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samedi 13 novembre 2021

SOUTH ILLINOIS COUNTRY BLUES FESTIVALS/ The early 70's

 

 

SOUTH ILLINOIS COUNTRY BLUES FESTIVALS/ The 1970's

 

           


While the music enjoyed a more and more strong following in Europe, the late 60's and early 1970's were very lean years for the blues in the USA. Many a bluesmen that we saw and chatted with or interviewed when they were touring France during this era told us that those European tours were almost the only lucrative gigs they had! The country blues artists who had enjoyed some quite large exposures during the early 1960's were now playing almost only for friends or family with a very few paid gigs in colleges and Universities or some folk clubs. I saw Larry Johnson in 1973 in New York City in a Greenwich Village coffeehouse when he was playing a great set, backed by an excellent drummer (Bobby King), for an audience less than ten people, including us!

            So those sets! They have been recorded at two distinct small Southern Illinois Festivals sponsored by the Illinois Valley Community College and have been available only very confidentially. Pianist Memphis Piano Red, legendaries Tennessee bluesmen Furry Lewis, Sleepy John Estes, Hammie Nixon appear in good shape and deliver fine performances. But to my ears the highlight here is the still very young (at that time) Larry Johnson who demonstrates masterful Piedmont style country blues with a driving fingerpicking guitar style and good vocals.

            Thanks a lot to all involved in the recordings and preservation of the music and to the website Downstate Sounds (Exploring the musical past of Illinois outside Chicagoland!) and enjoy this rare performances.

                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT



 

MEMPHIS PIANO RED, vcl/pno. Oglesby, Ill. 22 mars 1974

01. Pinetop's boogie woogie

02. Home at last

03. You don't have to go

04. Mother-in-law blues

SLEEPY JOHN ESTES, vcl/g; Hammie Nixon, hca/jug/kazoo/vcls. Oglesby, Ill. 22 mars 1974

05. Corrina Corrina

06. President Kennedy stayed away too long

07. Rats in my kitchen

HAMMIE NIXON, vcl/hca/jug; Sleepy John Estes, g. Oglesby, Ill. 22 mars 1974

08. Yellow yam blues

FURRY LEWIS, vcl/g. Oglesby, Ill. 22 mars 1974

09. Mary Tell blues

LARRY JOHNSON, vcl/g. Normal, Ill. 21 mai 1971

10. Ragged and dirty

11. How long blues

12. Got the blues can't be satisfied

13. Nobody's business if I do

14. Saturday night blues

15. Pick poor Robin clean

(The performances here were recorded by Greg Steil at Illinois Valley Community College)

 

dimanche 31 octobre 2021

BIG JOE TURNER/ The Pablo Sessions





           
Quand Big Joe Turner (1911-85) enregistre pour Norman Granz, il est quelque peu oublié. Pionnier du blues de Kansas City, partie prenante de la folie du boogie woogie dans les années 30 auprès de Pete Johnson, chanteur ultra puissant archétype des Blues Shouters, Joe est le chanteur des grands orchestres de Benny Moten, Andy Kirk, Count Basie avant d'enregistrer en vedette du R&B une oeuvre copieuse pour de nombreux labels. Très avisé, superbe showman, Big Joe va savoir maintenir intacte sa popularité longtemps. Il est d'ailleurs un des rares artistes noirs du R&Blues capable de s'arrimer au courant du Rock n'Roll. Il signe sur le label Atlantic en 1951 qui l'entoure des meilleurs musiciens du moment, le produit intelligemment et distribue ses disques dans toute l'Amérique. Shake, rattle and roll; Flip, flop and fly et Teenage letter obtiennent autant de succès dans les Hit Parades "Rhythm & Blues" que "pop" et son nom est associé aux stars adolescentes du Rock'n'roll!, notamment dans plusieurs films.
            Mais dans les années 60, Big Joe apparaît largement comme une figure du passé. Il essaie de s'adapter aux goûts du blues revival mais, malgré la très grande qualité de ses disques (magnifique album Kent avec George Smith!), sa manière d'être et de chanter ne plaisent guère à ce nouveau public qui ne jure plus que par les bluesmen du Delta ou ceux du ghetto de Chicago.
            Big Joe s'installe alors en Californie et apparaît surtout dans des festivals de jazz et de façon irrégulière dans les clubs de Los Angeles. Lorsque le producteur de jazz Norman Granz, après une éclipse forcée, décide de relancer son label Pablo et de reprendre des tournées internationales de big bands, il pense en premier à Count Basie à qui il adjoint Big Joe Turner. Le succès de cette tournée au printemps 1972 est tel que Granz décide d'enregistrer live le concert parisien et de le sortir sur Pablo.
            Les dés sont lancés: Joe Turner revient à son rôle favori de blues shouter et, devenu très ami avec Granz, il va enregistrer pas moins de neuf autres albums pour Pablo entre 1972 et 78, entouré de certains des noms les plus prestigieux du jazz. Si l'album The Bosses (avec Count Basie mais en studio) recueille de bonnes critiques, les autres sont très fraîchement accueillis, notamment par les critiques de blues qui soulignent l'absence de nouveau répertoire, les solos très longs, les morceaux étirés, les disques enregistrés en très peu de temps. Joe n'est pas non plus toujours dans une grande forme. Sa santé se détériore beaucoup durant cette période et il ne se déplace plus que difficilement et à l'aide d'une canne.
            Malgré tout, ces disques prennent avec le temps une autre dimension: ils réunissent de grands musiciens qui ont marqué l'histoire et qui ont d'évidence du plaisir à se retrouver ensemble. Et finalement, ce long corpus permet à Big Joe Turner, un des plus grands noms de l'histoire du blues, d'ajouter - presque en fin de carrière - une nouvelle pierre solide à sa longue et riche oeuvre.
            La plupart de ces LPs sont aujourd'hui introuvables et nous remercions tous ceux qui ont permis de les rassembler ici: Marc (Fr), Hartmut Münnich, Kempen, Steve 626...
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

            When Big Joe Turner (1911-85) began his series of recordings for Norman Granz' rejuvenated Pablo label, he was a little bit forgotten. Pioneer of the Kansas City blues, linked with the boogie woogie craze of the 1930's, particularly with his fellow Pete Johnson, Joe is a consummate showman and an ultra-powerful blues shouter with the big bands of Andy Kirk, Benny Moten or Count Basie before launching a personal career as a major name of the R&B, heavily recording for numerous labels. Moreover, when signing with the Atlantic label in 1951, Joe became one of the few black R&B star to be able to crossover in the emerging Rock'n'roll field, singing before audience of teenagers, appearing in many R'n'R movies and placing records like Shake, rattle and roll; Flip, flop and fly or Teenage letter into the Tops 40 of R&B as well as Pop!
            But in the 60's, Big Joe seems to be a figure of the past. He tries to cope with the tastes of the new Blues Revival audiences, waxing excellent deep blues albums (one with George Smith) but he was not the Delta or the Chicago ghetto bluesman that this public wanted exclusively at that time.
            Big Joe comes to live in California and appears irregularly on jazz festivals and L.A. clubs. When in 1972 producer and former civic rights activist Norman Granz decided to launch a big band tour of Europe, he chose to reunite old Kansas City partners, Count Basie and his Orchestra with blues shouter Big Joe Turner. The tour proved to be so successful that Granz recorded live the Paris concert and issued it on his Pablo label. This started a new association between Turner and Granz that gave nine subsequent LP's until 1978! Joe is once again the blues shouter supreme surrounded by some of the biggest and most respected jazzmen still working then. But if The Bosses (with Count Basie) has some good reviews, the other albums are mildly welcomed, particularly by blues critics who point out the lack of new material, the overlong numbers and solos, the quickly recorded sessions and sometimes a lacking of rehearsal... Joe's health is also declining and it shows sometimes in his voice.
            Anyway, the passing years give those LPs a better significance: they brought together great musicians (and some of the greatest) who evidently enjoyed playing with each other and at last those late sessions are a welcomed addition to the recording works of one of the true giants of the blues.
            Most of those records are unavailable today, sometimes very hard to find and all those who have made possible this project must be thanked: Marc (Fr) particularly, Hartmut Münnich, Kempen, Steve 626..

                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

JOE TURNER/ THE COMPLETE PABLO SESSIONS
Joe Turner with Count Basie - Flip flop and fly
Joe Turner, vcl; Count Basie, pno; Freddie Green, g; Pete Minger, tpt; Waymon Reed, tpt; Sonny Cohn, tpt; Mel Wanzo, tb; Al Grey, tb; Frank Cooks, tb; Bill Hughes, tb; Bobby Platter, a-sax; Curtis Beagler, a-sax; John Williams, b-sax; Eddie Lockjaw Davis, t-sax; Eric Dixon, t-sax; Jimmy Forrest, t-sax; Norman Keenan, bs; Sonny Payne, dms. Paris, Fr. avril 1972
01. Hide and seek
02. T.V. Momma
03. Corrine Corrina
04. Cherry Red
05. Shake, rattle and roll
06. Since I fell for you
07. Flip flop and fly
08. Everyday I have the blues
09. Good morning blues

Count Basie & Joe Turner - The Bosses
Joe Turner, vcl; Count Basie, pno/og; Harry Edison, tpt; J.J. Johnson, tb; Eddie Davis, t-sax; Zoot Sims, t-sax; Irving Ashby, g; Roy Brown, bs; Louis Bellson, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 11 décembre 1973
10. Honeydripper
11. Honey Hush
12. Cherry Red
13. Night time is the right time
14. Blues around the clock
15. Since I fell for you
16. Flip flop and fly
17. Wee baby blues
18. Good morning blues
19. Roll'em Pete

Joe Turner - Life Ain't Easy
Joe Turner, vcl; Roy Eldridge (trumpet) Al Grey (trombone) Lee Allen (tenor saxophone) Jimmy Robins (piano, organ) Thomas Gadson (guitar) Ray Brown (bass) Earl Palmer (drums) Los Angeles, CA, June 3, 1974
20. Life Ain't Easy
21. Plant Your Garden
22. So Long
23. For Growin' Up
24. (What's Your Story,) Morning Glory
25. Kick The Front Door In

The Trumpet Kings meet Joe Turner
Joe Turner, vcl; Harry Edison, Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry (trumpet) Jimmy Robins (piano, organ) Pee Wee Crayton (guitar) Chuck Norris (bass) Washington Rucker (drums) Los Angeles, CA, September 18, 1974
26. Stormy Monday
27. Mornin' noon and night
28. I know you love me baby
29. T.V. mama
30. Tain't nobody's bizness if I do

Joe Turner - Everyday I have the blues
Joe Turner, vcl; Sonny Stitt, a-sax/t-sax; J.D. Nicholson, Pee Wee Crayton, g; Charles Norris, bs; Washington Rucker, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 3 mars 1975
31. Stormy monday
32. Piney Brown
33. Martin Luther King Southside
34. Everyday I have the blues
35. Shake rattle and roll
36. Lucille
Big Joe Turner Nobody in mind
Joe Turner, vcl; Roy Eldridge, tpt; J.D. Nicholson, pno; Milt Jackson, vb; Pee Wee Crayton, g; William Walker, bs; Charles Randall, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 27 août 1975
37. I want a little girl
38. Nobody in mind
39. The Chicken and the Hawk
40. I just didn't have the price
41. How long how long blues
42. Crawdad hole
43. Juke Joint blues
44. Red Sails in the sunset

Joe Turner - In The Evening
Joe Turner, vcl; Bob Smith, a-sax; J.D. Nicholson, pno; Herman Bennett, g; Pee Wee Crayton, g; Winston McGregor, bs; Charles Randall, dms. Los Angeles, CA, 10 mars 1976
45. In The Evening
46. Summertime
47. Sweet Lorraine
48. Too Late, Too Late
49. I've Got The World On A String
50. Chains Of Love
51. Corrine, Corrina
52. J.T. Blues
53. Pennies From Heaven
54. Two Loves Have I

Joe Turner - The Midnight Special
Joe Turner, vcl; Jake Porter, tpt; Roy Brewster, b-sax; Curtis Peagler, t-sax; Curtis Kirk, hca; Sylvester Scott, pno; Cal Green, g; Bobby Haynes, bs; Washington Rucker, dms. Los Angeles, CA, 27 mai 1976
55. The Things That I Used To Do
56. The Midnight Special
57. You're Driving Me Crazy
58. So Long
59. I Left My Heart In San Francisco
60. I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter
61. I Can't Give You Anything But Love
62. After My Laughter Came Tears
63. Stoop Down Baby

Joe Turner - Things That I Used To Do 
Joe Turner, vcl; Blue Mitchell, tpt; Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, a-sax; Rashid Jamal Ali, t-sax; Wild Bill Moore, t-sax; Lloyd Glenn, pno; Gildo Mahones, og; Greg Beck, g; Gary Bell, g; Lawrence Gales, bs; Bruno Carr, dms. Los Angeles, CA, 8 février 1977
64. Time After Time
65. The Things That I Used To Do
66. S.K. Blues
67. Jelly Jelly Blues
68. Hey Little Girl
69. Shake It And Break It
70. St. Louis Blues
71. Oke-She-Moke-She-Pop
72. My Train Rolled Up In Texas

Have No Fear, Joe Turner Is Here
Joe Turner, vcl; Joe Banks, tpt; Bobby Smith, a-sax; Bill Clark, t-sax; Hollis Gilmore, t-sax; Lloyd Glenn, pno; Pee Wee Crayton, g; Evan Walker, g; Bill Walker, bs; Charles Randall, dms; Frederick Woods, perc. Hollywood, CA, 22 juin 1978
73. Rocks In My Bed
74. So Long
75. Howlin' Wind
76. Woman You Must Be Crazy
77. How Come My Dog Don't Bark
78. Long Way From Home
79. Somebody Loves Me
80. Love Is Like A Faucet

NEW LINKS ON THE COMMENTS SECTION

vendredi 29 octobre 2021

CHICAGO/ The Blues Yesterday Volume 25

 

CHICAGO/ The Blues Yesterday/ Volume 25

The Drummers

 

           


After a long hiatus, we are getting back to our Chicago/ The Blues Yesterday Series. This 25th (!) volume brings the focus on some drummers who played in or around Chicago during the great musical postwar years .

            I don't know too much about Count Demon who led a driving R&B band based on Champaign (Illinois), a city at 200 kilometers South of Chicago. His son L. Jennings posted some years ago some quick infos about his father who was very popular in the area. He was associated with famous organist Brother Jack McDuff who is probably (and aurally) the "High Priest" from the discographies. Whatever, Count Demon recorded some great 45s during the late 60's.

 

            Drummer and bandleader Willie Wright must not be confused with the folk/ soul singer or the deep blues guitarist of the same name. This Willie Wright is from Muskogee (Oklahoma) where he fronted his own band The Sparklers during the 1950's/60's, recording several singles for Federal and then a whole album for Chess's Argo subsidiary. Among the singers of the group was the powerful Jesse Anderson (cf Chicago/the blues yesterday on this blog).

 

            Al Duncan is a very well known name among blues fans for his long stint as a house drummer at Vee Jay or Cobra labels, particularly behind Jimmy Reed. Born Alrook James Duncan on 8 October 1926 he, if I'm right, recorded only two singles under his name. He died on 3 January 1995 in Las Vegas.

 

            Odie Payne is also very well known, having drummed for several decades behind some of the greatest Chicago bluesmen: Tampa Red, Elmore James, Junior Wells, Louis Myers, Muddy Waters and many others. Born in Chicago on 27 August 1926, he recorded some odd tracks under his name as well as a whole album in 1979, playing not only his drums but also taking the vocals and some harmonica blowing. The tracks in this post come from this rare album (thanks to Xyros for sharing this). Odie Payne died in Chicago on 1 March 1989.

 

            Blues singer and drummer Harold Tidwell was active in and around Chicago during the 1950's/early 60's, recording with Detroit Jr, Syl Johnson, M.T. Murphy, Lillian Offit and particularly Earl Hooker who is the guitarist on the two tracks we are offering here.

 

            At last J.C. Heard (1917-88) was a noted jazz drummer influenced by Jo Jones. He played and recorded with several jazz greats like Teddy Wilson, Benny Carter, Louis Jordan, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and such! He was more living in Detroit than in Chicago but it's in the windy city that he recorded his most bluesy tracks under his name.

 



 

                                                   Gérard HERZHAFT

 

 

COUNT DEMON, vcl/dms; "High Priest" (prob. Jack Mc Duff), og; Chuck Fields, t-sax; Lament Parson, g; Freddie Davis, bs; Vick Mc Guire, bongos. Champaign, Ill. 1968

01. My Isabella

02. I don't believe

03. Take it upstairs I

04. C.C. Rider

05. I got to work with it

WILLIE WRIGHT, dms; Sammy J. Faggit, vcl; Jesse Anderson, t-sax; Eddie Caddell, t-sax; Gordon Sims, org; Herbie Witch, g; Carl Wright, bs. Chicago, Ill. 27 May 1960

06. Bloodhound

07. Gibble gobble

03. Got a feeling (vcl: Jesse Anderson)

09. Hard times (vcl: Sammy J. Faggit)

10. I want to love you (vcl: Sammy J. Faggit)

11. I'm gonna leave you baby (vcl: Jesse Anderson)

12. Slowly losing my mind (vcl: Sammy J. Faggit)

13. Suffering in mind (vcl: Sammy J. Faggit)

14. What will I say? (vcl: Jesse Anderson)

15. Just let me love you (vcl: Gordon Sims)

Yourletter

AL DUNCAN, dms; Lefty Bates, g. Red Holloway, t-sax; Horace Palm, pno; bs. Chicago, Ill. 1962

16. Cossack walk

17. Bawana Jinde

ODIE PAYNE, vcl/dms/hca; Herman Smith, tpt; Chrissy Brooks, tb; Horace Smith, t-sax; Ulysses Wilson, g; Ron Wheeler, g; Sunnyland Slim, pno; Darlene Wells, dms; Odie Payne IV, perc. Orland Park, Ill. 1979

18. Blues blues all the time

19. Howdy do

20. I don't know

21. I left from home

22. Kansas City

23. Tell me yes or no I & II

HAROLD TIDWELL, vcl/dms; Lorenzo Smith, t-sax; Earl Hooker, g; Tall Paul Hankins, pno; Jack Myers, bs. Chicago, Ill. 23 May 1959

24. Señorita Jaunita

25. Sweet Suzie

J.C. HEARD, vcl/dms; Joe Newman, tpt; Benny Powell, tb; Frank Wess, a-sax/ft: Charlie Fowlkes, b-sax; Ronnell Bright, pno; Johnnye Pate, bs. Chicago, Ill. 1958

26. Blues for sale

27. For you my love


 Odie Payne




 


vendredi 15 octobre 2021

EARL HOOKER/ Complete Studio Recordings

 

EARL HOOKER/ Complete Studio Recordings

 

          


  Although Earl Hooker was highly praised by his pairs, he never gained the recognition his talents should have brought him.

            Earl Zebedee Hooker was born in Vance, Ms on 15 January 1929 or 1930, from Earl Jake Hooker (an uncle of John Lee Hooker) and Mary Catherine Blare. His family moved to Chicago during the early 1930's and young Earl suffered from a frail health all his life, contracting tuberculosis while a child. He took the guitar at 10 years old and quickly developed a strong proficiency, listening to blues, jazz and Hillbilly greats like Les Paul, a strong inluence on him alongside T-Bone Walker. With his friend and mentor Robert Lee Mc Coy/ Nighthawk, Earl started to play on Chicago street corners while a child and thereafter in clubs and venues.

            After the war, Robert Nighthawk who was constantly going from Chicago to the South brought Earl with him, the two performing on almost all Southern juke joints from Mississippi to Florida. In 1950, Earl formed his own band with Kansas City Red on drums, trying his luck a little bit everywhere, playing in Chicago quite regularly. Able to play all kinds of music with the same technical ability and proficiency, from deep Delta blues a la Nighthawk to Country & Westerns instrumentals unto jazz and swing numbers, Earl Hooker was very often in the studios backing many artists and waxing some numbers under his name for a lot of labels: King, DeLuxe, Rockin', Sun, Chess/Argo, United, States etc... His main drawback was his voice, a little bit light and unexpressive and for which he had no confidence.

            In 1956, Earl suffered a bad attack of tuberculosis and had to be hospitalized for a long time. He had to wait 1959 to be fully back on the scene and on the recording studios, this time pairing with Junior Wells who brought him to Mel London's Chief group of labels. Very impressed by Earl's talents, Mel put Earl as his house guitarist for a lot of sessions and artists like Wells, Lillian Offitt, Magic Sam, A.C. Reed, Ricky Allen, Johnny "Big Moose" Walker, Bobby Paxton, Betty Everett and others. Earl also recorded some instrumentals under his name, particularly the soulful Blue guitar which went to be a minor hit in Chicago. In 1961, Hooker also recorded some instrumentals for Chess that Len Chess used later on as the backing track for some Muddy Waters's numbers (You shook me and You need love)!

            During the mid-60's Earl Hooker recorded his first album for the Cuca label (The Genius of Earl Hooker) with a strong Funk appealing mood. But once again in 1967, Hooker had to be hospitalized for almost a year and he thus couldn't capitalize to this LP. In 1968, Earl boldly formed a new and original band with his old friend Pinetop Perkins at the keyboards, Freddie Roulette on steel guitar, Carey Bell and Andrew "Blues Boy" Odom, a powerful singer in the B.B. King's mould. The band impressed enough Arhoolie's Chris Strachwitz who then recorded Earl, issuing the great now classic LP Two bugs and a roach.

           


The album sold quite well among blues buffs around the world, allowing at last Earl to play on major festivals, recording several very nice albums for Blue Thumb (thanks to his old friend Ike Turner) and particularly Bluesway for which Hooker also was the lead guitarist on many albums by blues luminaries like Charles Brown, Jimmy Witherspoon, Johnny Walker, Brownie Mc Ghee & Sonny Terry, even pairing with his cousin John Lee Hooker on a memorable session (If you miss' em I got' em).

            In October 1969, Hooker and a lot of Arholie's artists toured Europe with the legendary American Folk Blues Festival (cf the entry on my blog), getting rave reviews. This was the only time I saw Earl Hooker (at the Paris show) and he performed a very great set. But this very tiring European tour damaged even more Earl's health and he came back to Chicago very ill. Hospitalized again in December 1969, Earl this time never fully recovered, had to stay in a Chicago sanatorium a couple of months where he died on 21 April 1970.

            A very accomplished and versatile major guitarist, Earl left us a very rewarding recording legacy. Sebastian Danchin who knew very well Earl wrote a nice biography of the man, from which I have taken most of this article.

            Thanks to Steve W., John "Boston" and some others friends for their help in gathering the complete studio recordings of this major artist.

                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT


EARL HOOKER Discography

jeudi 23 septembre 2021

JOE JOHNSON/ LOUISIANA SWAMP MUSIC

JOE JOHNSON/ LOUISIANA SWAMP MUSIC





           

For this new portrait of Louisiana's musicians, let's put the focus on the singer and sometimes guitar and harmonica player Joe Johnson. It's certainly not an easy task for there are very few features in the Blues literature about this singer who, despite having recorded at least 18 tracks, between Swamp blues and Soul, has not been well documented.

Joseph Lee Johnson was born in Independence, La. on January 9, 1942 but seems to have moved to Greensboro, La. at an early age. He started playing guitar and harmonica and singing with Guitar Grady's Strings of Rhythm R&B group around 1959 in Louisiana and Texas clubs. It's probably through Grady that Joe Johnson recorded his first sessions in 1966 for Jay D. Miller at his Crowley's studio, two tracks being issued on the Abet label Dirty woman blues/ Santa bring my baby back to me. Two other titles, very much into the Swamp blues style, remained in the vaults for a decade before being issued by the wonderful British Flyright label in the 1970's.

            But in 1967, Johnson's return to Miller's studio gave a very different musical mood: two Soul ballads in the Otis Redding's manner, particularly the vibrant tribute to Otis, Otis is gone. Those records, although not commercially successful, probably convinced Joe to lead his own band with which he recorded more Soul numbers. We found again Johnson several years later in the Malaco's studios in Jackson, Ms, recording for Wardell Quezergue, particularly the very good The blind man which was featured for a short time in some local Southern charts.

            But this small success didn't last and Joe was back in Louisiana, waxing some more records for small labels.

            Joe Johnson seems to have given up his musical career in the early 1980's. According to Bob Eagle, Joe Johnson was a resident of Harvey, a small Louisiana town, in 2010. We have not heard about him since that.

            This Joe Johnson must not be confused with another musician Joe (D.) Johnson, a Texas singer and guitarist who recorded also some fine blues during the 1960's.

            Once again, most of the facts about Joe Johnson, come from the first rate website Sir Shambling, a goldmine of infos on Soul artists.

                                      Gérard HERZHAFT

 

 

 

Joe Johnson, vcl; Guitar Grady, g; Katie Webster, kbds; Lazy Lester, hca on *; Sherman Webster, bs; dms. Crowley, La. 1966

01. Dirty woman blues

02. We're gonna rub

03. Alimonia blues*

04. Santa bring my baby back

Joe Johnson, vcl/hca; Guitar Grady, g; Strings of Rhythm, band. Crowley, La. 1967

05. Otis is gone

06. Got my oil well pumpin'

Joe Johnson, vcl/hca; Guitar Grady, g; band. Dallas, Tx. 1968

07. One horse town

08. Whiskey all night

Joe Johnson, vcl; The Admirations, vcls; band. Gretna, La. 1969

09. Better days and better ways

10. No more worries

Joe Johnson, vcl; band. Jackson, Ms. 1973

11. Perfect love affair

12. Gold digging man

13. Rattlesnake baby rattlesnake

14. The blind man

Joe Johnson, vcl; band. Gretna, La. 1977

15. Nothing like being free

16. Mr Bojangles

17. Can I change my mind?

18. Do unto others

 

 

lundi 20 septembre 2021

MASTERS OF BLUES GUITAR: DANNY OVERBEA (Complete Recordings)

 

MASTERS OF BLUES GUITAR: DANNY OVERBEA

 

           


Daniel Dorsey Overbea naît le 3 janvier 1926 à Philadelphie, Pennsylvanie de Sylvester Overbea et Irene Dorsey, une famille musicale qui officie régulièrement dans leur congrégation. Elevé à Chicago où ses parents ont migré alors qu'il avait sept ans, Danny a eu une éducation musicale poussée à la Du Sable High School où il forme un orchestre, chantant les morceaux du crooner Bing Crosby, alors son idole et devenant progressivement un musicien accompli, compositeur et guitariste capable de jouer n'importe quel morceau.

            Après un service militaire sur le front européen, Danny Overbea revient à Chicago en 1946 et entame immédiatement une carrière musicale professionnelle avec les Three Earls, un groupe vocal pop de Cleveland puis en tant que chanteur et guitariste de l'orchestre du saxophoniste Eddie Chamblee. C'est au sein de cet orchestre que Overbea fait ses débuts discographiques en 1950.

            Mais c'est lors d'une prestation particulièrement réussie au Paris Club sur le West Side en 1952 - Danny est aussi un formidable showman qui joue de la guitare avec les dents, derrière son dos, couché ...- qu'il est remarqué par le DJ et producteur Al Benson qui lui fait signer un contrat et l'enregistre, les disques sortant sur le label Checker. Train train train est immédiatement un énorme succès national, suivi l'année suivante en 1953 de plusieurs autres morceaux marquants (Stop time, 40 cups of coffee - que reprendra Bill Haley), cette fois gravés en compagnie du bel ensemble de King Kolax. Pendant quelques années, Overbea participe à plusieurs tournées nationales de R&B notamment avec Count Basie, Dinah Washington, Cootie Williams ou les Moonglows et figure dans les célèbres programmes télévisés de Alan Freed.

            Mais ces succès ne se répètent plus les années suivantes et Overbea - du moins dans ses enregistrements pour Chess, Federal, Shep, Apex- essaie de revenir à un répertoire plus orienté vers des ballades, sans résultats commerciaux. Cependant, il continue à se produire dans de nombreux clubs de Chicago et jusqu'en Floride jusque à la fin des années 1960 où, la mort dans l'âme, il doit abandonner la musique pour vivre de divers métiers.

            Un formidable guitariste mais sans doute difficile à catégoriser, Danny Overbea décède le 11 mai 1994 à Chicago, très largement oublié de tous.

            Merci à Marc Claes et Steve W. pour leur aide précieuse.

                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

 

            Daniel Dorsey Overbea was born 3d January 1926 at Philadelphia, the son of Sylvester Overbea and Irene Dorsey, a musical family who played regularly in their local church and around. His parents went to live to Chicago when the young Danny was seven and he was musically educated at the Du Sable High School where he formed a band, playing several instruments, composing, arranging and singing a lot of Bing Crosby's tunes, his first idol.

           


After his service in Europe during the war, Danny came back to Chicago in 1946 and embarked himself upon a professional musical career, first with the Cleveland vocal group The Three Earls and then as a guitarist and lead singer with tenor-saxophonist Eddie Chamblee's band. This is as a member of Chamblee's group that he made his recording debut in 1950.

            A proficient guitarist and a powerful showman (he played behind his back, with his teeth...), Danny Overbea was contacted by the famous R&B DJ Al Benson who recorded him for the Checker label the Top 10 R&B hit Train, train, train, followed by several strong numbers (Stop time, 40 cups of coffee... this one being covered by Bill Haley) waxed with the no-nonsense King Kolax Orchestra. During a few years, Overbea was very busy, touring nationally with Top R&B acts like Count Basie, Dinah Washington, Cootie Williams or The Moonglows and being featured several time on the famous Rock'n'Roll TV shows by Alan Freed.

            But and despite trying to record more ballads and even pop tunes, the subsequent recordings for Checker, Federal, Shep , Apex... didn't generate any new Hits. For some years, until the end of the 60's, Overbea was still playing in clubs and venues from Chicago to Florida, living on his reputation.

            But the good things didn't last and around 1969, Overbea had to give up music and make a living on several menial jobs.

            A powerful, imaginative guitarist and composer but probably too hard to categorize, Danny Overbea died on 11 May 1994 at his Chicago's home, largely forgotten.

            Thanks a lot to Marc Claes and Steve W. for their help.

                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT

 

 

DANNY OVERBEA/ Discographie

Danny Overbea, vcl/g; Eddie Chamblee, t-sax; John Young, pno; bs; dms. Chicago, Ill. 27 juillet 1950

01. Sweet Lucy

02. Laughing boogie

03. This is it

Danny Overbea, vcl/g; Eddie Chamblee, t-sax; John Young, pno; Walter Scott, g; Andrew Harris, bs; Osle Johnson, dms. Chicago, Ill. 28 juillet 1950

04. Every shut eye ain't sleep

Danny Overbea, vcl/g; band. Chicago, Ill. 1951

05. The joke is on me

06. Contrary Mary

Danny Overbea, vcl/g; King Kolax, tpt; Dick Davis, t-sax; b-sax; Prentice Mc Cary, pno; Cowboy Martin, bs; Little Gates, dms. Chicago, Ill. janvier 1953

07. Train train train

08. Train train blues

09. I'll wait

Danny Overbea, vcl/g; King Kolax, tpt; Dick Davis, t-sax; b-sax; Prentice Mc Cary, pno; Cowboy Martin, bs; Little Gates, dms. Chicago, Ill. avril 1953

10. 40 cups of coffee

11. I'll follow you

Danny Overbea, vcl/g; King Kolax, tpt; Dick Davis, t-sax; b-sax; Prentice Mc Cary, pno; Cowboy Martin, bs; Little Gates, dms. Chicago, Ill. septembre 1953

12. I could but I won't

13. Sorrento

Danny Overbea, vcl/g; King Kolax, tpt; Harold Ousley, t-sax; b-sax; Prentice Mc Cary, pno; Cowboy Martin, bs; Leon Hooper, dms. Chicago, Ill. janvier 1954

14. Stomp and whistle

15. Ebony Chant

Danny Overbea, vcl/g; band. Chicago, Ill. avril 1954

16. Roamin' man

17. Hey Pancho

18. You're mine

Danny Overbea, vcl/g; band. Chicago, Ill. 27 septembre 1954

19. A toast to lovers

20. My love my love

Danny Overbea, vcl/g; band. Chicago, Ill. mars 1955

21. Do you love me?

Danny Overbea, vcl/g; band. New York City, décembre 1955

22. My stubborn heart

23. Hear my story

Danny Overbea, vcl/g; Wilbur Wynne, g; Ronald Wilson, t-sax/flt; Billy Wallace, pno; Johnny Pate, bs; Donald Clark, dms. Cincinnati, Oh. 19 mars 1958

24. Space time

25. Candy bar

Danny Overbea, vcl/g; band. Chicago, Ill. février 1959

26. With all my soul

27. Like crazy

Danny Overbea, vcl; Lefty Bates, g; Tommy Jones, t-sax; b-sax; pno; Quinn Wilson, bs; Al Duncan, dms. Chicago, Ill. juin 1959

28. Don't laugh at me

29. Stop

Danny Overbea, vcl/g; Sonny Thompson, pno; band. Cincinnati, Oh. 1961

30. Listen to me singing the blues

31. Book of tears

32. I'm tired of being tossed around

33. Rosebud