Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Monday, March 28, 2016

THE BLUES WHAT AM


Cliston Chanier – King of the South • Country Bred • 1954


Clifton Chenier, vocal/accordion; Big Chenier, guitar; Robert St. Julian, drums. Lake Charles, Louisiana, 1954

Sunday, March 27, 2016

HEARTACHES BY THE NUMBER


An Alternate 100*
I’m a Man of Constant Sorrow • The Stanley Brothers • 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

Find it: Riding That Midnight Train: The Starday-King Years 1958–61

Saturday, March 26, 2016

ODDS & ENDS

We close out this volume of Odds & Ends with our reverse theme song. . . .


Jimmy Reed • Ends & Odds • 1957


Jimmy Reed, vocal/harmonica/guitar; Eddie Taylor, guitar; Earl Phillips, drums. Chicago, 5 Sep 1957

Get it: Blues Masters Volume 4: Harmonica Classics




Friday, March 25, 2016

BLUES IN CHICAGO


Robert Nighthawk & His Nighthawks Band

Robert Nighthawk, vocal/guitar; Bob Call or Roosevelt Sykes, piano; Ransom Knowling, bass; prob. Jump Jackson, drums. Chicago, 12 Jul 1951

Get it: Bricks in My Pillow

Thursday, March 24, 2016

LAST NIGHT I DREAMED




Get it: Outward Bound & Morning Again

Image: Li’l Abner by Al Capp

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

GIRL GROUPS DOWN FOR THE COUNT

Margaret Lewis was somewhere around 20 when she made this demo of her composition “Reconsider Me” which later was a hit for both Narvel Felts and Johnny Adams.


Margaret Lewis • Reconsider Me • c. early 1960s



Monday, March 21, 2016

THE BLUES WHAT AM

Thirty years after it was recorded and issued on 78 Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark Was The Night—Cold Was The Ground” made its first appearance on microgroove via the Folkways LP Blind Willie Johnson and in the decades following, its reputation as one of the most powerful pieces of American recorded music has continued to grow. In 1964 it featured on the soundtrack to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film The Gospel According to St. Matthew alongside music from Odetta and the Missa Luba. The song was also launched into space on the Voyager Golden Record in 1977. In 2003 it was heard in Wim Wenders’ The Soul of a Man segment of The Blues documentary in a re-creation, by Chris Thomas King, of Blind Willie singing on the street.


Blind Willie Johnson



Sunday, March 20, 2016

HEARTACHES BY THE NUMBER

When Randy Travis hit with “On the Other Hand” in 1986 he joined with other “new tradtionalists” in helping to turn eighties country music back into something worth listening to. That he never quite matched this first big hit and eventually spiraled down into some pretty weird personal problems doesn’t take away anything from this great record, one that offers just a glimmer of hope from the dark end of the street.


157.  On the Other Hand • Randy Travis • 1986


Get it: On the Other Hand: All the Number Ones

Image: YouTube

Saturday, March 19, 2016

ODDS & ENDS


Tampa Red • She Want To Sell My Monkey • 1942


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


Friday, March 18, 2016

BLUES IN CHICAGO


Jimmy Rogers & His Rocking Four • Out on the Road • 1952


Jimmy Rogers, vocal/guitar; Henry Gray, piano; Bob Woodfork or Muddy Waters, guitar; Willie Dixon, bass; A. J. Gladney, drums. Chicago, 17 Aug 1952

Find it: The Complete Chess Recordings

Thursday, March 17, 2016

LAST NIGHT I DREAMED


Dion • If I Should Fall Behind • 1992


Find it: King of the New York Streets

Image: Li’l Abner by Al Capp

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sunday, March 13, 2016

HEARTACHES BY THE NUMBER

“World War II wreaked havoc on domestic tranquility in the United States. . . . Those who couldn’t endure the isolation sought comfort where they could find it. . . . [As] much as Floyd hopes [he and his lover will] be together for good someday, he can’t shake his suspicion that the pain of living a lie—and perhaps of getting caught—isn’t really worth the pleasure of their furtive couplings. . . .” —Bill Friskics-Warren, Heartaches by the Number


Floyd Tillman • Slipping Around • 1949


As a bonus, click here for a fantastic mid-50s TV clip of Floyd singing his big hit from 1949, “Slipping Around,” with a nice Hank Garland guitar solo at about 1:14.




78 label: Discogs



Friday, March 11, 2016

BLUES IN CHICAGO

Big Boy Spires delivers “Big Fat Mamma Blues” postwar and hypnotic whilst Johnny Shines wails the electrified “Walkin’ Blues.”



“Big Boy” Spires & His Guitar • Murmur Low • 1952



Johnny Shines • Rambling • 1952


Arthur Spires, vocal/guitar; Earl Dranes, Eddie El, guitars; Willie Smith, maracas. Chicago, 13 Mar 1952

Johnny Shines, vocal/guitar; Moody Jones, bass. Chicago, 28 Apr 1952

Find ’em: Drop Down Mama (Big Boy Spires); Evening Shuffle (Johnny Shines)



Thursday, March 10, 2016

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

GIRL GROUPS DOWN FOR THE COUNT

They’re back, folks! Those fabulous girl groups that made 60s pop radio so much fun to listen to. 
Erm . . . wait . . . our our programmers have not included one tune that even vaguely qualifies as 
a girl group record. Guess you’ll just have to suffer through several weeks of really good perfor-mances by really good female singers from all over the really good world. Let’s get this fun fest started with Belô Velloso, Caetano Veloso’s and Maria Bethânia’s niece, and her 1997 take on “Send Me Some Lovin’.”


Belô Velloso • Send Me Some Lovin’ • 1997


Find it: Um Segundo

Monday, March 07, 2016

THE BLUES WHAT AM


Albert Ammons, His Piano & Rhythm Kings • Suitcase Blues • 1946


Albert Ammons, piano; Artie Starks, alto sax; Lonnie Johnson, guitar; John Lindsay, bass; Tom Taylor, drums. Chicago, 
25 September 1945

Sunday, March 06, 2016

HEARTACHES BY THE NUMBER

“This monstrously popular 1961 hit avoids all the expected approaches to infidelity . . . and instead details the logistics of not getting caught.” —David Cantwell, Heartaches by the Number


155.  Walk on By • Leroy Van Dyke • 1961



Photo: CMT artists

Saturday, March 05, 2016