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dimanche 20 décembre 2020

American Folk Blues Festival 1967/ The complete sessions


AFBF 1967/ The Complete Sessions


           In 1967 the American Folk Blues Festival tours of Europe were well established and much sought after by blues buffs all over many countries of Western and even Eastern Europe. The 1967 edition – which wasn't advised by Willie Dixon anymore – took the task to expose some of the major "rediscovered" Delta blues legends who, thanks to bold researchers, had been lifted from retirement and obscurity directly to major American acoustic blues festivals of the early 1960's. Son House, Bukka White and Skip James were proudly announced at the top of this very exciting lineup of the 1967 tour.

If Bukka was great (as always), an extraverted showman, Skip James was a little bit shy and with his high-pitched voice not always well received, Son House was the great winner of the shows. Utterly and deeply involved in his blues, shouting, sweating, lost somewhere between the Delta and Europe, he appeared to the European audiences as an unbelievable blues giant. In the Paris concert, the PA system went down at a time while Son was still preaching his blues. He didn't seem to notice the fact his microphone didn't work anymore and, the eyes closed, torturing his guitar with his slide, he shouted his blues the same way he would have been in a Delta juke joint 20 years ago.

            The country blues part of the Festival was rounded professionally by old favorites Brownie & Sonny. Unfortunately the other half of the show that was dedicated to the electric Chicago blues was very weak and even an unexpected major flop! The main mistake of course had to enrolled Hound Dog Taylor who was of course a fine bluesman of his own, impersonating Elmore James's style but absolutely unable to be the lead guitarist of the show. The previous years had featured major lead guitar players like M.T. Murphy, T-Bone Walker, Hubert Sumlin, Buddy Guy and Otis Rush and the comparison was dreadful for Hound Dog. He also had never appeared on a concert hall and, in Paris, he played almost all the time looking towards the curtains and showing his back to the audience! Add a clumsy and non blues bass player with Dillard Crum plus Little Walter who was angry at everyone and seemed to dislike the fact he was backed by musicians for whom he had no great consideration (I've heard that for some shows Walter rather played unaccompanied!), a very young and very shy Koko Taylor who also was unsettled with this backing band.

            Anyway, the tapes I've been able to gather from this tour feature some great moments and also historic performances.

                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT


(Thanks a lot to my brother Cisco and Lise Brière de l'Isle for their remembrances of the Paris concert)


All titles recorded october-november 1967 over Europe, mainly in Germany

Brownie Mc Ghee, vcl/g; Sonny Terry, hca/vcls.

01. Born with the blues

02. I'm gonna move

Sonny Terry, vcl/hca; Brownie Mc Ghee, g/vcls.

03. Rock Island line

Bukka White, vcl/g.

04. Aberdeen blues

05. Aberdeen, Ms. blues

06. Got sick and tired

Skip James, vcl/g.

07. Hard luck child

08. Hard times killing floor blues

Son House, vcl/g.

09. Death letter

10. Got a letter this morning

11. Preaching the blues

Hound Dog Taylor, vcl/g; Little Walter, hca; Dillard Crume, bs; Odie Payne, dms.

12. Shake your moneymaker

13. The sky is crying

Koko Taylor, vcl; Little Walter, hca; Hound Dog Taylor, g; Dillard Crume, bs; Odie Payne, dms.

14. Wang dang doodle n°1

15. Wang dang doodle n°2

16. What kind of man is this? n°1

17. What kind of man is this n°2

18. Will my man be home tonight?

Little Walter, vcl/hca; Hound Dog Taylor, g; Dillard Crume, bs; Odie Payne, dms.

19. Berlin shuffle

20. Mean old world

21. My babe

22. You're so fine

Brownie Mc Ghee, vcl/g; Sonny Terry, hca/vcls.

23. Walk on

All photos are from my programme of the AFBF 1967 by Lippmann, Ambor, Dabrwosky, Dick Waterman



 Odie Payne and Dillard Crum

samedi 12 décembre 2020

BOBBY "Guitar" BENNETT/ Blues Guitar Masters Vol. 9


BOBBY "GUITAR" BENNETT/ Blues Guitar Masters Volume 9



Bobby "Guitar" Bennett has long been a mystery figure among blues buffs, gaining a great reputation from his masterpiece When girls do it but very often being confused with another Bobby Bennett, a singer from James Brown's Famous Flames who also made a solo career under this name.

            Thanks to all-time great researcher and producer Dick Shurman who finally located and made possible an interview by the man, we now may know better our Bobby "Guitar" Bennett.


Courtesy Bobby Bennett

Clinton "Bobby" Bennett was born 24 February 1942 at Raeford, NC. He Learned guitar at a very early age with one of his uncle who was a staunch Jimmy Reed's fan. In 1957, Bobby Bennett was living in Dunn, NC. where a local DJ hired him to help him programming blues music on his radio show. The subsequent years saw Bobby playing guitar and singing blues and rock'n'roll on many clubs and radio programmes in Norfolk, Va. and Philadelphia where he gathered his first own band, performing in many clubs and venues and signing his first recording contract on the V-Tone label, waxing his first single The plea/ She's my girl in 1960. For a couple of years, Bobby was also a member of the Bandits, the band of Philadelphia drummer Pancho Villa (real name Charles Miller), recording at least one single with them for the Arliss label (Bobby's guitar). It is unsure if Bennett is present on the rest of Pancho Villa's 45s.


During the 1960's, Bobby Bennett was quite often on the studios, recording several singles between blues, Soul and Rock'n'roll and being constantly in-demand for live shows a little bit everywhere around Philly. When hired by bandleader Chuck Jackson, he added the tag "Guitar" between his first name and name, recording in 1964 the famous When girls do it with his terrific guitar solos and licks.

            During the early 1970's he seemed to disappear from the radars, just when the anthology When girls do it published in England and comprising this title gained a lot of interest towards the singer and guitarist Bobby "Guitar" Bennett. It's pretty sure he had been located at that time, Bobby "Guitar" Bennett would have toured Europe and recorded albums... But Philadelphia wasn't a town for blues researchers at that time.

            In fact, Bobby had to make a living out of music, playing only sporadically his brand of Soul and blues, mostly for private parties. In 1985, he turned himself almost exclusively to Gospel.

            This article is almost entirely based on Bobby Bennett's interview by Dick Shurman ad Gene Tomko and the subsequent article published in Living Blues 240. Thanks to those two brave researchers as well as Peter Sturman for his help with this comp.

                                          Gérard HERZHAFT


Bobby "Guitar" Bennett, vcl/g; Pancho Villa, dms; band. Philadelphia, PA. 1960

01. The plea

02. She's my girl

Bobby "Guitar" Bennett, vcl/g; Pancho Villa, dms; band. Philadelphia, PA. 1961

03. Bobby's guitar

04. Baby's cakes hunch (as Pancho Villa)

Bobby "Guitar" Bennett, vcl/g; Helen Way Singers, vcls; band. New York City, january 1962

05. The boss turn

06. Show me

Bobby "Guitar" Bennett, vcl/g; Pancho Villa, dms; band. Philadelphia, PA. march 1962

07. Alone with my tears

08. Never going to let you go

Bobby "Guitar" Bennett, vcl/g; band. New York City, 1963

09. Before I blow my stack

10. You don't love me true

11. You don't love me true (alt.)

Bobby "Guitar" Bennett, vcl/g; band. New York City, february 1965

12. When girls do it

13. She's so fine

Bobby "Guitar" Bennett, vcl/g; band. Philadelphia, PA. october 1965

14. Goin' home

15. Lawdy Miss Clawdy

16. Evol (Love spelled backwards)

17. You did it again

Bobby "Guitar" Bennett, vcl/g; band. Philadelphia, PA. 1966

18. Big New York

19. Baby try me

Bobby "Guitar" Bennett, vcl/g; band. Philadelphia, PA. 1970

20. Days go by

21. Bumble bee (Sting me)