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mardi 23 juin 2020



This new series is dedicated to some not very well known blues singers from or related to the Crescent City but who have nevertheless recorded some very fine music.
            Chubby Newsome (or Newsom) was born Velma Williams (and not Velma Nelson as some sources wrongly write Velma Nelson is a different artist from Los Angeles) on 27 January 1920 in Wilburton (Ok). She started singing in Detroit with the King Allen and His Royal Sultans' band and after the war under the nickname "Chubby" (probably for her curvy figures) Newsome or even "The Bombshell of Blues" in many Detroit R&B clubs, including the Club Sensation. She then toured a lot around the States, appearing in clubs and concert halls in New York, Buffalo, Dayton, Cincinnati, Memphis and such... She relocated herself in New Orleans in 1948, her acts being celebrated by The Louisiana Weekly (2 October 1948) as "Chubby Newsome Motor City Rage now in Dew Drop Show"! During her stay at the Dew Drop Inn, Chubby was noticed by pianist/bandleader Paul Gayten who brought her at Cossimo Matassa's studio for her very first recording session that gave the hit
Hipshaking mama which climbed to the Top 10 in New Orleans, Washington DC and Atlanta. The following years saw Chubby Newsome touring the country (up to appearing at the Apollo Theatre alongside Wynonie Harris) and recording constantly either in New York or in New Orleans where she was, by far, one of the most sought after act. Around 1953, she teamed with Detroit singer Alberta Adams, launching a comedy act under the name The Bluezettes. She recorded a last session in 1957 in New York, still appearing at the Apollo during this time. During the early 60's, she dropped the exhausting life of a touring artist and stayed in her Detroit home, singing only sporadically in local clubs before relocating herself in Kansas City around 1983. She died there, largely forgotten by the blues world, on 12 September 2003. Her obituary in the Kansas City Star didn't even mention her former big success as a R&B singer.
Diamond Joe is generally more considered as a Soul singer but most of his records are largely blues oriented. He was born Joseph Maryland in 1936 at Houma (Terrebone Parrish, Louisiana). His whereabouts and life are largely undocumented although we know that he was a US Air Force veteran and that he recorded a string of very fine 45s in New Orleans during the 1960's, produced by Allen Toussaint who is certainly present on all his sessions. He drifted into utter obscurity after that, being reported living without incomes among his family in Houma where he died September 2, 2010.
            And then the mysterious Sweet Daddy Reed (James Reed Jr) could be, as some has written, Louisiana singer Dalton Reed who recorded a couple of very fine albums for the Rounder label during the early 1990's. This Reed died of a heart attack on 23 September 1994. But at that time, the very identity of Sweet Daddy Reed remains questionable. Here is anyway this quite rare 45s.
                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT

Thanks a lot to Marv Goldberg (from whom I picked most of the Chubby Newsome's bio details) and Fonsoul who posted the rare Sweet Daddy Reed 45 on his first rate YouTube channel.

CHUBBY NEWSOME (Velma Williams), vcl; Wallace Davenport, tpt; Lee Allen, t-sax; Frank Campbell, b-sax; Paul Gayten, pno; Jack Scott, g; George Pryor, bs; Robert Green, dms. New Orleans, La. November 1948
01. Hip shakin' mama
02. Chubby's confession
03. Back bitin' woman
04. Bedroom blues
Chubby Newsome, vcl; Dave Bartholomew, tpt; Joe Harris, a-sax; Herb Hardesty, t-sax; Salvador Doucette, g; Ernest Mc Lean, g; Frank Fields, bs; Earl Palmer, dms. New Orleans, La. January 1949
05. Close to train time
06. New Orleans lover man
Chubby Newsome, vcl; tpt; saxes; Howard Biggs, pno; Gene Ramey, bs; Jo Jones, dms. New York City, 19 December 1949
07. You better find a job
08. Hard loving mama
09. Please throw this poor dog a bone
10. I'm still in love with you
Chubby Newsome, vcl; horns; Howard Biggs, pno; Gene Ramey, bs; Al Taylor, dms. New York City, 23 February 1951
11. Where's the money honey?
12. Little fat woman with the coconut head
Chubby Newsome, vcl; Paul Gayten, pno; John Hunt, tpt; Sam Butera, t-sax; Pee Wee Moore, b-sax; Thomas Legaye, bs; Wesley Landers, dms. New Orleans, La. 15 April 1951
13. Hip shakin' mama blues
14. He may be your man
Chubby Newsome, vcl; Baby Cortez, pno; band. New York City, 1957
15. Toodle luddle baby
16. When are you coming home?
DIAMOND JOE (Joe Maryland), vcl; Allen Toussaint, kbds; band. New Orleans, La. 2 February 1961
17. Moanin' and screamin' I & II
Diamond Joe, vcl; band. New Orleans, La. 10 octobre 1961
You're gonna cry
Diamond Joe, vcl; Allen Toussaint, kbds; band. New Orleans, La. 3 January 1962
18. Help yourself
19. Fair play
Diamond Joe, vcl; Allen Toussaint, kbds; band. New Orleans, La. 1965
20. Too many pots
21. If I say goodbye
Diamond Joe, vcl; Allen Toussaint, kbds; band. New Orleans, La. 1966
22. How to pick a winner
23. Wait a minute baby
24. Hurry back to me
25. Don't set me back
Diamond Joe, vcl; Allen Toussaint, kbds; band. New Orleans, La. 1967
26. Gossip gossip
27. It doesn't matter anymore
Diamond Joe, vcl; Allen Toussaint, kbds; band. New Orleans, La. 1968
28. The ABC song
29. Look way back
SWEET DADDY REED (James Reed Jr), vcl; Rodger Lewis, t-sax; The Desert Tones, band. New Orleans, La. 1969
30. Reconsider blues
31. I believe to my soul

lundi 15 juin 2020

WILLIE WILLIAMS/ Complete Recordings (Re-up)

"I am the best blues drummer"

Completed, Amended And Revised

            Willie Williams est un des ces soutiers du Chicago blues qui a hanté les clubs plusieurs décennies durant, enregistré une poignée de 45t, quelques bribes d'albums et apporté sa modeste mais non négligeable pierre au bel et vaste édifice du blues de la Windy City.
            En 1970, Willie Williams a eu un étonnant succès commercial national avec Wine headed woman, un 45t produit par Willie Dixon. Il a tenté deux ou trois fois de capitaliser sur ce succès. En vain.
            Willie Williams est né le 13 mars 1922 à Lake Village dans l'Arkansas. Il apprend la guitare avec des voisins et les claquettes avec son oncle, "Batman" Williams et commence une carrière de musicien et surtout de danseur au milieu des années 30 sous le surnom de "Fast feet". Après avoir été réformé, il gagne Saint Louis en 1943, apprend la batterie et forme son premier orchestre de blues. Vers 1950, il vient s'installer à Chicago et s'insère sans peine dans l'importante scène du blues. Il joue de la batterie dans de nombreux orchestres, en particulier celui de Howlin' Wolf qu'il accompagne souvent en tournée. C'est en imitant son patron que Willie attire l'attention de Dixon qui le prend dans sa nouvelle maison de production Yambo et essaie de le promouvoir.
            Après le succès inattendu de Wine headed woman, Dixon enregistre plusieurs séances avec Williams qu'il entoure de certains des meilleurs musiciens de Chicago, notamment bien sûr Hubert Sumlin afin de pousser encore plus la ressemblance avec Howlin' Wolf. Ces titres paraîtront sur un de ses labels maison Supreme Records, un LP, Raw unpolluted soul qui, non distribué en dehors de Chicago, ne dépassera malheureusement pas le cercle très restreint des amateurs de blues.
            Malgré des titres aussi bizarres qu'accrocheurs (Muhammad Ali's soul dance) (!!) et le renfort bienvenu de Sonny Wash, un chanteur au timbre plus mélodieux, les 45t suivants ne se vendent pas davantage et bientôt Willie Williams, vedette d'un seul "hit", retrouve l'anonymat des clubs de Chicago. Associé à Carey Bell, il se présente sous le qualificatif de "Best blues drummer in the world" et enregistre encore quelques titres pour Ralph Bass en 1977, demeurés inédits à l'époque mais réunis quelques années plus tard dans la série I didn't give a damn if the Whites bought it.
            Son décès le 8 décembre 1988 à Chicago est à peine signalé dans les revues spécialisées.
            Il laisse une petite oeuvre, aussi rare qu'intéressante, que nous avons regroupée en illustration à cet article en essayant de clarifier un peu sa discographie quelque peu malmenée jusqu'à présent.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

Tous nos remerciements à Ransom, Hans E, Robert Ford et Marc Claes pour leur aide avisée.

Willie Williams is one of those obscure name who haunted the Chicago clubs for decades and was well known among his fellow musicians.
Born march 13 1922 in Lake Village (Arkansas), Willie Williams learned music under the tutelage of one of his uncle, toured with a medicine show at an early age and finally settled in Saint Louis (Mo) in 1943. By now a drummer he formed a local band before moving to Chicago in 1950. He quickly made a reputation as a good, swinging and reliable drummer and played with numerous bands including Howlin' Wolf's. He started to emulate his boss's voice with some success. Willie Dixon who had left Chess to create his own labels, took Willie under his wing. Wine headed woman with a first class blues band (Sumlin, Bobby King, Little Mack) was a surprising down home hit in 1970 that led Willie Williams to record again several sessions. But, despite the help of the soulful singing of Sonny Wash, Those records went nowhere. Willie recorded another sessions with Carey Bell and then drifted into obscurity.
His death december 8th 1988 in Chicago went unnoticed.
Nevertheless he left us a small but rewarding blues legacy that we have gathered.
For years, Williams' discography was quite confused. With the help of Ramson, Hans E., Robert Ford and Marc Claes we have tried to put sessions in proper order with the adequate personnel.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

Willie Williams, vcl/dms; Hubert Sumlin, g; Eddie Taylor, g; Little Johnny Jones, pno; Joe Harper, bs. Chicago, Ill. 1963
01. Deep shuffle
Deep Shuffle is in fact the backing track of Rough dried woman by Big Mac (William Mc Neal)!
Willie Williams, vcl; Hubert Sumlin, g; Bobby King, g; Little Mack, hca; Odell Campbell, bs; Fred Below, dms. Chicago, décembre 1970
02. Wine headed woman
03. Back to Mississippi
04. My baby's gone
05. Black diamond rattler
06. In the valley
Willie Williams, vcl/dms; Hubert Sumlin, g; Bobby King, g; Carey Bell, hca; Joe Harper, bs. Chicago, Ill. 1971
07. Blues at half past twelve
08. Detroit blues
09. Hot pants woman I & II
Willie Williams, vcl/dms; Carey Bell, hca; Eddie Taylor, g; Royal Johnson, g; Sunnyland Slim, pno; Joe Harper, bs. Chicago, Ill. décembre 1971
10. Ruthie baby
11. 38 woman
12. My baby don't change the lock on my door
Willie Williams, dms/vcl on *; Sonny Wash, vcl; James Scott, g; Odell Campbell, bs. Chicago, Ill. 1971
13. Funky Broadway
14. Don't lie to me lover
15. Muhammad Ali's soul dance
16. Mississippi roundhouse Part 1
17. Down home blues*
Willie Williams, vcl/dms; Carey Bell, hca; Sunnyland Slim, pno; Lacy Gibson, g; Willie Black, bs. Chicago, Ill. 17 mars 1977
18. You went away baby
19. You got to give me some
20. Help me
21. Tired of being dogged around
22. Alcoholic man
23. Showing off my car
Robert Ford gave the info that Jim O'Neal says the Henvick, Little Lynn, Big Beat session was recorded in Amarillo, Texas (according to Willie). Ruthie Baby and 38 Woman were apparently recorded in 1970 (probably together with 'Somebody Changed the Lock'?) .