Welcome to Odds & Sods Volume 11. After Volume 10’s final selection, the title of our first tune here might be more than apropos. That said, we have a dozen more winners for you. In addition to the fine musical lineup, we have asked Irving Snurd, our indefatigable liner note writer, to take some well deserved time off. So our notes this time around may not be as “colorful” as his but we promise you our programming will cover the entire spectrum. As with all the previous volumes of Odds & Ends we select only the best records from our cavernous archives to play for you. This time out we present recordings from our favorite period of popular music, the mid-fifties through about the mid-sixties, though it must be said that most of the songs on queue this time around were all big hits in the year 1959. We’ll be playing records by household names like Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, and the Kingston Trio along with a good many not-so-well known artists such as the Miller Sisters, the Los Indios Tabajaras, and Prof. Alex Bradford and Sister Bessie Griffin. So set the dial, turn up the volume, grab a bottle or three, and dig in. . . .
Sonny Boy Williamson, vocal/harmonica; Lafayette Leake or Billy Emerson, organ; Matt Murphy, guitar; Milton Rector, bass; Al Duncan, drums. Chicago, 11 January 1963 Get it: The Real Folk Blues / More Real Folk Blues Reissue LP cover: Bear Family Records
Picking up where we left off with Part 3, on this set we’ll be playing our semi-usual mix of fifties, sixties, and seventies records by our favorite female singers, and we’ll even be dipping our toes into twenty-first century waters; you can expect just about anything. Anything, that is, that would be typical of Blues All Kinds. So first up, Porter and Dolly, followed by Wilma Burgess and Dinah Washington in the next few weeks. Stay tuned. . . .
Speaking of country music “clichés” (see last week’s David Allan Coe post), David Cantwell writes in Heartaches by the Number, “Guitar, Cadillacs, hillbilly music, and ‘lonely, lonely streets that I call home’ are what Dwight Yoakum focuses upon on his second charting single. As iconography goes, that list is about as received a collection of country signifiers as you could possibly imagine.”
This week’s Blues What Am selection is another “long thought-to-be lost” 78, recently discovered in the cabinet of a vintage 1920s record player in the southern United States. “Tar Road Blues” and its flip “Flagin’ it to Georgia” were both in pretty rough shape but the folks at Blues Images did a terrific clean-up job and we are now able to hear two of J. D. Short’s best sides, almost ninety years after they were recorded. Have a listen to “Tar Road Blues”:
We’ve been running our Heartaches by the Number series (based on the book of the same name by David Cantwell and Bill Friskics-Warren) for a year now. Though we’ve only covered about 10% of the 500 country singles Cantwell and Friskics-Warren wrote so incisively and entertainingly about, we’re thinking it’s time to bring this series to a close. So for the next six weeks we’ll be running our favorite records from the last couple dozen of the book’s entries leading up to number 500, and with a minimum of commentary on our part.
Fittingly, today’s record is David Allan Coe’s evocation of the “perfect country and western song,” a tongue-in-cheek list of clichéd C&W themes written by Steve Goodman; it’s been a favorite around these parts since first hearing it in the mid-80s on a seventies country LP comp.
“Sitting Down Thinking” – J. B. Lenoir, vocal/guitar; Ernest Cotton, tenor sax; Joe Montgomery, piano; Al Gavin, drums. Chicago, 14 March 1955 “Don’t Touch My Head!!!” – similar to above. Chicago, 19 December 1956