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mardi 29 octobre 2013

NEW YORK CITY/ The Blues Yesterday Vol. 1




NEW YORK CITY/ The Blues Yesterday


         
   Un petit tour aujourd'hui à New York, une ville qui a abrité une scène du down home blues importante mais quelque peu éclipsée par le R&B et le jazz qui faisaient les belles nuits d'Harlem. A côté de certains artistes importants (Brownie Mc Ghee, Sonny Terry, Champion Jack Dupree), d'autres bluesmen beaucoup plus obscurs, ont aussi gravé - grâce à la présence d'importants studios d'enregistrement - une petite oeuvre souvent fort intéressante et parfois remarquable qu'il serait bien dommage de négliger.

            Betty James est le nom de disque de Nadine Renaye (ou Renée) qui, née en Louisiane, vivait à Baltimore (Md) où elle chantait dans les cabarets locaux, accompagnée de son mari et de son fils. Venue passer une audition à New York en 1961 pour le minuscule label Cee Jay, sa composition I'm a little mixed up rencontre suffisamment de public pour que le disque soit repris par Chess. Le titre sera vite réenregistré par Koko Taylor qui en fera un "hit". Betty revient dans les studios en 1962 avec une nouvelle belle réussite artistique (Henry Lee) mais elle doit attendre encore quatre ans pour graver une dernière séance dont deux titres sortiront mystérieusement sous son vrai nom Nadine Renaye. Toute sa musique est très ancrée dans le Piedmont blues avec une forte influence de Blind Boy Fuller. Ses disques sont aujourd'hui de petits "classiques" très réputés dans certains cercles, notamment du Rockabilly. On ne sait malheureusement pas grand' chose d'elle bien que sa petite fille se soit exprimée (mais de façon laconique) sur la Toile.
            Tout aussi "anonyme" est B. Brown (Daniel Brown) probablement originaire de Los Angeles où il a enregistré un premier 45t en tant que batteur (!) avant de ressurgir sur la scène new-yorkaise en jouant de l'harmonica et sous le pseudo de B. Brown, de toute évidence afin de se faire passer pour le chanteur harmoniciste Buster Brown qui connaissait un grand succès populaire à la même époque avec son classique Fannie Mae. B. Brown enregistre d'ailleurs plusieurs titres comme Fannie Mae is back et Candied Yams qui font semblant d'être des morceaux de Buster! B. Brown était très lié à Charles Walker avec lequel il a d'ailleurs enregistré (cf l'article sur Walker dans Blue Eye). A la suite de son divorce, Brown a quitté New York vers 1964 pour Fort lauderdale en Floride, enregistrant à nouveau dans un style plus Soul et restant en contact avec ses amis Noble Watts et June Bateman jusqu'à son décès dans les années 1990.
            Enfin, Alonzo Scales (vers 1900-1975) est un chanteur guitariste venu, comme beaucoup, de Caroline du Nord à New York pendant la guerre. Un temps associé à Champion Jack Dupree avec lequel il enregistre en 1948, il joue ensuite avec Brownie Mc Ghee et Sonny Terry qui l'accompagnent sur sa deuxième séance. Scales semble avoir abandonné la musique dans les années 60 et est décédé à New York en 1975.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT
J'ai beaucoup de feedback de mes lecteurs de langue anglaise, pratiquement pas des Français... Je me pose donc la question de continuer à publier ce blog en langue française.

            Now let's go to New York during the 1950-60's to hear some good blues!
     
       The Big Apple, and Harlem in particular, nested a strong post-war down-home blues scene that had nevertheless to stay behind the large shadow of the much popular R&B/ Jazz scene. Alongside some well known names (Brownie & Sonny, Champion Jack Dupree, Gary Davis), there were many good bluesmen (and women) who, thanks to a fair number of independent labels and studio facilities, had the opportunity to record a couple of singles that would be a pity to keep too hidden and underappreciated.
            Betty James is the recording name of Nadine Renaye (or maybe Renée) who, born in Louisiana, was singing in Baltimore (Md) backed by her husband and son. She tried her luck for the small Cee Jay label in 1961 and her own penned I'm a little mixed up stirred enough local sales to persuade Chess Records to reissue the title with a wider distribution. Koko Taylor, under the tutelage of Willie Dixon, recorded this blues and made a hit from it. After that, Betty would come back twice in the studios with six more top notch rocking blues but without any success. One of her single was also issued under her real name of Nadine Renaye! Her music is rooted in the Piedmont blues style with a strong Blind Boy Fuller influence. We don't know what happened to her although her granddaughter wrote some laconic lines on the web about her "wonderful grandmother"! If some US searchers could find and interview her, it would be great.
            Almost as obscure is B. Brown (Daniel Brown) who hailed from Los Angeles (where he recorded a first single as a drummer!), resurfacing in New York as a very good harp player under the name of B. Brown, certainly to cash on the success of the much well known Buster Brown who enjoyed at that time a massive hit with his classic Fanny Mae. B. Brown waxed a handful of excellent 45's, generally backed by his friend Charles Walker (see an article about this fine bluesman on this blog) and Wild Jimmy Spruill. After a divorce, B. Brown left New York to resettle in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, recording again in a more Soul vein and being in touch with his friends Noble Watts and June Bateman until his death during the 1990's.
            Alonzo Scales, a singer and guitarist born in North Carolina around the turn of the XXth century came to New York during the 2nd World War, playing with Champion Jack Dupree (and recording with him as early as 1948) and Brownie Mc Ghee and Sonny Terry who backs him on his nice last 1955 session. Scales quit the music scene during the 60's and died in New York City in 1975.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT


NEW YORK CITY/ The Blues Yesterday
Volume 1
BETTY JAMES (Nadine Renaye), vcl; B. Renaye, g; g; J. Renaye, bs; dms. New York City, 1961
01. I'm a little mixed up
02. Help me to find my love
Betty James (Nadine Renaye), vcl; band. New York City, 1962
03. Henry Lee
04. I'm not mixed up anymore
Betty James (Nadine Renaye), vcl; band. New York City, 1966
05. Little Lee
06. I like the way you walk n°1
07. I like the way you walk n°2
08. Salt in your coffee
B. BROWN, vcl/dms; Cool Papa Sadler, g; band. Los Angeles, Ca. 28 juin 1955
09. Mambo for dancers
10. Good woman blues
B. Brown, vcl/hca; Charles Walker, g; Wild Jimmy Spruill, g; bs; dms. New York City, 1960
11. My baby left me
12. Hard working man
13. Fannie Mae is back
14. Candied Yams
15. Chewing gum
16. Rocking with B.
B. Brown, vcl/hca; Wild Jimmy Spruill, g; band. New York City, décembre 1961
17. Standing on the corner
ALONZO SCALES, vcl/g; Brownie Mc Ghee, g; Champion Jack Dupree, pno; dms. New York City, 1948
18. My baby don't allow
19. Left me home blues
Alonzo Scales, vcl/g; Sonny Terry, hca; Brownie Mc Ghee, g; Bob Gaddy, pno; ; bs; George Wood, dms. New York City, août 1955
20. Hard luck child
21. My baby likes to shuffle
22. We just can't agree
23. She's gone

35 commentaires:

  1. New York City/ The Blues Yesterday Volume 1

    http://www46.zippyshare.com/v/95510474/file.html

    OK?

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    Réponses
    1. New link for NYC/ The blues yesterday 1
      http://www95.zippyshare.com/v/hGTUQpvI/file.html

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  2. Thank you very much Gerard for this posts of artists I have not listened to much previously. Very nice and much appreciated.

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  3. What a delight to come back from work and discover so many great blues gems! And this is such a pleasure to read your texts through which we can feel so much passion!
    Thanks a great lot for all the hard work and dedication

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  4. Many thanks for this most interesting collection of rare recordings Gerard. I'll be having a good listen over the next few days.

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    1. TYWM for this compilation, I don't know any of these artists !

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  5. All new to me, and very much appreciated. Thank you very much.

    Iggy

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  6. pour soutenir la francophonie..Merci pour votre travail et tous ces trésors.

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  7. Oui continuez à nous parler en Français d'autres choses que les banalités habituelles sur le blues, malgré le manque de retours institutionnel.
    Encore merci pour ces pages de références.
    OD..

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  8. Merci pour ces petites pépites. Vos textes sont en Français et en Anglais , Ou est le problème pour nos amis anglais? Ne sacrifiez pas le Français , il y a des amateurs qui sont fanas de blues , qui n'écrivent pas de commentaires et qui ne parlent pas la langue de Shakespeare
    Merci

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    1. Merci à tous les francophones. Je vois donc qu'il y a des lecteurs intéressés! Le problème est simplement que cela me double le travail et comme je n'avais que des "retours" et des contacts anglophones, je me demandais s'il y avait des lecteurs francophones qui trouvaient mes articles et mes compils intéressantes. Mais je vais donc continuer comme avant

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    2. Merci Mr Herzhaft pour ce magnifique blog dédié au blues .
      un lecteur de Soul Bag depuis les premiers numéros ronéotypés
      c'est dire ...

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  9. Merci Mr Herzhaft pour ce magnifique blog dédié au BLUES .
    Un vieux lecteur de Soul Bag (depuis les premiers numeros roneotypés ...)

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  10. Although the bilingual approach doubles your workload, please keep it and "ne sacrifiez pas le Français." As with your blues encyclopedia, which I have in French and English, you convey nuances in French which are sometimes lost or not as evident in English. Moreover, in addition to the great music, one of the most compelling features of this blog is that it is bilingual. Of course we Anglophones comment more, we have had a long history whether in England or the United States of imposing our views and opinions on the world whether they are solicited or not.

    As someone who was born in the United States and whose first language is English, I find the tendency to assume that everyone in the world can or must speak English alarming. The first European languages spoken by a significant group of immigrants in this continent were Spanish and French (les Québécoises se souviennent) a fact that seems lost in our linguistic history. After living in Texas for ten years, it became clear to me that for many Spanish speakers, the border crossed them, they did not cross the border. In addition, in the neighboring state of Louisiana, efforts are being made to revive French in the classrooms of Cajun country. Multilingualism is not just a skill, it is a necessity for commerce and communication with others. It also ensures that the speaker regards the world from more than one perspective. Were you to write only in English, you would exclude francophones who are not proficient in English as well as many other readers other countries who speak and read French, but not English. Please don't interpret lack of comments as lack of interest or appreciation. I find it difficult to write comments but do so at the risk of embarrassing myself to convey to the blogger that I greatly appreciate his or her efforts. To restrict to English a blog that communicates and celebrates the expansiveness of blues from its native region to other countries seems to me to be an inherent contradiction in purpose. But then I have my biases and am thinking of buying your encyclopedia in its Spanish edition because my youngest daughter is majoring in Spanish and other studies.

    I majored in French and German in college and have been amazed by how many people in this country regard multilingualism as a difficult intellectual achievement. After college I worked with immigrants who did not have the same educational opportunities that I did, but who spoke two or three languages with ease and competence. In addition, I met first and second generation U. S. citizens who spoke Polish, Italian, Portuguese, French, and Creole. Anglophone fears not withstanding, the United States has never been 100 per cent monolingual and, Anglo paranoia notwithstanding, English is not waning or remotely threatened as a national language. The children of immigrants use it almost exclusively by the second or third generation. Today from lack of use and daily exposure, I struggle to write in French so I use English because it is my first language but I greatly enjoy the French articles and comments because they help me combat further atrophy of my competence.

    Of course, there is a political undertone to my comments because language is often a political issue. I regard the bilingual approach as more expansive and informative and not a concession to those who are threatened by merely seeing or hearing another language. Alors, je n'écris pas bien français, mais je trouve votre articles et votre compils très intéressantes. Merci pour votre travail.

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    Réponses
    1. Thank you very much, Felimid, for your long and thoughtful comments. So, I will continue to post in French as well in English. As you mention the translation of my Enyclopedia of the blues in english, I would like to say that I had no control at all on it. I didn't choose the translator, I didn't know her at all and had never had any contact whatsoever. And I didn'r receive proofs of the translation that I discovered only after the book was published. The english text has strong mistakes that I would have easily corrected if I had the chance to do so! For this blog, I don't translate from the French to the English but I write first the text in French and then in English, so it is not always absolutely similar. And I'm pretty sure there are some english mistakes for I still have troubles with the english prepositions (for, at, to etc..) . So my apologizes for those to you all. All the best

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  11. Merci pour cette superbe sélection ! Simple question : le guitariste de B. Brown est Cool Papa Sadler : est-ce le même qu'Haskell Sadler, figure de la scène de San Francisco, qui enregistrera, plus tard, pour TJ Records avec Sam Myers ?
    Merci pour votre blog (français et anglais, on l'aime comme cela).

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    1. Merci. Bien sûr Cool Papa et Haskell sont le même Sadler. Par contre, qu'est devenu Daniel "B" Brown?

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  12. Having had several listens to this collection now Gerard I thought I'd get back to you with some feedback.

    Betty James is certainly the standout artist here and "I'm A Little Mixed Up" is a great rocking track. To the best of my knowledge I've never heard Betty James before, yet I was vaguely familiar with Koko Taylor's version of "Mixed Up" so it's nice to hear this original version. The final track by Betty "Salt In Your Coffee" has more country feel to it and reminds me a bit of Jessie Mae Hemphill.

    B. Brown is another artist I was unfamiliar with until hearing him on this collection. There's certainly some energetic guitar playing on some of these tracks here by guitarists Cool Papa Sadler, Charles Walker & Wild Jimmy Spruill. Plus B. Brown blew some good down-home harp. As you have pointed out the Buster Brown influence is clearly evident on some of these tracks here.

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    1. Thank you Bob Mac for your thoughtful comments. Betty James is really great and a favorite of mine for years now. I was surprised that her short but excellent recorded output was not better known.

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  13. As regards to the above...
    What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Tri-lingual
    What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bi-lingual
    What do you call someone who speaks one language? An American

    thanks for all you do and the sharing of your collection and knowledge...Nappyrags

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    1. Thank you very much for your sense of humour. But I understand it is hard when living in a continent where there is almost only one language to be able (and even to think being useful) to speak other languages. On the other hand, it is very important not to have only one global language although the english (globbish I would rather say) is this one. So keep alive in North America the other languages that still are spoken and written (Spanish and French). Thanks

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  14. Patrick Montailler3 novembre 2013 à 12:06

    Ce blog que j'ai découvert par hasard est une mine d'informations sur l'histoire du blues. Quel travail d'orfèvre ! Découvrir tous ces artistes à travers une sélection et une mise en forme de cette qualité est un pur plaisir. Continuez les commentaires en deux langues. Encore merci !

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  15. Hallo Gérard, merci beaucoup pour le premier d'un nouveau serie.
    Déjà le Chicago Yesterday vol1-6, etc.
    Par rapport ta question de langue français: j'ai posé la question sur le forum Coll. Radio's Blues, et tous les DJ's utilisent ce site, donc de leur part un grand merci à toi, Moi, comme Hollandais, je te prie de continuer en français et anglais.
    Allez à plus. Bendeboue Blues

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  16. This is a great one! Betty James, Betty James, Betty James! She made my day. I had never heard of her before, and I have been listening to blues for a good 40 years.

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    1. Yes Betty James/ Nadine Renaye is really a great blues singer and she deserves certainly to be better known. It would be great if someone in the USA around NYC (I guess) could locate her relatives, notably her granddaughter and interview her. We thus would know much better about this underrated artist.

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    2. Gerard - I have a song in my collection, "You're the One For Me," by a strong-voiced woman named Betty Renay. The vocal timbre is similar, although I could say for sure if it is the same singer.

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    3. Betty Renay is generally said to have been a Soul singer from the Detroit area where she recorded a lone 45 for the Ultra City label (see: http://www.sirshambling.com/artists_2012/R/betty_renay/index.php). But you raise an interesting question... After all, Nadine Renaye and Betty James were thought to be two different people for years... Once again, the mystery of this (those?) fine singer would be unveiled only when her relatives will be find and interviewed. I'm pretty sure Betty/Nadine was from Baltimore and lived probably a time in New York. Her son who backed her on her records should be alive and certainly her granddaughter is...

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    4. Thanks for that information, Gerard.

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  17. Merci Gérard pour ton inestimable travail. Comme francophone nord-américain, je comprends que tu ne reçoives pas beaucoup de commentaires en Français car sur le net, (presque) tout se passe en anglais. Les francophones, comme les autres internautes parlant d'autres langues s'y sont habitués et répondent souvent dans cette langue: c'est la latin moderne.
    Ceci dit, je dois dire que j'apprécie beaucoup ton blog pour la musique que j'y trouve mais que le fait que tu communiques aussi en Français y ajoute quelque chose qui ne se mesure pas mais qui est grandement apprécié.
    Merci, Ralph11

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  18. Many thanks for the incredible site! I can't even begin to fathom where you get all this stuff, but it's all so pro level... thanks!

    Since I am merely a beginner in music collecting, I would very much appreciate if you could add the original issues of the titles (label, issue number, even issue date?) on the stories. Of course, I can find most of this info online, but sometimes it's just not there...

    Best regards,

    mick

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    Réponses
    1. Thanks. This is the result of almost 55 years of listening, loving, searching and meeting the blues and the bluesmen. For the names of the labels, issues, numbers and such this is too much a work for me to do this on Blue Eye. You can find almost all those on the excellent Blues Discographies (Eyeball Publishers)

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  19. Je profite de cet article pour vous remercier pour tout ce que vous faites pour le blues, depuis tant d'années. Je viens de lire la bio de John Lee Hooker que vous avez mise en ligne, c'est tout simplement excellent.
    Merci encore et bonne continuation.
    Loïc

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  20. Non,Gérard, s'il vous plaît, continuez à écrire en français. C'est tout de même plus commode, pour capter tout le savoureux de vos commentaires!Xavier Maire (Vienne

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  21. stunning top shelf stuff. thanx

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  22. Thank you for this amazing blog.... music I never knew existed and I will be spending some time feasting on your knowledge and the music you have uploaded.... thanks for this labour of love....

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