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dimanche 20 juillet 2014

CALVIN LEAVY




CALVIN LEAVY/ Cummins prison farm

           
Calvin Leavy a été un des rares bluesmen à avoir un "hit" national avec Cummins prison farm en 1970 (n° 40 au Billboard et n°1 à Memphis).
            Né le 20 avril 1940 à Scott (Arkansas), Calvin est le dernier de 15 enfants d'une famille de métayers et s'initie à la musique et au chant dans le choeur d'Eglise de son frère aîné McKinley Leavy. En 1954, il joue suffisamment de guitare, piano et basse pour faire partie du blues band d'un de ses autres frères, Hosea Leavy. Sous le nom de Leavy Brothers, ils tournent même jusqu'en Californie où d'ailleurs ils s'installent au début des années 60.
            Mais Calvin a le mal du pays et revient s'installer à Little Rock en 1967, forme son propre blues band et joue un peu partout, notamment au 70 Club. En 1968, le journaliste et écrivain local Bill Cole cherche un interprète pour une de ses compositions, Cummins prison farm et demande à Calvin de la mettre en musique. Non seulement Calvin Leavy en fait un blues mais, s'appuyant sur le témoignage d'un de ses frères qui est à ce moment-là emprisonné à Cummins, il ajoute plusieurs versets qui confèrent au morceau un formidable vécu!
            Le succès ne se fait pas attendre avec un lancement commercial qui présente Calvin et sa guitare en tenue de prisonnier!. Presque instantanément, Cummins prison farm monte dans les Hit Parades. Calvin réenregistre le morceau pour un album projeté (qui ne paraîtra que bien plus tard au Japon!) en ajoutant une lead-guitare plus rock, destiné au public des LP's d'alors. Parallèlement, les années suivantes voient Calvin en studio pour de nombreux labels locaux (Acquarius, Soul Beat, Messenger). Calvin et Hosea sont même invités à jouer à l'Université de Little Rock en 1976 pour les fêtes du Bicentenaire.
            Mais, quelles que soient leurs qualités, aucun des 45t gravés par Calvin ne renouvelle le succès de Cummins prison farm qui, entre temps, est devenu un standard du blues, interprété et enregistré par quantité d'artistes.
            Et en 1991, Calvin Leavy est arrêté pour trafic de drogue en réseau organisé plus tentative de corruption de policiers. Condamné à 75 ans de prison, Calvin est cette fois effectivement incarcéré au pénitencier de Cummins! Où il décède le 6 juin 2010.
            Nous avons ici regroupé la presque totalité de son oeuvre intéressante, entre Soul et Blues à l'exception de quatre titres (Nothing but your love; Love is a sign of weakness; It's a miracle; Give me your loving loving loving). Merci d'avance aux lecteurs qui possèderaient ces titres et nous en feraient parvenir une copie .mp3, ce qui complèterait ce recueil. Nothing but your love est maintenant sur ma chaîne YouTube (grâce à un généreux anonyme!)
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

            Calvin Leavy has been one of the few bluesmen to get a "hit" in the early 1970's with Cummins Prison farm , n°40 on the Billboard and n°1 at WDLA Memphis!
            Born on April, 20th, 1940 at Scott (Arkansas), the last of 15 children from a sharecropping family, Calvin has learned to sing and to play piano, bass and guitar with his numerous musical elder brothers, particularly McKinley Leavy who lead a Gospel band and Hosea with whom Calvin formed a blues band, The Leavy Brothers who played as far as California where the two brothers settled in the early 60's.
            But, homesick, Calvin went back to Little Rock in 1967, leading his own blues band and playing extensively in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri. In 1968, local writer and journalist Bill Cole asked Calvin to play and record a song he had written about the infamous local Cummins prison farm. Calvin made a strong blues out of it and added some striking verses inspired by the life of one of his brother who, at that time, was serving a sentence in this penitentiary. Cummins prison farm becomes quickly a hit, locally and nationally, Calvin appearing in magazines and local TV with his guitar in inmate suits! Maybe the same year (1968) or later on, Calvin re-record a lengthier version of the song for a projected LP that would only appear years later in Japan. A rock guitar solo is then added (maybe on re-recording) for this purpose.
            The following years, Calvin is a very busy musician, recording many 45s for Acquarian, Soul Beat, Messenger that despite strong lyrics and arrangements are unable to repeat the success of Cummins prison farm that, meanwhile, has become a blues standard sung and recorded by numerous artists. Calvin and brother Hosea even play on stage in 1976 at the University of Little Rock's Centennial Celebration as well as in many clubs and festivals.
            But in 1991, Calvin is charged as a leading figure of a drug dealing gang and for bribery. He gets a 75 years sentence and is jailed this time for real into the Cummins Prison Farm where he dies on June, 6th 2010.
            We have gathered here almost all his recordings but four titles (Nothing but your love - now on my YouTube channel thanks to a generous soul; Love is a sign of weakness; It's a miracle; Give me your loving loving loving) are still missing. If any reader owns those tracks and is willing to share, a .mp3 copy to my mail would be great!
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT



CALVIN LEAVY
Complete Recordings
Calvin Leavy, vcl/g; t-sax; Hosea Leavy, bs; dms. Stuttgart, Ark. 1967
Nothing but your love (cf my YouTube channel)
01. I won't be the last to cry
Calvin Leavy, vcl/g; Ted Seibs, og; Robert Tanner, g; Hosea Leavy, bs; Maurice Haygood, dms. Little Rock, Ark. 1968
02. Cummins prison farm I
03. Cummins prison farm II
04. Brought you to the city
05. That's where I am
Calvin Leavy, vcl/g; band. Nashville, Tn. 29 avril 1970
06. One minute before midnight
Love is a sign of weakness
Calvin Leavy, vcl/g; Paul Brown, og; B.T., bs; Maurice Haugood, dms. Memphis, Tn. 1971
07. Give me a love that I can feel
08. Born unlucky
Calvin Leavy, vcl/g; Hosea Leavy, bs; Pat Brown, dms. West Memphis, Ark. juin 1973
09. It hurts me too
10. I've got troubles (Heart trouble)
11. Goin' to the dogs I & II
Calvin Leavy, vcl/g; Paul Brown, og; Leroy Campbell, g; Hosea Leavy, bs; Pat Brown, dms. West Memphis, Ark. octobre 1973
12. Is it worth?
13. Funky Jam
Calvin Leavy, vcl/bs; Leroy Campbell, g; Paul Brown, og; Cyrus Hayes, hca; Pat Brown, dms. West Memphis, Ark. novembre 1973
14. Big Four
It's a miracle
Calvin Leavy, vcl/g; Leroy Campbell, g; Aristair Akerson, t-sax; Paul Brown, og; Hosea Leavy, bs; PatBrown, dms. West Memphis, Ark. 1974
15. What kind of love
Give me your loving loving loving
16. Nine pound steel
Calvin Leavy, vcl/g; band. Memphis, Tn. 1976
17. Free from Cummins Prison farm
18. Enjoy being hurt by you
19. Thieves and robbers
20. If life last luck is bound to change
Calvin Leavy, vcl/g; The Cummins Prison Farm Singers. Cummins, Ark. 1976
21. He walks with me I & II

21 commentaires:

  1. Gerard:

    Thank you for the Calvin Leavy compilation. Your hard work is much appreciated.

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  2. This is fantastic! Thank you so much! It would also be interesting to assemble his gospel sides with the Flowers of Joy. I only have a couple of them. I wonder how many exist?

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  3. Thanks as always Gerard!

    DrHepcat

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  4. Every new post on your blog is very much appreciated here . Thanks for your great work Gerard .
    marc(fr)

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  5. superbe musique,merci pour le partage
    Herve

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  6. Uploaded 2 missing titles (192 Mp3 format)
    Nothing But Your Love
    It's A Miracle (What Love Can Do)

    http://uploaded.net/file/81xmbu0w

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    1. Ce commentaire a été supprimé par un administrateur du blog.

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  7. Merci Gérard d'avoir braqué les projecteurs sur cet artiste si attachant. Personnellement, j'apprécie énormément ce style de soul-blues. Quel dommage que ses ennuis judiciaires aient pris le pas sur sa carrière musicale. Aujourd'hui, il ne reste que le CD Red Clay pour avoir un panorama de son oeuvre (un peu court mais qui a le mérite d'exister). Et ce post permet d'apporter ce qu'il manquait. Merci donc de combler les lacunes de nos discographies préférées.

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  8. Hello GERARD.

    Great thanks for your hard, but beautiful work.
    Have only question...
    ...it will be great, if you woul'd be written (on pdf or windows notes) full informations about (you know) Carter Brothers.
    Please and - thanks in advance!
    ...and Thanks you, thanks you, thanks...
    Bluesercher

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    1. Thanks. Maybe I'll make a post about The Carter Brothers...

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    2. Hello.
      ...it will be great! Thanks! :-)

      Bluesercher

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  9. Thanks again Gerard. I have a question - has anyone ever seen a copy of Moonshine 118 (Train I Ride) Lp? It is listed in the Moonshine Lp list, yet there is no information about it anywhere.

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    1. Thanks Gyro... I don't think the LP Train I ride has ever been issued by the Moonshine label. In any case I've never seen it. And congratulations for all those excellent (and quite rare) blues LP's you are posting on your blog Twilightzone

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  10. Gerard, thanks a lot for your work. I've got, apart from the Red Clay CD, the P-Vine CD "Cummins Prison Farm" and there is a song called I Met The Man From Cummins Prison (1970) with Mary Price (voice) Willie Cobbs (harp), Calvin, Hosea and Pat Brown. I can send it to you but I don't know how to do it. Maybe by e-mail?
    The best

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    1. Thank you very much but I also have the Mary Price 45 as well as the P-Vine LP. I didn't include the Price title because the comp I made was only by Calvin Leavy as a leader. Anyway I appreciate...

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