More Early Recordings is the place to go for “Miserlou.”

Photo: Pete Chatto, Ocean Beach, Summer 1962. Copyright © 2015 by Brad Barrett. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Friday, June 05, 2015

(Blues All Kinds Book Club?!)

In 2003 David Cantwell and Bill Friskics-Warren published a book on country music with an intriguing premise: instead of being just another compendium of top country singles or buying guide, they talked—and argued—about the country records that were important to them, and why they were, wrote insightful and provocative essays for each record entry and gave us music fans Heartaches by the Number: Country Music’s 500 Greatest Singles. In the book’s introduction, titled “Don’t Fence Me In,” the authors went into depth on the how and why of the book, why they limited it to singles as opposed to albums or live performances, and told us, “This is a book about listening . . . an argument for a sensibility, a way of hearing.” They continue, “. . . rarely does anyone write about what would seem to be the point of listening to the music in the first place—how it feels to hear a great record or why you might decide it’s great to begin with. . . .” So Heartaches is a book and not a list; it’s an attempt to tell the story of country music through 500 singles. The reader will note that one record brings to mind another record and so the rankings flow into one another. As the authors write in “How to Use the Book,” “Connections between singles usually mattered more to us than any claim of one record’s superiority to another.”

We here at Blues All Kinds have been a fan of Heartaches by the Number for several years now and continue to return to it for inspiration and new ways of listening to a music that’s been a big part our lives for many, many years, even before we knew the difference between country and rock’n’roll and R&B and plain ole pop music. If it hit us in the stomach and that sweet pain remained, we figured it was a good piece of music. A good record, as Messrs Cantwell and Friskics-Warren would say. We’ve also discovered some great music and artists we barely knew existed and most likely never would have listened to (Sammi Smith and Gene Watson come to mind) had it not been for this excellent book. So, have a listen over the next several Thursdays (Sundays starting June 14), hear the records, and if you enjoy them, get your own copies of these records in whatever form you listen to ’em in, and by all means, find your way to a copy of Heartaches by the Number. You will be rewarded for your time in it over and over again. And feel free to agree or disagree with the authors’ observations and choices. That’s what it’s for.

For this new BAK series, we’ll post the first 10 entries from Heartaches, then branch out randomly to some of our own favorites from throughout the main 500 as well as the authors’ “Alternate 100.”

So . . . to today’s “record.” The book’s authors’ number one pick is Sammi Smith’s recording of Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It through the Night.” Cantwell and Friskics-Warren open with a long essay on the Music City scene of the late sixties and early seventies, Smith’s record, and the effect her re-visioning of Kristofferson’s lyric had on listeners and critics (including both the CMA and Bible thumping preachers). The authors write, “‘Help Me Make It through the Night’ begins like the releasing of a breath. . . . Kristofferson’s sensual imagery . . . sets us up for a seduction. Instead it embraces a deeper feeling, the fear that one cannot make it alone.”

1.  Help Me Make It Through the Night • Sammi Smith •  1970

“Help Me Make It Through the Night” can be found on Varese Sarabande’s The Best of Sammi Smith.

Thursday, June 04, 2015


Lani McIntire & His Orchestra • Hame Pila • 1937
“Vocal chorus by Lani, George and Bob”

Illustration: Ben Shahn. Four Piece Orchestra, 1944

Wednesday, June 03, 2015


Lucinda Williams • You Don’t Have Very Far To Go • 1994

Lucinda Williams, vocal; Gurf Morlix, electric guitar/acoustic guitar/mandolin/harmony vocal. Nashville, c. 1994

“You Don’t Have Very Far to Go” is on Tulare Dust: A Songwriters’ Tribute To Merle Haggard.