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mardi 15 octobre 2019

MEMPHIS SLIM/ The Complete 1967 Clyde Otis Sessions

MEMPHIS SLIM/ The complete Clyde Otis 1967 Sessions

In 1967 ace pianist John Len "Peter" Chatman aka Memphis Slim was already living in France for 5 years and also remarried with a French lady. He was a very favourite of French and European scenes, either jazz or blues ones, was a regular at the Trois Mailletz, a Quartier Latin noted jazz club where Sorbonne's students (including yours truly) were gathering almost every evening. Memphis, a classy and smart Ambassador of the blues, was appearing in numerous French TV shows and even played some small parts in movies (for which he would also write the soundtracks) and of course was recording an enormous amount of albums, featuring him mostly as a solo act or just backed by his French drummer, Michel Denis or his fellow American expatriate Mickey Baker.
            He seemed to be quite happy to live in France with his new family but of course he liked also very much coming back to the States ("I miss a lot of things from the States " he once said "even the US TV commercials"), particularly in New York City where he was still in-demand in folk and jazz clubs.
It's during one of those trips in June 1967 that jazz and R&B producer Clyde Otis proposed him to record with an all US jazz band composed of stellar New York City sessions men like guitarist Billy Butler, tenor saxophonist Eddie Chamblee, bassist Lloyd Trotman and drummer Herb Lovelle. For a couple of days, Memphis Slim and his band waxed more than 20 tracks, Slim seeming very happy to be backed again by such a great array of musicians. He was in fine voice and as usual a wonderful piano player, bluesin' and boogieing as hell, and he left also plenty space for his accompanists to shine.
            We don't know for sure what happened really to those sessions. Clyde Otis was probably involved with more lucrative jobs or whatever... One 45 (Gone again/ Little lonely girl) was issued in 1967, selling very poorly and going nowhere, and the subsequent years several albums popped up here and there with some tracks from those sessions, sometimes re-titled, sometimes shortened (on the Beacon, Jubilee, Musidisc...). Even a couple of unissued tracks appeared decades later on CD!
            But those very good Memphis Slim 1967 sessions were never completely gathered on one disc. This is what we have tried to do here, so enjoy and relax while listening to the one and only Memphis Slim in top form.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

Memphis Slim, vcl/pno; Billy Butler, g; Eddie  Chamblee, t-sax; Lloyd Trotman, bs; Herb Lovelle, dms. New York City, June 1967
01. A long time baby
02. All by myself
03. Ballin' the jack
04. Broadway boogie
05. Dear Abby and Anne
06. Everyday I have the blues
07. Forty years or more
08. Freedom
09. Gamblers' blues
10. Gone again
11. I am the blues
12. I'm too poor to die
13. Key to the highway
14. Lend me your love
15. Let's get with it
16. Little lonely girl
17. Long time gone
18. Only fools have fun
19. Rock me baby
20. Sassy Mae
21. Strollin' thru the park
22. There's a fool in town
23. This little woman
24. Too late

photo courtesy Natalie Chatman
According to Peter Diedrichs, this compilation I have posted does not gather all the 27 tracks recorded by Memphis Slim during those sessions.

19 commentaires:

  1. bonne journee a toi Gerard;merci pour ce nouveau post;je l'ai connu pas.

  2. Many thanks Gerard, I'm a big fan of Memphis Slim. When I first seriously got into listening to blues records back in the 1960s Memphis Slim was one of the few blues artists who's albums were easily available. Unfortunately I never got to see him perform.

  3. Hello Gerard.

    Great thanks for this good choice of Memphis Slim.
    But I have release from 2010 year by BGO titled MS - "Legend Of The Blues Volume 1 and 2" who bringing from this session 20 track. When I have release from Universal /Sonet reissue titled "The Sonet Blues Story~Memphis Slim" I must added three track titled "Everyday I Have The Blues"; "Let's Get With It" and "Sassy Mae", and have 23 tracks.
    Because a few titles on the BGO release are slightly changed, I can't describe the last one, which I miss to the whole... :-(
    So - great thanks for yours (again) excellent work and mainly - for your excellent note about this session. Thank you very much.

  4. Thanks a lot Gérard. In this same period,in addition to the Trois Mailletz, Memphis provided a lot of concert in several Maisons de la culture in France and I was lucky to see and hear Memphis Slim in 1971 (or 1972) at Maisons de la culture at Sartrouville near Paris. It was a great concert and Memphis Slim was very accessible to the public during and after the concert. Really a great artist.

  5. That's a great one, Gerard, thank you very much!

  6. TYVM Gerard. There' still mUCH of his music that has never been reissued on CD. Hopefully someone will do this before I depart this world.

  7. Thanks again Gerard for this fine share.
    Much obliged!

  8. Thanks, Gerard, for compiling and sharing these fine recordings. I think they are among Memphis Slim's best.

  9. Bonjour Gerard,

    j'ai bcp de problème avec Zippy, mon anti-virus en bloque systématiquement l'acces (Menace : HTML/ScrInject.B cheval de troie). Je préfère MEGA qui jusqu'à présent ne pose pas de problème.

    1. J'essaie de varier les sites pour mes téléchargements car tous plus ou moins suppriment des fichiers de façon abrupte, ont des problèmes d'accès, sont dans le collimateur des hadopis de pays divers... Pour moi, avec mon antivirus (Avast) je n'ai pas de difficulté avec Zippy. N'importe comment, il faut bien voir que ces sites de streaming sont de plus en plus remis en cause et qu'il sera certainement impossible de continuer à s'échanger des fichiers de cette façon dans un futur peut être très proche.

    2. @boogieman: You can easily circunvent this zippy-not-works issue by using:, where you paste the zippy link, and select as server: "US1", and clic on "Go". Presto!!

  10. Juan Urbano Lopez1 novembre 2019 à 10:15

    Thanks again, Gerard! Your article made me wonder about the films that Memphis Slim was on, so I just check his IMDB page. Hope I can found some of those movies available to see online (or maybe at the Alliance Française in Buenos Aires). Warm regards, Juan

  11. Dear Gérard,
    thanks for your blog and the great works within the last few years. But this one is not your standard.
    First of all, these sessions took place in early 1967 not in June. Why?, because Memphis Slim was back in Europe by June 1967 recording for Polydor in Paris and second: the Josie single (Gone Again / Little Lonely Girl) was released in March 1967.
    Second: Memphis Slim and the band recorded 24 tracks plus one alternate version of "Only Fools Have Fun" at these sessions. But here we get only 23 tracks, "Caldonia" is missing and "01. A Long Time Baby" and "17. Long Time Gone" are the same tracks except "01" is in Stereo and "17" is in Mono.
    Third: The original LP releases are the Jubilee and Beacon LPs. The tracks then underwent remastering and rechanneling to simulate a stereo effect and also some overdubbing. Also, all tracks have been slowed down about 2-7%. On "Only Fools Have Fun" and "Let's Get With It" the sax has been cut out and an unknown organ player has been dubbed in. On "Sassy Mae" unknown horns have been dubbed in. These versions then appeared on Springboard/Trip and various European releases, Disques Festival, Metronome and all subsequent releases. And these are the versions we get here.
    Anyway, keep going with your very fine blog, I would miss it very much.

    1. Thanks for your infos. Of course, I've done what I could with what I have and what I was able to grab. This blog is entirely done by me for the dedicated blues fans all over the world for free and without any profit and of course it costs me some (and sometimes more than some!). So, I do appreciate when readers of this blog shares what they own: it would be so nice from you to send a .mp3 copy of your records to illustrate your comments and critics and thus complete this post!

  12. Thank you for these rare and wonderful sessions of Memphis with a great band!

  13. MEMPHIS SLIM/ The Clyde Otis Sessions
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