Saturday, April 19, 2014

Robert Pete Williams & Roosevelt Sykes - Blues From The Bottoms

Discovered in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, Robert Pete Williams became one of the great blues discoveries during the folk boom of the early '60s. His disregard for conventional patterns, tunings, and structures kept him from a wider audience, but his music remains one of the great, intense treats of the blues.
Williams was born in Zachary, Louisiana, the son of sharecropping parents. While he was a child, he worked the fields with his family; he never attended school. Williams didn't begin playing blues until his late teens, when he made himself a guitar out of a cigar box. Playing his homemade guitar, Williams began performing at local parties, dances, and fish fries at night while he worked during the day. Even though he was constantly working, he never made quite enough money to support his family, which caused considerable tension between him and his wife -- according to legend, she burned his guitar one night in a fit of anger.
Despite all of the domestic tension, Williams continued to play throughout the Baton Rouge area, performing at dances and juke joints. In 1956, he shot and killed a man in a local club. Williams claimed the act was in self-defense, but he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He was sent to Angola prison, where he served for two years before being discovered by ethnomusicologists Dr. Harry Oster and Richard Allen. The pair recorded Williams performing several of his own songs, which were all about life in prison. Impressed with the guitarist's talents, Oster and Allen pleaded for a pardon for Williams. The pardon was granted in 1959, after he had served a total of three and a half years. For the first five years after he left prison, Williams could only perform in Lousiana, but his recordings -- which appeared on Folk-Lyric, Arhoolie, and Prestige, among other labels -- were popular and he received positive word of mouth reviews.
In 1964, Williams played his first concert outside of Louisiana -- it was a set at the legendary Newport Folk Festival. Williams' performance was enthusiastically received and he began touring the United States, often playing shows with Mississippi Fred McDowell. For the remainder of the '60s and most of the '70s, Robert Pete Williams constantly played concerts and festivals across America, as well a handful of dates in Europe. Along the way, he recorded for a handful of small independent labels, including Fontana and Storyville. Williams slowed down his work schedule in the late '70s, largely due to his old age and declining health. The guitarist died on December 31, 1980, at the age of 66.

Eddie Shaw - Have Blues, Will Travel

Eddie Shaw has done just about everything in the blues business. He’s been a sideman, singer, bandleader, songwriter, arranger, producer and tavern owner. In most of those roles, he has worked on behalf of other artists. The whole West Side blues scene benefited from Eddie’s efforts, which included acting as bandleader and manager for the late Howlin’ Wolf from 1972 to 1975. After working for years behind the scenes, Eddie stepped out on his own as a band leader, proving himself to be one of the blues world’s premier horn players and a fine vocalist to boot. Before Wolf died in 1976, he urged Eddie to carry on the blues with The Wolf Gang. Eddie not only kept the core of the band together (later adding his talented son Vaan on guitar), but also forged a new identity for Eddie Shaw and The Wolf Gang.Besides constantly touring for over two decades, Eddie has continued to record prolifically. His debut album, Have Blues, Will Travel, was released in 1977 on the Simmons label and later reissued by Rooster Blues. He cut four sides in 1978 for Alligator’s “Living Chicago Blues” series with the famed Hubert Sumlin on guitar. Since then, he’s cut a second album for Rooster Blues, one for the French Isabel label (issued in the USA by Evidence), four for the Austrian Wolf label and one for Chicago’s own Delmark Records. (Edited)


Detroit Jr. - Chicago Urban Blues

Junior was a raspy-voiced, rambunctious performer who gigged constantly and recorded on scores of other artists' albums, as well as five albums under his own name. Two of his songs have become blues standards - "Call My Job," which was a hit for Albert King, and evergreen favorite "Money Tree." Koko Taylor recorded his "Tired Of That," "Thanks, But No Thanks," and "Never Trust A Man."
Emery Williams, Jr. was already an experienced entertainer and piano player when he came to Chicago in 1956 from Detroit. He was originally from Haynes, Arkansas where he was born on October 26, 1931, and spent his childhood in southern Illinois. He had led his own band, the Blues Chaps, since he was 19, playing clubs in Pontiac and Flint, Michigan.
In Chicago Junior quickly won a following with his percussive piano and energetic stage show. He paired up with harp man Little Mack Simmons, and they settled into a steady gig as house band at Cadillac Baby's South Side club. He recorded his first single, “Money Tree,” backed with “So Unhappy” in 1960 for the Bea & Baby label.
During the '60s Junior performed with Mack Simmons, Eddie Taylor, Sam Lay and Johnny Twist. From 1968 on, he toured and recorded with the Howlin' Wolf. When Wolf died in 1976, Junior stuck with the band, the Wolf Gang, under the leadership of sax man Eddie Shaw for a number of years.
Detroit Junior's first full album under his own name, Chicago Urban Blues , came out in the early 1970s. Alligator Records included four of his songs on the Living Chicago Blues, Volume 6 anthology in 1980. From 1995 through 2004, Detroit Junior released four CDs under his own name, three for Blue Suit Records: Turn Up The Heat (1995), Take Out The Time (1997), and Live At The Toledo Museum Of Modern Art (2004). His most recent release was '04's Blues On The Internet on Delmark.
In the last few years, Junior often appeared on the Chicago's North Side at clubs like Kingston Mines, even after losing a leg to diabetes. He was filmed for Martin Scosese's PBS series, The Blues, and was active writing and performing until his death in 2005.

It's a mint lp but quality of this pressing is pretty bad with a lot of hissing and crackling throughout the lp.


Arthur Crudup - Roebuck Man

Already 64 years old when he recorded this obscure and forgotten Blues album in early 1970, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup had cruelly seen 3 of his compositions covered by Elvis Presley (most famously "That's All Right"), but because of strange royalty arrangements - never saw any cash for them. But like Curtis Jones, Otis Spann, Muddy Waters and so many other black blues artists of the time (who all complained of being 'done' by industry types), they moved to Britain and Europe where their music was being listened to and appreciated by ecstatic white musicians and mixed audiences hungry for the real deal.
Working a small UK tour at the time, which was financed by The National Blues Federation of the USA, Crudup stopped into a London studio to record this album. Produced by CHRIS TRIMMING and RON WATTS and engineered by MICK TAUBER, the whole LP was recorded in one day, 26 February 1970 and released in July 1970 on the Stereo LP United Artists UAS 29092 in the UK. Sporting a fetching laminate front sleeve, the album title came from a pub in Putney (featured behind him on the sleeve) where he received a none-to-enlightened reception and famously included an acidic reaction to it in its title track. The album also included ex members of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Manfred Mann and the newly formed McGuinness Flint - who were all big fans.
The line up was:
ARTHUR "BIG BOY" CRUDUP - Guitar & Vocals
HUGHIE FLINT - Drums (John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, McGuinness Flint)
BENNY GALLAGHER - Guitar, Bass & Vocals (McGuinness Flint, Gallagher & Lyle)
DAVE GELLY - Tenor Sax
TOM McGUINNESS - Guitar (Manfred Mann, McGuinness Flint)

It's immediately obvious that the band complimented his voice and songs - most are combo numbers, but "Blind Man Sees" is just him and guitar ala John Lee Hooker. The harsh "Roebuck Man" opens with "If you should have to come to England, please don't go to the Roebuck man..." but things get more Chicken Shack with the stunning "Room And Board" - thrilling guitar work and the band digging it (lyrics above).
"Corrina Corrina" (not the famous Joe Turner track Corrine, Corrina) is just Crudup and John Lewis on Piano and is wonderful blues - simple and sweet. It then ups a notch when the band joins them on the Jerry Lee Lewis sounding "Boogie In The Morning" - with piano rolls and great sax work from Dave Gelly. If you heard it in a pub, your foot would be pounding the floorboards in glee. He tells "Katy Mae" he loves her in "What Are You Trying To Do?" and the band just chugs along behind him to such sweet effect until he shouts "Take it!" and they start into blues rocking. "Burying Ground" is a dark closer about death and women dressed in red...nice!
Arthur Crudup died in early 1974, aged 68. Music historians often say that he gave a lot to the Blues and an incalculable donation to world karma via Elvis Presley and his 1st US 7" single on Sun Records in 1955 - Crudup's own "That's All Right" - thereby starting a rock'n'roll journey that many of us are still on to this day. It's just such a damn shame that the music business didn't return him the compliment.

(not my review)

Alexander "Mudcat" Thomas - Backwoods Blues

Not really blues but barrelhouse, ragtime and vaudeville played live in front of a small audience in the mid 60's by Mudcat Thomas, then about 82 years old.
This a mono recording Smash MGS 27046, it has some ticks on a couple of tracks but no big problem.


Frits's Tapes Number 41 & 42

Tape 41:

Tape 42:

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Various - Blues Is Here To Stay

Collection of singles released on the Styletone label in the 60's to early 70's from Model T Slim, Ironing Board Sam and Little Boyd. Some interesting tracks from Ironing Board who is a bit of a cult blues musician, the usual from Model T.
Released in 1973.


Blues Is Here To Stay !!
Oldies But Goodies ..!
The Best Of Model T Slim, Little Boyd, Ironing Board Sam

Model T Slim
- Somebody Done Voodo That Hoodo Man
Little Boyd
- 13 Highway [Styletone 395] #
Ironing Board Sam
- I've Been Used
Model T Slim
- 15 Years My Love Was In Vain
Little Boyd
- Harmonica Crying In The Chappel [] [Styletone unissued] #

Ironing Board Sam
- Non Support That What The Judge Say
Model T Slim
- Flatfoot Sam Always In A Jam [tk. 1]
Little Boyd
- Bad Man [sic] Don't Live Too Long [Styletone 400] #
Model T Slim
- Oh Babe [faded early]

Thank you goes to Stefan Wirz.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Various - St. Louis Blues 1929-1935: The Depression

Scratchy old 78's from J.D. Short, Peetie Wheatstraw, Henry Townsend plus others.
ex-library record ... those were the days when the local library had their annual clearance. LP's for less than €0.50 each and some brand new. Now it's all cd's and I've yet to see an annual clearance.
I'm fairly sure this LP has been re-released on vinyl since I posted it originally years ago.


Clarence "Guitar" Sims - Born To Sing The Blues

A firstclass showcase for the uncompromising guitarist ... a load of steaming blues spotlighting Clarence 'Guitar' Sims (Fillmore Slim) intense, high-pitched vocals and slicing, stinging lead guitar (sporting tinges of Johnny 'Guitar' Watson, Guitar Slim, and the ever popular B.B. and Albert King). Originally recorded in 1987 at the Eli Mile High Club in Oakland, California.
The lp has been re-released with extra tracks.


Buddy Guy - The Dollar Done Fell

Countless legions of blues fans around the world can attest to the greatness of Buddy Guy. If you're a fan that has listened to Buddy's recordings, but have never got to see him live and in person you've been deprived of the "other-worldly" charisma and bond that Buddy magically creates with his audience. Many talented musicians can play, but they don't interact with the crowd. Some don't even open their eyes half the time, and believe it or not, though they like to play, they'd rather play in a recording studio without an audience. Not so for Mr. Buddy Guy! He is not only an unmatched blues singer and guitar player, but he is also an unrivaled entertainer. He paces and prowls from one end of the stage to the next like a caged lion. He constantly makes eye contact with his fans and you feel his inner most emotions. This LP was recorded at Buddy's own Southside Chicago Club in 1979 which was intimate to say the least as compared to today's large venues. If you ever wished you could go back in time to be part of a blues experience, that today you could only see recreated in the movies, Buddy's performance on this LP would be center stage. Buddy's raw live performance encompasses 9 songs totaling just under 60 minutes. Throughout the show you can hear individual shrieking fans invigorated by Buddy's gripping blues performance. In summary, this LP proves that my Grandfather was right when he used to tell me: "THE BEST KIND OF BUDDY TO HAVE... IS A LIVE BUDDY!" (not my review)