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mardi 12 novembre 2013

NEW YORK CITY The Blues Yesterday Volume 2



NEW YORK CITY/ The Blues Yesterday 
Volume 2



           Ce deuxième volet consacré au blues de New York dans les années d'après-guerre nous permet d'apprécier la courte (mais excellent) œuvre de trois artistes de la "Cité de la pomme".
           Cousin Leroy a longtemps été une figure mystérieuse et son identité a fait l'objet de nombreuses supputations. Grâce à Gene Tomko qui l'a retrouvé par hasard grâce à un concert donné par le bluesman au Lion's Club (!) de sa ville natale en Georgie, on sait qu'il s'agit de Leroy Rozier (né à Chester en Georgie le 30 septembre 1925), un guitariste et chanteur qui a vécu à Atlanta, New York, Eastman et Miami puis à nouveau New York où il est décédé le 26 février 2008. Leroy a enregistré une série de superbes 45t en 1955-57 en compagnie de Larry Dale, Champion Jack Dupree et probablement Sonny Terry.
           Malgré de nombreuses recherches, Square Walton demeure un artiste énigmatique. Un chanteur, peut-être guitariste, originaire de Georgie et né en 1920, qui a enregistré une belle séance en 1953 et une autre (demeurée inédite) l'année suivante. Interrogé sur Walton, Sonny Terry qui est à coup sûr présent dans les studios derrière Square (était-ce son vrai nom?), ne se rappelait absolument pas de ce bluesman ("You know" a-t-il ajouté "I've played on so many sessions with so many people..".). Walton serait décédé en 1995 dans la petite bourgade d'Auburn (Cayuga County) dans l'Etat de New York.
          
Enfin, LeGrand Mellon a aussi durant des années fait l'objet de supputations: la photo qui ornait un de ses 45t était-elle celle de l'artiste? Etait-ce d'ailleurs le nom de la chanteuse ou celui d'un groupe qui se cachait derrière ce curieux patronyme? Des critiques affirmaient qu'elle était une chanteuse noire... En fait, LeGrand Mellon (née en 1939) est une fille de la haute société newyorkaise (la célèbre famille du milliardaire Mellon) qui a, durant sa jeunesse, voulu faire une carrière de chanteuse, payant Columbia pour lui faire enregistrer une séance en 1966 qui a donné trois 45t. Elle est accompagnée d'un orchestre de R&B avec Sam "The Man" Taylor au saxophone et Ernie Hayes au piano. LeGrand a aussi fait une brève carrière cinématographique, apparaissant dans quelques épisodes de Wild Wild West! Puis elle s'est consacrée au monde de la santé, devenant une figure de proue d'organisations humanitaires venant en aide notamment à Haïti. Elle vit toujours sur Park Avenue et une interview d'elle serait la bienvenue.
                                                                 Gérard HERZHAFT

           This second opus of our "New York City/ The Blues Yesterday" series gathers the "complete" recordings of three very obscure but quite good or excellent artists.
           Cousin Leroy has for a very long time been the subject of questionings, many thinking he was a bluesman from Mississippi (some even suggesting he was  a kinfolk to Robert Johnson!). Thanks to Gene Tomko who found him through a concert Leroy gave to a Lion's Club evening (!) in Georgia, we now know he was born Leroy Rozier in Chester (Ga) on September, 30th 1925. He played the guitar and sang, lived in Atlanta, New York City, Eastman, Miami and again New York City where he died on February, 26th, 2008. He recorded a handful of superb 45s in 1955 and 1957, backed by such luminaries as Larry Dale, Jack Dupree and most probably Sonny Terry.
        
   Square Walton (is it really his name?) is still an enigma. A singer (maybe a guitar player) he was born in Georgia around 1920 and maybe died in 1995 in Auburn (Cayuga County in the State of New York). Anyway he has recorded one first rate session in 1953 and another (unfortunately still unissued the year after). Sonny Terry who is, this time for sure, playing behind him didn't remember the man at all (He said: "You know... I've played on so many sessions with so many people).
         LeGrand Mellon has also been an enigma for years. Even the photo of a young white girl that illustrated one of her three 45's was said to be suspicious by critics who thought she was in fact a black singer or even only a nickname for a renowned band who took it for contractual reasons. In fact, LeGrand Mellon is the real name of a New Yorker from the famous Mellon family. Born in 1939, she wanted very much to make a career as a singer and paid a session at Columbia's in 1966, backed by a R&B band with probably Sam "The Man" Taylor and keyboardist Ernie Hayes. LeGrand starred also in several TV movies, playing "Miranda" in the famous Wild Wild West series. After that, she devoted herself to a medical career, even becoming a respected figure of Humanitarian programmes, particularly helping to re-establish Haïti's health system. She is still living on Park Avenue and an interview (if she agreed) about her musical short career could prove to be interesting.
                                                                 Gérard HERZHAFT

NEW YORK CITY/ The Blues Yesterday Volume 2
Cousin Leroy (Leroy Rozier), vcl/g; Sonny Terry, hca; Champion Jack Dupree, pno; Larry Dale, g; Sid Wallace, bs; Gene Brooks, dms. New York City, 1 July 1955
01. Catfish
02. Going back home
Cousin Leroy (Leroy Rozier), vcl/g; Sonny Terry, hca; Champion Jack Dupree, pno; Larry Dale, g; Sid Wallace, bs; Gene Brooks, dms. New York City, August 1957
03. Stringbeans n°1
04. Stringbeans n°2
05. Matchbox
06. Woke up with the blues
07. I'm lonesome
08. Highway 41
09. Voodoo
10. Waitin' at the station n°1
11. Waitin' at the station n°2
12. Sail on
13. Crossroads n°1
14. Crossroads n°2
15. Up the river
Square Walton, vcl; Sonny Terry, hca; Mickey Baker, g; Fletcher Smith, pno; Johnny Williams, bs; Marty Wilson, dms. New York City, 27 August 1953
16. Bad hangover
17. Fishtail blues
18. Gimme your bank roll
19. Pepper headed woman
LeGrand Mellon, vcl; Sam The Man Taylor, t-sax; Ernie hayes, pno; band. New York City, 1966
20. Baby please don't go
21. Move it on over
22. Summertime
23. The sound of blues
24. Growing my own
Everybody but me

17 commentaires:

  1. New York City/ The Blues Yesterday Volume 2

    http://www25.zippyshare.com/v/65475857/file.html

    O.K.?

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    Réponses
    1. New link for NYC Blues Yesterday Vol. 2
      http://www60.zippyshare.com/v/fgaTnezq/file.html

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  2. Thanks Gerard. I've always wondered about LeGrand Mellon!

    Dr Hepcat

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  3. OK...downloading it right now, will have a good listen over the next couple of days and get back to you with some feedback.

    Cousin Leroy I have heard many times before but the other two artists are new to me. As always, many thanks Gerard.

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  4. Thanks Gerard, I always look forward to your new music posts.

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    1. Thanks Gyro. I myself follow faithfully your excellent blog

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  5. Thanks for this - I loved the first volume!

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  6. Thanks for yet another excellent post. Cheers, Zdtch

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  7. Another great present from your wonderful blog!
    Many thanks!

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  8. Hello,
    Cette compile pourrait presque concerner Sonny Terry et vient en complément du "Complete Larry Dale" auquel finalement manquait ces titres.
    J'ai hâte d'écouter LeGrand Mellon que je ne connais pas et qu'elle puisse être prise pour une chanteuse noire m'interpelle un tantinet.
    OD

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  9. This is a most interesting collection Gerard. Some fine raw earthy blues from both Cousin Leroy and Square Walton. Then we have LeGrand Mellon, possibly the strangest artist to ever appear on your blog. I know nothing at all about LeGrand Mellon except what I have read here. So she's a rich white woman from NYC who paid for her own session to cut 6 tracks for Columbia in 1966. And that was the start and finish of her career as a blues singer. Do I have it right?

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    Réponses
    1. That's it, Bob Mac. LeGrand Mellon - who was thought by some to be a black torch singer from New York - is in fact a rich white new yorker who sang some blues, played Miranda in Wild Wild West and then devoted her life to health care, working a lot in Haïti. She still lives at Park Avenue.

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  10. more jimmy spruill and larry dale r always appreciated..thanx!

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  11. Once again a great collection and the LeGrand Mellon tracks could be the seed of a comp. One with artists first thought to be black blues artists but are white .... Harmonica Frank, Lightnin' Leon (Billy Lee Riley) come to mind.
    There must be more???

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    Réponses
    1. Thanks Xyros. And you're so right about "white artists being thought to be black". Meanwhile, see my post Blowing in Tennessee
      http://www27.zippyshare.com/v/65421979/file.html

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  12. I just discovered your amazing blog.I thought I was fairly knowledgeable about the blues but have discovered I am only scraping the surface.I love and appreciate the work that goes into putting together the recorded output of some of the lesser known artists.Many of these guys I know from a song or two on a compilation.How incredible to find all their singles collected together.Thanks for all you do.

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  13. Very nice blog. Keep up the good work!

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