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mercredi 29 août 2018

TEXAS BLUES/ Volume 7



TEXAS BLUES/ Volume 7

           
Pour ce 7ème opus de notre série Texas blues, mettons les projecteurs sur trois obscurs artistes texans qui nous laissent malgré tout des œuvres enregistrées intéressantes.

            Calvin "Loudmouth" Johnson chantait dans les juke joints autour de Houston durant la fin des années 50 et les années 1960. Il semble avoir dirigé un petit orchestre qui comprenait le guitariste D.C. Bender (cf Texas blues/ Vol. 6) avec lequel il a enregistré un 45t autoproduit en 1964 qu'il vendait durant ses concerts.
            Calvin est découvert par le producteur texan Roy Ames vers 1965 alors qu'il vivait de sa petite échoppe de ferrailleur. Ames l'enregistre à plusieurs reprises, notamment en 1967, une première séance avec ce qui est son orchestre régulier. Mais le résultat est si catastrophique que Ames décide de reprendre tout, fait venir son protégé d'alors Johnny Winter (qu'il avait aussi découvert et promu) plus des musiciens aguerris et, durant trois jours, enregistre dans ce contexte 14 titres chantés par Calvin Loudmouth Johnson. Lien on your body (Mortgage on your soul) paraît en 45t et connaît un certain succès local, se vendant à plusieurs milliers d'exemplaires. On retrouve Johnson la décennie suivante dans les bars de Houston, chantant et jouant de la basse au sein d'un groupe de blues local, The Ministers of Sinisters qui comprend l'harmoniciste Mike Wesolowsky et le batteur Russ Wilson. On ne connaît ni les dates de naissance ni de décès éventuel (et probable) de ce chanteur texan intéressant.

            On ne connaît guère de choses du batteur et chanteur Silver (John) Cooks, le frère du bassiste Don Cooks, sauf qu'il a enregistré avec Edgar Blanchard et Papa Lightfoot. C'est d'ailleurs avec eux (et l'excellent Tommy Ridgley au piano) qu'il a gravé son seul 45t en tant que leader.

            Le chanteur Jesse Lockett était très présent dans les clubs du Third Ward de Houston durant les années 1940 durant lesquelles il a enregistré quatre 45t, révélant un blues shouter convaincant. Il avait cependant en 1939 déjà enregistré un fragment de titre pour John Lomax alors qu'il purgeait une peine de prison au pénitencier de Brazorias, un excellent country blues dans lequel il joue de la guitare et chante dans le plus pur style texan. Le journal "The Houston Informer" le signale en juillet 1943 jouant au Lincoln Theatre ("Jesse Lockett, the blues shouter and composer, has returned to the Lincoln Theatre stage show after filling an engagement at the exclusive ofay nitery on the outskirts of town. Returning on the zoom, Lockett has knocked up some more of his low down numbers and (is) really blowing his tops."). Et son dernier 45t, paru en janvier 1949, est également chroniqué dans le même journal par John Thompson avec des phrases assez élogieuses: “Jesse Lockett, hefty blues singer, who is a native Houstonian, has returned to the city from California, where he went to cut a few records. Jesse is still doing the blues and his latest, which should get somewhere, is 'Run Little Rabbit Run' (sic ). A catchy tune with lots of blues tempo it still has a bit of be-bop. Have him sing it when you see him.” 
Plus loin dans la même chronique; John Thompson note la présence de l'orchestre de Will Rowland qui accompagne Lockett:
“Listen to the traveling band of Will Rowland, who came to Houston via Beaumont from Los Angeles. A seven piece combo, the band did jump a little but not in the class of recent small bands heard here. One of those fine girls (of the Jane Russell type). Elsie Jones, entertained with the group.
            On ne sait pas ce qu'est ensuite devenu Jesse Lockett. Nous avons réussi à regrouper presque la totalité de son œuvre enregistrée (à l'exception du seul Blacker the berry).
            Tous nos remerciements pour leur aide à Cesare Malagodi, l'excellent blog Wired for Sound ainsi que le regretté Roy C. Ames avec lequel j'ai eu une longue correspondance durant les années 1970.
                                                                       Gérard Herzhaft

            This 7th Opus of our Texas Blues series brings to the fore three quite obscure Texas bluesmen who, nevertheless, leave us some quite interesting records.
           
            Calvin "Loudmouth" Johnson was singing in the Houston area juke joints during the late 1950's and 60's. He seems to have lead a small band with guitarist D.C. Bender (cf Texas blues/ Vol. 6) with whom he recorded a self produced 45 which he was selling from the bandstand.
            Calvin was "discovered" by producer Roy Ames around 1965 while he was mostly making a living from scrap dealing. Ames recorded him several times, particularly in 1967, first a session with his own band of friends. But the results were so awful that Roy decided to start back the whole affair, this time with his own protégé (and also discovery) Johnny Winter plus some good local musicians during a three days session that gave an excellent reworking of Lien on your body (Mortgage on your soul) that became soon a small local hit. The following years, Johnson is reported singing and playing bass at Houston venues with a group named The Ministers of Sinisters with Mike "Wezo" Wesolowsky at the harmonica and Russ Wilson on the drums... We unfortunately don't know when Calvin was born and when he (probably) died and where he was buried.

            Drummer (and singer) Silver (John) Cooks, probably the brother of bassist Don Cooks, is just a name, possibly from New Orleans. He has recorded behind Edgar Blanchard and Papa Lightfoot and under his name only one excellent single.

            Houston singer Jesse Lockett was playing regularly in the clubs of Houston's Third Ward during the 1940's, even issuing four 45s that shows a very convincing Texas blues belter. He had previously recorded half a track (unfortunately cut short by probably technical problems) in 1939 for John Lomax while he was serving a prison sentence at the Brazorias Penitentiary. The track is an excellent country blues where Jesse plays an unmistakable Texas guitar style. Local newspaper The Houston Informer wrote on July 31, 1943, that "Jesse Lockett, the blues shouter and composer, has returned to the Lincoln Theatre stage show after filling an engagement at the exclusive ofay nitery on the outskirts of town. Returning on the zoom, Lockett has knocked up some more of his low down numbers and (is) really blowing his tops.". And his last single, issued in January 1949, is also reported in the same paper by columnist  John "Sid" Thompson with some laudatory comments: “Jesse Lockett, hefty blues singer, who is a native Houstonian, has returned to the city from California, where he went to cut a few records. Jesse is still doing the blues and his latest, which should get somewhere, is 'Run Little Rabbit Run' (sic ). A catchy tune with lots of blues tempo it still has a bit of be-bop. Have him sing it when you see him.” Elsewhere in the column, Sid notes the presence of an out-of-town band, Will Rowland, but doesn't specify that they were the backing band on "Rabbit": “Listen to the traveling band of Will Rowland, who came to Houston via Beaumont from Los Angeles. A seven piece combo, the band did jump a little but not in the class of recent small bands heard here. One of those fine girls (of the Jane Russell type). Elsie Jones, entertained with the group.”
            We have unfortunately no idea of the whereabouts of Jesse Lockett who seems to have vanished during the early 50's. We have been able to gather all his recordings minus one title (Blacker the berry).
            A lot of thanks to Cesare Malagodi, the excellent blog about Texas records labels Wired for Sound and the late Roy C. Ames with whom we had quite a long correspondance during the 1970's.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT



TEXAS BLUES/ Volume 7
CALVIN "LOUDMOUTH" JOHNSON, vcl/g; D. C. Bender, g; bs; dms. Houston, Tx. March 1964
01. Lien on your body 1964
02. Unsatisfied mind 1964
Calvin "Loudmouth" Johnson, vcl/g/hca; band. Houston, Tx. 23 June 1965
03. Lost you baby
Calvin "Loudmouth" Johnson, vcl/g/hca; Johnny Winter, g; band. Houston, Tx. 17 May 1967
04. Lien on your body (Mortgage on your soul)
05. Unsatisfied mind 1967
06. Late on blues
07. They call me Loudmouth
08. Once I had a woman
09. Take my choice
10. Unwelcome in your town
11. Gangster of love
12. Alone in my bedroom
13. Hootchie Cootchie man
14. Moth Balls
15. She's mine
16. Rock me baby
17. Down and out
SILVER COOKS (John Cooks), vcl/dms; Papa Lightfoot, hca; Tommy Ridgley, pno; Edgar Blanchard, g; Don Cooks, bs. Houston, Tx. 1949
18. Coming back home
19. Mr Ticket Agent
JESSE LOCKETT, vcl/g. Brazoria, Tx. 16 April 1939
20. Worry blues
Jesse Lockett, vcl; Earl Sims, a-sax; Jimmy Moorman, tpt; Doc Jones, t-sax; Laurence Robinson, pno; C. Lechugo, bs; Felix Gross, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 1946
21. Hole in the wall
22. Mellow hour blues
23. Boogie woogie mama (prob. alt. take to Hole in the wall)
Blacker the berry
Jesse Lockett, vcl; Will Rowland, a-sax; band. Houston, Tx. January 1949
24. Reefer blues
25. Don't lose your mind
26. Run rabbit run
27. Cold blooded woman



20 commentaires:

  1. TEXAS BLUES/ Volume 7

    http://www.mediafire.com/file/xdlza3e7pw5ddhp/TXBl7.zip/file

    OK?

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  2. Never heard of these people....which makes this even more tasty! Thanks!

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  3. Thank you for all the fantastic compilations you share. I look forward to all your posts. Your hard work is greatly appreciated.

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  4. Very good Gerard, great to see another Texas comp' on your fine blog. Many thanks.

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  5. Thank you Gerard. Sounds very interesting.

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  6. More Great Diggin', Thanks A Lot !

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  7. Gérard,
    Thanks a lot for this new collection of Texas music. I appreciate the work you do for the blues hritage.

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  8. Gerard do you know if there exists some photo's from Loudmouth? Thank you very much for this great compi!

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    Réponses
    1. Roy Ames had taken photos of Calvin. Some of them cropped up here and there on Home Cooking or Collectables, labels of Roy.
      http://www.hifido.co.jp/sold/17-12965-72060-60.html?LNG=E
      But he probably had much better pics on his vaults. Where are they?
      I've also tried to contact one of his former harp players (Mike "Wezo" Wesolowsky) who seems to be still around and playing but with no results insofar.

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    2. The only one I know is on the back of the Japanese compilation by Hideaki Takahashi "Houston Deep Throat Blues" (PCD 2514) 1989

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    3. In your email in 30 minutes....

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    4. Wow! Thank you very much, muddyw123!

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  9. Thanks for all your great work Gerard . I didn't download for a long time as my connection is slow and i'm uploading 24hours a day for my blog , but i will take the time soon to DL and listen to your great posts . Thanks for having my new blog in your blog-list .
    Marc

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  10. Merci beaucoup Marcfr. Et bonne chance pour votre nouveau blog!

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  11. Merci Gerard, fantastique boulot! C'est toujours un plaisir de decouvrir des artistes meconnus.

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  12. Thanks a lot Gerard. It is always good for the knowledge of the blues and Jazz music to follow your blog.
    Thanks again

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  13. Thank you, Gérard, for your continued excellent postings.

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  14. Thanks-love these geographical series you put together !

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