Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Chitlin Circuit

"The "Chitlin' Circuit," like "Tin Pan Alley" and "Motown" and other legendary music locations, is both a real and symbolic term for the on-and-off-again venues--shoebox-sized bars, clubs, cafes and increasingly in the 21st century, casinos-- that support traditional rhythm and blues in a tenuous but tenacious thread through America's mostly rural (or low-profile urban) Bible Belt." Daddy B. Nice

" A circuit of nightclubs and theaters that feature African-American performers and cater especially to African-American audiences.

When Jim Crow and segregation were even more prominent in the United States, the Negro race, freed through emancipation, did not have equal access to public “White Only” places. The Chitlin’ Circuit - a connected string of music venues, diners, juke joints, and theaters throughout the eastern and southern United States that catered primarily to African American audiences was created.

The Chitlin’ Circit was the only option for touring Black entertainers such as Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Etta James, Billie Holiday, Ike and Tina Turner, B. B. King, Bobby “Blue” Bland, T.D. Bell and the Blues Specialists, Roosevelt "Gray Ghost" Williams, Eubie Blake, Robert Shaw, Big Joe Williams and many others begin touring in an effort to “eek” out a living when Jim Crow and segregation was even more prominent in the United States.

Historically, Baltimore was the first city on the Chitlin' Circuit. The Chitlin’ Circuit stretched through the South, bending Westward throughout Texas, extending Eastward on through Chicago, offering continuous opportunities for black entertainers." Urban Dictionary

"The "Chitlin' Circuit" is the collective name given to the string of performance venues throughout the eastern and southern United States that were safe and acceptable for African-American musicians, comedians, and other entertainers to perform in during the age of racial segregation in the United States (from at least the early 19th century through the 1960s) as well as the venues that contemporary African American soul and blues performers, especially in the South, continue to appear at regularly. The name derives from the soul food item chitterlings (stewed pig intestines) and is also a play on the term "Borscht belt" which referred to a group of venues (primarily in New York's Catskill Mountains) popular with Jewish performers during the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

Noted theaters on the Chitlin' Circuit included the Royal Peacock in Atlanta; the Carver Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama; the Cotton Club, Small's Paradise and the Apollo Theater in New York City; Robert's Show Lounge, Club DeLisa and the Regal Theatre in Chicago; the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C.; the Uptown Theatre in Philadelphia; the Royal Theatre in Baltimore; the Fox Theatre in Detroit; the Victory Grill in Austin, Texas; the Hippodrome Theatre in Richmond, Virginia; the Ritz Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida; and The Madame C. J. Walker Theatre on Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis.

The second historic marker designated by the Mississippi Blues Commission on the Mississippi Blues Trail was placed in front of the Southern Whispers Restaurant on Nelson Street in Greenville, Mississippi, a stop on the Chitlin' Circuit in the early days of the blues. The marker commemorates the importance of this site in the history of the development of the blues in Mississippi. In the 1940s and 1950s, this historic strip drew crowds to the flourishing club scene to hear Delta blues, big band jump blues and jazz." wikipedia

Much love to Wikipedia on this project, they have saved enormous amounts of time for me and most of what I've found so far is pretty informative and reasonably accurate. Believe me, I'll cheerfully point out where they got it wrong and do my own writing where necessary but the point of an encyclopedia is a place to cite information from and in this function they have been invaluable. On the music side I am deeply indebted to "Unky Cliff" for a huge portion of what appears here and for the books I am educating myself with as well. My morning discussions with him will often filter into the blog. The files here that do not come from actual rips or itunes, likely originated on other blogs through the years, thanks to all of them as well, your generosity to me is being passed on.  kc 

Shares and Requests

Here is a place to drop both your own shares and requests for shares in a central place everyone can check - you know how this works by now.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Helen Humes - New Million Dollar Secret

Most of us who know Helen Humes are more aware of her as a Jazz singer, but in this rare 1950's recording she is more on the Blues/R&B side much like Dinah Washington in this same era. This is my crispy 24/48 FLAC rip of this rare LP.

Leo Welch - I Don't Prefer No Blues

"82-year-old Leo Welch is sure making up for lost time. After releasing his gospel-infused debut, Sabougla Voices, he’s back with a sophomore effort. The common saw of younger artists -- that you have twenty-something years to make your first record, and only one to make your second -- doesn’t really apply here; there’s no way Welch could have spent eighty-one years of pent-up music on a single debut album. In this second trip to the studio, he expands into secular themes and more straight forward electric blues, with excellent support from Jimbo Mathus, Matt Patton, Bronson Tew, Eric Carlton, Stu Cole and Sharde Thomas. His original material (apparently all titles but King Louie Bankston’s hypnotic “Girl in the Holler”) include the down-tempo lament of the opening “Poor Boy,” the buzzing woe of “Goin’ Down Slow,” the tipsy soul “Too Much Wine,” and the frantic “I Don’t Know Her Name.” Welch’s singing is raw and vital, and he’s got a knack for crafting lyrical hooks whose repetition make sure you get the point. The band provides flexible support, getting low down and gritty as needed, and rocking when the spirit strikes. Records like this are typically the province of crate digging, so it’s still surprising to find one that’s new." [©2015 Hyperbolium]

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Bobby Bland - A Malaco Trio

 By the Malaco Years Bobby's wonderful guttural growl had become a horrid frog-like blat, but even so he was still a better singer than 95% of the rest of the world. Say what you will, the blat was distracting, but the growl had become such a reflexive part of his singing that I suspect that he couldn't stop himself from doing it. Even so, he was still Bobby Bland!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Bobby Bland - Dreamer

This was another strong album most easily classified as Southern Soul; not the equal of it's predecessor and once again I find myself wishing that the production, and arrangements had been done down in Muscle Shoals instead of the somewhat antiseptic atmosphere of ABC/Dunhill, but it is what it is. Still very much worth the listen for me.

Bobby Bland - His California Album 1973

This one is a personal favorite. The move to covering some more contemporary music had to create some mixed emotions in the Soul Blues world. If you were a songwriter you couldn't help but be excited about the idea of Bobby covering one of your songs. If you were a singer like Luther Ingram, you had to experience some amount of fear that Bobby might take your big hit and make it his own: moving you one seat back as it were. Bobby's cover of Ingram's "If Loving You Is Wrong" is the perfect example. I find myself wishing Bobby had hooked up with someone like Dan Penn for a whole slew of Southern Soul that would likely have been epic...sadly that didn't really materialize.

"This Time I'm Gone For Good" was the big hit here, but the Ingram cover is easily as good as is "Up And Down World". All in all it is an excellent album of Southern Soul/Blues that was as good as anything released in a very fertile period for the genre. Even where the material might not be perfect, Bobby's masterful vocals save the track. I might not be all that enthusiastic about the use of strings in the production, but in general they are mixed far enough into the background to be tolerable. A winner in my book!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Bobby Bland - Not Ashamed To Sing The Blues (Malaco Comp 1998)

Thought I'd join the Bobby Bland mini-fest and post a compilation of his  later recordings on the Malaco label...A little slick in the production for me...but good tunes and the voice is a must have ! Here is a Music Club collection of Bobby Bland on Malaco 'The Best Of...1985-1995'...I have some of the full albums but I think this will satisfy most. Here as a good mp3@320 from my CD. I was lucky enough to see this legend in London...with Johnny Taylor and Denise LaSalle as support in 1989. He was Great !   -  Gus

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Bobby Bland - Call On Me

"Although the sticker on the album's package refers to Call on Me as a blues album, it's really more of a soul-blues hybrid. Elements of blues certainly pervade the album, especially on "The Feeling Is Gone," a hybrid of B.B. King's "The Thrill Is Gone" and Bland's cover of "Stormy Monday Blues" from 1962. The introductory horn calls certainly aren't telling of the slow-burning blues that follow. With some smoky guitar work and 12-bar blues piano that trickle in occasionally, Bland floats effortlessly on the track, thanks in part to some of his earlier blues work in the '50s. However, the blues isn't the sole pair of legs that the album stands on. That can mostly be attributed to the label's A&R Joe Scott, whose musical skills were perfectly complemented with his skills in training the impressionable singer. Bland certainly had the raw talent vocally, but it was Scott's hand which polished his skills from bluesman to balladeer. The title track showcases that transition perfectly. Over a rhumba drum beat provided by none other than the legendary Jabo Starks, Bland has a lighter, sweeter voice throughout the verse before giving you a guttural exhortation right before the closing of the chorus. Scott, a noted bandleader, also gives way to big-band soul of sorts with a thick set of charts in "Ain't It a Good Thing" and "Honky Tonk." The full sound is the perfect extension for Bland, who can really belt loose when needed, but who can also sing in a more hushed tone, creating a greater dynamic sound. "Ain't It a Good Thing" has all the makings of a lost Ray Charles-performed tune with Bland's well-timed growls exiting a chorus as well as a small, but important, part by an unknown female singer. Bland may be more famous for songs that don't appear on this album including "Turn on Your Love Light" from 1961 or the Kanye West-sampled "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City" from nearly a dozen years later, but Call on Me is a sure-fire success of an album, especially from an era that wasn't album-centric, and doesn't get nearly the recognition it should." All Music Guide

Bobby Bland - Touch Of The Blues

In years past I believe I posted all of my Duke recordings at least twice, but I don't recall ever posting any of Bland's later work. I don't have all that much to offer, but I have 4 from the pre-Malaco period and a few of the Malaco albums as well.

"B.B. King was preaching the blues to psychedelic kids at the Fillmore Auditorium; Otis Redding turned them on at the Monterey Pop Festival and made a quantum songwriting leap in the folk-soul majesty of "The Dock of the Bay." But vocal lion Bobby "Blue" Bland spent his 1967 standing tall and still, belting these 10 tracks of heartache and bedroom triumph as if he'd just turned the calendar page on his '57 smash "Farther Up the Road" and the '61 hits "I Pity the Fool" and "Turn On Your Love Light." There were hints of modernism: the Stax-like gait of "Sweet Loving"; Bland's heated exchange with a female vocalist in "Sad Feeling," suggesting the call-response dynamite of Sly and the Family Stone. But the best moments, like the immolation of Charles Brown's 1945 chestnut "Driftin' Blues," were robust purism – the reason why white fans like Eric Clapton and the Grateful Dead adored and covered Bland, doing his crossover work for him." Rolling Stone (Fricke, Christgau)

This was clearly a download from some kind soul long ago forgotten, my thanks to the originator; I pass on your generosity.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Albert King - I'll Play The Blues For You & Lovejoy (1971&72)

It's about time we returned to one of the masters of modern Blues...Albert King. Along with B B King and Freddie King he is one of the real greats . His voice is immediately recognizable and cool...His guitar style, although limited in technique, is just a joy, distinctive and full of feeling...and influenced so many guitarists including Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and numerous others.

KC has previously posted his earliest recordings as well as the all-time classic 'Born Under A Bad Sign' on Stax, where his best sides were made. So here ares 2 more albums on Stax that continued his modernization of  the Blues as we know it. I have most of his other recordings including his later Tomato sides that came after Stax folded. So here are my first offerings...2 albums from 1971 & 72...Here as flac & mp3 320. Enjoy - Gus

Sunday, April 1, 2018

West Side Blues Singers

Another terrific release from Wolf Records! I wish I had any memory of where I found this or if someone sent it to me...the rar file was sitting in my temp files for god knows how long and I came across it while doing a clean up. I searched by title through a good number of blogs and couldn't find the source. It was a slightly scratchy LP rip that I've cleaned up, but to whoever and where ever it came from THANK YOU and I hope you don't mind me passing it on!!

The 4 singers here are all rarely, if ever, recorded before and I think you'll join me in wondering why not. Pretty killer stuff!

Little Milton - Think Of Me (w/ Jon Tiven)

I had forgotten about this one...a repost!

I'm noticing a disturbing trend in these collaborations with Tiven and Company  - each of them ends up being the final album in the artists' career -- Arthur Alexander, Wilson Pickett, Howard Tate and now Little Milton! 

"For his debut Telarc Blues release, Little Milton continues in the soul-blues vein he helped to popularize starting with his work for the Chess label in the mid-'60s. His impassioned vocals are as strong as ever with guitar chops to match. The 12 tracks that make up Think of Me could be likened to a classic Stax production sans the driving horn section. The first-rate work of organist Bruce Katz keeps the proceedings percolating through Little Milton's soul-blues base liberally mixed with flourishes of country music, swamp pop, R&B, and urban funk. Any fan of Little Milton's Malaco releases of the '80s and '90s will definitely want to add this to his collection." AMG

Friday, March 30, 2018

Little Milton - 3 Malaco albums

 Little Milton did 14 albums in his 20 years with Malaco. I only had 1, but Dr Hepcat came up with 2 more so for what will likely be the last of my LM posts, I thought I'd offer up these 3.

Little Milton - 3 Stax LP's

 These 3 LP's contain some material not included in the Singles collection. The Live album seems to be all unique and some of the album versions of songs in the singles are different versions.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Little Milton - Sings Big Soul (Malaco Comp 2014)

The title of Ace's 2014 compilation emphasizes Little Milton's singing, which is appropriate as that was the featured instrument on his albums for Malaco. Little Milton was with the Southern soul label for nearly 20 years, debuting in 1984 with Playing for Keeps and leaving after 2002's Guitar Man. Little Milton Sings Big Soul culls 18 highlights from these records, slightly emphasizing his ballad side but finding space for some deep soul and funky grooves. This doesn't proceed in chronological order -- it opens in 1984, then hopscotches through the decades -- but that winds up emphasizing how Milton's records were consistent, always working from the same formula and containing the same punchy, slightly too clean production. Record by record, this could get a little wearying, but a cherry-picked compilation such as this is a testament to a giant in winter: it shows he had a mastery of the form, that he never lost his powerful skills and could always be counted on to entertain. As a portrait of the last third of his career, this compilation could hardly be better. (AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

Little Milton - Friend of Mine

"Recorded in the wake of the collapse of Stax Records in 1976, Friend of Mine brushed up against a long fallow period in Little Milton's recorded output, and was also unavailable for many years, thus making it one of his least-known albums. Produced by Milton for Henry Stone's TK Records and issued on the Glades Records imprint, this is a soulful blues workout drenched in sweaty vocals and long, sustained performances, of which perhaps the best is the five-and-a-half-minute "You're Gonna Make Me Cry," which also includes some impressive guitar. The record's strongest body of songs are the smooth soul ballads such as "Baby It Ain't No Way," the rousing "Don't Turn Away" (a song that one wishes Elvis Presley could have discovered and considered covering), "I'm in Love With My Best Friend's Wife," and "Bring It on Back," but it also includes one really hot lament, "Sundown," that crosses into soul territory without compromising its solid blues credentials. There's a lot of solid playing here, by bassist Bernard Reed and guitarists Danny Raye and John Bishop (and Milton), among others, and the Haywood Singers give excellent singing support. This album and its immediate follow-up, Me for You, You for Me, represent the bridge between Little Milton's Stax and Malaco recordings, both chronologically and stylistically."

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Little Milton - 3 Checker LP's

Each of these Checker LP's includes tracks that did not make it into the previous Chess compilation, so rather than dissect them, I'll post them whole with thanks to whomever I got them from originally.

Little Milton - Live at Westville Prison

"You're gonna wish you had been there after listening to this scorching live set from the '80s. It features the blues singing of Little Milton superbly accompanied by Lucky Peterson, who distinguishes himself on the organ, and the Tony Brown Band. This CD is a combination of two concerts recorded separately in a single day -- one for men, one for women, in 1983. Milton does none of his big hits, which doesn't seem to bother the captive crowd, most of whom probably didn't know them anyway. Highlights include an emotional reworking of O. V. Wright's "Eight Men, Four Women," a 16-minute medley of soul and blues songs, and the deep soul classic "That's How Strong My Love Is." Milton really gets into it for the women. He coughs up two smoldering original compositions "Friend of Mine," and "Loving You Is the Best Thing That Happened to Me." The most surprising thing about Live at Westville Prison is why it took so long to surface on CD." AllMusicGuide

Little Milton - Chicago Blues & Soul...(1953 - 1962)

This disc has a large overlap with the previously posted Anthology disc, but about 20% of that disc is not here and about 40% of this disc is not there. Someday I may resolve the 2, but that day is not today. There  are a couple Sun alternates not included on the 2 discs and some of the Bobbin stuff is missing as well (not much). A couple alternates appear in the Charley Sun Blues Box and I'll go through the Bear Family version of the Sun Blues Box later today because Cliff thinks that it may have other alternates. He also believe he has the rest of the Bobbin tracks on a comp, but he can't recall the name of that comp. Isn't old age marvelous?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Little Milton - The Essential Chess Recordings

I'm thinkin' that Little Milton has been sadly under served here and it is time we remedied that situation!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Various Artists - The Birth Of Modern Blues

This surprisingly cohesive set collects the complete 1950s recordings of Fenton Robinson, LittleMilton, Little Junior Parker, Earl Forest, Johnny Ace, and Bobby "Blue" Bland for the various Bihari Brothers labels (Meteor, Flair, and Modern) and adds four cuts from B.B. King's 1950 session for RPM Records. The result is a nice anthology of mostly uptown blues tracks highlighted by Robinson's impressive and soulful "Tennessee Woman," Forest's deliciously loose "Rumpus Romp," Bland's early signature tune "Drifting from Town to Town," and King's "B.B.'s Boogie," which finds the guitarist honking along joyously on a semi-improvised vamp. A young Matt Murphy is featured on guitar on Junior Parker's two sides.
(AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett)

Some years ago I was looking for a copy of Little Milton's 'Love At First Sight' and couldn't find it anywhere. I eventually found and purchased an obscure Japanese CD that did have this rarity. And here it is with some other rare recordings. Some, like the B B King sides, are easy to locate but this disc is a pretty expensive buy ...if you can find a copy. 
It sounds like they lifted these sides direct from the vinyl originals but it's very listenable if you are into historic recordings. is what it is...and now available at 'Chitlins' for those that cherish this stuff. Musician details are in the scans - Gus

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Tye Tribbett - Greater Than

This is a rarity for me, new, modern powerhouse Gospel. Unky Cliff sent me this months ago, but I just got around to putting ears on it because I wasn't all that interested. Mistake! Yes it is more modern and musically not what I'd call ,straight up my alley', but whew, this powerful stuff! Really well recorded, apparently in front of a large congregation. Well worth a listen!

 "One of gospel music's fastest-rising stars, Tye Tribbett's Greater Than shows again his fresh and open-minded approach to the genre. He keeps the solid bass runs, organ embellishments, and vigorous, energetic choral vocals of traditional gospel, but then melts in modern and contemporary urban touches with funky horns, synths, electric guitars, and impassioned singing that is equal parts praise and party."

"Tye Tribbett first came to national attention in 1997 when he entered his group, GA, into the McDonalds and Wrigley's Gospel choir competitions, where they 'swept the competitions,' winning first place in all categories. The group quickly became highly in demand, performing with music industry superstars Gloria Estefan, LeAnn Rimes, Elton John, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder. They also appeared with Jill Scott, India Arie, John Mellencamp, Musiq Soulchild, and The Roots, among many other artists, and toured with Faith Hill and Don Henley. Tribbett and his group performed 'Let Go, Let God' on the soundtrack of the Dream Works animated film 'The Prince of Egypt' with award-winning duo Mary Mary. The group also appeared on Commons' Electric Circus album, Jessica Simpsons' Christmas album, Will Smiths' project 'Lost & Found', on a song featuring Mary J. Blige, and Justin Timberlake's 'Cry Me A River.'

His highly anticipated debut album, 'Life' (2004), brought Tribbett and his group, GA (Greater Anointing), a wide array of new fans and a Stellar Award nomination. Tribbett's sophomore project with GA, 'Victory', was released in 2006, debuting at #1 on Billboard's Top Gospel Albums chart. This break-out project, which included the #1 gospel radio single, 'Victory,' received three Stellar Awards, three GRAMMY® Award nominations and a Dove Award nomination. His third release, 'Stand Out' (2008), again topped the charts and earned the group another nomination for a GRAMMY® Award. In 2009, Tribbett, who is also an accomplished musician who plays multiple instruments, retired GA and made other changes in his musical style and direction, resulting in the 2010 release of the aptly named 'Fresh'. The CD, which the Washington Post called 'a wondrous album,' also entered Billboard's Top Gospel Albums chart at #1."

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Vance Kelly - How Can I Miss You When You Won't Leave

Somethin' new from our favorite Unky. Kinda hard to resist.

"(2017/Wolf Records) 14 Tracks - 2017 release from the blues award winner. The album was recorded in Chicago and features a mix of blues, R&B and soul. Vance Kelly has performed regularly at various music venues in the Chicago area, chief among them being the 1815, Checkerboard Lounge, Rosa's Lounge, Kingston Mines, Buddy Guy's Legends, and B.L.U.E.S. A music journalist noted of Kelly, "Like Primer, he combines an enquiring eye for a song with a moderately conservative taste in sound, producing music that lives by the principles of classic Chicago bar blues yet is not enslaved by the past".


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Joe Tex - Yum Yum Yum The Early Years 1955-1962

Joe Tex was one of the most original soul stars of all time. With his raspy voice and a hint of Little Richard, he certainly had a style of his own. One listen to his number 'Yum Yum Yum' and you'll get an idea of his rock and roll / proto-soul style.
This is the most comprehensive set of his singles yet released on CD and includes all the singles he made before achieving fame in 1964.
Arguably the most underrated of all the 60s soul performers, Joe Tex, with his unique style singlehandedly laid some of the most important parts of rap's foundation.

Little Milton - Anthology 1953-61 & The Complete Stax Singles (1971-75)

It's Little Milton Time ! Well we all have (or should ) the hits on Chess/Checker, they're all over the net . But his earlier material on Sun and Bobbin are less seen or known. Also his time with Stax is  less familiar...These 2 albums will put this right ...LM lasted the changes in music history, Blues, Soul, these recordings will prove...A soulful distinctive voice, guitar chops and original songwriting with bags of passion.  'That Will Never Do' (covered by Freddie King and many others) 'That's What Love Will Make You Do' confirms him as a legend...His similarity to the B B King style may have put him in the background to many but he is a lasting hero of the music we call the Blues...Check these albums out as proof - Gus 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Little Junior Parker - Blues Man (1969)

Little Junior Parker or just Junior Parker was a great soulful Blues vocalist and harmonica man . This album seems to have been overlooked during the rush to digitalise everything worthy. Its a good listen with some tasteful horn arrangements - I don't know the source of this LP rip, I've had it for some time and it's in very decent nick ! Thanks to the original uploader - Let's hope we get a CD version soon ! - Gus

Friday, March 16, 2018

Faye Adams - I'm Going To Leave You

You can find a very clear PDF of the back cover here: - The notes are by Opal Nations --
This is my rip of the Mr. R & B lp.

Adams was born in Newark, New Jersey. Her father was David Tuell, a gospel singer and a key figure in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). At the age of five she joined her sisters to sing spirituals, regularly performing on Newark radio shows.

Under her married name, Faye Scruggs, she became a regular performer in New York nightclubs in the late 1940s and early 1950s. While performing in Atlanta, Georgia, she was discovered by the singer Ruth Brown, who won her an audition with the bandleader Joe Morris of Atlantic Records. Having changed Scruggs's name to Faye Adams, Morris recruited her as a singer in 1952, and signed her to Herald Records. Her first release was Morris's song "Shake a Hand", which topped the US Billboard R&B chart for ten weeks in 1953 and reached number 22 on the US pop chart. It sold one million copies and was awarded a gold disc.

In 1954, Adams had two more R&B chart toppers with "I'll Be True" (later covered by Bill Haley in 1954 and by a young Jackie DeShannon in 1957) and "It Hurts Me to My Heart". During this period, she left the Morris band and was billed as "Atomic Adams". She appeared in the 1955 film Rhythm & Blues Revue. In 1957 she moved to Imperial Records, but her commercial success diminished. By the late 1950s she was seen as an older recording artist whose time had come and gone, although she continued to record for various small labels until the early 1960s.

By 1963 she had retired from the music industry. She remarried and, as Fannie Jones, returned to her gospel roots and family life in New Jersey.

Junior Parker - You Don't Have To Be Black To Love The Blues

Had Junior Parker not died Far too soon, who knows what additional treasures he could have left us. Given a longevity like Bobby or B.B. he appears to have had the creativity to have been a major dude for a long time. This Groove Merchant LP from 1971 certainly seems to indicate that he had plenty left to say and the open ears to stay relevant.

Ya gotta love the cover!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Johnny Tucker - Seven Day Blues

Something new from our dear Unky Cliff.

In the world we live in today it is rather easy to assume that there is no 'new' music that could properly be called Blues. Leave it to Unky Cliff to discover one of the few real exceptions!

It is something of a mystery why Johnny Tucker isn’t better known. He has been making music professionally since he first moved to Los Angeles back in 1964, singing in a James Brown tribute act before joining Philip Walker’s band as the drummer before moving on to play with the likes of Johnny Otis, Floyd Dixon and Robert Cray. His first album for HighJohn Records, Why You Lookin’ At Me?, was released in 2006, the same year as the wonderful Floyd Dixon Celebration, Time Brings About A Change. Tucker turns in engaging performances on both the CD and the DVD recordings of the two-night gig held to honour the legendary pianist and singer. He is a talented singer, with a warm, rough-hewn voice that straddles the border of blues and soul, as well as being a sharp-witted songwriter – all 15 tracks on Seven Day Blues were composed by him.
For his long-overdue second album on HighJohn, label chief Bob Auerbach put the singer together with Big Jon Atkinson and a hand-selected band of musicians. The tactic of pairing a veteran singer with younger acolytes doesn’t always work, especially when the backing musicians overwhelm the singer they are meant to support (viz, The Howlin’ Wolf Album). But when it does work, on albums like Nappy Brown’s 2007 Long Time Coming (with superb support from Sean Costello) or on Muddy’s 1977 Hard Again, the results are magical, with the authority and maturity of the older singer given a shot of the energy and excitement of youth. Seven Day Blues is very much in this latter category.
The core band comprises Atkinson and Scott Smart (who play both guitars and bass on different tracks), Troy Sandow on harmonica and bass, and Malachi Johnson and Marty Dodson and drums. Bob Welch contributes organ to the Sam Cooke-styled soul of “Love And Appreciation (To Georgia)” and the jump blues of “Tell You All”, which also features the guitar talents of Kid Ramos. Bob Corritore also contributes harp to five tracks. From the opening Howlin’ Wolf-esque, “Talkin’ About You Baby”, it’s obvious that the musicians understand how to bring the best out of Tucker’s voice. They know when to step forwards for their solo spots, but they never get in the way of the song.
Each song on the album was recorded live at Atkinson’s BigTone Studio in Hayward, CA, with all the players in one room, playing vintage gear and recorded on vintage equipment, and this commitment to authenticity comes through on every track. From the uptown Chicago shuffle of “Tired Of Doing Nothing” to the aching slow blues of the closing “You Can Leave My House”, via the primeval funk of the title track and the echo-drenched slide of “Do-Right Man”, each song reeks of deep emotion and well as a true understanding and appreciation of the way music used to be made.
Packing 15 songs into 57 minutes, there is no room for filler or fat on Seven Day Blues. Indeed, whilst it is dangerously presumptive to make predictions in January, it is not foolhardy to suggest that Seven Day Blues is an early contender for one of the albums of the year." Blues Blast Magazine

Jerry's Saloon Blues

Something old from our dear Unky Cliff. While most of the Flyright material has made a web appearance at some point or another, this one has remained stubbornly unavailable despite being consistently mentioned in books about this period's recordings. Problem solved!

"This chapter presents an account of a 1940 field recording trip by John and Ruby Lomax. The account, which initially appeared as the liner notes for Flyright Album 206 (1975), focuses on an encounter with Oscar “Buddy” Woods, two other local black musicians named Kid West and Joe Harris, as well as members of Lead Belly’s extended family. West and Harris demonstrated their lively and varied repertoire for Lomax, who recorded older ballad and country dance material such as “Railroad Rag,” “Bully of the Town,” and “Old Hen Cackled and Rooster Laid an Egg.” Paul Oliver

Best of Proverb & Gospel Corner Records 1959-1969

Another priceless Gospel collection from OUR Gospel friend, Unky Cliff.

By Bob Marovich

"Gospel music has had many multi-taskers, chief among them the late Brother Henderson of Los Angeles, California.

In the late 1950s, Sylvester C. “Duke” Henderson forsook his R&B singing career, hung up his rock and roll shoes, and plunged headlong into sacred music. He ran the popular All Gospel Record Store in L.A., hosted his own gospel music radio show on 50,000 watt XERB, wrote and published songs, promoted concerts, and headed up two record labels: Proverb and Gospel Corner.

Despite Henderson’s prolific activity, no commercial reissues have given him his propers until now. Best of Proverb & Gospel Corner Records: 1959-1969, from Per Notini’s NarroWay Records out of Sweden, is a 52-track survey of Henderson’s rich roster of artists, many of whom were West Coast favorites. One, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, went on to conquer the world.

The two-disc set starts, appropriately, with one of the earliest recorded appearances by the Clouds. “Jesus Is Real,” circa 1959, showcases Joe Ligon on lead, shouting sandpaper rough even back then. It is followed by the Pilgrim Travelers, arguably the label’s biggest signing, and by then led by James Wafer but without the storied Specialty lineup. “When I’m Gone” demonstrates the same hard singing as the Clouds’ track, even though the Travelers were best known for their walking rhythm and low-key tight harmonies. On the other hand, the Travelers’ take on Dorsey’s “Peace in the Valley” is evocative of its 1940s and 1950s work for Specialty.

What distinguishes this set, and Henderson’s musical ears, is the variety of sacred styles it contains. While heavy on male quartet, as that appeared to be Henderson’s sweet spot, there is a choir (Watts Community Choir), a lining hymn (Rev. W. E. Jasper), rhythmic jubilee singing (Victory Five of Sacramento), a Cleophus Robinson-Josephine James-y duet (Prince Dixon and Sis. Walter Paige), and topical songs (Prince Dixon, Madame Nellie Robinson, and Henderson himself). As gospel artists today often say about their albums: there’s something here for everyone.

The musical accompaniment on Proverb and Gospel Corner singles gets progressively more psychedelic as time winds on. Prince Dixon’s “Keep On Fighting” includes trebly electric guitar riffs. The organ on Dixon’s memorial to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (“April 4, 1968”) gives this Brother Will Hairston-esque treatment a decidedly pop tinge. The same peppy organ (not a churchy B3 by any stretch) propels the Fabulous Ohio Wonders’ “Why Should I Feel” and on the Victory Five’s Golden Gate Quartet-style “John.”

Special gems are a very early Chambers Brothers track, “Just a Little More Faith,” a 180-degree difference in sound from their 1967 hit, “Time Has Come Today.” “Hold Me in Your Arms” by the Mighty Sons of Fort Worth, Texas, is rendered in the classic vocal harmony group style. The Sweet Singing Cavaliers’ “Hold Me” is electrifying, possibly their best cut ever. Brother Henderson’s first dip in the baptismal pool, the rare 1955 “I Made Up My Mind,” sung with a group called the Spiritual Lambs, is available here, possibly for the first time on CD.

Although male dominated, the set does include the distaff Page-Ettes and the Nu-Lite Gospel Singers of Kansas City, the latter giving “Lot’s Wife” and “You’ve Been So Good” strong readings. Henderson’s mother, Helen, formerly with the Simmons-Akers Singers, is represented as a soloist on the fine “He’s a Light,” written by Akers and recorded sometime prior to Proverb’s founding. The mixed voice Watts Community Choir offers a youthful sound on “Keep On Keeping On” and “He Aint’ Heavy.” Sister Walter Paige of the Page-Ettes, Madame Nellie Robinson, and Lady Bird are also among the female soloists.

The entire production is crystal clear, thanks in large part to Henderson’s production talents but also to Notini’s flair for reproduction. The informative illustrated liner notes give the enthusiast as much knowledge about Henderson as exists, depicting an entrepreneur who made a living by giving the little guy a chance. A must for gospel music fans who revel in the pop-infused traditional gospel of the 1960s before it became contemporary."