Monday, August 31, 2015

THE BLUES WHAT AM Pt 5


Big Mama Thornton • My Heavy Load • 1965


Big Mama Thornton, vocal; Fred McDowell, guitar. London, 20 October 1965

Get it: Big Mama Thornton in Europe.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

HEARTACHES BY THE NUMBER

“Merle Haggard is such a commanding, penetrating songwriter, and his voice seems so entwined with the melody and rhythm of his best compositions, that it’s sometimes easy to forget he’s also a great singer. Haggard didn’t write “Sing a Sad Song,” but his first hit reveals just how affecting a vocalist he was from the start. . . .” —David Cantwell, Heartaches by the Number


252.  Sing a Sad Song • Merle Haggard • 1963


Merle Haggard, vocal/guitar; Roy Nichols, guitar; Denver Moles, guitar; Wynn Stewart, guitar; Ralph Mooney, steel guitar; poss. Bobby Austin, bass; poss. Helen “Peaches” Price, drums. poss. George French Jr., piano; other details unknown. Hollywood, California, 1963

Get it: Country & Western Hit Parade 1964

Image: Merle Haggard, KUZZ radio picnic, Bakersfield, c. mid-1960s. (Left to right: Jerry Ward, Bonnie Owens, Merle Haggard, Don Rich.) Sonny Langley/That Bakersfield Sound

This week on Blues All Kinds . . . Big Mama Thornton with Fred McDowell, The Louvin Brothers, Johnny Duhon & the Yello-Jakets, Iris DeMent, Big Bill Broonzy, Lucille Bogan, and . . . Ray Charles.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Friday, August 28, 2015

BLUES IN CHICAGO—The Thirties

There’s really no unifying theme to this new series, except that most of the records we’ll be playing were recorded in and around Chicago, by artists often associated with Chicago, in the 1930s. As simple or as complicated as that. . . .



Tampa Red • I’ll Kill Your Soul


Tampa Red, vocal/guitar/kazoo; Black Bob, piano. Chicago, 22 March 1934



Thursday, August 27, 2015

SMYRNAIC BLACK HORSE BLUES


Tennessee Messarounders • Mandolin Blues • 1962



Desperate Man Blues: Discovering the Roots of American Music is the place to hear “Mandolin Blues.”

Image: Japanese women walk through ruins of Hiroshima, August 1945

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

D.P.R.B.—1960 EDITION


Bobby Hebb • Night Train to Memphis • 1960


Photo: Nikita Khrushchev, Roswell Garst, Guthrie County, Iowa, September 1959. Photo source: Bolshevik Mean Girls

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

DOWN DON’T WORRY ME

“Rock, church, rock.”


Ishman Bracy • Trouble-Hearted Blues • 1928


Ishman Bracey, vocal/guitar; poss. Charlie McCoy, spoken. Memphis, 31 Aug 1928

(This is re-upped from May 24, 2014.)

Monday, August 24, 2015

CARNIVAL

Refreshing, cool music for a hot summer day. . . .


The Modern Jazz Quartet • Carnival • 1964


Get it: The Sheriff




THE BLUES WHAT AM Pt 5


John Littlejohn’s Chicago Blues Stars


John Littlejohn, vocal/guitar; Robert Pulliam, Willie Young, tenor saxes; Monroe Jones Jr., guitar; Alvin Nichols, bass; Booker Sidgrave, drums. Chicago, 14 November 1968

John Littlejohn’s tough 1968 Arhoolie album is available on CD as Slidin’ Home.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

HEARTACHES BY THE NUMBER

After 12 weeks, we’ve skipped forward and today we’re playing this series’ theme song, perfectly placed at the halfway point of Heartaches by the Number. And David Cantwell’s essay on this entry is so good, so short and sweet, there’s no way we’re gonna mess that up by trying extract a quote from it. So you’ll just have to run right out and get yourself a copy of HBTN if you want to find out where and why Ray stops counting. . . .


251.  Heartaches by the Number • Ray Price • 1959


Ray Price, vocal; Grady Martin, Pete Wade, guitars; Jimmy Day, steel guitar; Tommy Jackson, Shorty Lavender, fiddles; Marvin Hughes, piano; Harold Bradley, electric bass; Joe Zinkan, acoustic bass; Doug Kirkham, drums. Nashville, 
29 January 1959

“Heartaches by the Number” is on The Essential Ray Price.

Note: There seems to be a problem with the Box player on the Kid’s posts, like today’s Heartaches by the Number. We don’t know why. Frank’s seem to play but not the Kid’s. Tho’ we tested this post on both an iPhone and an iPad and both played fine. So bear with us as we try to figure this one out. . . .

Saturday, August 22, 2015

WADING THROUGH BLOOD AND WATER


Swan Silvertones • Have Thine Own Way • 1952


Claude Jeter, Rev. Robert Crenshaw, John Manson, tenors; Paul Owens, John Myles, baritones; Henry Bossard, bass. Hollywood, 19 August 1952

The above take of “Have Thine Own Way” is collected on 1993’s Heavenly Light.

CD cover: All Music

Coming next week: Ray Price, Johnny Littlejohn, D. L. Menard, Bobby Hebb, Tennessee Messarounders, Tampa Red, and Dolores Keane.

Friday, August 21, 2015

WALTZES, STEEL GUITARS, ETC., ETC.


Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys


Bob Wills, fiddle/lead vocal//spoken; Jesse Ashlock, fiddle; Sleepy Johnson, fiddle/guitar; Everett Stover, trumpet; Ray DeGeer, clarinet/sax; Zeb McNally, sax; Leon McAuliffe, electric steel guitar; Al Stricklin, piano; Johnnie Lee Wills, tenor banjo; Herman Arnspiger, guitar; Joe Ferguson, string bass; Smokey Dacus, drums; Tommy Duncan, vocal. Chicago, 30 September 1936

Get it: San Antonio Rose.

Illustration: Ben Shahn. Four Piece Orchestra, 1944


Waltzes, Steel Guitars, Etc., Etc. concludes its long run with this post. There should be no disappointment, though, no song with a minor refrain . . . for next week we pick up our 1930s thread with Blues in Chicago.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

SMYRNAIC BLACK HORSE BLUES


Lila Downs • La Tequilera • 2006



“La Tequilera” is just down the block from La Cantina (Lila Downs’ great 2006 album).

Image: Japanese women walk through ruins of Hiroshima, August 1945

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

D.P.R.B.—1960 EDITION

Your tank is leakin’ . . . gas!


Bo Diddley • Ride On Josephine • 1960


Bo Diddley, vocal/guitar/backing vocals; Peggy Jones, guitar/backing vocals; Jesse James Johnson, bass; Jerome 
Green, maracas; Billy “Dino” Downing, drums; Lafayette Leake or Billy Stewart, piano; Johnny Carter or Nate Nelson 
(The Flamingos) and/or Harvey Fuqua and/or Jerome Green and/or Billy Stewart, backing vocals. Bo’s home studio, Washington, D.C., February 1960

Get it: Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger.

Photo: Nikita Khrushchev, Roswell Garst, Guthrie County, Iowa, September 1959. Photo source: Bolshevik Mean Girls

Monday, August 17, 2015

THE BLUES WHAT AM Pt 5


Otis Rush • Tore Up • 1976


Session personnel: Otis Rush, vocal/guitar; Doug Kilmer, bass; John Kahn, bass; Bob Jones, drums; Fred Burton, rhythm guitar; Mark Naftalin, piano; Ira Kamin, organ; John Wilmeth, trumpet; Ron Stallings, tenor sax; Hart McNee, alto sax. San Francisco, February 1971

Hear “Tore Up” on Otis Rush’s 1976 album Right Place, Wrong Time.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

HEARTACHES BY THE NUMBER

“‘Your hand is like a torch each time you touch me,’ Jeannie Seely moans, her body trembling as the tingle, frozen by a chiming vibraphone, becomes a chill. ‘Don’t open the door to heaven if I can’t come in / Don’t touch me if you don’t love me,’ she begs, her tear-stained voice throbbing with unfulfilled desire. . . . ‘To have you, then lose you, wouldn’t be smart on my part,’ she groans in a ravaged quaver, torturing the word ‘part’ for an agonizing eight counts until at last her voice breaks and, with it, her heart.” Bill Friskics-Warren’s description of Jeannie Seely’s performance 
of “Don’t Touch Me” in HBTN are poetry pure and simple. Now try listening to Jeannie Seely sing it and see if the chill bumps don’t rise all over. . . .


97.  Don’t Touch Me • Jeannie Seely • 1966


Jeannie Seely, vocal; Jerry Reed Hubbard, guitar; poss. Charles Buck Trent, bass; Buddy Harman, drums; Bobby Emmons, keyboards; Floyd Cramer, piano; Charlie McCoy, vibraphone. Nashville, 2 February 1966


To hear Bettye Swann’s 1968 version, click here.

Jeannie Seely image from YouTube.
.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

TO’E UP OVAH YOU

The great Sleepy LaBeef covers The Midnighters. . . .*


Tommy La Beff • Tore Up • 1959


*This is a repost from July 2011, just for the heck of it.

Sleepy LaBeef, vocal/guitar; Charlie Busby, lead guitar; Dean Needham, bass; Mike Schellachi, drums; Carl Sroop, piano. Houston, 1959

Get it: Sleepy LaBeef – Sleepy Rocks

Label photo: Rockin’ Country Style


WADING THROUGH BLOOD AND WATER


Lou Reed • This Magic Moment • 1995


Lou Reed’s take on The Drifters’ “This Magic Moment” originally appeared on the Doc Pomus tribute Till the Night Is Gone, now out of print.

CD cover: All Music

Friday, August 14, 2015

WALTZES, STEEL GUITARS, ETC., ETC.


The Carter Family • I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight • 1934


A. P. Carter, vocal; Sara Carter, vocal/autoharp; Maybelle Carter, vocal/guitar. Camden, New Jersey, 8 May 1934


Illustration: Ben Shahn. Four Piece Orchestra, 1944

Thursday, August 13, 2015

SMYRNAIC BLACK HORSE BLUES


Manuel Vallejo • Porque El Querer da Experiencia • c. 1930s


Manuel Vallejo, vocals; Niño Perez, guitar.

Get it: Early Cante Flamenco

Image: Japanese women walk through ruins of Hiroshima, August 1945

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

D.P.R.B.—1960 EDITION


Byron Lee & The Dragonaires • Mash! Mr. Lee • 1960


Photo: Nikita Khrushchev, Roswell Garst, Guthrie County, Iowa, September 1959. Photo source: Bolshevik Mean Girls

Monday, August 10, 2015

THE BLUES WHAT AM Pt 5


Eddie Kirkland • No Shoes • 1953


Eddie Kirkland, vocal/guitar; Ray Brown, drums. Cincinnati, 23 July 1953

Get your shoes here: Battle of Hastings Street: Raw Detroit Blues and R&B from Joe’s Record Shop 1949–1954

Sunday, August 09, 2015

HEARTACHES BY THE NUMBER

“Jerry Lee Lewis could’ve been one hell of a preacher. He certainly had the credentials. He came up in the Holiness Church/Assembly of God and attended Bible college in Waxahatchie, Texas, just outside Dallas. . . Thing is, the Killer could be speaking in tongues and it would still sound like lust, and he sure doesn’t leave much to the imagination here. . . .” writes Bill Friskics-Warren in HBTN.

But before Jerry Lee got to that point he was having a crisis of conscience, his Pentecostal background colliding with his desire for another big hit (after “Whole Lotta Shakin’”) and he and Sam Phillips went at one another with some pretty strange logic in the Sun studio, with Billy Lee Riley interjecting cynical “Amens” and “Hallelujahs” into the proceedings. “H-E-L-L!” protests Jerry at the start of their “discussion.” Eventually “you broke my will, but what a thrill” won out, and Jerry and Sam had another hit on their hands (#1 country, #2 pop, #3 R&B). 


Jerry Lee Lewis et al • Great Balls of Fire “religious discussion” • 1957

106.  Great Balls of Fire • Jerry Lee Lewis • 1957


The “discussion” is available on Jerry Lee Lewis: The Complete Sun Recordings, as are a couple takes of “Great Balls of Fire” including today’s single version.

Photo: YouTube

Saturday, August 08, 2015

WADING THROUGH BLOOD AND WATER

“My woman got a black cat bone, take one”


Hop Wilson • My Woman Has A Black Cat Bone (Take 1) • 1960


Hop Wilson, vocal/steel guitar; Elmore Nixon, piano; Pete Douglas, guitar; Ivory Lee Semien, drums. Houston, 
27 October 1960

This unissued first take as well as the issued Ivory 45 are both to be found on Ace’s Steel Guitar Flash! . . . Plus.

Friday, August 07, 2015

WALTZES, STEEL GUITARS, ETC., ETC.

Follered a married woman 
and her husband rang my gong


The Rambling Rangers • Gittin’ Tired • 1938


Harold Whatley, steel guitar; Oliver Warren, vocal/guitar; Sammy Stalsby, guitar. Dallas, 1 December 1938 

Illustration: Ben Shahn. Four Piece Orchestra, 1944

Thursday, August 06, 2015

SMYRNAIC BLACK HORSE BLUES


Leonard Cohen • Dear Heather • 2004



“Dear Heather” is on Dear Heather.

Image: Japanese women walk through ruins of Hiroshima, August 1945

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

D.P.R.B.—1960 EDITION

Paul Evans is the guy who wrote the Bobby Vinton hit “Roses Are Red (My Love)” and also made the top ten with his own “Seven Little Girls Sitting in the Backseat”. . . .


Paul Evans • Midnight Special • 1960



Photo: Nikita Khrushchev, Roswell Garst, Guthrie County, Iowa, September 1959. Photo source: Bolshevik Mean Girls

Monday, August 03, 2015

THE BLUES WHAT AM Pt 5


Betty James • I’m a Little Mixed Up • 1961


Betty James, vocal; guitars; bass; drums. New York City, 1961

Sunday, August 02, 2015

HEARTACHES BY THE NUMBER

David Cantwell, writing about HBTN entry number 10, quotes Woody Guthrie: “I hate a song that makes you think you are just born to lose. Bound to lose.” But, he writes, “cuts like this made [Ted] Daffan a favorite of the folks who crowded the dance halls of California and the Southwest during World War II.” Because, as he quotes writer John Morthland, “. . . for the millions of displaced working people forced to stay in cities like Detroit and Chicago in order to keep jobs [‘Born to Lose’] was received as a metaphor for modern life in general.”

Well, I’m pretty much with Woody. But I guess I’m also with Ted Daffan’s boys, and Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles for that matter. . . .



10.  Born to Lose • Ted Daffan’s Texans • 1942


With today’s post we come to the end of the first ten entries in Heartaches by the Number. The first ten gave us a taste of the great country singles released from the late twenties and onward that are discussed throughout the book, and also how one great record tends to suggest another. Starting next Sunday, we’ll begin to spread out and listen to a hodge podge of records from throughout the main 500 as well as the authors’ “alternate 100.” A lot of these entries will be posted because they’re personal favorites here at BAK or because the authors of HBTN have elucidated something possibly not apparent in a casual listen. Stick around. . . .

Leonard Seago, fiddle/vocal; Freddy Courtney, accordion; Ted Daffan, electric steel guitar; Ralph C. Smith, piano; 
Buddy Buller, lead guitar; Chuck Keeshan, guitar; Johnny Johnson, string bass; Lindley “Spike” Jones, drums. 
Hollywood, California, 20 February 1942

Find it: Country: The American Tradition

78 and sleeve: YouTube



Saturday, August 01, 2015

WADING THROUGH BLOOD AND WATER


Otis Redding • Chained And Bound • 1966


Otis Redding, vocals; Sammie Coleman, John Farris, trumpets; Clarence Johnson Jr., trombone; Robert Holloway, Robert Pittman, Donald Henry, tenor saxophones; James Young, guitar; Ralph Stewart, bass; Elbert Woodson, drums. The Whiskey A Go Go, Los Angeles, April 1966

Find it: Good to Me

CD cover: All Music