Monday, February 29, 2016


“I’m throwin’ up my hands” is the theme of our 8th collection of the best of the blues what am, twelve more big ones from across the spectrum of our namesake genre. On this outing we shall present blues records from across the gamut of years, beginning with the 1920s era and culminating in the golden age of the Sixties. Along the way you will hear from such luminaries as Blind Willie Johnson, Bo Diddley, and Albert Ammons, and also lesser known but no less brighter stars than George “Bullet” Williams and Charlie Kyle. We hope you enjoy this latest offering of some of the records that have thrilled the soul of many a blues aficionado up and down through the decades of the century. —Melvin Cowznofski, author and dee-jay of note

Sunday, February 28, 2016


As tipped last week, we’re doing cheatin’ songs for the next few weeks. We’re probably not going to quote much from the Heartaches by the Number playbook for these as the original essays by David Cantwell and Bill Friskics-Warren shine a light down on the corner so brightly that our puny edits just don’t tell the story. Grab a copy of the book and follow along as Webb Pierce, Leroy Van Dyke, Floyd Tillman, and Randy Travis make their forays into secret places. . . . 

154.  Back Street Affair • Webb Pierce • 1952

45 label: 45cat

Saturday, February 27, 2016


Bo Diddley • Please Mr. Engineer • 1961

Find it: Rare & Well Done

Friday, February 26, 2016


Elmore James’ first Chicago session features a remake of his Trumpet recording of “Dust My Broom” with J. T. Brown’s tenor sax replacing Sonny Boy Williamson’s harp to great effect.

Elmore James • I Believe • 1952

Elmore James, vocal/guitar; J. T. Brown, tenor sax; Johnny Jones, piano; prob. Ransom Knowling, bass; Odie Payne, drums. Chicago, poss. 22 November 1952

Get it: The Best of Elmore James: The Early Years

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Hank Snow • Tangled Mind • 1957

Hank Snow, vocal/guitar; Jack Shook, rhythm guitar; Lightnin’ Chance, bass; Marvin H. Hughes, piano; Anita Kerr Singers (Anita Kerr, Mildred Kirkham, Louis D. Nunley, William G. Wright Jr.), vocal chorus. Nashville, 30 May 1957

Get it: Country & Western Hit Parade 1957

Pictured: Laika the doggie cosmonaut, from a Russian matchbook cover via Dogster. For more on Laika, see her 
Wikipedia entry.

Monday, February 22, 2016


Muddy Waters • You’re Gonna’ Miss Me 
“with Rythm Accompaniment”

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

Find it: Rollin' Stone: The Golden Anniversary Collection

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Today we begin a little trip to the “dark end of the street” for five weeks of slippin’ around–back street affair–meeting on the corner–love’s cheating line songs. But on the other hand. . . .

Jerry Lee Lewis & Linda Gail Lewis • 1969

Get it: The Definitive Collection

45 picture sleeve: 45cat

This week: Muddy Waters; The Falcons; Hank Snow; Bobby Edwards; Elmore James; Bo 
Diddley . . . don’t miss ’em. . . .

Friday, February 19, 2016


Tampa Red • Early in the Morning • 1951
vocal: Little Johnny Jones

Little Johnny Jones, vocal/piano; Tampa Red, guitar/kazoo; Ransom Knowling, bass; Odie Payne, drums. Recorded in Chicago, 20 Mar 1951.

Get it: Dynamite! The Unsung King of the Blues

Thursday, February 18, 2016


André Previn’s Trio Jazz • I’ll Remember April • 1958

Get it: King Size!

Image: Li’l Abner by Al Capp

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


The Browns • I Heard The Bluebirds Sing • 1957

Jim Ed Brown, vocal/guitar; Maxine Brown, vocal; Bonnie Brown, vocal; Chet Atkins, electric guitar; Jimmie Selph, 
rhythm guitar; Bob Foster, steel guitar; Junior Huskey, bass; Tommy Jackson, fiddle; Buddy Harman, drums. Nashville, 
19 December 1956

Get it: Country & Western Hit Parade 1957

Pictured: Laika the doggie cosmonaut, from a Russian matchbook cover via Dogster. For more on Laika, see her 
Wikipedia entry.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


“ . . . the pleasures of life in a hillbilly band . . . ”

335.  Amanda • Waylon Jennings • 1979

Get it: Nashville Rebel

Friday, February 12, 2016


Today we feature Howlin’ Wolf’s first record for Chess (recorded in Memphis at Sun), which opens with a moan that must have rattled speaker cones all over the South Side. . . .

The Howlin’ Wolf • Moanin’ at Midnight • 1951

Howlin’ Wolf, vocal/harmonica; Willie Johnson, guitar; Willie Steel, drums. Memphis, July 1951

Get it: The Definitive Collection

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Ray Harris •  Lonely Wolf • 1957

Ray Harris, vocal/guitar; Wayne Cogswell, guitar; Red Hensley, guitar/vocal; bass; Joe Reisenberg, drums. Memphis, 
7 April 1957

Pictured: Laika the doggie cosmonaut, from a Russian matchbook cover via Dogster. For more on Laika, see her 
Wikipedia entry.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Monday, February 08, 2016


Lucinda Williams • Down The Big Road Blues • 1998

Get it: Car Wheels On A Gravel Road.

Sunday, February 07, 2016


An Alternate 100*
I Still Miss Someone • Johnny Cash • 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

Get it: The Fabulous Johnny Cash

Image: American Routes

Friday, February 05, 2016


We started our 1950s set with one of the wildest records to come out of the early postwar period in Chicago: the Leroy Foster trio’s completely feral Parkway recording of the traditional “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” with moaned vocals, Little Walter blowing hard on harp, and Muddy Waters’ slashing slide guitar. As Muddy was contracted to Aristocrat at the time, he got in trouble with the Chess brothers and had to rerecord his own two-part version of “Rollin’ And Tumblin’” the following month for them. Here is Part 1 followed by the autobiographical “They Call Me Muddy Waters” recorded in late 1951 but not issued until 1970.

Muddy Waters • Rollin’ And Tumblin’, Part 1 • 1950

Muddy Waters • They Call Me Muddy Waters • 1951

“Rollin’ and Tumblin’, Part 1”: Muddy Waters, vocal/guitar; Ernest “Big” Crawford, bass; poss. Elgin Evans, drums. Chicago, February 1950

“They Call Me Muddy Waters”: Muddy Waters, vocal/guitar; Little Walter, harmonica; Jimmy Rogers, guitar; Elgin Evans, drums. Chicago, 29 December 1951

Find ’em both: Rollin’ Stone: The Golden Anniversary Collection

Thursday, February 04, 2016


Jack Dupree • Sharp Harp • 1955

Champion Jack Dupree, piano; George Smith, harmonica; Barney Richmond, bass; Alfred Dreares, drums. Cincinnati, 
8 November 1955

Get it: Walkin’ the Blues: The Very Best of Champion Jack Dupree

Image: Li’l Abner by Al Capp

Wednesday, February 03, 2016


Slim Harpo • I Got Love If You Want It • 1957

Slim Harpo, vocal/harmonica; Guitar Gable, guitar; Fats Perrodin, bass; Jockey Etienne, drums. Crowley, Louisiana, 
March 1957

Get it: Slim Rocks

Pictured: Laika the doggie cosmonaut, from a Russian matchbook cover via Dogster. For more on Laika, see her 
Wikipedia entry.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016


Aloha ʻoe, aloha ʻoe
E ke onaona noho i ka lipo
One fond embrace,
A hoʻi aʻe au
Until we meet again

Crown Princess (later Queen) Lili‘uokalani, wrote “Aloha ‘Oe,” about 1877. Sixteen years later, the Kingdom of Hawai‘i was overthrown in a coup d’état led primarily by American economic interests, and Queen Lili‘uokalani was placed under house arrest and confined to ‘Iolani Palace in Honolulu, where she finished transcribing “Aloha ‘Oe.” 

Johnny Bellar • Aloha Oe • 2000

Get it: Masters of the Steel String Guitar

For more on “Aloha ‘Oe,” Lili‘uokalani, and the fall of the Hawaiian kingdom, follow this link.

CD cover: All Music

Monday, February 01, 2016


Bobby “Blue” Bland • Farther Up the Road [alt] • 1957

Bobby Bland, vocal; Bill Harvey, tenor sax; piano; Pat Hare, guitar; bass; Sonny Freeman, drums. Houston, 1957