Nombre total de pages vues

jeudi 11 septembre 2014

DRIFTING SLIM/ ELMON MICKLE





DRIFTIN' SLIM/ ELMON MICKLE: Driftin' from Arkansas to California

         
   Aujourd'hui bien oublié sauf des habituels cercles d'amateurs de blues, Driftin' Slim nous laisse cependant une oeuvre relativement étoffée et de grande qualité.
            Né Elmon Mickle à Keo dans l'Arkansas le 24 février 1919, il a appris très jeune la guitare et l'harmonica, favorisant surtout ce dernier instrument sous l'influence de John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson qu'il rencontre à plusieurs reprises, qui lui montre comment souffler dans un harmonica et qui restera d'ailleurs son maître tout au long de sa carrière et dont il reprendra nombre de compositions.
            Installé à Little Rock, Elmon joue avec les bluesmen locaux comme Robert Nighthawk, Rice Miller tout en travaillant aux chemins de fer de l'Arkansas. Il participe aussi à plusieurs émissions de radio, notamment avec les excellents harmonicistes de Country Music Lonnie Glosson et Wayne Raney dont il s'inspirera aussi.
            En 1952, Mickle forme son propre blues band local avec Junior Brooks, Baby Face Turner et Sunny Blair. Chargé par Joe Bihari et Sam Phillips de trouver des bluesmen de talent, c'est le tout jeune Ike Turner qui débusque Mickle et le fait enregistrer sous le nom bien plus évocateur de Drifting Slim. Les disques semblent s'être vendus modérément mais permettent cependant à Elmon d'élargir son audience et de se produire un peu partout dans le Sud. Pour avoir de meilleures conditions de vie et de travail, Mickle s'installe à Los Angeles en 1957
            Là, il enregistre sporadiquement sous son nom ou celui de T-Model Slim, en particulier une version de Flat foot Sam de T.V. Slim qui a un certain succès local. Mais pour l'essentiel, il grave des 45t pour de petits labels locaux, parfois sa propre compagnie fondée avec son amie Ernie Pruitt. Pour des raisons économiques, Slim joue essentiellement en solo, s'accompagnant lui-même à la guitare, à l'harmonica et à la batterie actionnée par les pieds et ne se produit guère que dans des réunions privées.
            C'est grâce à la ténacité de Bruce Bromberg, Henry Vestine, Bob Hite (des Canned Heat) ainsi que de Frank Scott que Elmon Mickle/ T-Model Slim/ Driftin' Slim est retrouvé, un peu abasourdi de l'intérêt que lui portent ces jeunes gens blancs.
            Mais cette "redécouverte" lui permet de relancer sa carrière, de se produire sur scène et d'enregistrer un album entier pour le producteur Pete Welding. Plusieurs projets afin de le faire tourner en Europe sont échafaudés mais atteint d'un cancer, Elmon Mickle doit y renoncer et décède le 17 septembre 1977 à Los Angeles.
            Nous avons réuni ici la quasi-totalité des excellents enregistrements réalisés par Slim-Mickle sous ses différents pseudonymes, à l'exception de trois titres (en rouge dans la discographie)... Si quelque lecteur les possède, une copie serait grandement appréciée.
            Cet article s'appuie largement sur celui de Frank Scott paru dans le n° 40 de Blues Unlimited (janvier 1967)
                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT
De nombreux lecteurs me demandent comment ils pourraient témoigner de leur reconnaissance pour le travail fourni dans ce blog qui est entièrement gratuit et bénévole. Si je dois répondre: achetez mon dernier ouvrage sur le blues (PORTRAITS EN BLUES) en format Kindle (e-book d'Amazon). Vous pouvez installer le système qui lit ce format sur n'importe quelle tablette ou ordinateur sans problème. Ce faisant, vous allez me permettre de sortir plus tard une édition papier.

            A little bit forgotten today outside the usual blues buffs, Driftin' Slim leaves anyway a substantial enough recording works and certainly one of a high blues quality.
            Born Elmon Mickle on February, 24th 1919, he learned at a young age the guitar and the harmonica, his main instrument, under the very strong influence of John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson whom he met several times. This influence is particularly prevalent in his playing and his repertoire (many titles come from Sonny Boy's songbook).
            Living in Little Rock and working for the local railroad company, Elmon formed his own blues band with such great musicians like Junior Brooks, Baby Face Turner, Sunny Blair... and appeared quite often in local radio programmes, sometime alongside Country Music harp masters Lonnie Glosson and Wayne Raney.
Little Rock, 1940's
            In 1952, Ike Turner, then a young talent scout for Joe Bihari and Sam Phillips went to Little Rock and decided to record Mickle, giving him the nickname Driftin' Slim. The records have gained a worldwide reputation today but at that time they went almost nowhere and Mickle/ Slim moved to California in 1957, seeking better paid job opportunities.
            There he will record sporadically for small outfits, sometimes his own and very often paying himself the studio fares and under different names like his own and T-Model Slim. One title, Flatfoot Sam that he borrowed from T.V. Slim enjoyed a small local airplay. But for the most part Mickle played for private parties and rarely appeared in clubs. And for economical reasons, he performed mostly as a one-man band, playing harp with a rack, guitar and a kit drums with his feet.
            It will take the interest of a bunch of young local blues fans, Henry Vestine and Bob Hite (from the blues-rock band Canned Heat), Bruce Bromberg and Frank Scott for Elmon to be "rediscovered" in 1966. He then appeared in several venues, recorded a whole album for Pete Welding. He had to tour Europe but a bad cancer prevented him to be able to do so. He died in Los Angeles on September 17th, 1977.
            We have gathered here (thanks to all who shared their records for that purpose) almost all his recording works. Three titles (in red in the discography) are still missing. Any copy would be strongly appreciated and would receive full credits.
            This article is largely based upon Frank Scott's excellent rendition of Slim career (Blues Unlimited n°40/ January 1967)
                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT


NEW LINKS:



Sorry but there was a mistaken track: 01. My little machine is in fact now:
41A. My little machine, a later version of the same title
The first version now is here:
01. My little machine
A lot of thanks to Marc (Fr) for correcting my mistake.

DRIFTING SLIM (Elmon Mickle)
Complete Recordings
(as: Drifting Slim, Harmonica Harry, T-Model Slim, Elmon Mickle)
Drifting Slim, vcl/hca; Junior Brooks, g; Baby Face Turner, g; Bill Russell, dms. Little Rock, Ark. novembre 1951
01. My little machine
02. Down South blues
Drifting Slim, vcl/hca; Sunny Blair, hca; Ike Turner, pno; Baby Face Turner, g; Bill Russell, dms. Little Rock, Ark. mars 1952
03. Good morning baby (blues)
04. My sweet woman
05. Shout sister shout
06. You're an old Lady
07. I feel so good
Drifting Slim, vcl/hca; Phillip Walker, g; Bobby Tinsley, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. novembre 1959
08. Flat foot Sam
09. I got to get some money
10. Lonesome highway
11. Jackson blues
Drifting Slim, vcl/hca/g; Ernie Pruitt, vcl; dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 1960
12. Whatever you're doing, keep on doing to me
13. Short'n'fat
Drifting Slim, hca; Ernie Pruitt, vcl; band. Los Angeles, Ca. 1962
Nothing but the blues (Independant walk) although frequently credited to Slim is in fact by AC-DC Current Swingers
14. Short and fat
Drifting Slim, vcl/hca; Jack Wall, g; bs; dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 1966
15. Shake your boogie
16. Good morning little schoolgirl
17. Jackson, Tennessee
18. T-Model Ford
19. Burnt out
Drifting Slim, vcl/hca; Philip Walker, g; Adolph Jacobs, g; bs; Jesse Price, dms. Los Angeles, mai 1966
20. Somebody voodooed the hoodoo man
21. You're growing old Lady
Drifting Slim, vcl/hca; Little Boyd, hca; poss; Philip Walker, g; Ken Walk, g; bs; Jesse Price, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. juin 1966
22. Short and Fat
23. Woman's the glory of a man
24. 15 years my love was in vain
25. Take my hand
26. Flat Foot Sam always in a jam I
27. Flat Foot Sam always in a jam II
28. Oh baby
29. Sit there mama
30. Sir C Lee
31. Black gal
32. Whose mule is that in my stable?
Drifting Slim, vcl/hca/g/dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 3 décembre 1966
33. Jonah
34. How many more years?
35. Mama blues
36. I'm hunting somebody
37. Standing around crying
38. Jack o'Diamonds
39. This world is none of my home
40. A drip of snuff and a narrow escape
41. Till I got sixteen
41A. My little machine
Drifting Slim, vcl/hca. Los Angeles, Ca. 13 janvier 1967
42. Slow train to Arkansas
43. T-Model and the train
Drifting Slim, vcl/hca; Jack Wall, g; Ike Parker, bs; Guy Jones, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 26 juin 1967
44. Jackson blues (Jackson, Tennessee)
45. Hoodoo man blues
46. Give an account
47. Mama don't tear my clothes
48. Christine blues
Drifting Slim, vcl/hca; J.D. Nicholson, pno; Buddy Reed, g; Greg Schaefer, g; Jerry Smith, bs; Dick Innes, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 16 novembre 1969
Don't start me to talkin' (unissued)

23 commentaires:

  1. Ce commentaire a été supprimé par l'auteur.

    RépondreSupprimer
  2. OK, good one Gerard, many thanks as always.

    Bob

    RépondreSupprimer
  3. Don't know if problem is at my end or your end Gerard but can't d/l CD1. Got CD2 already but can't seem to get CD1. Keep getting error message..

    RépondreSupprimer
    Réponses
    1. I have tried to download CD 1... No problem at all???
      http://www28.zippyshare.com/v/29451973/file.html

      Supprimer
  4. Thank for your great downloads through the years. Always great for a blues fan like me. //Roffe

    RépondreSupprimer
  5. Gerard

    Thanks for Driftin' Slim - nice dose of low down blues.

    RépondreSupprimer
  6. Thanks for this great collection Gérard , i had most of the songs but the sound here is great and i missed a few ones .
    i Believe there's 1 little error : Track 1 of CD 1 " My Little Machine" isn't the 1951 version , it is the 1967 version of the Milestone Lp .

    Congratulations pour PORTRAITS EN BLUES , j'ai installé Kindle sans problèmes sur mon I-mac et en plus avec mon mot de passe d'amazon je peux le lire sur n'importe quelle ordinateur .

    Merci pour tout !
    marc(fr)

    RépondreSupprimer
    Réponses
    1. Thank you very much Marc... I can't figure how I've made such a blatant mistake. I'l try to correct this one way or another
      Merci pour Portraits en blues. L'essor du livre électronique permet de publier des textes que l'édition "normale" pense non rentable pour être sous forme papier

      Supprimer
  7. I am not a musician or even especially knowledgable about the structure and components of music. Although I love the blues, my knowledge and appreciation of it is largely predicated on my gut; that is, what moves me. I don't have the historical knowlege of the blues that so many who comment here have. In brief, if my ears like it, then I add it to my collection. Still, I have been listening to the music for forty five years since I bought, at age fourteen, my first blues album by Little Walter and was dumbstruck by the sounds he elicited from his mouth harp. But here's the deal, each post brings more happiness to my days; the joy of getting lost in the music and reveling in the feeling. Add to that the extensive historical knowledge you provide and I exit the blog much more knowledgeable and deeply satisfied than I was when I accessed it. You make the music and musicians live again and add import to the lives of so many little-known musicians. I wonder if they ever envisioned that all these years later their music would be appreciated with the seriousness with which classic music is valued and enjoyed by such a diveree and far-flung world-wide audience. Not to mention preserved and celebrated by people outside of their native country.

    Thank you for the incredible work you do but more importantly for spreading the joy and appreciation for the artistry of the music. The music makes my mind content, my mood joyful, and my feet tap rhymically and reflexively, and above all creates a sublime feeling that always leaves me with a huge smile on my face and a deep appreciation of the art amd nusician that provide such a profound satisfaction within me. I suppose to feel happy after listening to the blues is somewhat of an oxymoron but then again my musical gut has never been rational. I wish that my knowledge of French were better so I could write my thanks in that language but for now, English will have to suffice. Thank you so much for the effort to enrich so many lives.

    RépondreSupprimer
    Réponses
    1. "Merci beaucoup" Many thanks, Felimid, for your nice comments. I then feel that this work is useful...

      Supprimer
  8. Thank you. I think being a connoisseur of blues and did not know this artist!
    Shame!!
    Excellent. There is always something new (old) to learn.
    Thanks again
    Pablo Crossroads

    RépondreSupprimer
  9. Gerard, I've been scouring your blog. Stunning is the only word that comes to mind. Not only for the discs but, and above all, for the information attached thereto. I have a on line blues radio show (but this year I have been off line because I have not have time available to do), but I always try to add data to the blues I present. I find a way to complete the sound informing where, when, with whom, as recorded something, and their reports will be undoubtedly a great contribution for next year.
    Thanks for all
    Pablo Crossroads

    RépondreSupprimer
    Réponses
    1. Thanks Pablo. I don't know if Spanish is your first language but if so have a look of the Spanish version of my Gran Encyclopedia del Blues for more blues infos.

      Supprimer
    2. No sabía que había versión en castellano. Como puedo conseguirla?
      Never knew there was an Spanish version. As I can get it?

      Supprimer
    3. Just click on the picture of the book (on the right side of the blog) or go to any online bookshop (i.e; Amazon.sp for instance)

      Supprimer
    4. OK Gderard. Thanks. Convenceré a mis hijos de que es un buen regalo para hacerme por mi cumpleaños (28/10) jaja
      I will try to convince my kids that is a good gift for my birthday jeje

      Supprimer
  10. Thank you yet again Gerard!

    I loaned a book to a friend recently and was talking to him about it and was thinking about you and your work and was wondering did you ever read Elijah Wald's book Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues? If so, what did you think of it?

    Marineband

    RépondreSupprimer
    Réponses
    1. Yes, marineband, excellent and thoughtful book by one of the best US blues writer. I agree a lot of what Elijah says.

      Supprimer
  11. wonderful, many thanks indeed for sharing

    RépondreSupprimer
  12. Would be very grateful if you someday find time to reup these recordings. Thanks in advance and thank you for everything you do! /Mike

    RépondreSupprimer
    Réponses
    1. New Links for Drifting Slim:
      CD1: http://www20.zippyshare.com/v/7LO3mIB0/file.html

      CD2:http://www20.zippyshare.com/v/DHPxgeXs/file.html

      This is the last time I'll re-up those links. So grab it now if you wish to

      Supprimer