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mercredi 21 septembre 2022

CHICAGO/ The Blues Yesterday/ Volume 26


CHICAGO/ The Blues Yesterday/ Volume 26




Let's go back to our very popular series "Chicago/ The blues Yesterday"!

            For this 26th Volume, we start with the great singer Arelean Brown (1924 – 1981) who enjoyed a local hit with her witty I'm a streaker. Born in Tchula, Ms from a very musical family that encompassed blues luminaries like Otis and Abe Smothers, Lee Shot Williams, George Brown (who played guitar with Howlin' Wolf), Arelean started singing professionally in Detroit where she would have first recorded sides hitherto unissued. She relocated in Chicago, got friend with Little Mack Simmons for whom she recorded a handful of 45s backed by first rate Chicago musicians like

Lonnie Brooks, L.V. Johnson and Scotty & The Rib Tips. Although she had to make a living outside music Arelean managed to play regularly in Chicago clubs and even tour the Southern States. Her untimely death from cancer prevented her to make more records and tour Europe where her singles were high praised with blues audiences. 

 I don't know very much about The Highway Man whose real name was/is (?) William Holland. A good impersonator of Howlin' Wolf he has recorded two singles of four Wolf's well known songs. He is backed by the good guitarist L.C. Roby who is reputed to be his son. According to Rob Ford, those tracks by The Highway Man are only part of a whole album which unfortunately has never been issued. Any more info about this artist and L.C. Roby would be very much needed.


Eddie Shaw (1937-2018) is a very well known and high rated singer, saxophone player, harp player, bandleader, composer who played with Howlin' Wolf for two decades and ran his band during the maestro's last years. After backing Ike Turner and Little Milton while still a teenager in Mississippi, Shaw joined Muddy Waters' band for some time in Chicago before teaming with Magic Sam (with whom he will record his first tracks under his own name) and then Howlin' Wolf. After the Wolf's death, Eddie Shaw kept his band together and toured the USA and Europe as The Wolf Gang, recording a vibrant tribute to the Bluesmen of Yesterday on his first LP produced by Howlin' Wolf's widow. I had the chance to see Shaw and his Wolf Gang in Washington DC during those years and he gave an extraordinary show with Hubert Sumlin at the top of his talent! After that, Shaw recorded many LPs and CDs (many for Red Rooster, the excellent Austrian's Wolf label! and one for the French Isabel), all of them being of a high level despite the absence of Hubert Sumlin. We have gathered all of Shaw's early tracks.

                                                                       Gérard Herzhaft


Eddie Shaw (right) with Bobby Fields and A.C. Reed c. 1965


ARELEAN BROWN, vcl; Buddy Scott, g; Little Mack Simmons, hca; The Rib Tips, band. Chicago, Ill. january 1971

01. Hello baby

02. I love my man

Arelean Brown, vcl; Lee Shot Williams, vcls; Little Mack Simmons, hca; Lonnie Brooks, g; Detroit Jr, pno/org; L.V. Johnson, g; Robert Covington, bs; Billy Davenport, dms. Chicago, Ill. 12 january 1974

03. Impeach me

04. You're gonna miss me around here

05. I'm a streaker baby

06. Why I love you

Arealean Brown, vcl; Little Mack Simmons, hca; Emmitt Brown, pno; Lonnie Brooks, g; L.V. Johnson, g; Buddy Scott, bs; Tommie J. Brown, dms. Chicago, Ill. 4 february 1974

07. I'm so blue

08. Pushing our love aside

09. I can't believe it

10. Chicken man

Arelean Brown, vcl; Lonnie Brooks, g; L.V. Johnson, g; Little Mack Simmons, hca; Buddy Scott, bs; Tommie J. Brown, dms. Chicago, Ill. 7 february 1974

11. Broken many hearts

12. I love my man

13. Eagle stirs her nest

Arelean Brown, vcl; band. Chicago, Ill. late 1974

14. Humpty dumpty

15. Gotta find my baby (fragment)

HIGHWAY MAN (William Holland), vcl; L.C. Roby, g; Eddie Shaw, t-sax; Billy Branch, hca; Detroit Jr, pno; Marilyn Love, bs; Ben Sandmer, dms. Chicago, Ill. 29 september 1979

16. Don't laugh at me

17. I walked from Dallas

18. Killing floor

19. Louise

EDDIE SHAW, t-sax; Magic Sam, g; Mac Thompson, bs; Bob Richey, dms. Chicago, Ill. 6 february 1966

20. Riding high

21. Blues for the West Side

22. Looking good

Eddie Shaw, vcl/t-sax; Shorty Stalworth, t-sax; Milton Houston, g; Willie Kent, bs; Little Addison, dms. Chicago, Ill. 2 august 1969

23. A hog with my horn

24. Shaw time

25. It's all right

26. Eddie's rock

Eddie Shaw, vcl/t-sax; Hubert Sumlin, g; Jimmy Dawkins, g; James Green, bs; Fred Below, dms. Chicago, Ill. 20 january 1971

27. Little by little

Eddie Shaw, vcl/t-sax; Detroit Jr, pno; Hubert Sumlin, g; Shorty Gilbert, bs; Chico Chism, dms. Chicago, Ill. 4 june 1973

28. I don't trust nobody

Eddie Shaw, vcl/t-sax; Detroit Jr, kbds; Hubert Sumlin, g; Shorty Gilbert, bs; Chico Chism, dms. Chicago, Ill. 29 june 1977

29. This little voice

30. I can't stop loving you

31. Big leg woman

32. I've got to tell somebody I

33. Blues men of yesterday I

34. Blues men of yesterday II

35. I've got to tell somebody II

Eddie Shaw, vcl/t-sax; Johnny "Big Moose" Walker, kbds; Hubert Sumlin, g; Shorty Gilbert, bs; Chico Chism, dms. Chicago, Ill. 18 january 1978

36. Out of bad luck

37. Stoop down baby

38. Sitting on top of the world

39. My baby's so ugly

40. It's alright

mercredi 7 septembre 2022






I guess it's no use to present Willie Dixon (1915-1992) to most of this blog's followers who are, for the most part, hardcore blues buffs!

            Singer and bassist, sometimes guitarist, Willie is above all renown for being the composer, producer and arranger of some of the most brilliant blues classic tunes and sessions of the postwar years. And his compositions can be read like a who's who of the greatest blues numbers ever when sung and played by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Otis Rush, Koko Taylor etc...

            As a performer, Willie was very often a little bit too much sententious and corny. His deep voice could be particularly striking sometimes but seemed without enough range otherwise.

            Well, this is certainly not to belittle the greatness of some Willie Dixon's albums, particularly during the 1970's, like Peace?, Catalyst or Earthquake and hurricane which should be in all blues collections. Or the excellent albums he made with his Chicago Blues All Stars that gathered blues giants like Big Walter Horton, Johnny Shines, Sunnyland Slim...


In fact, Willie started his career with Leonard Caston's Big Three Trio, a group of guitar, piano and bass with shared singing parts. They recorded prolifically during the late 1940's and early 50's in a jazz/blues/pop style. Many of the songs that would become Dixon's blues classics were recorded first with the Big Three Trio in a way very different that it would be later on. Those Big Three Trio have been heavily reissued, so we have only kept an example with the first version of My blues will never die which would become a striking, moving masterpiece by Otis Rush.

            We have then gathered all the recordings Willie made for different labels during the next decade (1952-62) that were hard to find and scattered in a lot of compilations, most of them being unavailable today.

                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT




Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Leonard Caston, pno; Bernardo Dennis, g. Chicago, Ill. 16 june 1952

01. My love will never die

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Harold Ashby, t-sax; band. Chicago, Ill. 17 february 1954

02. Wang dang doodle

03. So easy

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Leonard Caston, vcls; Ollie Crawford, g/vcls; Harold Ashby, y-sax; Lafayette Leake, pno; Al Duncan, dms. Chicago, Ill. october 1954

04. Violent love

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Harold Ashby, t-sax;  t-sax; Lafayette Leake, pno; Fred Below, dms. Chicago, Ill. may 1955

05. If you're mine

06. Alone

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; t-sax; Lafayette Leake, pno; Fred Below, dms. Chicago, Ill. july 1955

07. Walking the blues

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Harold Ashby, t-sax;  t-sax; Lafayette Leake, pno; Ollie Crawford, g/vcls; Fred Below, dms. Chicago, Ill. november 1955

08. Crazy for my baby

09. The pain in my heart

10. I'm the lover man

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Harold Ashby, t-sax;  t-sax; Lafayette Leake, pno; Al Duncan, dms. Chicago, Ill. 27 july 1956

11. Twenty nine ways to my baby's door

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Jody Williams, g; dms. Chicago, Ill. april 1957

12. Firey love

13. All the time

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Champion Jack Dupree, pno. New York City, 1958

14. Could I would I?

15. Ugly girls

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Memphis Slim, pno; Wally Richardson, g; Harold Ashby, t-sax; Gus Johnson, dms. Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 3 december 1959

16. Built for comfort

17. Don't tell nobody

18. Go easy

19. Good understanding

20. I got a razor

21. Move me

22. Nervous

23. Sittin' and cryin' the blues

24. Slim's thing

25. That's all I want baby

26. That's my baby

27. Youth to you

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Memphis Slim, pno/vcls. Los Angeles, Ca. 5 january 1960

28. Rub my root

29. Home to mama

30. Shaky

31. One more time

32. Now howdy

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Lafayette Leake, pno; Clifton James, dms. Chicago, Ill. june 1962

33. Back home in Indiana

34. Wrinkles

Willie Dixon, vcl; J.T. Brown, t-sax; Hubert Sumlin, g; Johnny Jones, pno; Jerome Arnold, bs; Junior Blackmon, dms. Chicago, Ill. 28 september 1962

35. Tail dragger


samedi 27 août 2022

PEE WEE CRAYTON/ 1960-1973





          If the recordings from the late 1940's and 1950's by one of the master of the Texas-California guitar blues style, Pee Wee Crayton have been well reissued and are generally still easily available, it's not the case of his later works, whether his last 45s from the 60's or his 1970's albums from his "rediscovery" years.


Connie Curtis (aka Pee Wee) Crayton was born 18th December 1914 at Liberty Hill (Texas) not far from Austin where his family moved while he was a child. In 1935, Pee Wee Crayton moved to Los Angeles and then Oakland where he worked in the local shipyards. Largely inspired by T-Bone Walker and John Collins, Nat King Cole's guitarist, Crayton started to play guitar in local clubs while he was still learning his instrument. He recorded his first 78's in 1948, hitting instantly with instrumentals like Blues after hours and Texas hop. After that, Crayton recorded prolifically during the 1950's for a lot of West Coast based labels like Capitol, Aladdin, Imperial (sessions in New Orleans with Dave Bartholomew's band). During this decade, Pee Wee crafted his own guitar style, being one of the top West Coast blues guitarist. He also handled nicely blues vocals with a smooth and smoky voice that pleased to his female audiences.

            But the 1960's were lean years for all the West Coast bluesmen, their style seeming a little bit old fashioned for the young African American audience and too sophisticated for the fledgling blues revival audiences all over the world much more enthralled on the raw Delta and Chicago blues. Pee Wee managed to record for small labels with low distribution and small sales like Jamie, Guyden, Edco or Smash but had to make a living out of music. Happily, in the late 60's, Johnny Otis took Pee Wee in his "Johnny Otis Show" a band of veterans R&B stars. He then resumed his career, appearing in major jazz and blues festivals like Monterey's. And recorded several albums that opened him the gates of the European scenes.

            Pee Wee Crayton died on 25 of June 1985 in Los Angeles.

We have gathered all his early 60's tracks (minus one that we were unable to find) plus his two LP's from the early 70's.

                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT


Pee Wee Crayton, vcl/g; band. Los Angeles, C. 2 june 1960

01. Money is all we need

02. Mistreated so bad

03. Twinky

04. Blue night

05. Mojo's blues

06. Need your love so bad

07. All or nothing at all (vcl: Esther Clayton)

Pee Wee Crayton, vcl/g; band; Evelyn Freeman Singers, vcls. Los Angeles, Ca. may 1961

08. I'm still in love with you (Guyden)

09. Time on my hands

10. Tain't nobody's business if I do

11. Little bitty things

Pee Wee Crayton, vcl/g; H.A. Blackwell Orchestra. Los Angeles, Ca. 24 may 1962

12. Git to gettin'

13. Hillbilly blues

Pee Wee Crayton, vcl/g; band. Los Angeles, Ca. february 1962

14. Money tree

When darkness falls

Pee Wee Crayton, vcl/g; Gerald Wilson, pno; Jackie Kelso, t-sax; John Collins, tb; bs; Lee Young, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 1964

15. Baby won't you please

16. Blues after dark

17. Good rocking tonight

18. Got my mojo working

19. How long blues

20. I've got news for you

21. Kansas City

22. Piney Brown blues

23. Stormy monday

24. Tain't nobody's business

Pee Wee Crayton, vcl/g; Larry Nash, pno; Lloyd Rowe, g; Ben Brown, bs; Robert Lee Dupree, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 17 august 1970

25. Every night

26. But on the other hand

27. Peace of mind

28. Let the good times roll

29. Blues after hours

30. You were wrong

31. Things I used to do

32. Little bitty things

33. S.K. blues

34. Long tall Texan

35. My kind of woman

Pee Wee Crayton, vcl/g; Zaven Jambazian, hca; Hamilton Spotts, vb/pno; Leon Haywood, pno; Shuggie Otis, bs/g*; Johnny Otis, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 11 july 1973

36. Don't forget to close the door

37. If I ever get lucky

38. Blues after hours*

39. Lucille

40. Need your love so bad

41. In the evening*

Pee Wee Crayton, vcl/g; Gene Connors, tb; Jackie Kelso, t-sax; Clifford Solomon, t-sax; Big Jim Wynn, b-sax; Johnny Otis, kbds; Shuggie Otis, bs/g; Johnny Otis, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 12 july 1973

42. Texas hop

43. Blues in the ghetto

44. Lou Ella Brown

45. My baby's on the line


mardi 19 juillet 2022







Although he never recorded for Jay Miller, Khoury, Shuler or any louisiana producers, Clarence Edwards was anyway a major exponent of the so-called Swamp blues as well as a fine acoustic traditional louisiana musician.

            Clarence was born on 25d of March 1933 in Lindsay (La). He became interested in music through records of Charlie Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Howlin' Wolf and became a good guitarist in following those records. Never a professional musician (he made a living working on a Baton Rouge scrap yard for over than 30 years) he nevertheless played constantly in week ends since the early 1950's with several local louisiana bands like The Boogie Beats or The Bluebird Kings. While playing as a combo with Butch Cage, his brother Cornelius Edwards and Willie Thomas around the small town of Zachary, Edwards was "discovered" by folklorist Harry Oster in 1959 who recorded a good amount of blues and Zydeco acoustic tracks by Edwards on several sessions.

            But Clarence had to wait until 1970 when researcher Terry Pattison was in charge by the rejuvenated Excello label to record the remaining Swamp blues musicians still playing around Baton Rouge. Edwards was featured on the anthology playing alone as well as with a band and even a 45 was issued from those sessions. He also was captured live for another Excello album.

            Although those albums gained very good critics from Europe, nothing appeared for Clarence in the US. And it was almost by chance that in 1990 bassist, bandleader (Short Fuse) and producer Steve Coleridge stumbled on Clarence while he was playing in a Louisiana club. Very aware of the strong musical potential Clarence had, Coleridge recorded him during a mammoth session that was issued on several albums on European labels, getting rave reviews from European magazines. Clarence Edwards had thus plans to tour Europe when he suffered an infection that caused his death on 20 may 1993 in Baton Rouge.

            We have gathered here all his early sides that were scattered on several anthologies as well as some of his 1990's tracks. The remainder is easily available on the Wolf label. We have also not included his several live sessions in front of an audience.

                                                                                   Gérard HERZHAFT



Clarence Edwards, vcl/g; Butch Cage, fdl; Cornelius Edwards, g. Zachary, La. 27 october 1959

01. You don't love me

02. Smokestack lightning

03. Stack o'dollars

04. Man old Frisco

05. Miss Sadie May

06. Stagolee

07. I can't quit you baby

08. This is my life

09. Goin' back to New Orleans

10. Thousand miles from nowhere

Clarence Edwards, vcl/g; Butch Cage, fdl. Zachary, La. 30 june 1961

11. Awful blue

12. Come on baby don't you want to go?

13. I got a coal black mare

14. Can't stand to be your dog

Clarence Edwards, vcl/g; Henry Gray, pno; Clarence Prophet, bs; Samuel Hogan, dms. Baton Rouge, La. 13 august 1970

15. Lonesome bedroom blues

16. Let me love you baby

Clarence Edwards, vcl/g. Baton Rouge, La. 15 august 1970

17. Cooling board

18. I want somebody

Clarence Edwards, vcl/g; Harmonica Red, hca; Henry Gray, pno; Michael Ward, fdl; A.G. Hardesty, bs; Rick Delmore, dms; Steve Coleridge, perc. Baton Rouge, La. 14-15 february 1990

19. Lonesome bedroom blues

20. Rocky Mountains

21. She moves me

22. Still a fool

23. Stoop down baby

24. Things I used to do

25. 24 hours of the day

26. Born with the blues

27. Chewing gum

28. Coal black mare

29. Done got over it

30. Driving wheel

31. Hi heel sneakers

32. Hoochie coochie man

33. I want somebody

34. I'm the one

35. I'm your slave

36. Jody

37. Let me love you

38. Lonely lonely nights

39. Tried so hard

40. Walking the dog

41. Will the circle be unbroken