Wednesday, September 30, 2015

D.P.R.B.—1960 EDITION


Charlie Ryan & The Timberline Riders
Hot Rod Lincoln • 1960


Charlie Ryan, vocal; The Timberline Riders. Spokane, Washington, 1955

Get it: Country & Western Hit Parade 1960.

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

Monday, September 28, 2015

THE BLUES WHAT AM Pt 6

Here’s Blind Lemon’s classic “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” as you’ve not heard it previously, thanks to the folks at Blues Images. Using a new, for now secret, process, they’ve been able to clean up and improve the sound of old 78s like never before. To hear more from Blind Lemon Jefferson, Jaydee Short, Papa Charlie McCoy, Ma Rainey, Blind Willie Johnson and others, “run—don’t walk” over to Blues Images to get your copy of the their 2016 calendar and CD. You’ll be glad you did. . . .


Blind Lemon Jefferson • See That My Grave Is Kept Clean • 1928



Sunday, September 27, 2015

WHEN THE MOON
RUN DOWN IN BLOOD*


Fred McDowell & His Blues Boys


*Administrators’ note: We’ve loved Fred McDowell’s version of this old classic since it was first released in the late sixties, and particularly the line about the moon running down in blood. But never fear, we’re no doomsday theorists or bible misinterpreters, we just love good “blues” of “all kinds,” especially when it’s being put across by one our favorite artists.




HEARTACHES BY THE NUMBER

This is another record I discovered through the auspices of David Cantwell and Bill Friskics-Warren’s entertaining and instructive book Heartaches by the Number: Country Music’s 500 Greatest Singles. I’ve enjoyed this song by Merle Haggard for more than 30 years, but when I recently heard Sammi Smith’s 1975 version, well, Merle’s just had to drop to a close second.
The essay in the above book juxtaposes this record with George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving
Her Today,” making them flip sides of the same coin, and describes Smith’s “nicotine-steeped alto” as desolate. Oh, yeah.*


Sammi Smith • Today I Started Loving You Again • 1975



*This entry was originally posted on October 4, 2014 before we decided to do the HBTN series.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

WADING THROUGH BLOOD AND WATER


X • Shoot Out the Lights • 1994


John Doe, vocal/electric bass; Exene Cervenka, vocal; D. J. Bonebrake, drums; Tony Gilkyson, electric guitar (left); David Hidalgo, electric guitar (right). Hollywood, c. 1994

Coming next week . . . Sammi Smith . . . Blind Lemon Jefferson . . . Buckwheat Zydeco . . . Charlie Ryan & The Timberline Riders . . . Johnny Twovoice & The Medallions . . . John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson . . . Sam Cooke, S. Roy Crain & The Soul Stirrers. . . .

Friday, September 25, 2015

SHE DON’T KNOW MY MIND


Tampa Red & Chicago Five

Tampa Red, vocal/guitar; prob. Black Bob, piano; unknown, string bass. Chicago, 1 April 1936

LP cover: American Music



Thursday, September 24, 2015

SMYRNAIC BLACK HORSE BLUES

“Has anyone looked in the eyes of the dead? . . . 
Is anyone living to look for future forgiveness? . . . 
O inconsolable!”


Allen Ginsberg


Get it: Wichita Vortex Sutra.

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN

The new Blues Images calendar and CD for 2016 is here, after much pre-publication hype of an amazing new method of sound remastering for 78 rpm recordings. Does the CD live up to the brouhaha? On first listen, I would say, “Yes, indeedy.” Now, I don’t have an expensive entertainment system, I don’t even really have a cheap one. My main venue for “quality” listening nowadays is my iPod playing 256 kbps sound files over my car’s factory installed stereo system. On first listen the songs on offer sound amazingly good for late 20s–early 30s rare 78s. The standout track for me is Charlie Kyle’s 1928 “Walking Blues.” His twelve-string guitar sounds like a twelve-string and there are subtleties in his playing (volume, tone) and singing that I don’t know that I would necessarily have missed had I been listening to a Document reissue, but they sure are striking here. Same goes for Blind Willie Johnson’s “When the War Was On” and Curley Weaver’s duet with Ruth Willis on “Some Cold Rainy Day.” Then there is Charlie McCoy’s mandolin playing on a version of “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie.” The sound on this recently discovered record and its flip “Country Guy Blues” is phenomenal. A Blind Blake record that isn’t as much surface noise as music? Try “Wabash Rag.” There is surface noise on all the tracks, but in most cases, it is below the surface, i.e., the music is front and center, and for the most part sounds great. Even the recently discovered Jaydee Short “lost” Paramount, worn though it is, still sounds good, surface noise and all. I must say I haven’t A-B’d the majority of the tracks here with other reissues/remasterings but I can say if you like prewar country blues, and enjoy nicely done reproductions of associated old record ads and rare photographs of the artists featured on the CD, you will probably want this year’s calendar for your collection. For more information, please click over to bluesimages.com and tell ’em Frank sent you.


Papa Charlie McCoy • Boogie Woogie • 1932



AUTUMN



John Palmer Wicker, Autumn. c. 1924. Source: Mudwerks

Monday, September 21, 2015

THE BLUES WHAT AM Pt 6


Arizona Dranes • Crucifixion • 1926



He Is My Story: The Sanctified Soul of Arizona Dranes, a book with CD of Dranes’s complete recordings is available from Tompkins Square.

Arizona Dranes, piano solo. Chicago, 17 June 1926

Sunday, September 20, 2015

HEARTACHES BY THE NUMBER

“Two Latin-inflected records that wouldn’t convey half the anguish they do were it not for the spit and polish they got in the studio. Both should be required listening for anyone who thinks that raw emotion can’t be served by slick arrangements and production.” 
—Bill Friskics-Warren in Heartaches by the Number


255.  Crying • Roy Orbison • 1961

256.  Before the Next Teardrop Falls • Freddy Fender • 1974



Get ’em: CryingThe Best of Freddy Fender

Roy Orbison image: Showbiz 411; Freddy Fender image: Minnesota’s New Country

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

DIRTY MOTHER FOR YOU

He got drunk this morning,
tore up the neighborhood


Memphis Minnie • Dirty Mother For You • 1935

Memphis Minnie, vocal/guitar; unknown, piano. Chicago, 10 January 1935

LP cover: American Music

Thursday, September 17, 2015

SMYRNAIC BLACK HORSE BLUES

Marika Papagika, born on the island of Kos, emigrated to the U.S. early in the last century, recorded over 225 sides in New York and Chicago between 1918 and 1937, here declaiming the “Greek blues,” accompanied by Nicolas Relias playing clarinet, Markos Sifneos on cello, and her husband Kostas Papagikas on cymbalum.


Marika Papagika • Smyrneikos Balos • 1922


Marika Papagika, vocal; Nicolas Relias, clarinet; Markos Sifneos, cello; Kostas Papagikas, cymbalum. New York City, November 1922

Find it: Greek Popular & Rebetic Music in New York 1918–1929

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

D.P.R.B.—1960 EDITION


Billy Ray • The Story of Suzie • 1960


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


Monday, September 14, 2015

THE BLUES WHAT AM Pt 6

Because “The Blues What Am” also comprises, in the words of Mr Dorsey, “Blues, jazz, the gospel,” we are happy to include many examples of each kind, from real gutbucket blues to the finest jazz as well as the most exciting gospel quartets performing today and yesterday. Such illustrious names as pianists Arizona Dranes, Charles Avery, and Alexander Moore round out our pianistic contingent this time around; in the field of blues we present Blind Uncle Gaspard, Salty Dog Sam, and Smokey Hogg (who also can be heard accompanying Whistling Alex Moore). Rounding out our tripartite list we do have Louis Armstrong and King Oliver amongst the luminaries presented for your listening satisfaction. All true examples lending personification 
to the old and ancient saying of “The Blues What Am.” Happy listening. 
—Melvin Cowznofski, resident blues authority and disc jockey emeritus



Big Joe Williams • Married Woman Blues • 1960


Big Joe Williams, vocal/guitar. Los Gatos, California, 5 October 1960

Get it: I Have to Paint My Face.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

HEARTACHES BY THE NUMBER

“Tears in your beer music, cantina style, replete with doleful waltz-time rhythms and an accordion weeping in the background. . . . In some respects [Conjunto Bernal’s] ‘Mi Unico Camino’ anticipates the tortured romanticism of fellow Texans Roy Orbison and Johnny Bush, singers who, like many others, were inspired by the Tejano music of the Bernal brothers and their peers. . . .” 
—Bill Friskics-Warren, Heartaches by the Number  


254.  Mi Unico Camino • Conjunto Bernal • 1959


Ruben Perez, first voice; Paulino Bernal, accordion/third voice; Eloy Bernal, bajo sexto/second voice. January 1959 

Get it: Tejano Roots.

Label pic: The Strachwitz Frontera Collection/UCLA

Saturday, September 12, 2015

WADING THROUGH BLOOD AND WATER


Van Morrison with John Lee Hooker • 
Wasted Years • 1993



Van Morrison, vocal/electric guitar; John Lee Hooker, vocal; John Allair, Hammond organ; Richard Cousins, bass; 
Kevin Hayes, drums.

Friday, September 11, 2015

THE EVIL DEVIL BLUES


Johnnie (Geechie) Temple • The Evil Devil Blues • 1935


Johnnie Temple, vocal/guitar; Charlie McCoy, 2nd guitar. Chicago, 14 May 1935

LP cover: Discogs

Thursday, September 10, 2015

SMYRNAIC BLACK HORSE BLUES


Link Wray & The Wraymen • Lillian • 1959


Link Wray’s tribute to his mom can be found on the Link Wray collection Slinky! The Epic Sessions.

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

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

D.P.R.B.—1960 EDITION


Stanley Brothers • How Far to Little Rock • 1960


Carter Stanley, vocal/guitar; Ralph Stanley vocal/banjo; Bill Napier, mandolin; George Shuffler, bass. Cincinnati, 
15 September 1959

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

Sunday, September 06, 2015

HEARTACHES BY THE NUMBER

“Juan Raoul Davis Rodriguez was the first Latino singer to break into the country mainstream, preceding Freddy Fender onto the charts by a good two years. Rodriguez listened to all kinds of music while growing up in South Texas, but Merle Haggard was his hero. . . . [This] record’s lyrics, though, have more in common with the quotidian existentialism of Kris Kristofferson and Tom T. Hall. . . .”—Bill Friskics-Warren, Heartaches by the Number


253.  Ridin’ My Thumb To Mexico • Johnny Rodriguez • 1973


Get it: The Best of Johnny Rodriguez.

LP cover: Discogs

Saturday, September 05, 2015

WADING THROUGH BLOOD AND WATER


Ray Charles • Sinner’s Prayer • 1954




Ray Charles, vocal/piano; Freddie Mitchell, Ernest Williams, tenor saxes; Dave McRae, baritone sax; Mickey Baker, guitar; Lloyd Trotman, bass; Connie Kay, drums; Candido Camero, congas. New York City, 17 May 1953

The “Sinner’s Prayer” will be answered on Hallelujah I Lover Her So!

Atlantic 8006 reissue LP cover: Lawren/flickr


In the coming week on Blues All Kinds, Johnny Rodriguez rides his thumb to México, Lee Dorsey finds himself still working in the coal mine, Santiago Jiménez Jr. plays tribute to the Rose of San Antone, Ralph Stanley tries without much success to get to Little Rock, Link Wray honors his mother Lillian, Tampa Red and Johnnie Temple deal with the devil, and Van Morrison and John Lee Hooker lament the wasted years.

Friday, September 04, 2015

GOOD LIQUOR GONNA CARRY ME DOWN


Big Bill • Good Liquor Gonna Carry Me Down • 1935

Big Bill Broonzy, vocal/guitar; Black Bob, piano; Bill Settles, string bass. Chicago, 31 October 1935

Get it: My Rough and Rowdy Ways Vol. 2.

LP cover: Paris Jazz Corner

Thursday, September 03, 2015

SMYRNAIC BLACK HORSE BLUES


Iris DeMent • He Reached Down • 2004



Get it: Lifeline 

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

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

D.P.R.B.—1960 EDITION


Johnny Duhon & The Yello-Jakets • So What • 1960


Get it: Teen Beat 

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