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samedi 11 janvier 2020

SWAMP BLUES/ Volume 3 (re-post)


SWAMP BLUES/ Volume 3 (re-post)



              
Si ce sont bien J.D. Miller et son épouse Georgia Sonnier (c'est elle qui a eu l'idée d'adjoindre un harmonica aux blues que projetait d'enregistrer son mari en 1954) qui ont été à l'origine de ce qu'on appelle "Swamp blues", le succès de Lightnin' Slim ou Slim Harpo et leur présence dans les juke-boxes des bars des quartiers noirs de Louisiane et du Texas ont poussé d'autres producteurs louisianais comme Eddie Shuler, Carol Rachou, Floyd Soileau, Lee Lavergne voire Don Robey à Houston à enregistrer des blues sur le modèle des Swamp blues mis au point par Miller.
           Dans ce troisième volume, nous présentons trois artistes d'importance qui n'ont pas (ou très peu) fréquenté les studios de Crowley (ceux de Miller) mais qui ont émargé au moins en partie à ce courant musical tout en gagnant moins de notoriété auprès du public international que les artistes mieux distribués par Excello.

                             
C'est tout à fait le cas de Raful Neal (6 juin 1936 à Baton Rouge (La) - † 1 septembre 2004 à Baton Rouge (La), une figure importante du blues louisianais, excellent harmoniciste, chanteur puissant, compositeur talentueux qui a longtemps été surtout connu pour avoir eu un tout jeune Buddy Guy dans son orchestre. Raful a écumé les clubs et les bars de la Louisiane et du Texas et a fait ses débuts discographiques à Houston sur le label Peacock en 1958, avant de graver une poignée de remarquables 45t pour Whit, un minuscule label fondé par Lionel Whitfield (et surtout connu pour avoir fait débuter Bobby Powell). Son Blues on the moon, très percutant, demeure un petit classique du Swamp blues. Mais il faudra attendre 1987 pour que cet artiste authentique et profond puisse enregistrer plusieurs excellents albums pour King Snake ou Telarc. L'influence de Raful Neal se fait toujours sentir aujourd'hui sur ses fils musiciens dont bien sûr le plus connu est l'excellent Kenny Neal.
               Drifting Charles (Charles Tyler) (31 août 1936 - † 23 janvier 2009), originaire de Opelousas, était semble-t-il plus que réticent à enregistrer un downhome blues comme Drifting blues, gravé à Crowley mais pour le label Lanor de Lee Lavergne. Et c'est dans un style nettement plus "moderne", s'ouvrant vers la Soul qu'il a encore signé deux autres 45t que nous proposons ici.
              
Ashton Savoy (né en 1928 à Sunset près d'Opelousas) était un chanteur et guitariste très traditionnel, francophone de naissance, fortement influencé par Crippled Bob, un important bluesman local malheureusement jamais enregistré. Etant venu travailler à Lake Charles, Ashton y a naturellement enregistré pour le label Goldband de Eddie Shuler, entre vrai Swamp blues, Texas blues moderne et Zydeco (Savoy a été le guitariste du groupe Zydeco de L.C. Donnato). Avec notamment la présence de la superbe pianiste Katie Webster qui faisait là ses tout débuts. Savoy s'est installé à Houston dans les années 1960, abandonnant plus ou moins la musique sur un plan professionnel. Il est décédé le 15 mai 2009 à Lake Charles.
                                                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

               If it is undoubtedly J.D. Miller and his wife Georgia Sonnier who shaped the so-called Swamp blues, appreciated wide world over today, the unexpected success of Lightnin' Slim and Slim Harpo, prompted others Louisiana producers to also record within this basic blues style: Eddie Shuler, Carol Rachou, Floyd Soileau, Lee Lavergne and even Houston's Don Robey!
               In this third opus are featured three bluesmen who didn't record for Miller but who nevertheless recorded their kind of Swamp blues. But their record labels having not the better distribution of Excello, they didn't really sell outside very local record shops.
               This is unfortunately the case of Raful Neal (born 6 June 1936 in Baton Rouge - † 1st September 2004 in Baton Rouge), an important Louisiana bluesman. An harmonica master, a powerful singer and a shrewd composer, Raful was for a long time mainly known for having nested a young Buddy Guy in his blues band which was crisscrossing Louisiana and Texas clubs and juke joints. Raful had to go to Houston to make his recording debuts for Don Robey's Peacock label in 1958 before waxing a handful of first rate blues 45's like his harmonica classic Blues on the moon, for very small labels like Lionel Whitfield's Whit. Raful will have to wait until 1987 to record at last some excellent albums for King Snake and Telarc in which he is frequently backed by his musicians' sons, namely the most famous and excellent Kenny Neal.
               Drifting Charles (Charles Tyler) (31 August 1936 - † 23 January 2009), from Opelousas, was very reluctant to record a downhome blues like Drifting blues in 1963 for Lee Lavergne's Lanor label. And his subsequent records were logically more in a R&B/Soul vein.

               Ashton Savoy (born in 1928 at Opelousas) was a downhome singer and guitarist of French Cajun origins, who learned guitar and fiddle with his father and Crippled Bob, a local unrecorded bluesman. Coming to Lake Charles for work, Ashton auditioned for Golband's Eddie Shuler and waxed some excellent downhome tracks that featured the piano debuts of Katie Webster. Ashton was also influenced by modern Texas guitarists as well as Zydeco (he would play in several Zydeco bands like L.C. Donnato's) and that also shows on his records. Ashton would settle in Houston in the 1960's, mostly giving up music for a living. He died in Lake Charles on May, 15th 2009.
                                                                                         Gérard HERZHAFT


SWAMP BLUES
Volume 3
Raful Neal, vcl/hca; Lester Foster, g; band.  Houston, Tx. mai 1958
01. Sunny side of love
Crying hard 
(thanks a lot to Steve Wisner for sharing this rare track)
Raful Neal, vcl/hca; band. Lafayette, La. janvier 1969
02. Change my way of living
03. Getting late in the evening
Raful Neal, vcl/hca; Rudolph Richard, g; Roy Lee Shepherd, g; James Johnson, bs; Murdoch Stillwood, dms. Baton Rouge, La. décembre 1969
04. Blues on the moon
05. Let's work together
Raful Neal, vcl/hca; Rudolph Richard, g; Lionel Torrence, t-sax; Arnold Ray Neal, bs; Murdoch Stillwood, dms. Baton Rouge, La. juin 1970
06. You don't love me no more
07. It's been so long
Drifting Charles (Charles Tyler), vcl/g: Al Foreman, g; Rufus Thibodeaux, bs; Austin Broussard, dms. Crowley, La. mai 1963
08. Drifting cloud
09. Evil hearted man
Drifting Charles, vcl/g; band. Crowley, La. février 1964
10. Let's stick together
11. Ease the pain
Drifting Charles, vcl/g; band. New Orleans, La. mai 1964
12. Lonely lonely nights
13. When it rains it really pours
14. My life is a lonely one
Ashton Savoy, vcl/g; Danny George, t-sax; Katie Webster, pno; Sherman Webster, bs; Lightnin' Mitchell, dms. Lake Charles, La. 1958
15. Juke Joint
16. Denga Denga
Ashton Savoy, vcl/g; Katie Webster, vcl/pno; Little Brother Griffin, dms. Crowley, La. décembre 1959
17. Baby baby
18. No bread no meat
19. I want you to love me
Ashton Savoy, vcl/g; Lazy Lester, hca; Danny George, t-sax; Katie Webster, pno; Sherman Webster, bs; Lightnin' Mitchell, dms. Lake Charles, La. 4 juillet 1959
20. Need shorter hours
21. Want to talk to you baby
22. Tell me baby
23. Rooster Strut
Ashton Savoy, vcl/g; band. Lake Charles, La. 1960
24. I wants you

Also

I'm considering re-posting SWAMP BLUES Vol. 2 if it's possible 

mercredi 8 janvier 2020

WHISPERING SMITH/ Swamp harmonica blues (re-post)


WHISPERING SMITH/ Swamp Harmonica blues
(re-post)

           
Moses Smith est certainement l'harmoniciste le plus original de ceux issus de la mouvance du Swamp blues. Son style direct, carré, puissant laisse place à de nombreuses subtilités et variations qui le différencient nettement de ses concurrents comme Sylvester Buckley, Jimmy Anderson ou Lazy Lester.
            Moses Smith naît le 25 janvier 1932 à Union Church dans le Sud de l'Etat du Mississippi, non loin de Mc Comb. Ses parents sont de très pauvres métayers et Moses est obligé de délaisser l'école pour les aider à joindre les deux bouts. C'est un voisin et ami de la famille, Bill Willard qui lui apprend à jouer de l'harmonica et l'emmène avec lui dans les juke joints où il se produit les week-ends. Bientôt, Smith se passionne pour cet instrument, écoute les disques de John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, Little Walter, Rice Miller, s'aventure à jouer jusqu'à Shreveport où il rencontre Jeff Williamson, un autre harmoniciste de réputation locale qui a lui aussi enregistré sous le sobriquet de "Sonny Boy Williamson" (vrai nom: Edward William Johnson). Il écoute aussi les orchestres de jazz et de R&B locaux, notamment les trompettistes dont il essaie de reproduire le son et la manière avec son harmonica.
            A la mort de ses parents en 1957, Moses Smith quitte le Mississippi pour travailler comme peintre en bâtiment à Baton Rouge. Là, il ne tarde pas à faire connaissance et à jouer avec tous les bluesmen locaux (Arthur Kelley, Tabby Thomas, Silas Hogan, Lightnin' Slim). C'est Slim qui emmène Smith à Crowley et le présente en janvier 1963 au célèbre producteur louisianais Jay D. Miller qui accepte de l'enregistrer. Sa voix est si rauque et puissante que Miller est obligé de faire de nombreux réglages. Comme à son habitude, Miller sort le disque sous un pseudonyme, choisissant – par dérision! – celui de Whispering (celui qui murmure!!!) Smith, parodiant ainsi le nom d'un célèbre héros de western (un roman, un film à succès avec Alan Ladd et une série TV avec Audie Murphy). Mais en 1963, ce type de down home blues que n'enregistre d'ailleurs plus grand monde aux USA, est largement passé de mode auprès des Noirs et les quatre 45t que sort Miller sur Excello se vendent extrêmement mal. D'ailleurs Miller ne les grave qu'à la fin de séances de Silas Hogan ou de Lightnin' Slim auprès de qui Smith remplace désormais Lazy Lester de façon permanente.
            Malgré cela, Smith ne vivra jamais de sa musique, conservant toujours son job en usine. C'est une série de reportages parus dans la revue britannique Blues Unlimited et réalisés en 1969-70 sur le terrain louisianais par John Broven et Terry Pattison (qui interviewent et photographient Moses) qui vont permettre à la carrière musicale de Smith de prendre un nouvel essor. Produits par Pattison, des titres de ce Swamp blues fort prisé des européens (les groupes anglais, Rolling Stones en tête, y ont beaucoup puisé) apparaissent presque en même temps sur deux belles anthologies, Louisiana blues et Swamp blues. Smith qui est le bluesman le plus à son avantage sur ces disques est sollicité pour des concerts, des festivals, des tournées internationales. Il sera notamment sur les scènes françaises et européennes (notamment à Montreux!) en 1972 et 1973 auprès de Lightnin' Slim, marquant tous les auditoires par son style puissant, sa forte présence et son jeu de scène. Il enregistrera plusieurs séances live durant ces tournées.
           
Mais c'est dans son fief de Baton Rouge qu'il grave son unique album en vedette, Over easy, malheureusement musicalement assez inégal. Les années suivantes, Smith qui souffre d'alcoolisme chronique a des difficultés à honorer ses engagements et rate plusieurs nouvelles tournées européennes. Mais pris ensuite en main par des producteurs locaux Mike Schirra et Bob Snow sur leur label Sunland, Whispering Smith grave un ultime et excellent 45 t en 1983. Malheureusement, il décède à l'hôpital Earl K. Long de Baton Rouge le 28 avril 1984.
                                                          

Gérard HERZHAFT

            Moses Smith is probably the most original harmonica player associated with the so-called "Swamp blues" style from Louisiana. His straightforward and powerful style gives room to numerous subtleties and control range that make him quite different from his excellent peers.
            Moses Smith was born 25th January 1932 at Union Church, Ms, not far from McComb, in a poor sharecroppers' family. A neighbour, the bluesman Bill Willard who enjoys a strong local reputation, teaches how to play the harmonica to the young Moses and soon brings him to play in the local juke joints. Smith listens also a lot to harp blues masters on records (John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson) or live during their venues to his area. He thus meets Little Walter, Rice Miller and particularly at Shreveport, the local harp master Jeff "Sonny Boy" Williamson (real name Edward William Johnson) who shows him many tricks. He is also a fan of Jazz Swing, particularly the trumpet players whose sound he tries to emulate with his harmonica, a thing he will always do on his records.
            After his parents' death, Moses comes to live in Baton Rouge where he makes a living as a house painter. In a couple of months he meets and plays with all the local bluesmen (Arthur Kelley, Tabby Thomas, Silas Hogan , Lightnin' Slim) earning a strong reputation as a hard and efficient harp blower. This is Lightnin' Slim who brings Smith to J.D. Miller's Crowley studios in January 1963 for a recording test. Miller records him and issues a first single under the name Whispering Smith mocking the strong hoarse Moses' voice and in reference to a famous western hero played by Alan Ladd and Audie Murphy! Unfortunately, Smith comes a little bit late for enjoying some success with his very down home kind of blues and the four singles that Miller issues on Excello are very low sellers. Anyway, being a "recorded artist" allows Smith to form his own band, playing regularly around Baton Rouge as a leader or the harp man of Lightnin' Slim or Silas Hogan's bands.
            But Moses won't never make a living out of his music and didn't think about it too much at the end of the 1960's. But a series of articles and an interview by John Broven and Terry Pattison in the british leading blues mag Blues Unlimited brings suddenly Smith in the limelight. He then learns that his records are quite well known in Europe through several Excello's anthologies (on Stateside) who are very influential on the British blues groups like the Rolling Stones, the Kinks and such! And Whispering Smith is then featured alongside other Swamp blues masters on two new records Louisiana blues and the double LP Swamp blues where he appears in very fine form.
            From now on, Whispering Smith tours Europe alongside Lightnin' Slim (rediscovered in Detroit!) and appears on top festivals like the AFBF 1972, the Montreaux Blues Festival in Switzerland and Jim Simpson's American Blues Legends. He conquers the European audiences with his powerful harp playing and stage presence. He records several excellent live sessions during those tours. He also finally records his only album under his name for the Excello label, Over Easy.
            The following years are unfortunately marred by Smith's alcoholism, making him to miss record opportunities and overseas tours. At last, thanks to local producers Mike Schirra and Bob Snow, Smith will record a final and excellent 45 for their Sunland label in 1983.
            Moses "Whispering" Smith dies at Earl K. Long's hospital in Baton Rouge 28 April 1984.
                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT

WHISPERING SMITH
The Complete Studio Recordings
CD1
Whispering Smith, vcl/hca; Ulysses Williams, g; Ernest Ambrose, bs; Sammy K. Brown, dms. Crowley, La. janvier 1963
01. Baby left me this morning
02. Mean woman blues
03. Hound dog twist
04. Harmonica twist
05. Don't leave me baby
06. Baby you're mine
07. Please give me one more chance
08. Live Jive
Whispering Smith, vcl/hca; Al Foreman, g; Ulysses Williams, g; Ernest Ambrose, bs; Sammy K. Brown, dms. Crowley, La. janvier 1964
09. I can't take it no more
10. Wake up old maid
Whispering Smith, vcl/hca; Al Foreman, g; Ulysses Williams, g; Ernest Ambrose, bs; Sammy K. Brown, dms. Crowley, La. avril 1964
11. I tried so hard
12. Cryin' blues
Whispering Smith, vcl/hca; Henry Gray, pno; Roy Lee Shepard, g; Clarence Prophet, bs; Samuel Hogan, dms. Baton Rouge, La. 27 avril 1970
13. I love you baby
14. On the dark road crying
Whispering Smith, vcl/hca; Henry Gray, pno; Greg Schaefer, g; Roy Lee Shepard, g; Clarence Prophet, bs; Samuel Hogan, dms. Baton Rouge, La. 12 août 1970
15. Looking the world over
16. A thousand miles from nowhere
17. Deep South Moses
18. Coal black mare

CD2
Whispering Smith, vcl/hca. Baton Rouge, La. 15 août 1970
19. Storm in Texas
20. Baton Rouge breakdown
21. Baby please don't go
Whispering Smith, vcl/hca; Melvin Hill, g. Baton Rouge, La. mai 1972
22. Mojo hand
23. Everybody needs love
24. I've got a sure thing
25. Rock me baby
Whispering Smith, vcl/hca; Melvin Hill, g; Harvey Lexing, g; Bobby Powell, pno; horns; Alfred Lewis, bs; Nolan Smith, dms/perc. Baton Rouge, La. mai 1972
26. What in the world comes over you
27. The way you treat me
28. Don't want no woman
29. Why am I treated so bad?
30. Married man
31. I know you don't love me
32. It's all over
Whispering Smith, vcl/hca; Henry Gray, pno; band. Miami, Fl. 1983
33. Just like a woman
34. Hound dog howl

Et pour les harmonicistes/ And for the dedicated harmonica players



jeudi 2 janvier 2020

LONESOME SUNDOWN 1956-67



LONESOME SUNDOWN 1956-67 (re-post)

           
Né le 12 décembre 1928 à Donaldsonville, Cornelius Green a connu l'enfance habituelle des Noirs du Sud rural: peu d'instruction, le travail de la canne à sucre, une guitare bricolée, l'Eglise du dimanche. Il gagne La Nouvelle-Orléans en 1945, travaille comme portier dans u casino, prend des cours de guitare avec Guitar Slim avant de travailler à Port Arthur dans une raffinerie. Il joue dans les bars du port avec Clarence Garlow, se lie avec Phillip Walker et Clifton Chenier qui propose à Green et à Walker d'être les guitaristes de son Zydeco band.
            En 1956, Cornelius Green quitte Chenier pour se marier et tenter sa chance en fondant son propre orchestre. Il s'installe à Opelousas, fait équipe avec Lloyd Reynaud, compose ses premiers blues. Après une première séance sans lendemain, Cornelius se présente auprès de J. D. Miller qui a installé un petit studio dans sa bourgade de Crowley. Le courant passe tout de suite entre J. D. Miller et Cornelius Green.
            En juillet 1956, Cornelius Green enregistre deux de ses compositions, le sombre et vibrant Lost without love et l'endiablé Leave my woman alone. J. D. rebaptise sa nouvelle "découverte" Lonesome Sundown. L'association Miller-Green va faire de Lonesome Sundown un des plus remarquables des bluesmen sudistes. Sundown est très ancré dans le terroir louisianais. Le back beat, la voix quelque peu traînante et chaude, les accompagnateurs maison de chez Miller (la pianiste Katie Webster, Lazy Lester à l'harmonica, le saxophoniste Lionel Torrence/Prevost mais aussi les guitaristes Guitar Gable, Leroy Washington ou Fats Perrodin) donnent une immanquable saveur marécageuse à ses blues. Mais Lonesome Sundown est aussi marqué par ses années à La Nouvelle-Orléans et à Port Arthur, sa participation à l'orchestre de Chenier et surtout par son admiration pour Guitar Slim qui ne se démentira jamais. Sundown passe aussi pour avoir nettement influencé un jeune guitariste de Baton Rouge, Buddy Guy dont plusieurs des premiers titres (Let me love you baby) rappellent fortement les disques de Lonesome Sundown.
            Dans les années qui suivent, Lonesome Sundown enregistre de façon conséquente pour Miller et sort disque sur disque, devenant un des favoris du Sud de la Louisiane et de l'Est du Texas. Mais ses disques ne réussiront pratiquement jamais à se vendre au-delà de cette aire géographique. Entre 1956 et 1964, seize 45-tours sont édités, fruits de cette association Miller-Sundown plus nombre de titres inédits qui ne verront le jour que bien plus tard. Tout est pratiquement excellent et beaucoup de morceaux sont de grands chefs-d'oeuvre du blues de l'après-guerre: l'extraordinaire Lonesome lonely blues avec une atmosphère encore assombrie par le saxophone crasseux à souhait de Lionel Torrence; I'm a mojo man qui qualifie peut-être le mieux l'ambiance du "mojo" et permet à Lazy Lester de briller à l'harmonica; Gonna stick to you baby, une de ces tentatives très réussies de marier le swamp blues au rockabilly.
            En 1965, Lonesome décide de se tourner vers la religion, rejoint l'Eglise de la foi apostolique de N. S. Jesus-Christ à laquelle il se consacre presque entièrement et redevient... Cornelius Green.
            Ce n'est que plus d'une décennie plus tard, poussé par son vieux compère Philip Walker et se rendant compte, grâce à plusieurs visites de journalistes britanniques qu'il était devenu une sorte de 'légende vivante" que Cornelius Green consentira à redevenir brièvement Lonesome Sundown, le temps d'un magnifique album enregistré en 1977 pour Bruce Bromberg, "Been gone too long".
            Cornelius Green décède le 23 avril 1995 à Gonzales (La). Son oeuvre demeure une des plus achevées du blues sudiste de l'après-guerre.
            Tous nos remerciements à Alfred Broussard et Benoit Blue Boy pour leur aide
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT


            Born 12 December 1928 at Donaldsonville (Louisiana), Cornelius Green has lived the usual harsh childhood of most of poor rural southerners, working on the cane fields at an early age. Hating this life, Cornelius goes to New Orleans in 1945 to work as a janitor in a Casino and takes his first guitar lessons with several local guitarists, including Guitar Slim (Eddie Jones) who will stay as a very strong influence. The boom of the oil industry brings Green to Port Arthur where he starts to play the evening in local clubs with Clarence Garlow and Phillip Walker who shows him more guitar licks and will stay forever as a very good friend. But his real first professional job as a musician starts when Clifton Chenier hires Walker and Cornelius in his Zydeco band. Green tours several months and make his first recordings with Clifton.
            In 1956, Cornelius Green leaves Chenier's band to marry and settles in Opelousas. He plays locally and under the guidance of producer Lloyd Reynaud he starts to write his own blues. After a first session for Eddie Shuler's Goldband label (unissued at that time), Green goes to Crowley, auditioning for J.D. Miller who recognizes a great original talent and makes him record two titles, the mournful Lost without love and the boisterous Leave my woman alone. Miller issues the record under the moniker "Lonesome Sundown" that at first makes Cornelius Green angry! But the name will stay.
            With the wise tutelage of Miller, Lonesome Sundown becomes quickly one of the best deep southern bluesman from the late 1950's. Sundown's music is very rooted in the Louisiana Swamp genre created by Miller: a lazy backbeat, a drawling voice, striking compositions, wonderful backing musicians (from Lazy Lester to Lionel Torrence/Prevost through Katie Webster). But his first influences (notably Guitar Slim's) are still strong in almost all his recordings and make him apart of the other Miller's deep bluesmen. Lonesome Sundown will also have a certain influence on a young Baton Rouge guitarist named Buddy Guy whose many of his first Chicago records (like Let me love you baby) remind Sundown's style.
            During the following years (1956-64), Sundown records constantly and becomes a favorite of the South Louisiana/ East Texas blues scene. But with the exception of My home is a prison (and thanks to Slim Harpo's version) none of his 45s will really sell outside this area. Anyway, almost all his records are very good or excellent (the mournful Lonesome lonely blues with a great saxophone solo of Lionel Torrence; I'm a mojo man with a brilliant Lazy Lester; Gonna stick to you baby with its almost Rockabilly feel...).
            But in 1965, tired of the hectic musician's life, Lonesome Sundown gives up the blues, becomes a preacher with the Apostolic Faith Church and reverts his name to... Cornelius Green.
            He will stay out of the blues except for a brief time in 1976-77 when, convinced by his old friend Phillip Walker and the fact that he realized he has become a "legendary name" in Europe and particularly in England, he will make some club appearances, the time also to record for Bruce Bromberg a tremendously successful album, Been gone too long.
            Cornelius Green dies in his hometown of Gonzales (La) on 23 April 1995.
            Thanks to Alfred Broussard and Benoit Blue Boy for their help.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT


(According to Benoit Blue Boy who knew well and played with Lazy Lester, the harmonica player on most of the later Lonesome Sundown's tracks is not Lester but Whispering Smith)


dimanche 8 décembre 2019

LADIES SING THE BLUES/ Volume 4


LADIES SING THE BLUES/ Volume 4

           
Let's start our fourth volume of those "Ladies sing the blues" series with Laurie Tate. Surprisingly, very few is known about this fine blues and jazz singer who was one of the first in a long line of R&B divas who shaped the success of Atlantic Records. Laurie came, reportedly, from Richmond, Va to New York City to try her luck as a singer and she was signed to Atlantic in May 1950, recording quickly two sessions backed by the Joe Morris band, a solid unit which plays a major role in the success, artistically and commercially, of those eight tracks. The scorching ballad Anytime, anyplace, anywhere climbed n°1 to the R&B Charts, establishing Atlantic as a new important label. Tate joined permanently the Joe Morris' Blues Cavalcade for awhile and toured briefly the West Coast as a featured singer. But soon, for family reasons, this very promising talent quit the music business and she was replaced in Joe Morris' band by Faye Adams. Apparently, nobody knows what happened to Laurie after 1952.
            Tina Dixon, "The Bombshell of blues" started her career as a jazz singer in Detroit clubs like the Ballyhoo before being hired as the featured singer of The Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra as soon as 1943. She thus toured the Army and Navy camps during WWII and recorded special
programs for the troops, particularly the first version of E ba ba lee ba in August 1945, claiming she wrote the number before Helen Humes's record that hit the Charts. She left Lunceford to pursue a career of her own, recording a new version of her hit in 1945. Married with the famous tap dancer Louis Collins, Tina toured with her husband, joining King label, waxing some proto-R'n'Roll sides but a real commercial success never came. Anyway, the very wise and brave Tina Dixon switched to a new career in the comedy theatres with (sometimes very) risqué pieces and plays and she became very popular among African-Americans during the late 1950's under the moniker Aunt Tina Dixon, waxing two "dirty" and very commercially successful LP's and appearing in some Television shows, particularly the very popular Sanford & Son series
           
Madlyn Davis belongs to a former generation of lady singers, contemporary of Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and Victoria Spivey. Her life is unfortunately ill-documented but her four sessions for Paramount Records done between 1927 and 1929 are of a very high standard. Kokola blues from November 1927, backed by Richard Jones on piano, is the very first recorded version of Kokomo blues/ Sweet home Chicago. Her great last session (October 1929) finds her alongside Tampa Red and Georgia Tom Dorsey! I don't know what became of her after that.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT
Thanks a lot to bluesjumper33, Jose Yrraberra and Charles F. for their help. Every extra facts about those singers will be very welcome.


LAURIE TATE, vcl; Joe Morris, tpt; horns; Elmo Hope, pno; Roy Gaines, g; bs; dms. New York City, 7 June 1950
01. Anytime, anyplace, anywhere
02. Stormy weather
03. Come back daddy, daddy
04. Rock me daddy
Laurie Tate, vcl; Joe Morris, tpt; horns; Elmo Hope, pno; Roy Gaines, g; bs; dms. New York City, 20 november1950
05. You're my darling
06. I hope you're satisfied
07. Can't stop my crying
08. Don't take your love away
TINA DIXON, vcl; Jimmie Lunceford, a-sax; Omer Simeon, a-sax; Kirkland Bradford, a-sax; Ernest Puce, t-sax; Joe Thomas, t-sax; Earl Carruthers, b-sax; Charles Stewart, tpt; Bob Mitchell, tpt; William Scott, tpt; Russell Green, tpt; Joe Williams, tb; Earl Hardy, tb; Fernando Arbello, tb; Edwin Wilcox, pno; John Mitchell, g: Truck Parham, bs; Joe Marshall, dms. Hollywood, Ca. 4-9 august 1945
09. E ba ba lee ba
10. Stuff like that there
Tina Dixon, vcl; Lorenzo Flennoy, pno; Jimmie Edwards, g; Robert Lewis, bs. Hollywood, Ca. september 1945
11. E-bop-o-lee-bop
Tina Dixon, vcl; Her All Stars, band. Houston, Tx. november 1947
12. Don't you know I want to love you
13. Hello baby
Tina Dixon, vcl; Gene Nero, a-sax; Willie Wells, tpt; Rudy Rutherford, b-sax; Prince Albert, pno; George Washington, bs; Bob Atcheson, dms. Detroit, Mi. 1948
14. Blow Mr Be-bop
15. Parrot bar boogie
16. Walk that walk daddy-o
17. What I say
MADLYN DAVIS, vcl; Dave Nelson, cnt; Norman Ebron, pno; bjo. Chicago, Ill. june 1927
18. Worried down the blues
19. Climbing mountain blues
Madlyn Davis, vcl; Cassino Simpson, pno; kazoo; bjo. Chicago, Ill. september 1927
20. Hurry sundown blues
21. Landlady's footsteps
Madlyn Davis, vcl; Richard Jones, pno; band. Chicago, Ill. november 1927
22. Winter blues
23. Kokola blues
Madlyn Davis, vcl; Tampa Red, g; Georgia Tom Dorsey, pno. Chicago, Ill. october 1929
24. Death bell blues
25. It's red hot
26. Too black bad

Gold tooth blues

dimanche 1 décembre 2019

HOWLIN' WOLF/ Complete Live Recordings 1963-72

HOWLIN' WOLF/ Complete Live Recordings 1963-72 (Re-up)


           
Après avoir essayé de regrouper tous les enregistrements effectués "live" par Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller), nous tentons d'en faire de même avec Howlin' Wolf.
            La tâche a été - si possible - encore plus compliquée car s'étendant sur une décennie. Même si Howlin' Wolf a été saisi en concert (au Copacabana Club de Chicago) en 1963 pour une parution sur un LP Argo, il lui a surtout fallu se rendre en Europe avec l'AFBF 1964 pour y être substantiellement enregistré, soit dans le cadre de la tournée officielle soit durant la deuxième tournée qu'il a effectué dans la foulée avec Willie Dixon, Sunnyland Slim, Hubert Sumlin et Clifton James. Il faut noter que peu de ces concerts n'ont été enregistrés pour être publié. Il s'agit essentiellement d'enregistrements effectués par des radios nationales et locales à travers l'Europe dont les stations diffusaient des extraits. Leur qualité technique est correcte dans l'ensemble et permet d'apprécier la teneur complète d'un concert du Wolf à l'époque.
            Les choses se précipitent par la suite. Après que les Rolling Stones durant leur première tournée américaine aient insisté auprès de Shindig, l'émission musicale TV de la chaîne ABC, très populaire auprès des ados, pour qu'y apparaisse Howlin' Wolf avant eux, les concerts américains du Wolf se multiplient et avec eux, les enregistrements sur du matériel de fortune et sans passer par le système d'amplification. A l'exception du concert du 26 janvier 1972 à Alice's Revisited, aucune de ces bandes n'était destinée à être publiée. Elles sont apparus sur des labels plus ou moins pirates au cours des années avec un son souvent très médiocre voire éprouvant. Nous avons essayé d'améliorer autant que possible leur "qualité" sonore mais la tâche a été souvent trop rude! Malgré tout, nous les proposons ici en tant que documents.
            Même s'il n'était encore qu'un jeune sexagénaire, Wolf était très malade, les années de son épouvantable enfance marquée par la violence, l'abus et les privations faisant leur néfaste effet sur sa santé. Après un accident de voiture le 1er janvier 1973, son système rénal arrête de fonctionner et, devant plusieurs fois par semaine subir une dialyse rénale, il continue (par nécessité financière) à tourner et jouer en public. Mais il est très diminué et souvent chante entièrement assis et seulement quelques morceaux, laissant l'essentiel du concert à son orchestre, dirigé par Eddie Shaw. Plusieurs disques pirates de ces dernières années ont paru ici et là que nous avons choisi de ne pas les faire figurer ici, la dernière fois où le Wolf apparaît dans toute sa splendeur étant, à notre avis, le Ann Arbor Jazz & Blues Festival de 1972.
                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT

            After those of Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller), we have tried to gather all (or the most possible!) live recordings of another blues master, Howlin' Wolf!
            The task has been - if any!- even more complicated because spanning on a decade.
            Even if Howlin' Wolf has been recorded live at the Copacabana Club in 1963 for the Argo LP's "Folk Festival of the Blues", the bulk of his 1960's live recordings was mostly done in Europe. He was one of the big star of the AFBF 1964, taking the dedicated European audiences by storm. His success was such that he and some members of the AFBF line-up (Willie Dixon, Sunnyland Slim, Hubert Sumlin and Clifton James) embarked in the wake for a further tour of Europe until November 1964. If few of those European 1964 gigs were recorded to be issued on LP, they were done by radio stations with good technical equipments and for the purpose to broadcast some tunes during their jazz programmes. Now they are a testimony of what the Wolf sounded at that time when he was in full possession of his considerable talent and stage presence.
            In the USA, Wolf's career took a decisive turn when the Rolling Stones - while touring America in 1965 - insisted with ABC's Shindig, a TV programme very popular to teenagers, that Howlin' Wolf would appear before us. Thus, suddenly, Wolf would be able to be lined-up in festival and concert halls throughout the country before a white audience! Apparently, several of those (and probably still much more laying in the vaults) were recorded, very often on primitive equipments. With the exception of the 1972 Alice's Revisited venue, none of those US recordings had to be issued. They appeared throughout the years on more or less confidential bootleg albums. The sound is sometime very poor and, although we have tried to improve it with our home studio, it's quite often still very bad. We have included them anyway here for documentary purpose more than listening pleasure!
            Unfortunately, even he was only in his early 60's, the Wolf was beginning very ill, the dreadful years of his childhood when he suffered greatly violence, abuse and unbelievable bad treatments (he got his hoarse voice because he wasn't allowed by his uncle to sleep in the house, even during cold winters and he had to beg for food to passengers' trains during the nearby stops) took their harmful toll. After a bad car accident during 1973 New Years' eve, Howlin' Wolf had henceforth to undergo kidney dialysis several times a week. Although he had still to play gigs throughout the country for making a living, he was strongly diminished and mostly played and sung seated and only a few numbers, leaving most of the set to his band, led by Eddie Shaw. Several bootleg recordings of those late concerts have also popped up but we have chosen not to feature them. 
                                         Gérard HERZHAFT
 Pour répondre à de nombreuses demandes, je remets à jour cet article avec de nouveaux liens. Mais, ayant eu des problèmes pour conserver ces liens la première fois, je ne peux savoir combien de temps ils pourront rester valides. Ce sera donc la dernière fois que je mes remettrai en ligne. Aussi, prenez les tant que cela est possible.

I've reuploaded this article and links to answer to numerous queries. But, as I have had problems to keep those links available, I can't say how long they will be available. In any case, it is the last time that I'm re-posting them. So grab them while it lasts!

HOWLIN WOLF/ Complete Recordings 1963-72/ Discography

The very best Howlin' Wolf biography that really explains the man, his greatness and his masterworks has been written by Mark Hoffman, certainly one of the very best blues books