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mardi 29 janvier 2013

A.C. REED/ Early Recordings

A.C. REED/ Early Recordings

            Aaron Corthens dit A.C. Reed (ceci afin de se faire passer pour le cousin du célèbre Jimmy Reed, une parenté guère prouvée) est né à Wardell dans le Missouri le 9 mai 1926. Après des tâtonnements à la guitare et aux claviers, Aaron, un grand fan des big bands, a opté pour le saxophone. Venu jeune à Chicago, il commence sa carrière auprès de Willie Mabon et de Earl Hooker (avec qui il enregistrera substantiellement), gagnant au passage un "saxophone d'or" et un titre de "Roi du Chicago blues, version saxophone"! Durant les années 60, il multiplie les 45t pour une nuée de petits labels, collant le plus possible au style vocal de son cousin présumé, le célèbre Jimmy Reed. Le paresseux This little voice évoque bien Jimmy, mais I stay mad et surtout l'excellent My buddy buddy friends sont des pièces débordant de cet humour désabusé et décapant qui est la marque de la plume d'A.C. Entre 1970 et 1983, Reed est surtout le sideman attitré de Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Son Seals puis Albert Collins, ornant leurs concerts et leurs disques de ses sonorités râpeuses et carrées. Cet style simple mais essentiel au vrai Chicago blues amène nombre de musiciens de rock à utiliser ses talents pour certains de leurs enregistrements, tels Eric Clapton ou les Rolling Stones. Tout cela permet enfin à A.C. Reed d'entreprendre une carrière de leader à l'âge de la retraite. I am fed up with music, un 45t sorti en 1983 en deux versions, l'une "hard", l'autre plus chaste pour les oreilles sensibles est d'une irrésistible drôlerie. Aaron Corthens récolte même un W.C. Handy Award pour le microsillon correspondant: Take these blues and shove'em (Ice Cube). I'm in the wrong business (Alligator) dans lequel A.C. regrette de n'avoir pas embrassé la carrière de boxeur comme Rocky ou Mr T. est dans la même veine, avec le soutien de Stevie Ray Vaughan et Bonnie Raitt. A.C. Reed a enregistré d'autres disques pour Wolf ou Black & Blue, a excellemment figuré dans la célèbre anthologie Living Chicago blues (Alligator). Juste avant son décès (le 25 février 2004 à Chicago), A.C. a signé sans doute son meilleur album pour Delmark, le décapant Junk Food.
            A l'exception de l'original de Come on home que nous n'avons pu trouver, nous proposons ici l'intégrale des 45t enregistrés par cet intéressant bluesman de Chicago entre 1961 et 1966.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

Born Aaron Corthen (Warden, Missouri; May 9th 1926), this honking saxophone player has been a mainstay of the Chicago blues clubs and the recording studios. He began his career with Willie Mabon, then Earl Hooker with whom he worked and recorded during most of the 1960's. He always said he was a real cousin to the then famous Jimmy Reed, thus taking the name A.C. Reed but it is unsure the fact is true!
            Anyway, A.C. Reed started to record a string of excellent 45's in 1961 with the minor hit This little voice in which he emulates the lazy phrasing of Jimmy Reed. All his records are full of humour, particularly I stay mad and the superb My buddy buddy friends that even entered the Top 100 R&B.
            After Earl Hooker's death, A.C. played in the bands of Buddy Guy & Junior Wells, Son Seals and Albert Collins, demonstrating all over the world his forceful sax playing. This collaboration earned him a strong reputation among the blues fans everywhere and he was asked to record with British stars Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones. He then finally launched his career as a leader in the 1980's, fronting his own band and recording several excellent LP's (Take these blues and shove it) and CD's for Alligator (Living Chicago blues and I'm in the wrong business with Stevie Ray Vaughan), Wolf or Delmark (Junk Food, maybe his best album).
            A.C. died in Chicago on February 25th 2004, leaving a strong recorded legacy.
            This compilation gathers all his early 45s minus the original of Come on home that I haven't been able to locate.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

Complete Early Recordings
A.C. Reed, vcl/t-sax; Pinetop Perkins, pno; Earl Hooker, g; Earnest Johnson, bs; Bobby Little, dms. Chicago, Ill. juin 1961
01. This little voice
A.C. Reed, vcl/t-sax; Little Ray Charles, pno; Reggie Boyd, g; Earnest Johnson, bs; Bill Stepney, dms. Chicago, novembre 1961
02. I wanna be free
Come on home
A.C. Reed, vcl/t-sax;Earl Hooker, g; Johnny "Big Moose" Walker, pno; Reggie Boyd, g; Earnest Johnson, bs; Bill Stepney, dms. Chicago, Ill, 1962
03. Mean cop
04. That ain't right
05. Crying blues
A.C. Reed, vcl/t-sax; Dusty Draper, a-sax; Bobby Fields, t-sax; Johnny "Big Moose" Walker, pno/og; Ivory Parker, g; Earnest Johnson, bs; Frank Swan, dms. Chicago, Ill. 1963
06. I stay mad
07. Lotta lovin'
A.C. Reed, vcl/t-sax; Detroit Junior, pno; Ivory Parker, g; Earnest Johnson, bs; Buddy Ray, dms. Chicago, Ill. 1965
08. I'd rather fight than switch
09. I got money to burn
A.C. Reed, vcl/t-sax; horns; Lafayette Leake, pno; M.T. Murphy, g; Ivory Parker, g; Leroy Stewart, bs; Tyrone Harris, dms/perc. Chicago, Ill. 1966
10. My baby is fine
11. My baby's been cheating
12. Talking about my friend
13. Boogaloo tramp

dimanche 27 janvier 2013



Grâce à notre ami Pierre Monnery, nous disposons désormais des deux derniers titres de Harmonica Slim (Travis Blaylock) qui manquaient dans le volume que je lui avais consacré dans ce blog.

Harmonica Slim, vcl/hca; band. Los Angeles, décembre 1960
08A. Buddah
09A. You

Désormais, les bluesophiles disposent enfin de l'intégrale réelle et complète de cet artiste qui mérite certainement d'être mieux reconnu.
                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT

Now well forgotten, Travis Blaylock however experienced during the 1950s some commercial success under the name Harmonica Slim, which even earned him to be the only Harmonica Slim on the market, forcing James Moore to abandon his Harmonica Slim nickname for Slim Harpo and Richard Riggins (who would make several very good disks for Fedora under this nickname later on) keeps his true surname. Travis Leonard Blaylock was born December 21, 1934 in Douglassville, a village of the Texas-Arkansas border, a border that his parents crossed a few years later to settle in the largest city of Texarkana. It was around the age of twelve that Travis Blaylock began playing the harmonica under the influence of several neighbors and the records of John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson. He sang and played with a local gospel group, the Sunny South Gospel Singers. He was a close friend with guitarist Martin Fulson (brother of Lowell) and they soon formed a small group who hosted a weekly radio show on station KCMC of Texarkana. In 1949, Travis moved to Los Angeles and integrated very quickly the important and very perennial scene of blues and R & B of that time, even becoming a part time member of the band of Lowell Fulson who included pianist Lloyd Glenn at that time. He recorded as a harmonica player with several West Coast sessions prior to founding, under the name Harmonica Slim, a small blues band which often included superb piano playing by Lloyd Glenn. During the 50's, Slim recorded a dozen titles between 1954 and 1960 that happily mixed Texas Country blues with arrangements much more sophisticated in the mould of the current R & B California sounds. "Mary Helen" and especially "You better believe it" (entering the Top 100 R & B) were small hits that allowed Harmonica Slim to be part of the great R & B tours crisscrossing the United States, in the company of Lowell Fulson, Percy Mayfield, T-Bone Walker, Ray Charles, Pee Wee Crayton and B.B. King. But the 1960s were lean years to Slim who had to take a job in the factory to make a living. At the end of the decade, T-Bone Walker brought Slim to producer Bob Thiele, who agreed to record a whole album for his label Bluestime in the company of jazz and R & B musicians like saxophonist Plas Johnson. Curiously enough, Thiele , (who recorded several times George Smith) found the style of Harmonica Slim too rural and "primitive" and decided to replace his blowing parts by those of Smith a much more urban and jazzy harpman that Slim. This album, quite unknown to most, and very rare to these days, has many qualities. After the death of his father in 1971, Harmonica Slim returned to care for his mother at Texarkana. He worked in a gas station while playing regularly with the local band of guitarist Nelson Carson. He recorded with them for Louis Guida in 1975-76, unfortunately those sessions remained unpublished. After the death of his mother, Harmonica Slim gave up the blues for good and was reborn Travis Blaylock, turned definitively to the gospel and the religion. He even become a Reverend of the local Baptist Church until he died on June 16, 1984 in Texarkana. I have already posted in this blog his almost complete recorded works minus two tracks of this artist.
Thanks to our good friend Pierre Monnery (a staunch blues collector), we have today the two tracks that were missing:

Harmonica Slim, vcl/hca; band. Los Angeles, décembre 1960
08A. Buddah
09A. You

All the other "Harmonica Slim" you could find here and there are by other Harmonica Slims, chiefly Richard Riggins.

                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT

dimanche 6 janvier 2013

CHICAGO/ The Blues Yesterday Volume 3


            Dans ce troisième volume de la série "Chicago/ The blues Yesterday", je vous propose d'écouter (et souvent de découvrir) les premiers titres pour la plupart parus uniquement en 45t de deux bluesmen qui ont fait carrière (Magic Slim et Eddie King) ainsi qu'un single extrêmement rare de Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis enregistré à Memphis.
            Magic Slim (Morris Holt) est devenu un grand nom du Chicago blues mais ses toutes premières faces n'ont été que très partiellement rééditées. On peut l'entendre ici à ses débuts dans son style déjà bien défini autant en vedette avec ses TerDrops qu'accompagnant le chanteur et harmoniciste Richard "Little" Hite qui a brièvement hanté les clubs de Chicago dans les années 60 et 70 et qui n'a aucun lien de parenté avec Bob Hite, le leader des Canned Heat comme la critique britannique l'a longtemps suggéré.
Eddie King & May Bee Mae CD
            Eddie King (Edward Lewis Day Milton dit) (1938-2012) est un bluesman d'importance trop négligé. Très présent dans les clubs de Chicago, King a développé un jeu de guitare sur le modèle de B.B. King (d'où son surnom) et a enregistré derrière quantité de musiciens (Little Mack, Detroit Jr). Après un terrible drame personnel, Eddie King abandonne quelques années la musique avant de reprendre le chemin des clubs en compagnie de sa soeur, la chanteuse Mae Bee May. Ils enregistrent ensemble des 45t entre blues, Soul, Disco dont nous avons regroupé la plupart dans cette anthologie. Leur chef d'oeuvre demeure le magnifique album The blues has got me (Black Magic) que nous recommandons chaudement.
            Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis (Charles Thomas) (1925-95) a commencé sa carrière de musicien en enregistrant pour Sun (des titres jamais édités) puis a gagné Detroit où il a côtoyé John Lee Hooker (qui l'a fort influencé) avant de s'installer au marché aux puces de Maxwell Street, tenant un petit restaurant (le Knotty Pine Grill) tout en jouant son brin de blues du Delta bien personnalisé pour ses clients. Il a substantiellement enregistré pour divers labels, notamment un très bel album (Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis) jamais réédité mais que l'on peut trouver sur l'excellent site DontaskmeIdontknow.
Il a aussi gravé un curieux 45t à Memphis, très mal connu, que nous proposons ici.
            Merci à tous les collectionneurs et amateurs de blues qui ont permis cette anthologie, notamment Stanley Danville, Georges J. et Fonsoul.
                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT

            For this third opus of the Chicago/ The blues yesterday series, I've gathered all the early sides by Magic Slim, most of the early 45s by Eddie King as well as a rarity by Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis.
            Magic Slim (Morris Holt) is of course a well-known blues legend, having recorded dozens of (generally excellent) CD's. But his very first 45s have been strangely neglected. His style of no-nonsense West Side Chicago blues firmly rooted in the Deep South tradition is already there in the 60's whether on songs, instrumentals or behind little known harp player Richard "Little" Hite who dwelled in the small Chicago clubs during a couple of years. This Richard Hite is an African American who has nothing to do with Bob Hite, from Canned Heat fame, as it has been sometimes written.
            Eddie King (Edward Lewis Day Milton) (1938-2012) was a favorite of the Chicago blues clubs during the 50's and 60's. A guitarist strongly influenced by B.B. King (hence his "King" name), he has been in the studios behind many blues singers and has waxed a couple of 45's for several small labels under his name or in the company of his strong-voiced sister Mae Bee May. By far, their best effort is The blues has got me, an album for the Dutch Black Magic label. But their early 45's, between blues and Soul are nevertheless quite interesting.
            Finally, Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis (Charles Thomas) has brought his brand of Delta blues into Chicago. The man has first recorded for Sun in the early 50's (unfortunately still unissued sides), then stayed in Detroit playing with John Lee Hooker who left his mark on his style. He settled afterwards in Chicago, managing a small restaurant (Knotty Pine Grill) on Maxwell Street while entertaining his patrons singing and playing the blues. He has recorded some excellent solo sides in the 1960's, particularly for Testament and Elektra, a major album (Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis) that has never been reissued but that you can find on the wonderful blog DontaskmeIdontknow
            Later on, he also recorded a very rare and strange 45's in Memphis that we are featuring here.
            Thank you to all the collectors and blues fans who have generously loaned their rare records thus making this volume possible: Stanley Danville, Georges J. and Fonsoul.
                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT

CHICAGO/ The Blues Yesterday Volume 3
Eddie King, vcl/g; Rico Collins, t-sax; Detroit Jr, pno; Bob Stroger, bs; Robert Whitehead, dms; Three Queens, vcls. Chicago, Ill. 1960
01. Love you baby
Eddie King, vcl/g; Mae Bee May, vcl; horns; Bob Stroger, bs; Robert Whitehead, dms. Chicago, Ill. 1969
02. Please Mr DJ
03. Are you pushed in love?
Eddie King, vcl/g; band. Chicago, Ill. 1970
04. Kindness love and understanding
05. I talk too much
Eddie King, vcl/g; Mae Bee May, vcl; band. Chicago, Ill. 1971
06. Get off my back
07. Really I don't know
Magic Slim, vcl/g; Paul Brown, t-sax; Robert Perkins, bs; Willie Jones, dms. Chicago, Ill. 1966
08. Love my baby
09. Scuffling
Magic Slim, vcl/g; Little Hite, hca; Nick Holt, bs; Joe Mason, dms. Chicago, Ill. 1969
10. She's mine
11. I got a feeling
Little Hite, vcl/hca; Magic Slim, g; Nick Holt, bs; Joe Mason, dms. Chicago, Ill. 1969
12. Fine
13. A while ago
14. Soul blues
Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis, vcl/g; Eddie Willis Jr, hca; Willie James Bennett, dms. Memphis, Tn. 1967
15. A man's a fool
16. What a dream