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mardi 31 octobre 2017

BROTHER WILL HAIRSTON: Detroit Blues Masters Vol. 11

BROTHER WILL HAIRSTON
Detroit Blues Masters Vol. 11

           
Ce 11ème volume sur Detroit est consacré au magnifique compositeur et chanteur de Gospels, Brother Will Hairston.
            Will Hairston naît le 22 novembre 1919 à Brookfield (Ms) d'une famille de pauvres fermiers et, très jeune, chante dans la congrégation de ses parents. Vers 1938, il part à Saint Louis, puis est mobilisé et à son retour de la guerre en 1945, se marie avec Ms Willie et s'installe à Detroit où il travaille chez Chrysler afin d'entretenir sa famille qui comptera 10 enfants. Très religieux, Will Hairston s'impose dans son Eglise par sa voix qui lui vaudra le surnom de "Hurricane of the Motor City", tellement il est capable de soulever d'enthousiasme ses paroissiens par ses sermons qui reprennent souvent l'actualité tumultueuse de l'Amérique Noire.
            Pour répondre à une forte demande, il enregistre lui-même My God don't like it à propos du jeune Emmet Till, un adolescent noir de 14 ans massacré en octobre 1955 dans sa ville de Money (Mississippi) parce qu'il avait crié "Bye baby" à une jeune fille blanche! La photo de son corps mutilé reproduit dans de nombreux journaux avait alors soulevé l'indignation dans toute l'Amérique. En même temps, Brother Will enregistre aussi deux titres (Let him come in; Ain't nobody there but Brother Will que je n'ai pas réussi à me procurer).
            Hairston vend ses disques depuis son camion (acheté pour transporter sa nombreuse famille) sur lequel il a installé des hauts parleurs qui diffusent sa musique tandis qu'il parcourt le ghetto noir de Detroit!
Joe Von Battle's record shop. Photo©Jacques Demêtre 
            Le succès est tel que le producteur et disquaire Joe Von Battle (qui a joué un rôle considérable dans le Detroit blues) lui fait enregistrer une magnifique séance qui comprend le puissant Alabama Bus, premier morceau consacré à la longue grève des autobus de Montgomery (Alabama) à la suite du refus de la militante noire Rosa Parks de céder sa place à un blanc et qui aboutira à la première brèche dans la ségrégation qui sévissait dans les Etats du Sud depuis les années 1870-80. Alabama bus est aussi le premier disque qui mentionne le nom de Martin Luther King Jr.
            Les années suivantes, Brother Will continuera à enregistrer dans cette veine, entre Gospel et protest songs, notamment Shout, school children sur la première tentative de déségrégation des écoles blanches de l'Arkansas; The story of President Kennedy sur l'assassinat de JFK à Dallas; Reverend King had a hard time après l'assassinat de Martin Luther King Jr en 1968.
            Lui-même victime d'une tentative d'assassinat qui le laisse très affaibli, Will Hairston prend sa retraite de chez Chrysler en 1970 et se consacre entièrement à sa congrégation, le Greater Love Tabernacle Church avec laquelle il enregistrera une poignée de titres en 1972.
            Brother Will Hairston décède à Detroit le 7 mars 1988, laissant une oeuvre superbe et vibrante qui malheureusement - et à l'exception d'une poignée de titres - était très difficile à trouver. Nous avons ajouté ici le seul titre enregistré en 1957 pour Brother Will par son ami le Reverend Reuben Henry.
            Nos plus vifs remerciements à Pierre Monnery et Justin Brummer sans lesquels cette compilation n'aurait pu voir le jour. Ainsi qu'à Guido Van Rijn dont l'article sur Brother Will dans le magazine britannique Blues & Rhythm #167 a largement servi à écrire cet article.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

            This 11th Volume of our Detroit blues series is entirely dedicated to the great Gospel singer and composer Brother Will Hairston.
            Will Hairston was born 22 November 1919 at Brookfield (Ms) in a very poor faming family. At an early age, he sings in his parents' church, goes to Saint Louis for better job opportunity during the 1930's, is drafted and after the war, settles in Detroit, having a secure job at the big Chrysler's plant and marrying the young Willie with whom he'd have ten children.
            A very religious man, Brother Will Hairston gains the nickname of "The Hurricane of the Motor City" for his capacity to spark enthusiasm among the faithful of his church with a strong voice and his sermons that very often reflect his own views about the situation of African-Americans.
            To cope with strong requests, Mr Hairston records himself his first session with the striking  My God don't like it about the slaughter of the young Black teenager Emmet Till in his hometown of Money (Ms) after he had shouted a "Bye baby" to a white girl. The photos of the mutilated corpse published in several magazines had raised a wave of indignation throughout the USA. Two other titles were recorded the same day (Let him come in; Ain't nobody there but Brother Will) that I unfortunately wasn't able to get a copy.
            Brother Will Hairston sells his records from his own truck while a sound system he had hooked on the roof of his vehicle blasts the music when he is driving around!
            Such is the success of Brother Will that the record producer and dealer Joe Von Battle (who of course played a major role in the Detroit blues scene) brings Hairston in his studios for an historical and magnificent 1956 session with the powerful hit Alabama Bus, the very first song about the Montgomery (Al) bus strike after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man, like she should have done according to the segregation laws. Alabama bus is also the very first song mentioning Martin Luther King Jr.
            The following decade, Hairston will continue to record in this Gospel/ protest song vein, notably Shout, school children about Little Rock Central High events, forcing the integration of some black school children in a only white school; The Story of President Kennedy about the murder of JFK; Reverend King had a hard time just after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
            Brother Will is himself the victim of a shooting and retires from Chrysler in 1970, focusing entirely to his family and his Greater Love Tabernacle Church with which he records a last session in 1972.
            Brother Will Hairston dies in Detroit 7 March 1988, leaving a vibrant, powerful and largely remarkable recording works that are unfortunately - and apart a couple of tracks - very hard to get. We have herein also  included the sole 1957 record by Rev. Reuben Henry, a close friend to Hairston.
            Our big thanks to Pierre Monnery and Justin Brummer for their invaluable help.
            And a great thank to Guido Van Rijn whose article in the very good British magazine Blues & Rhythm #167 has largely been used to write this article!
                                                                       Gérard Herzhaft


BROTHER WILL HAIRSTON
Complete Recordings
Brother Will Hairston, vcl; band. Detroit, Mi. décembre 1955
01. My God don't like it I & II
Let Him come in
Ain't nobody here but Brother Will
Brother Will Hairston, vcl; Louis Jackson, pno; Washboard Willie, wbd. Detroit, Mi. 1956
02. The Alabama Bus I & II
03. Mighty wind
04. The Bible is right
05. Seems like a dream
06. He comes rushing like a mighty wind
Brother Will Hairston, vcl; The Dixie Aires, vcls; band. Detroit, Mi. novembre 1957
07. Shout school children
08. Jesus had a hard time
Brother Will Hairston, vcl;  band. Detroit, Mi. 1964
09. The Story of President Kennedy
10. Holy Ghost don't leave me
11. Shout Brother Shout
Brother Will Hairston, vcl; Rev. Henry, vcl; g; dms. Detroit, Mi. 1964
12. Here comes the Lord
Brother Will Hairston, vcl; Louis Jackson, pno; Washboard Willie, wbd. Detroit, Mi. 1965
13. March on to Montgomery
14. Angels watching over me
Brother Will Hairston, vcl; Louise Jackson, pno or Magnolia Tillman, pno; g; Washboard Willie, wbd. Detroit, Mi. 1968
15. St John
16. Reverend King had a time
17. That's alright
18. The War in Wietnam
19. When I'm gone
Brother Will Hairston, vcl; The Greater Love of Tabernacle, vcls; band. Detroit, Mi. 1972
20. This may be the last time
21. Minny, your dress too short
22. Death knocked at my door, Jesus got the key
Let the church roll on
Reverend Reuben L. Henry, vcl; g; The Dixie Aires, vcls. Detroit, Mi. novembre 1957
23. God's going to ring those freedom bells

Paul Monnery/ Justin Brummer



jeudi 5 octobre 2017

ALBERT COLLINS: Blues Guitar Masters Vol. 5

ALBERT COLLINS: Blues Guitar Masters Vol. 5


           
Né dans une famille de métayers de Leona (Texas) le 1 octobre 1932, Collins commence très jeune à jouer autour de Houston, apprend la guitare en voyant Frankie Lee Sims et surtout Guitar Slim à qui il empruntera une grande partie de son jeu de scène. Il écume les bars du Third Ward et développe un style très personnel: courtes notes claires et hautes qui surgissent d'un fond de basse très épais, capodastre fixé très haut sur le manche et emploi systématique des gammes mineures. On retrouve dans le jeu de Collins de plus en plus sur une Telecaster, des traces du style traditionnel du Texas central, parcimonieux et économique mais cinglant et expressif auquel s'ajoutent les influences de Gatemouth Brown et B.B. King.
            A la fin des années 50, Albert Collins enregistre pour de petits labels locaux comme Hall-Way ou Kangaroo une série de pièces instrumentales qui ont un certain succès local: Freeze, Defrost, Frosty..., succession de riffs aux notes précises et tendues qui créent une atmosphère élégante et "glacée" qui restera la marque d'Albert Collins. Ces disques deviennent dans les années 60 de petits classiques, révérés des amateurs. La revue britannique Blues Unlimited publie plusieurs articles sur Albert, attirant l'attention du nouveau public international du blues. Entre temps et grâce à Bob Hite, le leader des Canned Heat, Collins a émigré autour de San Francisco à Palo Alto et Bob le présente au Fillmore West et lui fait enregistrer une série d'albums essentiellement instrumentaux pour le major Imperial/ Liberty.
           
Mais ces albums se vendent assez mal, ne sont pas très bien accueillis des amateurs et les années 70 sont très difficiles pour Collins. Auréolé de légende mais méconnu du grand public, sans label, il végète, pilier modeste des petits bars de Houston jusqu'à San Francisco. Heureusement, à la fin des 70s, Bruce Iglauer l'enregistre pour son label Alligator, le fait venir à Chicago et l'entoure des meilleurs musiciens de la ville (A.C. Reed, Aron Burton, le batteur Casey Jones). Surtout, Iglauer convainc Collins de chanter. Même si son timbre est léger et peu puissant, sa voix a de la personnalité. Il n'est certes pas le blues shouter qu'il se rêvait mais il est un "blues whisperer" très efficace.
            Ajoutant la souplesse de son style texan à la solidité du Chicago blues, Collins enregistre pour Alligator une série d'albums remarquables tels Ice pickin', Frostbite, Don't lose your cool, Cold snap, Frozen alive . Ils permettent enfin à Albert une carrière internationale. Son dynamisme, sa verve et son sens de la scène lui valent une forte réputation dans le monde entier, du Japon à Montreux où il enflamme le festival de jazz. Il signe pour Pointblank, un label tourné vers le public du rock, une série de disques qui connaissent un grand succès commercial.
            Hélas, atteint d'un cancer du poumon, il décède à Las Vegas le 24 novembre 1993
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

            Born in a poor farming family at Leona (Tx), 1st October 1932, Albert Collins starts at a very young age to play guitar under the influence of several bluesmen he had the opportunity to watch, mainly Frankie Lee Sims and Guitar Slim from whom he will borrow his flamboyant showmanship. After moving in Houston's Third Ward, Albert will cut his teethes in small clubs and private parties, building a very personal guitar style: short, precise, clear and high musical notes emerging generally from a background of heavy basses, his capo fixed very high on the fretboard with a frequent use of minor scales. One can anyway find on this very original style (more and more on a Telecaster guitar) some borrowings to the old traditional Central Texas blues guitar playing, parsimonious but scathing and very expressive. Later on Albert will add many other influences from Gatemouth Brown, Fulson or B.B. King.
           
Albert Collins starts recording from 1958 for tiny local labels like Hall-Way or Kangaroo, essentially instrumental riffs which generate an impression of elegant and "icy"' atmosphere (Freeze, Defrost, Frosty... ) that will stay as Collins' trademark. Those 45s gain some small success and allows Collins to have more gigs. But moreover they raise a lot of interest in Europe, particularly thanks to the British review Blues Unlimited which feature several raving articles about Collins' blues. Bob Hite, leader of the rock blues group the Canned Heat, is among those new fans and he persuades Albert to try his luck in California. Living from now on at Palo Alto, Collins can play on much popular clubs and scenes like the Fillmore West. Still thanks to Hite, Albert records a string of albums for the major label Imperial/ Liberty, once again mostly instrumentals.
            Unfortunately, those LPs don't sell too well and are not even very well received by the new international blues audience. The 1970's are very harsh for Albert who drifts from small label to another, playing in Houston and San Francisco clubs. Until he meets Alligator's wise producer Bruce Iglauer who brings Albert in Chicago and records him backed by some of the best Chicago sidemen (A.C. Reed, Aron Burton, Casey Jones), issuing several first rate albums on Bruce's label Alligator. This time - and despite being reluctant to do it - Collins sings or talks on several tracks and even he his certainly not Bobby Bland, his whispering nasal singing style has much effect. Ice Pickin', Frostbite, Don't lose your cool, Cold snap or Frozen alive are great albums, mixing Texas and Chicago blues styles for the better.
            Albert then starts to tour around the USA, Japan and particularly Europe where his constantly great shows win him a strong following among blues and rock fans. His last records for the Pointblank label are much more turned towards the rock audience and bring him an important success.
            Unfortunately, suffering from lung cancer, Albert Collins dies in Las Vegas on 24 December 1993.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

ALBERT COLLINS/ Early discography
CD1
Albert Collins, vcl/g; Frank Mitchell, tpt; Henry Hayes, a-sax; Cleotis Arch, t-sax; Herman Hopkins, pno; Bill Johnson, bs; Herbert Henderson, dms. Houston, Tx. 1958
01. Freeze
02. Collins' shuffle
Albert Collins, vcl/g; Henry Hayes, a-sax; Cleotis Arch, t-sax; Walter Mc Neil, pno; Bill Johnson, bs; Herbert Henderson, dms. Houston, Tx. 5 December 1962
03. Albert's alley
04. Defrost
05. Homesick
06. Sippin' soda
Albert Collins, vcl/g; Frank Mitchell, a-sax; Henry Hayes, a-sax; Cleotis Arch, t-sax; Walter Mc Neil, pno; Bill Johnson, bs; Herbert Henderson, dms. Houston, Tx. 22 July 1963
07. Frosty
08. Tremble
09. Thaw out
10. Backstroke
Albert Collins, vcl/g; band. Houston, Tx. 1965
11. Sno Cone I & II
12. Dyin' flu
13. Hot n' cold
14. Don't lose your cool
15. Frost bite
16. Cool aide
17. Shiver and shake
18. Icy blue
19. I don't know
Albert Collins, vcl/g; band. Houston, Tx. février 1968
20. Taking my time
21. Cooking Catfish
22. Soulroad
Albert Collins, vcl/g; Mike Rosso, og; Sonny Boyan, t-sax; Bill Johnson, bs; Larry Daniels, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. May 1968
23. Do the Sissy
24. Collins mix
25. Let's get it together I & II
26. Got a good thing going on
27. Leftovers
28. Doin' my thing
29. Ain't got time

CD2
30. Turnin' on
31. Whatcha say
32. Puchin'
33. Stump poker
Albert Collins, vcl/g; Harmonica Fats, hca; horns; James Hooker Brown, og/pno; Charles Freeman, g; Tommy McClure, bs; Robert Tarrant, dms. Nashville, Tn. July 1969
34. Harris County lineup
35. Conversation with Collins
36. Jawing
37. Grapeland gossip
38. Chaterbox
39. Trash talkin'
40. Baby what you want me to do?
41. Lip service
42. Talking Slim blues
43. Back yard back talk
44. Tongue lashing
45. And then it started raining
Albert Collins, vcl/g; Bobby Alexis, og; band. Nashville, Tn. 1970
46. Soul food
47. Jam it up
48. Do what you want to do
49. Black bottom bayou
50. Junkey monkey
51. 69 Underpass Roadside Inn
52. I need you so
53. Bitsy
54. Cool and collards
55. Blend down and jam
56. Sweet'n'sour
57. Swamp sauce