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mercredi 18 juillet 2018



Although not often credited as a big name of the postwar Chicago blues, John Brim has been instrumental in creating the genre and most of his recordings may be considered as classics, notably the wonderful Rattlesnake and Tough times.
Born in Hopkinsville (Kentucky) on April, 10th 1922, John has been influenced by local bluesmen like guitarist Homer Wilson and harmonica player Phineas Cox. In 1941, he goes for work to Indianapolis, a town whose blues is still strongly affected by the music of the famous duo Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell. John quickly takes part of the local blues scene, meets Scrapper Blackwell, Jesse Eldridge, the great singer Harmon Ray and Pete Franklin whose whom he forms a duo à la Carr/Blackwell!
            In 1945, Brim leaves Indianapolis for Chicago, finds a good job in a laundry and plays in the Chicago clubs with Doctor Clayton, Tampa Red, Big Bill Broonzy and John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, all of whom leaving their marks on his style. The younger John is also soon part of the "new" Chicago blues scene and he becomes friends and plays with Muddy, Little Walter, Willie Mabon and while also playing frequently in Gary (Indiana) he meets there Jimmy Reed, Eddie Taylor, Albert King and a young singer/ harp player Grace Millard who soon becomes her wife. They form a band together with Albert King on the drums. Albert being a little bit erratic on stage and in his life, Grace progressively takes the drummer role on the band. One night, one of the patron is none other than the pianist Big Maceo who offers them to go to Detroit and record with him in 1950 for the Fortune label.
            Their recording career is then launched: John waxes another session with Roosevelt Sykes, signs with Joe Brown for his fledgling label JOB and records several stunning tracks in 1951-52, almost all masterpieces: broody voice, excellent lyrics, tight interaction between the guitar of Brim and the piano of Sunnyland Slim, a perfect updating of the Carr/ Blackwell music.
            But JOB is a small outfit that never pays his artists and in 1953, John Brim who wants more from his music is in the Chess studio with the cream of the Chicago bluesmen, particularly Little Walter, Louis Myers, Eddie Taylor and Fred Below: Rattlesnake, blatantly inspired by Hound Dog, is a hit but Chess, facing a lawsuit by Leiber and Stoller, composers of Hound Dog, has to withdraw the record. In 1953, Brim plays the guitar behind his friend Albert King on his first ever session and also waxes the very strong Tough times which will become his best selling number as well as his trademark and an all-time Chicago postwar blues classic!
            But there is not a strong feeling between John and Phil Chess and when, convinced by Jimmy Reed, he tries his luck at Vee Jay's (but no record issued whatsoever), Chess drops him definitively. The late 1950's are lean years for the deep blues like John Brim's. The Brims leave then Chicago for settling in Gary where they buy a laundry. But the music bug is still there, John teaching guitar and bass to his sons. And in 1971, the Brim family record a new 45 that unfortunately goes nowhere. He will have to wait 18 more years to be rediscovered by the valiant Austrian label Wolf, recording a new excellent session . Then, encouraged by young admirers, he will resume his musical career, appearing as a "living legend" in several festivals and recording two excellent CDs.
            He dies on October, 1st, 2003 four years after his wife Grace, leaving a small but brilliant record legacy.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

JOHN BRIM/ The Complete Recordings 1950-71
John Brim, vcl/g; Big Maceo, pno. Detroit, Mi. 1950
01. Bus driver
John Brim, vcl/g; Roosevelt Sykes, pno. Saint Louis, Mo. 1951
02. Dark clouds
03. Lonesome man blues
John Brim, vcl/g; Sunnyland Slim, pno/vcls; Moody Jones, bs. Chicago, Ill. 27 septembre 1951
04. Young and wild
05. I love my baby
06. Trouble in the morning
07. Humming blues
John Brim, vcl/g; Sunnyland Slim, pno; Eddie Taylor, g; Moody Jones, bs; Grace Brim, dms/hca. Chicago, Ill. 22 août 1952
08. Hard pill to swallow
09. Drinking woman
John Brim, vcl/g; Ernest Cotton, t-sax; Sunnyland Slim, pno; Pete Franklin, g; Big Crawford, bs; Alfred Wallace, dms. Chicago, Ill. octobre 1952
10. Don't leave me (No name blues)
11. Moonlight blues
John Brim, vcl/g; Little Walter, hca; Louis Myers, g; Dave Myers, g; Willie Dixon, bs; Fred Below, dms. Chicago, Ill. mars 1953
12. Rattlesnake
13. It was a dream
John Brim, vcl/g; Little Walter, hca; Eddie Taylor, g; Elga Edmonds, dms. Chicago, Ill. 4 mai 1953
14. Ice cream man
15. Lifetime baby
John Brim, vcl/g; Jimmy Reed, hca; Eddie Taylor, g; Grace Brim, dms. Chicago, Ill. mars 1954
16. Tough times
17. Gary stomp
John Brim, vcl/g; James Dalton, hca; W.C. Dalton, g; Grace Brim, dms. Chicago, Ill. janvier 1955
18. Go away
19. That ain't right
John Brim, vcl/g; Little Walter, hca; Robert Lockwood Jr, g; Willie Dixon, bs; Fred Below, dms. Chicago, Ill. 5 avril 1956
20. Be careful
21. You got me
John Brim, vcl/g; John Brim Jr, g; Steve Brim, bs; Grace Brim, dms. Chicago, Ill. 1971
22. You put the hurt on me
23. Movin' out

Alternate takes and tracks by Grace Brim are not included here

lundi 2 juillet 2018

HOWLIN' WOLF/ Complete Live Recordings 1963-72

HOWLIN' WOLF: Complete Live Recordings 1963-72

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 effectuée dans la foulée avec Willie Dixon, Sunnyland Slim, Hubert Sumlin et Clifton James. Il faut noter que peu de ces concerts 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 apparues 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 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 of broadcasting some tunes during their jazz programmes. Now they stay as 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 festivals and concert halls throughout the country before a white audience! Apparently, several of those (and probably still much more are 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.
            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 of 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

mardi 19 juin 2018


Live Sessions

Si les enregistrements en studio pour Trumpet, Chess ou Storyville de Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) qui regorgent de chefs d'œuvre et sont devenus des classiques du Chicago blues, sont aisément disponibles sous diverses formes, les enregistrements en concert ou dans des radios effectués par cet immense bluesman demeurent plus confidentielles et disséminées sur de nombreux albums, souvent très difficiles à se procurer aujourd'hui.
            Nous avons essayé de regrouper tous ces enregistrements "live", l'immense majorité ayant été effectuée en Europe (seul un programme radiophonique en studio à Helena provient des Etats Unis). Evidemment, à l'exception des concerts qui proviennent de l'American Folk Blues Festival dans lesquels Sonny Boy est accompagné de superbes musiciens comme M.T. Murphy, Hubert Sumlin, Sunnyland Slim, Memphis Slim etc... les autres sont beaucoup moins musicalement réussis. Derrière Sonny Boy, nombre de très jeunes musiciens anglais qui sont alors au tout début de leur carrière font plus montre d'enthousiasme que d'empathie réelle avec leur leader d'un soir. Mais Sonny Boy est Sonny Boy et dès qu'il chante, parle, susurre, souffle dans son harmonica, claque des doigts, l'instant est magique. Et finalement ces enregistrements, souvent réalisés dans des conditions précaires et qui, parfois, n'étaient même pas destinés à être publiés, constituent un apport très intéressant à l'œuvre du maestro.
            Sauf erreur, tout ce que Sonny Boy a enregistré live dans les années 1963-65 se trouve ici. A l'exception de six titres provenant d'une séance privée (dans l'appartement d'un collectionneur germanique) qui ont brièvement paru en LP (Document) sous le titre de Solo blues et que je n'ai pas réussi à retrouver.
                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT

            If the studio recordings for Trumpet, Chess or Storyville made by Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) are full of blues masterpieces and are still easily available today, his live recordings (made in concerts or for radio programmes) are much more confidential and scattered on too many albums, very often hard to get. And some that you'll find here are also hitherto unissued.
            We have tried to gather all those live recordings, essentially captured in Europe (with one exception coming from Helena, Arkansas). Of course, with the strong exception of the American Folk Blues Festivals' concerts where Sonny Boy is backed by great American fellow bluesmen (M.T. Murphy, Hubert Sumlin, Sunnyland Slim, Memphis Slim etc...), the others are much less musically successful. Behind the great bluesman, many very young British musicians who are at the very beginning of their careers display more enthusiasm than real empathy to their revered one night leader. But Sonny Boy is Sonny Boy and as soon as he sings, talks, groans, whispers, blows his harp, snaps his fingers... the moment becomes just magical! And finally those recordings, very often made in very precarious and technically rough conditions - several were not even aimed to be issued! - are anyway a very rewarding addition to the maestro's complete works.
            Unless I'm mistaken, everything Sonny Boy has recorded live between 1963-65 (nothing was done before, the track on the Argo's Folk Festival album was in fact a studio recording with handclaps added!) is gathered here. With one missing exception, six titles coming from a private recording (done at a German collector's house) which were briefly issued on the Solo blues LP that I've not able to get.
                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT

dimanche 3 juin 2018



            Si avant la guerre la scène du blues de Los Angeles est soit peu fournie soit non documentée, la cité a accueilli à partir de 1941 un grand nombre de migrants de l'intérieur, notamment du Texas et des Etats du Sud, venus participer à l'industrie de guerre. Et ces migrants apportent bien sûr leurs traditions musicales, le Western Swing ainsi que le blues texans qui ont trouvé leur prolongement naturel en Californie, autour de San Francisco et Los Angeles. Ce qui n'empêche pas d'autres comme Bubba Brown de venir du Mississippi.
            Mais le prolétariat californien est surtout texan. Il trouve une musique de cabarets hollywoodiens à laquelle il s'adapte et qu'il adapte à sa sensibilité. Très vite, le blues texan de Dallas ou Houston qui n'a pas tant évolué depuis Blind Lemon Jefferson et les pianistes du ghetto de la gare de Houston s'installent en Californie et se fondent dans des orchestres venus du jazz, dominés par des cuivres: T-Bone Walker, Roy Milton, Joe Liggins,
            La musique hollywoodienne de cabaret, soft et classy, particulièrement représentée par un Nat King Cole, accueille sans difficulté apparente pianistes et guitaristes texans pour donner un blues à la fois dépouillé et sophistiqué, terrien et urbain, direct et affecté, tout-à-fait unique: le West Coast blues de Charles Brown, Amos Milburn, Floyd Dixon, Percy Mayfield, Little Willie Littlefield voire Ray Charles, venus chercher fortune et reconnaissance sociale au soleil californien. La réponse des jeunes Noirs à ce nouveau blues a été considérable. Entre 1945 et 1955, c'est le style de blues le plus populaire. Celui qui semble résumer le mieux les aspirations des Noirs à une reconnaissance sociale et à une vie meilleure.
            Cette migration massive de sudistes vers l'Ouest crée aussi un marché local pour les traditions musicales de ces transplantés. Des radios émettent à destination de ces immigrants et diffusent du blues, du Rhythm & Blues. L'immédiate après-guerre voit l'émergence de multiples petites compagnies indépendantes (dont certaines seront tenues - fait nouveau et véritable révolution - par des Noirs). Elles éditent des disques de nouveaux artistes à destination avant tout de ce prolétariat d'immigrés sudistes qui constitue un public important à niveau de vie relativement conséquent. Enfin, il faut aussi souligner le rôle obscur mais très important joué par des musiciens-arrangeurs-producteurs comme Maxwell Davis, véritables âmes d'innombrables séances d'enregistrement.
            Si les principaux noms du blues développé à et autour de Los Angeles sont très connus et bien documentés, la plupart n'ont enregistré que quelques titres dans les années 1940-50 et ont ensuite disparu souvent sans laisser d'autres traces que leurs disques.
            C'est le cas de la plupart des bluesmen/woman que nous présentons dans ce premier volume consacré au blues de Los Angeles! Joe Swift est un obscur mais néanmoins excellent blues shouter qui a fait un court moment partie des orchestres de Red Callender et de Johnny Otis. La chanteuse Numa Lee Davis a commencé sa carrière avec Cecil Gant puis a été la vocaliste des orchestres de Jay Mc Shann puis du saxophoniste Will Rowland sans que l'on connaisse quoi que ce soit de sa biographie. Elle a aussi gravé une dernière séance en 1946 en tant que chanteuse de l'orchestre de Russell Jacquet (le frère d'Illinois) qui comprend alors Dexter Gordon! Blues Slim (Neal Johnson) est lui un chanteur et guitariste plus terrien qui a enregistré une poignée de titres pour le pianiste Gus Jenkins en 1959-61 avant, lui aussi, de disparaître!
Enfin, John Henry "Bubba" Brown (1902-85), alors qu'il n'a que très peu enregistré commercialement, est le musicien le plus connu de cette sélection. En effet, né dans le Mississippi, il a côtoyé et joué avec Tommy Johnson avant de s'installer à Los Angeles, y élevant ses trois enfants dont le plus célèbre est bien sûr le guitariste Mel Brown. C'est David Evans qui, pour rédiger son excellente biographie de Tommy Johnson à la fin des années 1960, l'a interviewé et enregistré. Bubba a ensuite gravé quelques titres en compagnie de son fils Mel.
                                                                       Gérard Herzhaft

            If before the war, it's quite difficult to find any real blues scene in the Los Angeles area (either there were too few blues or it was not recorded and documented), the war industry brought thousands of migrant workers to the city during the early 40's. And they came largely from the Southwestern States, particularly Texas. Even if there were also people coming from Mississippi (like here Bubba Brown) or other Southern States. Those migrants brought their musical traditions, the Western Swing and the different Texas blues.
            Whether inside the previous jazz clubs and concert halls or in the new venues dedicated to this new audience, the Texas blues from Dallas, Houston or San Antonio, guitar players and two handed pianists, found themselves quite easily a place in the jazz bands dominated by horns: T-Bone Walker, Pee Wee Crayton, Roy Milton, Joe Liggins.... And the classy clubs from Hollywood or other L.A. areas welcomed well those bluesmen from deeper musical traditions, creating a new original and unique kind of blues: rootsy but sophisticated, rural but urban, straightforward but affected. The West Coast blues of Charles Brown, Amos Milburn, Percy Mayfield, Little Willie Littlefield tells the story of African Americans coming to the Californian sunshine to gain good jobs, a better life and social recognition. And the impact of their music during the 1940's-50's on the African Americans throughout the USA was tremendous. This was really the most popular style of blues of that era and its influence was very strong everywhere: Memphis, The South, Detroit, Chicago, New York....
            Los Angeles during those decades also became a hotbed for specialized radio stations, independent record companies, recording studios and record stores. With tremendous opportunities for musicians, arrangers, producers, the real souls behind this music.
            If the main Los Angeles area's bluesmen are well known and recognized today, most of the aspiring blues musicians of the 1940's-50's have recorded only a handful of singles, sometimes only one and have disappeared just after that, very often unnoticed.
            That's the case of the artists in the first volume of these L.A. Blues series. Joe Swift is a very obscure but nevertheless excellent blues shouter who sang during a short while in the Red Callender and Johnny Otis' Orchestras. The very expressive female singer Numa Lee Davis started her career with pianist Cecil Gant before being the band singer of Jay Mc Shann's, Will Rowland's and finally in 1946 Russell Jacquet's (Illinois' brother) in which shines Dexter Gordon. She remains sadly absolutely undocumented! The much more downhome singer and guitar player Blues Slim (Neal Johnson) has recorded a handful of tracks for producer and pianist Gus Jenkins between 1959 and 1961!
            And, not so surprisingly for the blues researchers and new international blues audience of the 1960's were mostly interested in much more downhome blues styles, John Henry Bubba Brown (1902-85) is here the best known of the lot! Born in Mississippi, Bubba has known and played with the Delta master Tommy Johnson before going to live to the L.A. area with his three sons whose one is no one else than famous funk and blues guitarist Mel Brown. Discovered, recorded and interviewed by David Evans (for his Tommy Johnson's then forthcoming biography), Bubba Brown has after that waxed a couple of blues with his son Mel.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

JOE SWIFT, vcl; Red Callender, bs; band. Los Angeles, Ca. 1947
01. Chicken leg chick
Joe Swift, vcl; horns; Devonia Williams, pno; Gene Phillips, g; Curtis Counce, bs; Johnny Otis, dms; Emmanuel Vaharandes, perc. Los Angeles, Ca. 1948
02. That's your last boogie
03. Lovin' baby blues
04. What's your name?
05. Right now baby
06. Aligator meat
07. Train blues
08. Crazy about your cooking
JOHN HENRY BUBBA BROWN, vcl/g; Mel Brown, g. Los Angeles, 9 juin 1957
09 Sister Kate
10. Corinna
John Henry Bubba Brown, vcl/g. Los Angeles, Ca. 9 septembre 1967
11. Canned heat blues
John Henry Bubba Brown, vcl; Mel Brown, g; Jimmy Davis, kbds; Jeff Osborne, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 23 octobre 1970
12. 747 (Airport blues)
John Henry Bubba Brown, vcl/g; Mel Brown, g/vcls; Jimmy davis, pno; Jimmie Calhoun, bs; Leonard Tarver, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. janvier 1972
13. Home folks
14. Red Cross store
NUMA LEE DAVIS, vcl; Cecil Gant, pno. Los Angeles, Ca. janvier 1945
15. Around the clock I & II
Numa Lee Davis, vcl; Jay Mc Shann, pno; Cleophus Curtis, t-sax; Raymond Taylor, bs; Al Wichard, dms. Los Angeles, Ca; juin 1945
16. Walking blues
17. When I've been drinking
Numa Lee Davis, vcl; Will Rowland, a-sax; Alford Brooks, tpt; John Randolph, t-sax; Frank White, pno; Chuck Norris, g; Eric Sims, bs; Ray Martinez, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 15 mai 1946
18. Mean old love
Numa Lee Davis, vcl; Russell Jacquet, tpt; Gus Evans, a-sax; Dexter Gordon, t-sax; Arthur Dennis, b-sax; Jimmy Bunn, pno; Leo Blevins, g; Herman Washington, bs; Chico Hamilton, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 21 septembre 1946
19. Wake up old maid I, II & III
20. Just a dream
BLUES SLIM (Neal Johnson), vcl/g; band. Los Angeles, Ca. 1959
21. Drivin' me baby
22. Drive me baby (alt.)
23. Mama your child is crying
Blues Slim, vcl/g; Gus Jenkins, pno; band. Los Angeles, Ca. 1960
24. True to you baby
Just got to make it
Blues Slim, vcl/g; Gus Jenkins, pno; band. Los Angeles, Ca. 1961
25. Let's talk it over
26. Tell the truth baby

Et n'oubliez pas de vous procurer la réédition en format livre de mon roman UN LONG BLUES EN La Mineur, allongée de nouvelles inédites sur le blues.


mardi 22 mai 2018

PERCY MAYFIELD/ Complete Recordings

PERCY MAYFIELD West Coast blues master
(Nouvel article remanié et complété)

Percy Mayfield, entre blues californien, Rhythm & Blues et même Variétés est un nom majeur de l'histoire de la musique populaire noire. Son influence sur le blues de la Côte Ouest et au-delà a été considérable, autant par son œuvre enregistrée que par ses compositions dont beaucoup sont devenues des standards repris par des dizaines d'artistes: Please send me someone to love, Strange things happening, I need your love so bad, Memory pain (It serves you right to suffer), My mind is trying to leave me. Mayfield est aussi l'auteur de plusieurs succès de Ray Charles dont il a été le compositeur attitré entre 1962 et 1964: Hit the road, Jack, Danger zone, But on the other hand, Tell me how do you feel. Cette fonction de parolier – arrangeur - compositeur a quelque peu occulté la propre discographie de Mayfield qui est fort impressionnante.
            Venu de Louisiane (il est né à Minden le 12 août 1920) à Los Angeles via Houston en 1942, Percy démontre ses talents de compositeur avant de réussir à devenir un des favoris des jeunes Noirs grâce à son apparence physique et sa voix de velours. Il est un subtil baryton qui abaisse curieusement les notes, répète fréquemment la dernière ligne du couplet, insinue plus qu'il ne clame, crée en quelques secondes un climat de tristesse amère qui enveloppe l'auditeur. Il a été très influencé par les sermons de l'église de son enfance. Ses compositions, prêches laïcs, soulignent de façon moralisatrice les faiblesses humaines, les ravages de l'alcool et de l'adultère. Ses textes sont très élaborés avec un sens aigu de la chute finale et un humour en demi-teintes, parfois ravageur. En 1952, il est victime d'un accident de la route qui le défigure et change aussi substantiellement le timbre de sa voix. Dès lors, Mayfield continue à enregistrer sous son nom mais ne se produit plus en public et se consacre surtout à la composition.
            Peu avant sa mort (le 11 août 1984 à Los Angeles), pressé par des admirateurs du monde entier, notamment européens, Percy Mayfield est revenu sur scène. Et, malgré les ans et son apparence physique, tête cabossée, œil exorbité, sa voix prenante, sa présence scénique, son charisme a impressionné ceux qui ont eu la chance de le voir.
            Nous avons désormais réussi à regrouper la totalité de la forte œuvre qu'il a gravée entre 1946 et 1969. Merci à tous ceux qui ont aidé à rassembler ces titres, dont certains n'ont jamais été réédités: Jeannot L., Steve Wisner, Kempen, Xyros, Gyro, KingCake, Dr Hepcat, Klaus...
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

Revised and completed post & discography
            Percy Mayfield, between blues, R&B and even doo-wop or pop, is a major name of the post war popular music. His influence on the emerging West Coast blues scene and then beyond has been considerable and several of his songs (his own compositions) have become standards, played by dozens of artists to these days (Please send me someone to love, Strange things happening, I need your love so bad, Memory pain (It serves you right to suffer), My mind is trying to leave me; Highway is like a woman....). Percy has also been hired by Ray Charles to write some of his great hits during the mid-60's: Hit the road, Jack, Danger zone, But on the other hand, Tell me how do you feel.
            Born in Minden (Louisiana) on 12 August 1920, Percy came to Los Angeles in 1942 through a short stay in Houston. He demonstrated quickly his great abilities to write and arrange a moving song in a few hours. In 1946, he started to record under his own name, becoming a major artist with his subtle, insinuating, suave baritone voice who can create in a few words a sad, tragic and deeply moving atmosphere. His better compositions – strongly influenced by the Gospel church of his childhood – are very often some kinds of secular sermons which emphasize the human weaknesses and passions from the ravages of the alcohol or the love cheatings, sometimes with more than a touch of bitterness and a wry humour.
            In 1952, he had a terrible car accident who left him disfigured and changed the timber of his voice. From then, he almost stopped to perform on stage but he still continue to record and write songs for himself as well as many R&B artists. A few years before his death from a stroke (11 August 1984 in Los Angeles), Percy Mayfield, under the pressure of his fans all over the world, agreed to make a come back, performing again on festivals and concerts. His physical appearance with his deformed face then seemed to add even something further to his stage charisma and all those who had the opportunity to watch him then were very strongly impressed.
            We have been able to gather by now everything Percy has recorded under his name between 1946 and 1969 with several tracks having never been reissued. Thanks a lot for their help to Jeannot L., Steve Wisner, Kempen, Xyros, Gyro, King Cake, Dr Hepcat, Klaus...
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

mercredi 9 mai 2018

CHICAGO/ The Blues Yesterday Volume 22

CHICAGO/ The Blues Yesterday Volume 22

Le saxophoniste Jim Conley (né en 1931-2006) a participé à d'innombrables séances, généralement derrière des bluesmen comme Memphis Slim, Eddie Boyd, Otis Rush, Jimmy Dawkins, etc... Il a durant quelques années dirigé son propre orchestre dans lequel a figuré Phil Upchurch. Ils ont enregistré deux 45t intéressants. L'un figure ici, l'autre est sur ma chaîne YouTube. Conley a aussi enregistré un LP en Allemagne en 1980.
            Le batteur Bill Warren (1919-2000) est présent lui aussi dans d'innombrables enregistrements et a effectué plusieurs tournées européennes. Son seul 45t gravé sous son nom et dans lequel il chante permet à l'excellent guitariste Craig Horton de particulièrement briller.
            La superbe chanteuse Lady Margo (Joyce Fargo) a commencé sa carrière de chanteuse de Soul blues durant les années 1970 en compagnie d'Arlean Brown puis sous la houlette de Little Mack Simmons, faisant sensation à la "Battle of the Blues between the girls" au Silver Shadow en 1977 avec Koko Taylor et Bonnie Lee. Elle a enregistré une poignée de 45t pour divers labels de Chicago plus Cynthia (curieusement basé à Phoenix, Az!) avant d'embrasser la religion et d'enregistrer à nouveau (pour Jimmy Dawkins) sous le nom de Sister Margo. Il semble qu'elle officie actuellement en Caroline du Sud.
            Beaucoup plus connu, Tom Archia (né Ernest Alvin Archia Jr le 26
novembre 1919 à Groveton, Tx) a appris le saxophone à Houston, participant aux orchestres de Milt Larkin puis T-Bone Walker avec lequel il s'est produit à Chicago durant près d'une année (1942-43). Séduit par les opportunités offertes par la Windy City, Archia y est resté en tant que membre permanent de l'orchestre du Macomba Lounge, propriété de Leonard Chess qui l'a également substantiellement enregistré en tant que leader ou accompagnateur pour son label d'alors, Aristocrat. Après la fermeture du club (suite à un incendie) en 1950, Tom Archia a continué à jouer à Chicago, n'enregistrant plus que sporadiquement en tant que saxophoniste. En 1967, il décida de retourner à Houston, jouant localement jusqu'à sa mort à Houston le 16 janvier 1977.
                                               Gérard HERZHAFT

            Saxophonist Jim Conley (1931-2006) has prolifically recorded behind many bluesmen like Memphis Slim, Eddie Boyd, Otis Rush, Jimmy Dawkins... For some time during the late 50's-early 60's he led his own combo which featured lead guitarist Phil Upchurch, recording two good singles, one featured here, the other on my YouTube channel. He also waxed a LP in Germany in 1980 (My woman, my world, God's peace)
            Drummer Bil Warren (1919-2000) has been playing on numerous sessions and with Chicago bands, coming several times in Europe during the 70's. He has also recorded a single as a vocalist with Craig Horton as lead guitarist and Jump Jackson replacing him on drums.
            The great Soul blues singer Lady Margo (Joyce Fargo) has started her career with Arlean Brown's revue and then with Little Mack Simmons during the 1970's, drawing the attention during the famous Silver Shadow's "Battle of the blues between girls" in 1977 alongside Koko Taylor and Bonnie Lee. She has recorded a handful of 45s for small labels, including Cynthia, based in Phoenix, Az! After that, she turned to religion, recording Gospel for Jimmy Dawkins' Leric label. She is possibly still leading her church in South Carolina.
            Tom Archia (born Ernest Alvin Archia Jr on 26 November 1919 at Groveton, Tx) learned saxophone while in Houston's high school. He started as a member of Milt Larkin's orchestra, backing for almost a year (1942-43) T-Bone Walker in Chicago. With many local opportunities, Archia decided to stay in the Windy City playing every night at Leonard Chess' Macomba Lounge club and recording constantly for the Aristocrat's label as a saxophonist or as a leader. After the Macomba burned and closed definitively in 1950, Tom played a little bit everywhere in Chicago's clubs but recorded only very sporadically as a sideman until 1960. In 1967, he decided to go back to Houston, playing there with several bands until his untimely death on 16th January 1977.
                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT
Tous nos remerciements à Steve Wisner. A lot of thanks to Steve Wisner

CHICAGO/ The Blues Yesterday. Volume 22
JIM CONLEY, t-sax; Phil Upchurch, g; John Young, pno; Dave Green, og; Richard Evans, bs; Marshall Thompson, dms. Chicago, Ill. 1960
01. Nite-lite slop
02. Carla
BILL WARREN, vcl; Eddie Buster, og; Craig Horton, g; Freddie Young, g; Johnny deLacour, bs; Jump Jackson, dms. Chicago, Ill. 1961
03. Soul guitar (Midnight shuffle)
04. Riding in my Jaguar
LADY MARGO (Joyce Fargo), vcl; band. Chicago, Ill. 1973
05. I had to go
06. I've got just the thing to keep my man
Lady Margo, vcl; Chick Willis, g; band. Chicago, Ill. 1974
07. I've got just the thing I & II
08. This is my prayer to find someone of my own
Lady Margo, vcl; band. Chicago, Ill. 1976
09. Stop by
10. Simply got to make it without you
11. I enjoy loving you
TOM ARCHIA, t-sax; Buster Bennett, t-sax; Bill Owens, pno; Hurley Ramey, g; Dallas Bartley, bs; Jump Jackson, dms. Chicago, ill. July 1947
12. Mean and evil baby (vcl: Sheba Griffin)
13. Cherry (vcl: Sheba Griffin)
14. Ice man blues (vcl: George Kirby)
15. Fishin' pole (vcl: Buster Bennett)
Tom Archia, vcl/t-sax; Leo Blevins, g; Bill Searcy, pno; Lowell Pointer, bs; Robert Henderson, dms. Chicago, Ill. October 1947
16. Jam for Sam
17. Macomba jump
18. Downfall blues (Whiskey)
19. Slumber (Blues at twilight)
Tom Archia, t-sax; Gail Brockman, tpt; Andrew Gardner, a-sax; Gene Ammons, t-sax; Claude Mc Lin, t-sax; Junior Mance, pno; George Freeman, g; Le Roy Jackson, bs; Ike Day, dms. Chicago, Ill. c. October 1948
20. Hey Tom Archia
21. Mckie's jam for boppers
Tom Archia, t-sax; Gene Ammons, t-sax; Willie Jones, pno; LeRoy Jackson, bs: Wesley Landers, dms. Chicago, Ill. 12 November 1948
22. Jam for Boppers
23. Swinging for Christmas
24. Talk of the town
25. The battle
Grâce à notre ami Steve Wisner - un des meilleurs producteurs du Chicago blues des années 1970-80 - les deux titres manquants de Lady Margo sont désormais disponibles en cliquant sur les titres ci-dessus.
Thanks to our faithfull and generous friend Steve Wisner - Remember he produced some of the greatest blues albums of the 1970's - the two hitherto missing Lady Margo's titles are downloadable in clicking on the titles above