Nothing but ......

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Nothing But The Blues XV

Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup may be different. Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup may be lesser known. But....Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup is definitely not a 'lesser god', or of lesser importance. On the contrary.
Arthur Crudup was born in 1905 in Forest, Mississippi. Although he came from a very musical family and he had been singing in church choirs ever since he was 10, he didn't take up the guitar until he was 32! And than he taught the guitar himself. He immediately started working as a street musician all over the delta. But it wasn't until that time that he for the first time heard records of Tampa Red, Big Bill Broonzy and Memphis Slim.
Most of these old 'warlords' got there nickname as a young boy from there family (muddy waters), from there producer (big Bill Broonzy) or from their audience (Mojo Buford). Not Arthur Crudup. He started to call himself Big Boy the moment he started to play the guitar.
Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup started making Blues at a late age. He never really became a 'grand master' on the guitar. But we all know his music. Arthur went into history as the 'Father of Rock 'n' Rolll' inspiring people like John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Lightnin' Hopkins, Elvis Presley, etc.
Big Boy's recording career started in the early 40's and went on till the mid 50's.
The recordings on this disc all date from 1941 (Tracks 3,7,8 and 9), 1942 (tracks 1,2,4,6,10 and 12), 1944 (tracks 5,11,13 and 14), 1945 (tracks 15,16,19 and 20 ) and 1946 (tracks 17 and 18). I'm not really sure if the 1941 recordings are from Big Boy's first recording sessions ever. If not, then they are from one of his first recording sessions. Although Arthur is credited for all these songs, none of these songs he wrote alone. Most of these songs he wrote together with R. Knowling, with whom he kept on writing during the remainder of his career.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

She had me

Just two weeks ago, May 14 to be precise, I uploaded the pre-debut album of Joss Stone. So now it's time for her real debut album: Mind, Body & Soul. This album delivered Joss a couple of hits, of which Right To Be Wrong (track 1 ) and You Had Me (Track 3) were the biggest. But, perhaps the most surprising thing about this album is that Joss got credits on every song on the album. Never alone, always along people like Steve Greenberg and Daniel Pierre (who both produced as well) or Dozier & Dozier (track 4). I don't now what her contribution was to these songs: music, lyrics or inspiration, but any which way still impressive.
Of course there has been some fuzz over her voice. How can a petite white good looking girl have a voice like that? That must be a studio trick. It's amazing what you can do with computers now a days. But it was Soul legend Patty LaBelle who came to Joss' aid by saying:
"Joss Stone just happened to wake up one morning with all this soul that had to come out. So people better not be thinking it's a gimmick. It's for real. She was born like that. She didn't practice it. It just happened that she opened her mouth and a big black woman comes out. The girl can just sing."
Curious what the turmoil is about? Find out for yourself.

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Monday, May 29, 2006


I've never been a Bonnie Raitt Fan, but Today I offer you her most recent album. This is her sixteenth album or so. She released her debut album in 1971. This means that with this 2005 release she has a recording career of 35 years so far. During that period she also recorded with .....Almost everybody who is somebody in Blues. Certainly something to respect. The only trouble is .... I don't get it! What's all the fuzz about? Yes, I agree it isn't bad what she's doing. Most of her albums, certainly this one, is well produced. Perhaps there is something in her voice I do not hear? Something in her songs I do not see? Something in her recording I do not get? If there are any Bonnie Raitt fans out there, or people who evaluate this album and do get it, please enlighten me. I'm eager to be converted. But her really impressive career so far hasn't done it for me yet. Please help me!

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Nothing But The Blues XIV

Lightnin' Hopkins was a performer with a enormous ability to improvise. And he would do so. Both on stage or in the studio, he would never play a song twice the same way. And it was not just that he would change the music. The lyrics would change as well. His particular style of improvising was later called 'air music'. A Style he shared with John Lee Hooker.
Although Lightnin's recording career didn't start until 1946 he was at the center of the blues scene for over 35 years. He stayed an active performer until his death, of lung cancer, in 1982. During those 35 years he played with people like Joan Baez and Pete Seeger. He also inspired an entire rock generation like Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead.
A while back the weblog Zero G Sound had a wonderful collection of Lightnin' Hopkins albums posted.
From the faults of Everest part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4. Please check them out.
All the recordings on this disc date from one session! Houston, Texas, February 25, 1948. Apart from tracks 11 Honey Babe (Steiner - Webster) and the well known See See Rider by Ma Rainey (track 14) they are all written by Sam Hopkins.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Nothing But The Blues XIII

For the next two days we will be looking at some early recordings of Lightnin' Hopkins. Sam Hopkins, as he was really called, was born in Texas in 1912 as a son to Abe Hopkins, also a musician. It was his brother Joel, also a Blues musician, who learned Sam to play the guitar. But it wasn't until Sam met Blind Lemon Jefferson (playing with T-Bone Walker and his father) that Sam decided he would be a Blues musician. As a teenager Sam accompanied Alger "Texas" Alexander, a cousin of him. For reasons unknown Sam was sent to prison half way through the 30's, not to be released before the end of the 30's. At that time he picked up where he left of with Texas Alexander. It wasn't until 1946 before the two of them were discovered in Houston.
Sam got his nickname from these first recordings in 1946. He was put in the studio together with pianist and singer Wilson "Thunder" Smith. The titles from there first recording session where released under the name "Thunder & Lightnin'" and delivered him his first hit Katie May.
This first disc contains this first hit and some more titles from this first recording session on November 9 1946 (tracks 4,5,6,7,8 and 9). Tracks 1,2,3,10,11,12 and 14 are also Thunder & Lightnin' recordings from LA. But this time from August 1947. The rest are Lightnin' recordings from Houston Texas and date from 1947 and 1948. All these recordings are Sam Lightnin' Hopkins originals except for tracks 2,4 and 8 (Wilson Smith) and track 11 (H. Whittaker).

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Friday, May 26, 2006

The tables turned

It is 1993 and the tables are turned. This time we have a Van Morrison album on which John Lee Hooker is the guest.
I've got this strange Love - Hate thing towards Van Morrison. I've seen Van the Man as an absolute God triumphing over festivals. But I've seen festival organizations scared to hell because Van might not come to stage because he had the wrong peanuts in his dressing room. I've seen bands completely frozen in their attempt to please the master. I've seen sound technician scared shitless for this guy.
He made some truly brilliant albums which deserve a place in the album top 100 ever in the pop hall of fame. But....I've heard albums which weren't worth the packaging in which they came. Only last year he made a truly fabulous album called Magic Time and only this year a released an uninspired album (Hell to pay) not worth the time listening to it!

This 1993 album is ok. It contains 15 songs. Most of these songs are recorded with Georgie Fame on Hammond organ and backing vocals. Two songs however are with John Lee Hooker. These two recordings are the absolute gems of the album. On track 9 (Wasted Years) John Lee Hooker just shares the honor of leading vocals. But on track 7, a wonderful recording of the old Them/Morrison hit Gloria, they both play and sing. Do yourself a favor and listen to it!

1993 - Too Long In Exile Part 1 & Part 2

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Lucky man

After his 1989 success The Healer John Lee Hooker was under quite a bit of pressure to produce another album like that. If he succeeded depends on whom you're asking. The record company thinks he failed. This 1991 album misses a hit like The Healer, and therefore sales didn't come close. On the other hand however, there are people who will claim that he did succeed. This album is, from a musical point of view, at least as good.
The album contains 10 songs on which John Lee Hooker can be heard with some outstanding performers. The Robert Cray Band of track 2, Albert Collins on track 3, Ry Cooder on track 4, Johnnie Johnson on track 1, with Van Morrison on I Cover The Waterfront (track 5), Track 7 together with Carlos Santana, track 8 with Johny Winter and Track 9 with Rolling Stones icon Keith Richards on guitar. John Hammond lays down a wonderful foundation for track 6 using a slide guitar. He also is the featuring guest on guitar and harmonica on track 10.
Personally I think this album beats (artistically and musically) The Healer on any given day of the week. John Lee Hooker was a very lucky man, getting the opportunity to work and record with these people.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Nothing But The Blues XII

Yes, Leadbelly was definitely the man to get into trouble. He was tall and very strong. He had a sensational appetite for woman, not caring how old they were or if they happen to be married. On the other hand woman fell for Leadbelly. He was father to at least two children as a teenager.
There are also stories about drinking and gambling. Combine this with the fact that he had an explosive temperament and you have trouble.
In 1916 he was 26 and sent to jail for attacking a man (and doing some serious damage). But Leadbelly broke out and used the name Walter Boyd to elude the law enforcement. Shortly after this he was again sentenced, but now for thirty years, for murder. This time, after being in prison for seven years, he was pardoned by the governor because he wrote a song for the governor pleading for his release.
In 1930 he was sent to prison for a third time for robbery and attempted murder. There he was discovered by John Lomax in 1933. Lomax, using his influence in congress, got him out in 1934 and took him to New York where his recording career began.
The tracks on this disc give a nice overview of Leadbelly's recording career and cover the period between 1935 and 1945. Apart from track 12 they are all Leadbelly originals. And I mean originals! Track 21 dates from 1935 and is Midnight Special, which we all know, Track 14 is the famous Take this hammer (from 1945) and track 22 (from 1943) is the wonderful Irene.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Nothing But The Blues XI

The Story of Leadbelly is one of the most amazing stories of the 'early blues' ever! Leadbelly was, in many ways, the complete opposite of all his contemporaries. Every one from his generation was born in a very poor and big family. They made there own first instrument, or got an old worn down instrument from a relative. Worked hard on the fields and eventually used the music, Blues, to get away from that all.
Leadbelly, born as Huddie William Ledbetter, was an only child to well off parents. He had former lessons on several instruments. By the time he was 26 he was 'fluent' on at least 4 instruments among which his favorite, the 12 string guitar. Yes, if for most of these old guys the Blues was a way to get away from the daily misery and poverty, for Leadbelly it was the way to get into trouble.
This box gives three possible explanations for the nickname Leadbelly. Explanation number 1 is the most likely one, but the dullest one as well. Leadbelly is just an abbreviation of his family name. Explanation number two is that he was named after his (very) muscular build. Explanation number three is the one which makes the best story. Leadbelly nickname was the result of a gunshot wound in his belly.
Leadbelly was 'discovered' by John Lomax, the father of Allan. When they met John was very impressed by Leadbelly's extensive knowledge of tradition music, folk and Blues. It is said that, at that time, Leadbelly knew over 500 songs by heart.
On this disc are some interesting Leadbelly recordings. Some are Leadbelly originals (tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14 and 15), there are some traditionals (tracks 8 and 16) and the rest (tracks 1, 9, 13 and 17) are written together with father or son, or both, Lomax. All recordings date from somewhere between 1934 and 1945.
Listen to this powerful voice, this guitar picking.
Listen to track #1, Good morning Blues, and then say that Rock & Roll doesn't come from Blues. Every rocker still starts with this riff.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Moving through the shadows

As you may have guessed from an earlier post I'm quite a Tony Joe White fan. I like 'the edge' on his guitar playing, his deep and warm voice, the simplicity of his music, even though it isn't straight forward Blues. But....perhaps the thing I like the best is the way this man moves through the shadows of the twilight zone between blues, soul and rock.
I'm very fond of this particular sound that is sometimes referred to as Swamp Rock. Robbie Robertson has it, Willy Deville, Dr John, even John Fogerty has it every now and than . I've heard the Allman Brothers Band doing it and Dickey Betts playing it. But nobody has it like the old Swamp Fox himself.
Today's album is a compilation issued in 1993 that covers Tony's recording career in the period 1969 - 1973. This means it contains stuff from his first five albums Black and White - 1969, ....Continued - 1970, Tony Joe White - 1971, The train I'm on -1972, Homemade ice cream - 1973.
Listen to his, almost John Lee Hooker like, Stockholm Blues (track 6), his Southern Rock in Even Trolls Love Rock and Roll, the Gospel influences on Willy and Laura Mae Jones. And who cares if The train I'm on is a Deep Soul song or just a Country Ballad? It works for me either way!

1993 - The Best of Tony Joe White Part 1 & Part 2

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Nothing But The Blues X

Disc # 10 is, like disc # 9 , dedicated to William Lee Conley 'Big Bill' Broonzy.
Big Bill died in 1958 of lung cancer. He kept recording to late 1952. Now the irony of it all is that Big Bill was during his recording career never able to support his family (5 kids) with just the earnings of his music. With over 260 recorded songs to his name and performing with every major blues artist during a period of almost thirty years was not enough.
By the end of the 40's Big Bill's sound was a bit out of date. So in 1951 Big Bill re-invents his own music, making it sound simpler and adding more folk influences. With this sound Big Bill started a second career in music touring the world, and Europe in particular. This enabled him to finally live of his earnings as a musician in 1953.
All the tracks on this disc are Big Bill originals recorded under the name Big Bill Broonzy and date from 1932 (3), 1934 (5,6), 1935 (1,8,11,13,14), 1936 (2,9,12) and 1937 (4,7,10,15).

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Nothing But The Blues IX

The next two discs are all about Big Bill Broonzy. As I already told you the headlines of his life, we have time (space) to get into some of the details. You must know by now that William Lee Conley originally was a fiddle player (see: William Lee Conley) But how could William's parents afford a fiddle? These people were extremely poor. You would be, if you had 17 children. His first fiddle was made out of a cigar box by an uncle, who also learned him how to play it.
He was already 27 (or 23) years old before he learned to play the guitar. And his first recordings were made in 1927 at the age of 34 (or 30). During this first recording he recorded a song called Big Bill Blues. As William Lee Conley was over 6 foot tall the secretary of the manager of the label (Paramount) gave William the nick name that would stick with him for the rest of his life.
During his musical career which lasted about 30 years William Lee recorded under several names. Even after his stage name Big Bill Broonzy was well established. Even on this disc. It's William Lee Conley Broonzy on all tracks, but......Tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, 11, 12 and 13 are recorded as Big Bill, tracks 4, 6, 7, 14, 15, 17 and 18 are recorded as Big Bill Broonzy. Track 16 is recorded as Big Bill & the Memphis Five and tracks 9 is recorded as Sammy Sampson! The tracks on this discs cover aprox. 16 years of his career: 1930 (9), 1932 (2,3,8,10,13), 1934 (1,12), 1935 (4,6,7), 1937 (5,11,15,18), 1938 (16,17), 1946 (14). Track 4, Rising Sun Shine On, is the only songs not by Big Bill.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Nothing But The Blues VIII

Today, with disc 8, we continue with Kokomo Arnold.
As I told you yesterday, Kokomo was never too thrilled about the music business. As a matter of fact, he hated it and claimed on more then one occasion that he had been robbed by managers and labels.
This doesn't change the fact that Kokomo's work, with his distinct style, has been of tremendous influence on the Blues. Just one story:
James got his nickname Kokomo from a song he wrote: Old Original Kokomo Blues (1934) . Kokomo was a coffee brand. This particular song was later 're-written' by Robert Johnson and became Sweet Home Chicago. Robert Johnson re-modeled Kokomo's Milk Cow Blues into Milkcow's Calf Blues.
The recordings I put up yesterday are all from 1937 and made in Chicago in 4 sessions. The tracks 1-7 on this disc are, again from 1937, Chicago. But this time from two sessions in October and November. Tracks 8-15 date from that same year but were recorded in two days in New York.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Nothing But The Blues VII

Let's put up discs number 7 and 8 of this marvelous collection. These two discs are both dedicated to Kokomo Arnold.
James 'Kokomo' Arnold was born in 1901 in Georgia. He learned to play the guitar at the age of 10 by his cousin. Although his obvious talents James remained working in a factory. As a matter of fact, he would remain holding 'daytime jobs' for the rest of his life.
In 1929 he moved to Chicago to work in the illegal distilling. Some people say that's what made Chicago big: Prohibition and Blues. And James worked in both!
He recorded his first songs in 1930 under the stage name Gitfiddle Jim, and kept recording mainly through the 30's. A lot of people don't know Kokomo's work, but it still sounds familiar to them. And no wonder.....Kokomo was a source of inspiration to people like Ellmore James and Robert Johnson.
Kokomo, as a contradiction to people lie Big Bill Broonzy, Big Joe Williams and Tampa Red, only made music as an easy way to get money. He never really got 'the hang of it'. As a matter of fact he left the music industry as a disappointed man in 1941.
During the early 60's a lot of these old Blues heroes were rediscovered by a young white audience. So was Kokomo. But, different from people like Skip James and Mississippi John Hurt, Kokomo didn't care. He was happy working at a steel factory spending his weekends fishing.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Got My Mojo Working

Last Monday I told you I went to Mojo Buford Sunday night. And believe was fun!
George 'Mojo' Buford was born somewhere in Mississippi in 1929. Later, aprox. at the age of 10, he moved to Memphis. Here Mojo was inspired by people like Little Walter and B.B. King. So Mojo took up the Blues Harp. In 1954 he moved to Chicago where he, together with Sam Burden and Dave Members started a band called The Savage Boys. After a while they got the attention of Muddy Waters and called the band Muddy Waters Jr Band. This band became something of a stand-in for Muddy Waters if he was out of town. Later, after the band split up, Mojo pursued his own career. During that period of time he gained his nickname Mojo, because his audience always requested his version of Got My Mojo Working. After returning to Chicago Mojo toured for many years with Muddy Waters.
Today Mojo lives in Memphis again.
The album today is his most recent one from 2005. On this album we find one of Mojo's versions of Got My Mojo Working. But the most remarkable of this album I find Dust My Broom. Here we have a performer who has been in the heart of both the Chicago and Memphis blues, and still 'leans on' Robert Johnson. And track # 11 Take A Little Walk With Me sound very much like Sweet Home Chicago of Robert Johnson.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Nothing But The Blues VI

On disc # 6 we stick to the The Father Of The Blues Harmonica, Sonny Boy Williamson. Sonny Boy is considered the man who made the mouth harmonica a real Blues instrument. During his career Sonny Boy recorded with people like Big Joe Williams, Sleepy John Estes, Big Bill Broonzy and Tampa Red.
His harmonica playing was so fast that he inspired complete generations of 'Blues Harp' player after him. As a matter of fact Alec Miller, a mouth harmonica player from the next generation, earned himself the stage name "Sonny Boy Williamson II". What better credits than people naming themselves after you.
On June 1 1948 Sonny Boy was beaten up by a person of persons unknown at the stage-entrance. He died shortly after as a result of the internal injuries. Although a motive was never officially established it is generally considered to be on racial grounds.
This disc covers about three years from Sonny's Career. Tracks 1,3,6,7,11,12 date from 1937, tracks 2,4,5,8,9,10,13,14,15 date from 1938 and tracks 16,17 and 18 are from 1939. As a matter of fact the tracks 3,7,11 and 12 are from his first recording session on May 5 1937. And on all four of those tracks it is Big Joe Williams on guitar. He also appears on the tracks 2,8,9,10,13 and 15. On tracks 16, 17 and 18 the guitar is played by Big Bill Broonzy.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Nothing But The Blues V

I, for one, believe in change. But there are a lot of people who will say that coincidence doesn't exist. Everything is set by destiny. I'll let you make up your own mind. Last night I went to see Mojo Buford. On my way home I realized that I didn't put any mouth harmonica Blues up (so far). Then, when I opened this magic box to load the next two CD's I saw that......The next two CD's are dedicated to Sonny Boy Williamson.
Sonny Boy, born as John Lee Williamson, was born in 1914, somewhere in Tennessee. He got his first mouth harmonica from his mother, as a present, at the age of 11. Sonny Boy, as so many in his generation, left home as a young boy to travel the south. At the age of 20 he started hanging around clubs and playing street corners. During this time he meets, and start playing with, 'Sleepy' John Estes. In 1934 Sonny Boy went to Chicago and met Big Joe Williams.
In 1937 Sonny Boy made his first recordings (for the Bluebird label). When Sonny Boy died in 1948 he left us about 120 recordings.

On this CD you will find recordings from Sonny Boy's whole career. Track # 1 Black Gal Blues, dates from his second recordings session in 1937 and while # 10, Better Cut That Out, dates from 1947.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

A promise never to be fulfilled

In 1987 a little girl is born in Dover, England. Only 16 years later(!) this girl makes, more as less by accident, the most promising debut album is soul I've seen in twenty years.
As Joss Stone later says, the whole project started as a 'side project', and she was a surprised by it's success as the world was to hear her sing.
In 2002 this young girl wins a talent competition with the BBC. Through this she gets in the studio with Steve Greenberg and they started to work on her debut album which will be called Mind, Body and Soul. But working on that album they get the idea of making a cover album which precedes the official debut by half a year: The Soul Sessions.
And, although there are things to be sad about both albums, the major sentiment is: Wow. She could very well become the biggest ever! She is still very young, but with the years and some guiding...........
Then suddenly on Feb 9 2006 a news break: Joss Stone quits singing to pursue a career as midwife! Now, I'm the last to deny somebody the wright to choose his or her own career. But still.........

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Shell shocked

After two days of the Bessie Smith it's time to emphasize that there are a lot of wonderful female Blues singers. We all know woman like Koko Taylor and Etta James (please remind to post some stuff of her one day), and it is a joy to listen to them, but..... I get the most fulfilling feeling of finding someone new, someone you never heard before. And today I want to share this feeling with you. So I introduce.....Linda Shell.
Linda Shell has been a valued member of the Kansas City Blues/Soul scene for quite a few years now. As so many, she started her singing career in church, where she did solo's at the age of nine! Ever since then she wanted to be a singer. And so became one. Her career came to a stand the moment she had children, only to pick up again when her children were grown up. Her mother opened in 1984 a blues club in Kansas City where Chick Willis his band was going to be the house band for the next 6 years. Linda and her sister did backing vocals for Chick. But after a few years Linda started her own band, together with her husband.
On this album from 1997 Linda walks that thin, but interesting, line between blues and soul. There are some straight forward blues songs, but some wonderful soul on it as well. Listen to I'd rather go blind, the song we all know from , amongst others, Chicken Shack.
Just for the record Sherman Robertson plays the guitar on tracks 2, 4 and 11.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Nothing But The Blues IV

Disc #4 is also completely dedicated to the 'Empress of the Blues", Bessie Smith.
By the end of the 20's it went down with Bessie's success. Her music sounded slightly out of date and record sales dropped dramatically. This resulted in Columbia canceling her contract in 1931, after recording 160 songs fort this label.
This didn't stop Bessie. She went back to the nightclubs and musical theatres. It didn't stop her 'party animal' life style either. Bessie was known for her sexual appetite for both man and woman. In 1933 a rich fan of Bessie offered her a new contract and she went back to the studio's. It looked like her career was picking up again.
On tour in Mississippi she got into a serious car accident. It's been said that the hospital she was taken to refused her on racial grounds. This however is disputed by some other sources. Fact is that she lost an arm and died later on.
It wasn't until 1966(!) before her grave was marked with her name and the inscription: "The world 's greatest blues singer".
The recordings on this disc all date from 1923-1924., Except for track 20 (1929), track 21 (1930), Track 22 (1931) and track 23 (1925). This last track features a young Louis Armstrong on cornet, with whom she recorded some duets as well for the Columbia label.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Nothing but the Blues III

Time to get back again to the 40CD box. Time to get to Bessie Smith.

Bessie Smith was the most successful Blues artist during the 1920's. Both performing and recording, making over 2000 US dollars a week!
Bessie was born in Tennessee in 1894. It was her brother, who was a vaudeville artist, who introduced her into the show business in 1912. From that time on Bessie worked in minstel shows, cabarets, night clubs or even street corners. Then something would change history. In 1920 Mama Smith (no relation of Bessie) had a hit with a Blues record called Crazy Blues. Since that moment every record label was constantly on the look out for female Blues singers. None the less, it would take Bessie another 2 years before she made her first recordings.
On this disc you will find some very old Bessie Smith recordings. Except for track 19 (1924) and tracks 20 & 21 (1927) all the recordings date from 1923. As a matter of fact the first two recordings ever (February 16, 1923, Down Harted Blues and Gulf Coast Blues) are on here as well (tracks 4 & 17). Pretty unique material!

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Another 'Nothing but'

On this 1988 record of Robben Ford we find another 'Nothing but'. Track # 4 is called Ain't got nothin' but the blues.
Robben Ford (born 1951, California) is a guitar player who has been recording ever since the age of 20. He started out as a Blues musician. This is no surprise because his father used to have his own blues band which also featured Robben's two brothers. After a few records with mostly Blues and some Rock Robben gained international recognition when he accompanied Miles Davis on his world tour in 1986. I for one had never heard of him when I saw him play, with Miles Davis, at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands. Since that day I always had a soft spot for this amazing guitar player.
Today offer is a 1988 album called 'Talk to your daughter' and contains 9 beauties that all have this 'slightly Californian over the top' sound to it. Have fun listening to this. It's obvious Robben had fun recording it.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I'm not alone

As I mentioned earlier, there are quite a few people who think that Eric Clapton has lost the ability to 'do Blues'. There are even people who will claim that he never could!. I tend to disagree. And I'm not Alone. Fortunately Slowhand himself believes he still can. That's why he treats us every now and then with a real Blues album.
This album from 2004 pays his respect to the grand master Robert Johnson. Clapton has been an admirer of this 'inventor' of the urban Blues. It is said that Clapton has had periods in his life in which he wouldn't speak to people who were not familiar with Robert Johnson's work. I quote from the album:
"It is a remarkable have been driven and influenced all of my life by the work of one man, And even though I accept that it has always been the keystone of my musical foundation, I still would not regard this as an obsession, instead, I prefer to think of it as a landmark that I navigate by, whenever I feel myself going adrift."

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Nothing But The Blues II

As promised today the second disc of this collection. And, as promised, a second disc dedicated to old Muddy Waters stuff.
About Muddy Waters: McKinley Morganfield was born in the South in 1915. He got nickname Muddy Waters at a young age from one of his (many) sisters. As a young boy McKinley would play all day in a muddy creek just behind their house and would get home dirty. Muddy learnt to play the mouth harmonica at the age of 9 and picked up the guitar one year later. As so many in those day Muddy worked as a cotton-picker on plantations.
Later, when Muddy moved to Chicago, he worked as a truck driver. That is at day time. At nights he would play in the clubs together with people like Tampa Red and Sonny boy Williamson.
After a short while Muddy signed with the Aristocrats label, a predecessor of the famous Chess label. (See this wonderful posting of Bastet & Cowyn's). With this label he, together with people like Willie Dixon and Howlin' Wolf, created a sound we game to know as Chicago Blues.

About the recordings: On disc 1 (see posting yesterday) there is some really old Muddy waters recordings. As a matter of fact. These probably are the oldest Muddy Waters recordings available. These recordings are made before Muddy moved to Chicago. As so many great old recordings these come from the archives of the Library of Congress, and made by the famous Alan Lomax in the Mississippi delta. The first three tracks date from August 1941, the rest is from July 1942.
The recordings on disc 2 are, unfortunately, not dated. But be assured that this is a young Muddy waters. As matter of fact, none of the recordings on any of the 40 discs of this collection date after 1948. This disc got his name after track 5 Little Anna Mea. All these tracks are Muddy originals except track # 1, which is a Robert Johnson composition. Please pay attention to track # 11. This track inspired, many years later, a group of young Englishman to call their band The Rolling Stones.

The password = "scrooge".
Please delete these files within 24 hours. If you like this music buy the album and support the industry

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Nothing But The Blues

Although I named this weblog after a line from T-Bone Walker from the album Good Feelin' I realized that there is a whole box of Blues music called this way. I 'came across it' when I was looking for some old Muddy Waters stuff.
In 2000 TIM (The International Music Company) published a forty CD box (40 !!!!) with just old Blues. All the recordings are original and date from 1923 up to 1948. And all these wonderful recordings have been digitally remastered. I know there are a lot of collectors out there. So, just for the fun of it, I will be posting all of it. However, I hope you will forgive me if I do not post them all at the same time. Expect me to post a few every week for the coming weeks.
The first two CD's are completely dedicated to Muddy Waters and contains some rare, very old, recordings. The first one got the subtitle Country Blues after the first song on this disc.
Tomorrow I will get into Muddy Waters and in particular to the recordings on these CD's. In the meantime, download and listen. It's worth the time!

The password = "scrooge".
Please delete these files within 24 hours. If you like this music buy the album and support the industry

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Take a walk

During the early 80's the appreciation for Deep Soul hit rock bottom in the US. On the other hand it's popularity grew steadily in Europe. It isn't surprising to find that some Deep Soul artists made the crossing and settled in Europe (UK mainly). So did Charles Walker. Charles (or Charlie) cut his first single in 1959 for the Champion label. In those days Charlie was one from the Nashville blues scene. After his first album Charlie moved to New York where he started a locally very popular R&B/Blues band "Little Charles & The Sidewinders". During the earlier mentioned period in the 80's an English label starts reissuing some of Charlie's older stuff. With success. So Charlie moved to the UK. Later, in 1993, he moved back to Nashville, where he recorded a few albums. In the first half of this decade there has been some sort of Deep Soul revival going on in Europe. So it isn't strange that we rediscovered Charles Walker again. This album was released shortly after Solomon Burke's his award winning Don't Give Up On Me. Although different in approach and style I, for one, feel that this album is no less than Solomon's. There is one remarkable detail. On both albums there is a Elvis Costello song. Solomon recorded The Judgement and Charlie Allison. Before these two albums I never thought of Costello's music as Soul. But it definitely is.

The password = "scrooge".
Please delete these files within 24 hours. If you like this music buy the album and support the industry

Friday, May 05, 2006

There it is!

It is said that you will always remember the place, the people you were with and what you were doing when you get some really shocking news. I, for one, has this experience with 9/11 and an older generation has the same thing with the murder on JFK. These events are engraved in our memories.
The same thing happened the first time I heard Stevie Ray Vaughan. In those days I used to frequent a local bar of which the owner was a good friend of mine and an absolute music freak. On Fridays he would spent his afternoon in the local record store listening to every new record. He would by at least 5, but often enough 10 or more records. Friday nights I would go to the bar and wait for closing time. Then we would clean the place up and sit down to listen to music. Old and new.
That night Dorus (that was his name) showed me Couldn't Stand The Weather and told me that this was something I definitely would enjoy. And I did. The guitar playing, the timing.......The next morning I was at the local record store about 10 minutes before they opened. At opening time the shop keeper simply said 'Hello" and let me in. He went straight for the counter and took, from below the counter, Couldn't Stand The Weather, and said: "There it is".

P.S. Dorus and I never figured out why we 'missed' Stevie's first record. But we found a way to make up for this omission.

The password = "scrooge".
Please delete these files within 24 hours. If you like this music buy the album and support the industry

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Good old Jeff

Today I write my 50th blog. Not bad in just over a month. Anyway, I went trough them all and realized that I did mention Jeff Healy as one of the innovators of the late 80's. I did, however, forget to post some of his music. So, let my try to make up for this by offering Jeff's second album Hell To Pay. In my opinion the second is just as good as the first. This is always an achievement if a debut is so well received as his. Imaging: your debut album with such praising words from B.B. King! Yep. No pressure for the second album. But Jeff came through.
My personal favorite from this album? Track 7: While my guitar gently weeps. And old Beatles classic from the hand of George Harrison.

The password = "scrooge".
Please delete these files within 24 hours. If you like this music buy the album and support the industry

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

My kind of Blues

The problem with some of the old 'war lords' of the Blues, like muddy waters, John Lee Hooker and B.B. King, is that these guys have been at it for numerous years, and have been very productive all these years. This combined with their obvious popularity has resulted in so, perhaps too, many compilations. There isn't a compilation of Blues music and they are on it. On top of this there a so many compilations dedicated to one of these man. Talking about B.B. King there are over a hundred compilations released with 'older stuff' since 1998!
This results in the fact that it is pretty hard to find an 'older' original of this Blues man. It is therefore that I'm glad to present you with an original B.B. King that is over 45 years old.
My Kind Of Blues is an original album released in 1960. It features a relative young B.B. (see picture) without a large band behind him. It is the basics for this kind of Blues: bass, drums, piano, Lucille and B.B's powerful voice. An album with 10 absolute gems of slow Memphis Blues.

The password = "scrooge".
Please delete these files within 24 hours. If you like this music buy the album and support the industry

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Slippin' back

It's time to return to some straight forward Chicago Blues. It's time to listen to some Buddy Guy. Buddy has been around for quite a while. As a matter of fact he is the last survivor of the 'legends from Chicago' that inspired the next generation of blues players. Jimi Hendrix himself has named Buddy several times as one of his examples.
Buddy was born in Louisiana and moved in 1957, at the age of 21, to Chicago to become one of the most important representatives of the 'West Side Blues', together with Muddy Waters, Otis Rush and Magic Sam.
There are several reason why I like this album so much. I'll just give you a few. To start with I think that this album from 1994 is the best thing he did since the mid seventies. It's the basic screaming guitar in his own style with very powerful vocals. The real original Buddy! Secondly there are some nice guests on this album as well. Perhaps the most important and prominent guest is the famous blues piano player Johnnie Johnson who is on virtually every track, but is the absolute hero on "7-11". Further more there are Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton on over half of the tracks. These two guys are better known as Double Trouble.
Another reason why I really like this album is the atmosphere. Although recorded in a studio (or actually two) it sounds like being in Buddy's club "Legends" in Chicago. Just listen to track # 7 Someone else is steppin' in and you'll be there!

The password = "scrooge".
Please delete these files within 24 hours. If you like this music buy the album and support the industry

Monday, May 01, 2006

I´m Hooked

Somewhere in the late 50´s a French newspaper compared Gilbert Becaud with a small power plant because of his display of energy during concerts. This gave him a nickname that would stick with him for the rest of his life (1927 - 2001). Now, 45 years later, we definitely entered the nuclear age with Ellis Hooks. This guy has enough energy to light up New Work.
The story of Ellis sounds familiar in the sense that there are a lot of Blues / Soul artists with similar life stories. The difference is that Ellis is relatively young and it all happened just a few years ago. Ellis is the thirteenth kid from a nest of sixteen. His father was (is) an African-American share-cropper and his mother was (is) partly Cherokee.

Ellis left home at the age of 15 and traveled all over the US doing odd jobs. In that period Ellis became more and more a street musician. He must have been pretty good already, because the story goes that Diana Ross heard him perform on a street corner in New York and offered him some recording time in a studio. Ellis turned her down. He wasn´t ready´.
Later Ellis went to Europe and by accident got in a studio with John Tiven (producer of B.B. King and Wilson Picket). That´s the start of his recording career.
Ellis´mixture of Blues, Soul and Rock gained him international recognition and by now he can count people like Bonnie Raitt and Solomon Burke to his ever increasing crowd of fans
This album is his second album. Listen to it and know why I´m hooked.

The password = "scrooge".
Please delete these files within 24 hours. If you like this music buy the album and support the industry