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samedi 6 avril 2024

JOHNNY "BIG MOOSE" WALKER/ 1955-84

 

 

JOHNNY "BIG MOOSE" WALKER/ 1955-84

 

         


  Because he recorded under many names (Big Moose, Bushy Head, Moose John, J.W. Walker and at last Johnny "Big Moose" Walker), in cities as diverse as Saint Louis, Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Johnny Mayon Walker was a shadowy figure for a long time.

            Born in Stoneville, Ms, near Greenville on 27 June 1927 from a Cherokee mother and a father who was a musical preacher, Johnny learned as a young age guitar, piano, harmonica and bass, playing the blues more than the church songs of his father. He started to play on stage with Cleanhead Love and was a regular player at the famous radio programme King Biscuit Time, playing drums or keyboards behind Joe Willie Wilkins or Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller). After a two years stint serving Uncle Sam in Korea (and playing piano at an officer's club), Johnny Walker cut his first four tracks on November 1955 in Saint Louis produced and backed by Ike Turner and his band. Unfortunately, the session remained unissued until the 70's. Later on in 1955, he waxed two tracks for the tiny Ultra (a Johnny Otis) label under the moniker of Moose John. Those tracks although issued went nowhere. But by now Moose John or Big Moose was a well known figure among blues musicians. He so toured awhile as the piano player of Lowell Fulson, Elmore James (which whom he would record in New York under the name of Bushy Head!) before relocating in Chicago. There he became a long time member of Earl Hooker's band, recording a lot behind his leader but also Junior Wells, A.C. Reed, Lilian Offitt, Ricky Allen, Jackie Brenston, Magic Sam, Muddy Waters and Curtis Jones (playing a good lead guitar for Jones' Bluesville session) and sometimes also as a leader. At last, in 1969, John recorded a very good Bluesway album with great backing by Earl Hooker. A decade later, Walker cut four magnificent tracks (his best ones to my ears, Sunnyland Train being a masterpiece) for the renowned Alligator's Living Chicago Blues series.

           


Now recognized as an important bluesman, Big Moose toured a lot, appearing in festivals and concerts in the USA as well as overseas, recording a good album in France and then an odd (but quite good) session alone on the 88s. He recorded another last album for JSP in 1992 which is currently easily available.

            Unfortunately, Johnny shortly after that suffered a stroke that prevented him to play again, bringing him on a nursing home. He died in Chicago on November 27, 1999.

            Here are gathered all his studio recordings from 1955 to 1984. Thanks a lot to all who helped with this project, particularly Bluzbug, Tom Thumb and Kansas Joe.

            Also a lot of thanks to Sebastian Danchin, Bob Eagle and Bill Dahl with their researches and interviews with Big Moose that I used on this article.

                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

JOHNNY "BIG MOOSE" WALKER/ Discography

Thanks to Tom Thumb here is another (rare) track from the very first Big Moose session: 

WALKERJBM04A Why won't you be true

 

jeudi 21 mars 2024

ALBERT KING/. Early recordings 1953-71

 

ALBERT KING/ Early recordings 1953-71



 Tandis qu'à partir des années 60, le blues connaissait une très forte éclipse auprès des communautés noires américaines au profit d'autres formes de chanson populaire, Albert King fut un des seuls bluesmen à s'imposer dans les Hit Parades de musique noire, pénétrés de Soul puis de Disco! Ce géant taciturne, tirant sur une éternelle pipe, semblant écraser entre ses mains une guitare Gibson-Flying V, est né Albert Nelson (ou Blevins ou Gilmore) à Indianola (Ms) le 25 avril 1923 et a commencé comme conducteur de tracteur près ed Forest City (Arkansas). Il joue de la batterie dans les tavernes rurales, apprend assez tard la guitare sous l' influence de Elmore James et Robert Nighthawk. Vers 1950, il est à Gary, Indiana, où il travaille dans une aciérie tout en fréquentant la copieuse scène locale du blues, notamment avec John Brim ou Jimmy Reed avant de jouer en vedette sous le nom de Albert King, afin de se faire passer pour le demi-frère de B.B.
            En 1953, grâce à John Brim, Albert King fait des débuts discographiques de facture très rurale sur le label Chess. Mais c'est en s'installant à Saint Louis qu'il prend véritablement son style personnel. La scène musicale de la ville est dominée par des orchestres de jazz populaire auxquels s'intègre remarquablement Albert King. Il pratique alors un style de guitare électrique simple mais fluide, plein de vibratos et d'effets de glissandos, qui se marie parfaitement avec des sections rythmiques étoffées et des riffs de cuivres. Il enregistre abondamment dans cette manière pour le label Bobbin et connaît un succès local avec Don't throw your love on me so strong, ce qui attire l'attention du label de Memphis, Stax, spécialisé dans la Soul sudiste, mais à la recherche d'un bluesman ouvert aux sonorités contemporaines et qui plairait à un public noir sudiste toujours friand de blues.
            C'est chez Stax et à Memphis qu'Albert, accompagné de certains des meilleurs musiciens de studio de l'époque (Steve Cropper et Booker T. Jones), donne la pleine mesure de son talent. Il réussit à vendre constamment des disques à la clientèle noire (Laundromat blues, Crosscut saw, As the years go passing by). Parallèlement, Albert King réussit à séduire aussi le public blanc



américain et international grâce à sa prestation au Fillmore East, le temple du rock de San Francisco, en 1968 (immortalisé sur l'albumLive wire/ Blues power /Stax). Dès lors, plusieurs superstars du rock lui rendent de nombreux hommages: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page... Sur le plan artistique, la période Stax d'Albert King est particulièrement impressionnante avec une série d'albums tout à fait remarquables: I'll play the blues for you, I wanna get funky, Lovejoy .... superbement arrangés entre blues, Soul et Funk et au feeling fantastique qui comptent parmi les meilleurs disques de blues des années 70.
            Après la faillite inattendue de Stax en 1974, Albert King continue à enregistrer pour d'autres labels comme Tomato mais sans la magie de l'équipe Stax, ne retrouve plus la même réussite artistique et commerciale. Il lui faudra attendre dix ans de plus et le coup de pouce de Gary Moore, un guitariste de hard rock reconverti au blues, pour qu'il revienne au premier plan. Albert continuera à se produire sur les scènes du monde entier. Mais avec l'âge, et bien qu'il ait donné des concerts mémorables (notamment à Montreux), ses prestations scéniques sont souvent gâchées par une tendance presque maniaque à constamment régler la sono (avec son propre tournevis!) et eng... ses musiciens.
            Albert décède d'une crise cardique le 21 décembre 1992 à Memphis (Tn), façonnant auprès d'un public nouveau et de plus en plus jeune, sa stature de géant du blues moderne.

                                     Gérard HERZHAFT

            






            During the 60's and 70's, Albert King stood as one of the very few bluesmen to have Hits on the Top 40's otherwise filled with Soul and Disco.
            This tall man of few words, constantly smoking a pipe even on stage, always seeming to crush a Flying V-Gibson between his huge hands was born Albert Nelson (or Blevins or Gilmore) in Indianola (Ms) on April, 25th 1923. While driving a tractor on a plantation near Forest City (Arkansas), he started to play drums and only lately guitar in watching Elmore James and Robert Nighthawk on local juke joints. He came to Gary (Indiana) to work in a plant and then started to play blues in clubs behind Gary bluesmen like John Brim or Jimmy Reed before launching his own career under the name Albert King, letting people believe he was half brother of B.B. King.
            Thanks to his friend John Brim, Albert started a recording career for Chess in 1953, a very down home session that couldn't let guess in which direction he was going. This is in fact only while relocated in Saint Louis that he took his own characteristic style, mixing his really down home approach with jazz bands and arrangements. His guitar playing is simple but rich with many finger sliding and vibrato effects with a lot of silences that catch the attention of the listener to what note would he play next. He recorded many sessions with big bands for the Bobbin label and hit locally with Don't throw your love on me so strong in 1961 that directly led him to Memphis and a contract with the fledgling Stax label that wanted for its roster a bluesman opened to contemporary sounds who would please a Southern African American public still faithful to the blues.
            Stax surrounded Albert with some of the very best studio musicians of the time (Steve Cropper, Booker T., The Memphis Horns etc..), turning his blues towards funky arrangements. The success came quickly with a string of hits like Laundromat blues, Crosscut saw, As the years go passing by. But thanks to some stage performances like his memorable Fillmore East appearance, Albert also managed to draw the attention of the blues rock audience of the late 60's/ early 70's, influencing many rock stars like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck or Jimmy Page. He then waxed several masterful albums, full of invention and feeling, that still stand as some of the very best blues of the early 1970's: I'll play the blues for you (a huge Top 40 hit), I wanna get Funky, Lovejoy...
            After the collapse of Stax in 1974, Albert recorded for other labels like Tomato but without the clever and tasteful hanf of the Stax team behind him, most of those albums - while still good blues anyway but very often too heavy arranged - can't be compared to the sheer brilliancy of his previous works. After some lean years, Albert started up again during the 1980's with some very good Californian albums and the help of blues-rock star Gary Moore.
            He also toured constantly the world over. But with the years, although Albert could still deliver very nice performances on a good day, many of his shows were often marred by his tendency to adjust the sound (with his own screwdriver) and bawl his musicians sometimes for half of his set.
            He unexpectedly died of an heart attack in Memphis on December, 21st, 1992, being hailed as a true giant of modern blues.
            

                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT


mercredi 6 mars 2024

JAMES COTTON 1953-68

 

JAMES COTTON/ 1953-68

 

 


Si James Cotton jouit aujourd'hui à juste titre d'une réputation de légende vivante et figure au Panthéon des grands harmonicistes de blues, cela n'était certainement pas le cas lorsqu'au début des années 60 le petit cercle d'amateurs de blues européens le découvrit.

         Cotton n'était alors essentiellement connu qu'en tant que remplaçant de Little Walter au sein de l'orchestre de Muddy Waters, et pas forcément à son avantage!

         Né le 1er juillet 1935 à Tunica dans le Mississippi, James Cotton apprend très jeune à jouer de l'harmonica en écoutant les disques de John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson que son oncle lui prêtait et l'émission de radio King Biscuit Time dans laquelle officiait Sonny Boy "Rice Miller" Williamson. Persuadé que Rice Miller était le Sonny Boy des disques, Cotton convainc son oncle d'aller le voir. Flatté, Miller prend l'adolescent sur la route avec lui et Cotton le remplace sur scène (ou derrière le rideau selon les lieux étant donné son jeune âge) quand Sonny Boy est trop imbibé pour jouer. Lorsque Miller part soudainement vers le Nord, Cotton se retrouve embauché à Memphis par Joe Hill Louis puis Howlin' Wolf. Dans le groupe, Cotton noue une amitié durable avec les frères Murphy (Floyd et Matt), Pat Hare, Junior Parker, Willie Johnson... Presque naturellement, Sam Phillips enregistre James sur Sun, deux 78t de R & B de très bon niveau mais dans lesquels Cotton ne joue pas d'harmonica et qui ne se vendront guère.

        


James gagne Chicago au milieu des années 50. Lorsque Muddy Waters licencie Big Walter Horton de son orchestre à cause de ses nombreuses inconséquences, James Cotton devient l'harmoniciste du groupe. Une fonction qu'il conservera une dizaine d'années. Cotton enregistre abondamment avec Muddy Waters et se fait ainsi connaître du grand public. Au début, il semble quelque peu gêné par la présence occulte de ses grands prédécesseurs (Little Walter notamment, au style très différent). Mais il développe peu à peu un jeu d'harmonica, bien plus terrien que celui des Walters, swinguant, tout en puissance et finalement extrêmement efficace.

         Lorsque Muddy emmène James avec lui en Angleterre, l'infatigable jazzman britannique Chris Barber en profite pour enregistrer James, huit titres qui ne paraîtront qu'en Europe sur deux 45t EP. Malgré un accompagnement laborieux et peu inspiré, cette séance de 1961 permet à Cotton de prouver l'étendue de ses talents d'harmoniciste et de chanteur. L'influence de John Lee Williamson est alors écrasante autant dans les trois morceaux qu'il lui emprunte que dans le reste.

         Cette escapade anglaise a permis à Cotton de s'aviser qu'un public blanc et international s'intéressait de plus en plus au blues et qu'il y avait là une opportunité à saisir. De retour à Chicago, Cotton se rapproche de la petite fraternité de jeunes fans de blues qui gravitent autour de Paul Butterfield et Mike Bloomfield et il se produit avec eux dans plusieurs campus universitaires et clubs du North Side, montrant au passage pas mal de "plans" à Butterfield. Quelques titres enregistrés au cours de ces prestations nous sont parvenus avec un Cotton particulièrement en verve. Sa voix chaude, grasseyante se marie merveilleusement à son harmonica et autant Butterfield en second harmonica que Mike Bloomfield (ou Elvin Bishop?) à la guitare montrent leur réelle empathie avec le vrai blues.

        
En 1964, Cotton partage un microsillon produit par Sam Charters avec les autres membres du Muddy Waters blues band mais le LP est uniquement attribué à Otis Spann. Après un 45t pour Cadillac Baby dans lequel c'est Little Mack qui joue de l'harmonica (!), Cotton retrouve Charters et les autres musiciens de Muddy Waters pour cinq magnifiques titres qui paraissent dans la célèbre anthologie Chicago/ The blues today.

         Finalement, James se décide à tenter une carrière personnelle, forme son propre blues band avec Sammy Lawhorn à la guitare, le temps d'enregistrer un nouveau (et excellent) 45t pour le label Loma en 1966.

         Il lui faudra attendre l'année suivante (1967) pour enfin graver son premier album sous son nom sur le label Verve qui sera suivi de beaucoup d'autres.

         Etant devenu un bluesman légendaire et de premier plan, James Cotton est décédé le 16 mars 2017 à Austin (Tx).

                                                        Gérard HERZHAFT

 

        


If today James Cotton stands rightfully as a living legend and as one of the leading stalwarts of the Chicago blues harmonica style, it has not always been the case. In the early 60's for instance when Europe discovered the blues, Cotton was chiefly considered as a so so substitute to Little Walter in the Muddy Waters' blues band. And he will have to fight hard to stand out as his own.

         Born on a plantation near Tunica, Ms. July 1st, 1935, James learned at a very early age to play the harmonica while listening to his uncle's huge record collection, particularly the 78s of John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson and the King Biscuit Time's radio programme from Helena (Arkansas) that was led by the "other" Sonny Boy Williamson, Rice Miller.

         The uncle like the nephew, persuaded - like many others - that there was only one Sonny Boy, went to see his show, chatted and playing with him. Some time after, the young James was taken under the not so protective wing of Rice Miller who used him as a valet as well as a replacement on stage (or behind a curtain, Cotton being still too young to play in most of the joints) when he was too whiskey-soaked to stand up. When Sonny Boy dropped everything suddenly to go North with his new wife, Cotton tried to maintain the band for awhile but it was a too hard task for such a young man and he instead settled in Memphis, playing in several blues bands, particularly Howlin Wolf's. As almost every blues act around Memphis, Phillips recorded twice James Cotton, four nice R&B tracks with stunning Pat Hare's guitar parts but no trace of harp blowing.

         James went to Chicago in the mid-50's, playing with almost everybody. At that time, Muddy was looking for a new harp player, Little Walter being already a star on his own and Big Walter proving he had a not reliable enough behaviour to play regularly with a busy touring band. And James was very reliable, so he took the place, a role that he would keep for more than a decade. And Cotton recorded widely with Muddy in a very different style than the Walters, more down-home, almost "Country", always Sonnyboyesque and more and more swinging, forceful and effective.

         When Muddy brought James with him for a tour of Great Britain, the indefatigable British jazz band leader Chris Barber took the opportunity to record him as a leader. Despite a very uninspired and pedestrian backing band, this 1961 session is very rewarding. Cotton proves his talents with his harmonica during eight titles with a very strong John Lee Williamson's influence.

         During this British adventure, Cotton realized that there was a new public outside the black ghettos for the blues. Back to Chicago, Cotton was more and more involved in the Blues Revival fledgling movement, beginning a friendship with the young white bluesmen like Paul Butterfield and Mike Bloomfield and playing with them on college campuses and North Side clubs. Some tracks recorded during those kind of venues had reached us, featuring a very masterful Cotton in this acoustic setting.

         In 1964, Sam Charters recorded five tracks by Cotton as a leader with the current Muddy Waters' band but the album was attributed only to Otis Spann. After a 45 for Cadillac Baby (in which Little Mack plays the harp, not James!), Cotton recorded another session for Charters with Spann and others, a stunning session that would be issued on the famed Chicago/ The blues today series, doing a lot to establish Cotton's reputation.

         At that time, Cotton finally tried to lead his own band enrolling the great Sammy Lawhorn on lead guitar. They recorded a masterful 45 for the Loma label in 1966.

         Cotton will have to wait 1967 to sign a contract with the Verve label and at last record his first album under his name which would be followed by many more. And this is as a legendary and highly praised bluesman and harmonica player that James Cotton died in Austin (Tx) on 16 March 2017

                                               Gérard HERZHAFT

 COTTON discography 1953-68

lundi 26 février 2024

CAL GREEN/ Blues Guitar Masters Volume 11

 

 

 

CAL GREEN/ Blues Guitar Masters Volume 11

 

           


Cal Green was born in Dayton, Tx. on June 22nd 1935 but moved at a very early age to Houston. His mother who played spiritual taught him (as well to her elder son Clarence Green) the guitar and how to read music. As a teenager Cal saw his recording idol Gatemouth Brown who encouraged him to go further on guitar. So, Cal decided to make a living with his music.

            Quickly, Cal who had become a very versatile guitar player, able to play any kind of music, became in demand in cubs, venues and recording studios. He is featured as a sideman on many Texas blues and R&B records by Quinton Kimble, Connie McBooker, Big Mama Thornton etc... In 1954, he got the job of being the lead guitar player of Hank Ballard and The Midnighters who were becoming a big name in R&B. Cal so was constantly on the road and in studios. Cal has plenty of solos on most of Ballard's records, influencing many Rock'n'roll and rockabilly guitarists like Sleepy La Beef. Cal Green even managed to cut a couple of singles under his name that, though excellent, didn't sell too much. In 1959, Cal Green and Hank Ballard co-wrote The Twist that reached n°4 in the Billboard but went to be a monster international hit when Chubby Checker waxed it some months later, launching one of the most famous and still popular dance through the decades and until now!

            But the things suddenly turned bad for Cal who was framed for drug possession and served a 21 months jail sentence! During his time, Cal played with a band of convicts who were mostly in jazz and Green became a good Kenny Burrell's disciple! Out of jail, Cal moved to California, played with Gatemouth Brown, then El Paso playing with Long John Hunter before joining for two years Brother Jack McDuff's band in New York! There he played with many fellow jazz musicians like George Benson and Lou Donaldson.

            Back in Los Angeles, Cal made a good living as a sideman and studio musician, recording a lot behind musicians of all genres. He also recorded sporadically under his name, some singles and a jazz album (Trippin'). Some of his own records having been reissued for the new blues audiences from all over the world, Cal gained the interest of this public. He was featured on several blues magazines namely Living Blues n° 24 with a in-depth essay by Dick Shurman. Cal then came back to his blues roots and recorded a great album in 1988 that led him to tour in the USA and abroad.

            Cal Green died in his home of Lake View Terrace, Ca. on 4 July 2004.

            This post gathers all the recordings he made under his name.

                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

 

CAL GREEN, vcl/g; Mark Patterson, tpt; Wilbert Dyer, a-sax; Jimmy Moore, t-sax; Danny Bank, b-sax; Ivory Joe Hunter, pno; Menth Martin, bs; George DeHurt, dms. New York City, 23 may 1956

01. I can hear my baby calling

02. The search is all over

Cal Green, vcl/g; Mark Patterson, tpt; Jimmy Moore, t-sax; Jimmy Johnson, pno; James Fisher, bs; George DeHurt, dms. Cincinnati, Oh. 14 january 1958

03. The big push


04. Green's blues

Cal Green, vcl/g; band. Houston, Tx. 1960

05. Huffing and puffing

06. Honky Tonk

07. Sawdust floor

Cal Green, vcl/g; band. Houston, Tx. 1962

08. Fast times in Houston

09. I knew I was wrong

10. All that slow jazz got me blue

Cal Green, vcl/g; The Specials, band. Los Angeles, Ca. 1965

11. I'll give you just a little more time

12. Stormy

13. Spanky

Cal Green, vcl/g; Charles Kynard, pno/org; Tracy Wright, bs; Billy Moore, dms/perc. Los Angeles, Ca. 1969

14. Days of wine and roses

15. Johnny goes to Vietnam

16. Mellow in blues

17. My Cherie amour

18. Sieda

19. Sweet september

20. Trippin'

Cal Green, g; band. Houston, Tx. 1972

21. Revolution rap I & II

Cal Green, vcl/g; Sammy D., t-sax; William Clarke, hca; Chuck Rowan, pno/org; Mike Saucier, bs; Roscoe Riley, dms. Hollywood, Ca. march 1988

22. What makes your pretty head so hard?

23. You don't know how it feels

24. Big leg woman

25. Greasy spoon

26. White pearl

27. 24 hours a day

28. Back where it used to be

29. Just want to make love to you

30. Mister silk

 

 

jeudi 15 février 2024

ROY MILTON/ The Later Years (1956-69)

 

ROY MILTON/ The Later Years (1956-69)

 

           


Between 1945 and 1953, Roy Milton and his band were extremely popular among the afro-American public. R.M. Blues, Milton's boogie, Rainy day, Best wishes, Confession blues and Them there eyes made it to the top of the national charts. R.M. Blues was even number one on the West Coast for almost all 1946.

            Born Roy Bunny Milton in Wynnewood, Ok. on 31st July 1907 in a wealthy family with native American grandparents, he moved to Tulsa and was strongly influenced by the pre-swing bands of the era. He joined Ernie Fields band as a drummer and singer during the 1920's. After moving permanently to Los Angeles in 1933, Roy formed his own band, the Solid Senders which gathered some of the most brilliant musicians of the West Coast like the pianist Camille Howard. They recorded Milton's boogie on the Miltone label (owned by Roy of course) but he get a big break in 1945 with R.M. Blues that led him to a contract with Art Rupe's Specialty label. He then recorded prolifically for Specialty, touring from coast to coast with some of the best bands of the era. A witty composer, a dynamic singer, and a driving showman Roy and his band became one of the favorite R&B band of the late 1940's, contributing greatly to define the genre.

            But after 1953, R&B became less and less in favor among the African American public and although Milton was certainly one of the Rock n'Roll forerunner he, unlike Big Joe Turner, never was recognized as such and didn't enjoy the interest of the younger generation, least of all the European blues buffs. After 1955, he struggled to live with his music, recording only sporadically during the 1960's. He enjoyed a kind of recognition when his old friend Johnny Otis took him with his band at the Monterrey Jazz Festival and recorded him a whole LP in 1969. Milton would tour Europe during the 1970's, recording an excellent album for Black & Blue. I had the chance to see him during his 1977 tour of France and he was still a great entertainer leading a wonderful band with, among others, Roy Gaines and Billy Butler.

            Roy died in Los Angeles on 16th September 1983.

            His early and Specialty works are largely reissued, particularly on the Ace label but his later recordings (1956-69) are much more difficult to get although they are still very good with great musicianship all over. We have thus tried to gather most of them minus two tracks.

                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT

 

 


Roy Milton, vcl/dms; Walter Williams, tpt; Harvey Braxton, a-sax; Clifford Salomon, t-sax; Oscar estelle, b-sax; Emmanuel Kennebrew, pno; Johnny Rogers, g; Lawrence Kato, bs. Cincinnati, Oh. 17 october 1956

01. You're gonna suffer (vcl: Iñez Coleman)

02. One zippy zam

03. Succotash

Roy Milton, vcl/dms; Walter Williams, tpt; Harvey Braxton, a-sax; Clifford Salomon, t-sax; Oscar estelle, b-sax; Emmanuel Kennebrew, pno; Johnny Rogers, g; Lawrence Kato, bs. Los Angeles, Ca. 27 february 1957

04. I'm grateful

05. Skid row (King)

Roy Milton, vcl/dms; Walter Williams, tpt; Harvey Braxton, a-sax; Clifford Salomon, t-sax; Oscar estelle, b-sax; Emmanuel Kennebrew, pno; Johnny Rogers, g; Lawrence Kato, bs. Cincinnati, Oh. 2 july 1957

06. Rocking pneumonia and booge wogie flu

07. A brand new thrill

08. R.M. blues 1957

09. Jeep's blues

Roy Milton, vcl/dms; band. New York City, 16 july 1960

10. Early in the morning

11. Bless your heart

12. Red light (Warwick)

13. So tired

14. Best wishes

15. RM blues 1960

Roy Milton, vcl/dms; Roy Gaines, g; band. Los Angeles, Ca. 1961

16. Come home when you're thru

17. Baby you don't know

18. I wonder

19. Hop skip jump

20. I can't go on

Thelma Lou

How was I to know?

Roy Milton, vcl/dms; band. Los Angeles, Ca. 1963

21. Driveway blues

22. I'm forgettin' about you

Roy Milton, vcl/dms; Charles Gillum, tpt; Jackie Kelso, a-sax; James Jackson, t-sax; Leon Blue, pno; Junior Ryder, g; La La Wilso, bs. Los Angeles, Ca. 1964

23. You could have kissed me goodbye

24. Have it your way

Roy Milton, vcl/dms; band. Los Angeles, Ca. 1967

25. Miss you so

26. A true confession

Roy Milton, vcl; Larry Reed, pno; Shuggie Otis, g/og/bs; Melvin Moore, tpt; Preston Love, t-sax; Jackie Kelso, a-sax; Johnny Otis, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 1969

27. Best wishes

28. Hop skip and jump

29. I got a big fat mama

30. Information blues

31. R.M. blues

32. Red light

33. Roy’s boogie

34. Roy’s groove

35. So tired

 

mardi 30 janvier 2024

NEW YORK CITY/ The Blues Yesterday/ Vol. 9

 

NEW YORK CITY/ The Blues Yesterday/ Volume 9

 

           


Let's start this New York City/ The Blues Yesterday Volume 9 with the very underrated singer and guitarist Dickie Thompson. Although he is mostky known for being the creator of Thirteen Women which would become a classic R&R tune thanks to an expurgated Bill Haley's version, Dickie was much more than that. Born in Jersey City, NJ on 13 December 1917, James Edward Thompson first played ukulele but switched to guitar around 15 years old, largey influenced by some friends and later by Bill Jennings' records, particularly Jennings' work behind Bill Doggett. During the 1940's to the 60's, Thompson made himself a name in New York City as a trustworthy and talented sideman, playing jazz or R&B with the same efficiency behind Cozy Cole, Lawrence Brown, Sam Woodward, Wild Bill Davis, Clifford Scott, Harry Edison, Johnny Hodges, Dinah Washington etc... He also will be the lead guitarist of famed singer Jackie Wilson and the Jonah Jones Quintett. Thompson managed to make some R&B records as a leader but the success eluded him and he confessed he was anyway more at ease as a sideman than in front of a band. But his own records are mostly very good and Thirteen women could have been a hit but the lyrics seemed to risqué to the ears of the DJ of that time and the song was rewritten by (or for) Bill Haley, replacing the "only man" with thirteen women in a context of an H-Bomb survival!!! This edulcorated version would be recorded by numerous artists like Ann Margret, Dinah Shore, Danny Gatton etc... After a long career as a musician in New York City

and touring across the nation and overseas, Dickie Thompson retired in the sunny Tucson in 1991, playing around town quite often and becoming a local legend. He died in Tucson on 22 February 2007. I have tried to gather all his recordings but unfortunately some are very rare. If anyone got them and would share, it would be great!

            I must say I don't know nothing about blues belter Bob Marshall who recorded 12 fine sides in 1949-50, some as vocalist of the Cozy Cole's Orchestra. All infos are much needed and welcome!

            Joey Thomas (Joseph Thomas Jr who not must confused with band leader Joe Thomas) has fortunatley an entry on the essential book Blues/ A Regional Experience (by Eric Leblanc and Bob eagle). He was born in Muskogee, Ok. on 23 December 1908 and relocated with his saxophonist brother Walter Thomas in New York City around 1930, recording with Jelly Roll Morton and a few tracks under his name. But he mostly made a career as an A&R man for Decca and RCA. Joey Thomas died in New York on 15 April 1997.

            That's all folks (from the time being)!

                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

DICKIE THOMPSON, vcl/g; Ted Bannon, pno; John Hardee, t-sax; Frank Skeete, bs; Gene Groves, dms. august 1946

01. Hand in hand blues

02. Tailor made girl

03. Swing song

04. Stardust

Dickie Thompson, vcl/g; Teddy Brannon, pno; Gene Groves, bs. New York City, september 1949

05. Gambler's blues

Dickie Thompson, vcl/g; Teddy Brannon, pno; Ray Abrams, t-sax; Aaron Bell, bs; Denzil Best, dms. Linden, NJ. october 1949

06. Don Newcomb really throws the ball

07. Everybody gets together

Dickie Thompson, vcl/g; Taft Jordan, tpt; Tyree Glenn, tb; Buddy Tate, t-sax; Cecil Payne, b-sax; Joe Black, pno; Aaron Bell, bs; Jimmy Crawford, dms. New York City, 21 september 1951

08. What's the reason?

09. Whiskey and gin

Dickie Thompson, vcl/g; Taft Jordan, tpt; Tyree Glenn, tb; Buddy Tate, t-sax; Cecil Payne, b-sax; Joe Black, pno; Aaron Bell, bs; Jimmy Crawford, dms. New York City, 22 avril 1952

If you got some place to go

If I can't wear the pants

Dickie Thompson, vcl/g; Zilla Mays, vcl; George Kelly, tpt; Grady Fats Jackson, t-sax; band. Atlanta, Ga. 1953

10. On the other side

Dickie Thompson, vcl/g; Mickey Baker, g; band. New York City, 1954

11. Thirteen women and one man

12. I'm innocent

Jockin'

If I hadn't been drunk

Dickie Thompson, g; George Kelly, t-sax; Earl Knight, pno; Barney Richmond, bs; Chink Hines, dms. New York City, 1959

13. Real zan-zee I & II

BOB MARSHALL, vcl; Joe Wilder, tpt; Big Nick Nicholas, t-sax; Cecil Payne, b-sax; June cole, pno; Billy Taylor Sr, bs; Cozy Cole, dms. New York City, 2 march 1949

14. Red light

15. Milk cow blues

16. Until I fell for you

The huckle buck

Bob Marshall, vcl; Shad Collins, tpt; Tony Faso, tpt; Mort Bullman, tb; Henderson Chambers, tb; Eddie Brown, t-sax; Sid Cooper, t-sax; Budd Johnson, t-sax; Art Drellinger, t-sax; Dave Mc Rae, b-sax; Billy Kyle, pno; Earl Barker, g; Bill Pemberton, bs; Bob Rosengarden, dms. New York City, 13 may 1949

17. Nine o'clock gal

18. That's the gal for me

Bob Marshall, vcl; Ray Parker, pno; band. New York City, january 1950

19. Call me darling

20. Just one more time

21. It's a great great pleasure

22. I'm going to live for today

Bob Marshall, vcl; Eddie Wilcox, pno; band. New York City, may 1950

23. I shouldn't love you

24. Are you lonesome tonight?

JOEY THOMAS, vcl/ldr; Frank Galbraith, tpt; Dickie Wells, tb; Walter Thomas, a-sax; Harry Johnson, t-sax; Andy Brown, b-sax; Bill Doggett, pno; Abie Baker, bs; Jimmy Crawford, dms. New York City, 28 march 1951

25. Bad luck child (vcl: Freddie Jackson)

26. Sarah Kelly from Plumbnelly (vcl: Charlie Singleton)

27. There ain't enough room here to boogie

Investigation blues

Joey Thomas, vcl/ldr; Johnny Letman, tpt; Alton Moore, tb; Walter Thomas, a-sax; Skippy Williams, t-sax; Pinky Williams, b-sax; Howard Biggs, pno; Everett Barksdale, g; Abie Baker, bs; Herman Bradley, dms. New York City, 6 august 1951

28. Cherokee boogie

29. Hobo boogie