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lundi 22 février 2021

AFBF 1972/ The Complete Sessions


AFBF 1972/ The Complete Sessions


          For an unknown reason to me, there were no AFBF tour in 1971. The 1970 edition was probably too unsuccessful commercially and even musically? Whatever, for the 10th Anniversary of this by now well established tour (and also more and more criticized by blues magazines and fans alike), the German promoters Lippman and Rau planned two tours of Europe, one in March the other in October with two rather different line-ups. But by now, those tours were less and less attracting audiences and dates that were numerous still a couple of years before were now scarcer. A mere six dates in March and October! Mostly in Germany with Rotterdam, Stockholm and Paris in March. And London and Paris again in October!

            At that time I was living in Champagne, so not too far from Paris and I certainly would never miss a blues show in the Capital city. So I was able to attend to the two shows. As far as I remember, the March concert in Paris was a total disaster despite an exciting lineup with Big Mama Thornton and T-Bone Walker coming back. If old Big Joe was his usual self good and Robert Pete Williams (who was a great revelation in 1966) did a too short set, Memphis Slim who was living in Paris and probably picked up at the last moment did his by now a little bit routine set of his old favorites. But the flop of the flop was T-Bone Walker who was so drunk that he was unable to do anything than stumble on stage, couldn't even put his guitar on his shoulder and had to be placed on the piano stool by the good Californian saxophonist Eddie Taylor (not the Chicago blues giant) where he tinkled away a few notes, generally out of tune, tentatively singing a couple of tunes while never succeeding to finish one! After some minutes of chaos, the audience booed him and he had to quit the stage, still stumbling and helped by the musicians who had to finish the set without their leader. What a sad show for such a blues giant! Big Mama was of course far better although she didn't get along too well with the band. But her set was totally ruined by T-Bone who was constantly coming back on stage, totally drunk and trying in vain to play guitar or piano behind poor Big Mama who had to throw him out of stage each time! No need to say that the audience was not very satisfied with this quite expensive concert!


The October show was better with a then favorite Roosevelt Sykes, a great Bukka White and too short but quite good sets by Lightnin' Slim and Whispering Smith who had been at their peak a few months back during the Montreaux Jazz festival (backed by the Aces). Jimmy Rogers also was good as well as Jimmy Dawkins and the blues belter Big Voice Odom. But the AFBF formula had then showed its limits. 3 or 4 tunes by each bluesmen didn't gave them room enough to really take over the audience and prove their talents.

            Those two AFBF 1972 tours didn't probably garnered enough money and they were the last. There won't be no AFBF the following years until Lippman and Rau would try to revive the formula without changing anything anyway during the early 1980's this time touring only in Germany and a few shows in Switzerland and Austria. With apparently not a tremendous success. I didn't attend to any of those 1980's tours, so I won't issue more AFBF's entries on my blog.

            The times had drastically changed for the blues. By now, the blues was (largely thanks to those early AFBF's) a music recognized at its value in Europe and many tours and festivals were displaying artists in a far better way. In 1979, I had the chance to be partly at the wheel of a Night of the Blues programme in Lyon. With the help of one of the most important Rock touring agent, we were able to gather Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Luther Allison, Taj Mahal and Sugar Blue (Lowell Fulson was programmed but couldn't come at the last moment) for a mammoth show that started at 7PM up to 3AM the next morning! The place was the Lyon's Roman Theatre (built during the 1st century) and the attendance was more than 4500 paying visitors!

            Well... I have here tried to gather the largest possible recordings from those AFBF 1972 tours, some "officials", most "unofficials". Despite the sloppy concerts, the music stands well the test of time and stays as a testimony of good blues by real bluesmen who had lived the blues and not only played it. All of them are by now dead and gone, so let's enjoy their recordings!

                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT


AFBF 1972/ The Complete Sessions

Bukka White, vcl/g.

01. Aberdeen blues

02. Black cat

03. I'm gettin' ready

04. Miss Mary

05. Poor boy

06. Sic' em dogs on me

07. Stone

08. Tippin' in

09. World boogie

Big Joe Williams, vcl/g.

10. Baby please don't go

11. Blues all night long

12. Annie Mae blues

13. Blues how do you do?

14. Long tall woman

15. Louise

16. Mean old Frisco

17. Memphis Tn blues

18. My baby is gone

19. My boots and shoes

20. She left me a mule to ride

Robert Pete Williams, vcl/g.*

21. Look here woman

22. Louise

23. Better have your way

24. Two horses on a line

25. My hsoes torn up my feet

26. Texas blues when I was young

27. The new talking blues of Angolas

Roosevelt Sykes, vcl/pno.

28. Drivin' wheel

29. Sweet home Chicago

30. Boot that thing

Memphis Slim, vcl/pno; Michel Denis, dms. *

31. Baby please come home

32. Boogin' and bluesin'

33. Lonesome traveller

Johnny Young, mdln; Willie Kent, bs; Billy Davenport, dms.*

34. Instrumental boogie

Big Mama Thornton, vcl/hca; Paul Pena, g; Edward Taylor, t-sax; Phillip Morrison, bs; Hartley Severns, fdl/saxes; Vinton Johnson, dms.*

35. Ball and chain

36. Tell me baby

Jimmy Rogers, vcl/g; Whispering Smith, hca; Willie Kent, bs; Billy Davenport, dms.

37. Can’t keep from worrying

38 Tricky woman

39. Chicago bound

Lightnin' Slim, vcl/g; Whispering Smith, hca; Willie Kent, bs; Billy Davenport, dms.

40. Wintertime blues

41. Walking through the park

Whispering Smith, vcl/hca; Lightnin' Slim, g; Willie Kent, bs; Billy Davenport, dms.

42. Storm in Texas

T-Bone Walker, vcl/pno; Paul Pena, g; Edward Taylor, t-sax; Phillip Morrison, bs; Hartley Severns, fdl/saxes; Vinton Johnson, dms.*

43. Going back to church

44. Shake it baby

Andrew Big Voice Odom, vcl; Jimmy Dawkins, g; Jesse Williams, g; Roosevelt Sykes, pno; Willie Kent, bs; Billy Davenport, dms.

45. Don't ever leave me

46. Got my mojo working



vendredi 12 février 2021

AFBF 1970/ The Complete Sessions


AFBF 1970/ The Complete Sessions



            The 1970 edition of the annual American Folk Blues Festival was, for the first time since its beginning in 1962, much less attended than the previous ones. German promoters Lippmann and Rau had largely contributed to open important and mostly young audiences to the real blues. But the idea to feature on the same stage many different artists while very exciting the first years had become more and more criticized by blues fans and magazines who, by now, had become more well aware of the blues, the bluesmen, the way the blues had to be shown, played and heard. The AFBF's didn't change their formula and continued to feature blues acts who played three or four tunes before leaving room for another one during a too short two hour show. While other European tours were by now presenting lengthy shows with only one tight band able to ignite fire on the scene even when there were several vocalists.


As usual, I attended to the Paris' concert of the AFBF1970. As far as I remember – 50 years ago!- the sound system was absolutely awful, preventing the great Big Walter Horton to be really audible. The whole Willie Dixon's Chicago Blues All Stars was much less exciting than when they toured Europe on their own the previous years (when Johnny Shines and Sunnyland Slim were featured). Lee Jackson, although a fine bluesman on his own, seemed very shy and lost somewhere on the Paris' too big stage. Leake was hidden behind his piano and Dixon very dissatisfied with how the things were going on even put Walter out of the stage! It's probable than the band was better in other places but in France their performance was rather poor, even pedestrian and gained only small applauses.

            Champion Jack Dupree who was leaving permanently in Europe was picked up at the last moment (Otis Spann was at first planned) and featured his usual good set. But by now he was playing almost all the year here and there across France (I even had the opportunity to take care of him during a couple of days earlier in 1970) and he was certainly not a revelation to the majority of the audience.

            Bukka White and old Brownie and Sonny were once again on the tour and they each delivered some good country blues, Bukka being particularly in good form.


The highlight of the Paris concert was undoubtedly Sister Rosetta Tharpe who, despite her health troubles which would force her to leave the tour a couple of days after to get back to the USA, did a masterful set of her gospel favorites with shouting vocals and great rocking guitar.

            Anyway, the music recorded here in Germany and on other European dates is quite nice and shows mostly good unaltered blues played by artists knowing their stuff. The original double LP is not easily available and the CD version omits several tracks. I have added whatever titles possible recorded here and there in Western Europe to give the most possible complete photography of this tour.

                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT



AFBF 1970/ The Complete Sessions

Recorded in Europe on various locations during october-november 1970

Chicago All Stars: Big Walter Horton, hca; Lee Jackson, g; Lafayette Leake, pno; Willie Dixon, bs; Clifton James, dms.

01. All Stars blues

02. Everybody's bluesin'

03. Chicago boogie

Big Walter Horton, vcl/hca; Lee Jackson, g; Lafayette Leake, pno; Willie Dixon, bs; Clifton James, dms.

04. Hard hearted woman I

05. Hard hearted woman II

06. That ain't it

07. Big Walter's boogie

Bukka White, vcl/g.

08. Maggie Lee

09. World boogie

10. Old Lady

Champion Jack Dupree, vcl/pno; Willie Dixon, bs; Clifton James, dms.

11. Going to Louisiana

12. Blues before sunrise

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

13. Hootin' the blues

14. Backwater blues

15. Walk on

16. When I was drinking

Lee Jackson, vcl/g; Big Walter Horton, hca; Lafayette Leake, pno; Willie Dixon, bs; Clifton James, dms.

17. Juanita

18. Came home this morning

19. Why don't you let me be

Lafayette Leake, pno; Big Walter Horton, hca; Lee Jackson, g; Willie Dixon, bs; Clifton James, dms.

20. After hours

21. Leake's jump

22. Wrinkles

Clifton James, vcl/dms; Big Walter Horton, hca; Lee Jackson, g; Lafayette Leake, pno; Willie Dixon, bs.

23. All the things we used to do

24. Wee wee hours

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Big Walter Horton, hca; Lee Jackson, g; Lafayette Leake, pno; Clifton James, dms.

25. Crazy for my baby

26. Sittin' and cryin' the blues

27. My babe

28. Twenty nine ways

Sister Rosetta Tharpe, vcl/g; Big Walter Horton, hca; Lee Jackson, g; Lafayette Leake, pno; Willie Dixon, bs; Clifton James, dms.

30. When the Saints

31. Down by the riverside

32. Didn't rain

33. Games people play

34. Nobody knows

35. That's all

36. Up above my head



mardi 9 février 2021

ACE HOLDER/ Complete Recordings

 ACE HOLDER/ Complete Recordings

  Ace Holder est un harmoniciste relativement obscur bien qu'il ait enregistré treize excellents titres dans les années 1960 dont certains comme Lonesome harmonica ou Homeless boy ont été réédites de nombreuses fois et figurent aujourd'hui comme de petits classiques de l'harmonica blues.
            Le peu que l'on connaît de la vie de Ace Holder provient largement d'une interview effectuée par le chercheur Darryl Stolper et publiée dans la revue britannique Blues Unlimited (n° 133). J'y ai ajouté quelques informations que j'ai glanées récemment.
            Albert C. Holder est né le 18 décembre 1937 dans la bourgade de Evergreen, au Sud de l'Alabama, dont la population est toujours majoritairement composée d'Africains Américains. Les parents Holder étaient des métayers et Albert a dû quitter l'école très jeune pour les aider. C'est vers l'âge de douze ans qu'il suit sa mère à Shreveport où il voit jouer Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) et Little Walter Jacobs. C'est sur ces modèles que Albert décide de devenir lui aussi harmoniciste. Il joue dans des clubs locaux sous le nom de Ace (i.e. A.C.) Holder, rencontre Junior Parker, Jimmy Reed et B.B. King avec lesquels il fait le boeuf.

Evergreen, Al. railroad station
En 1957, Ace part à Los Angeles pour trouver de meilleures conditions de vie et de travail tout en continuant à jouer son blues dans les différents clubs de l'agglomération. Il se lie d'amitié avec le pianiste/ producteur Gus Jenkins grâce auquel il va enfin enregistrer une petite oeuvre mais de grande qualité pour des labels indépendants californiens comme Pioneer, Vanessa, Lulu, Movin' and Downey.
            Après s'être marié avec Clarie Roberts en 1966 et alors que leur famille s'agrandit, Holder est obligé de mieux gagner sa vie et abandonne plus ou moins la musique dans les années 1970-80. Il décède le 2 juillet 1993 à Los Angeles.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

            Ace Holder is a relatively obscure blues singer and harp player although he has recorded 13 excellent tracks during the 1960's, several (Lonesome harmonicaHomeless boy) having gained the status of minor classics among blues aficionados.
            Whatever we know of Holder's life and whereabouts comes largely from a sole interview conducted by blues researcher Darryl Stolper who interviewed Mr Holder and published the results in the British blues magazine Blues Unlimited (n° 133). I have added some infos that I gleaned recently.
            Albert C. Holder is born on 18 December 1937 in Evergreen, a small town in South Alabama, with a large African American population. His parents were poor sharecroppers and Albert had to quit school at an early age to help them in the fields. He followed his mother to Shreveport when he was about twelve and there he heard and met Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) and Little Walter Jacobs who inspired him to learn the harmonica and begin to play in local venues. He met (and jammed) with Jimmy Reed, Junior Parker, B.B. King and numerous others.
            In 1957, he went to live into the Los Angeles area, looking for better wages and also better musical opportunities. He soon was playing in the numerous clubs of that big city. But it was his meeting and friendship with pianist, singer, producer and label owner Gus Jenkins that gave him the opportunity to record during the 1960's for tiny West Coast indies labels like Pioneer, Vanessa, Lulu, Movin' and Downey. But after he married Clarie Roberts in 1966 and while their family was growing, Ace Holder had to make a decent living more and more outside the music. During the following decades, he almost quit the music business. He died in Los Angeles on 2nd July 1993.
                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT

ACE HOLDER/ Complete Recordings
Ace Holder (Albert C. Holder), vcl/hca; Gus Jenkins, pno; band. Los Angeles, Ca. 1961
01. Lonesome harmonica
02. Homeless boy
Ace Holder, vcl/hca; band. Los Angeles, Ca. 1962
03. Wabba Suzy Q
04. Leave my woman alone
05. Happy anniversary
06. When you are around
07. This love of mine
08. Doris Tee
09. I've been thinking of you
Ace Holder, vcl/hca; band. Los Angeles, Ca. 1964
10. I'm in love with you
11. Encourage me baby
Ace Holder, vcl/hca; g; g; Curtis Tillman, bs; Chuck Thomas, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 1966
12. Sorry I had to leave
13. The eatingest woman

Two more tracks by Ace Holder (from 1969) are here

Ace Holder, vcl/hca; band. Los Angeles, Ca. 1969

Everything I took away/ Never been in love before

Thanks to Tom Thumb for this info.

jeudi 4 février 2021

EARL BELL/ Complete Recordings

 EARL BELL/ Complete Recordings


    Earl Bell n'est certainement pas un nom très connu des amateurs de blues aujourd'hui même s'il a été dans les années 1950-60 un acteur reconnu du Country blues de Memphis.
          Né le 19 février 1914 sur une plantation près d'Hernando (Ms), Earl est venu travailler à Memphis dans les années 1940, exerçant divers métiers dont celui de garde-barrière. Il avait sans doute appris à jouer très jeune de la guitare puisqu'il semble s'intégrer facilement dans la riche scène musicale de Beale Street, jouant avec différents jug bands ou se produisant seul dans les rues. Bien qu'il ait affirmé avoir enregistré à cette époque, aucune trace de ses disques n'est visible. Il a aussi affirmé avoir beaucoup joué dans les juke joints du Mississippi et de l'Arkansas, aurait connu Robert Johnson et aurait même été le véritable compositeur de Terraplane blues!
          Dans les années 1960, Earl Bell qui continue à jouer sporadiquement dans les rues de Memphis ou au bord du fleuve, souvent en compagnie du guitariste Walter Miller et de l'harmoniciste Memphis Sonny Boy (Marshall Jones) attire l'attention des pionniers du blues revival comme George Mitchell et le suédois Olle Helander qui l'enregistrent enfin en 1964 (il reste plusieurs titres inédits de cette séance) et en 1967. Il participe à quelques petits festivals locaux, grave aussi une très belle version de Catfish blues en compagnie de Memphis Sonny Boy pour le label Adelphi de Gene Rosenthal (il semble qu'il y ait cette fois-là aussi plusieurs titres inédits). Sa santé chancelante, son apparent manque de goût pour tout déplacement hors de sa ville de Memphis l'empêchent de participer davantage au blues revival, notamment avec une tournée en Europe qui lui aurait donné une plus grande visibilité.

 En fait, il n'enregistre plus qu'un titre "live" en 1973 et décède le 12 juillet 1977 à Memphis.
          Sa courte œuvre est, à quelques exceptions, très difficile à trouver, la séance de 1967 n'ayant jamais été publiée en LP ou en CD et impossible à obtenir en Europe!. Sans être un géant du Memphis blues, Earl Bell mérite d'être mieux connu et apprécié.
                                                              Gérard HERZHAFT

             Although not a major Country bluesman, Earl Bell - born on February 1914 in Hernando, Ms - was a quite well-known figure in and around Memphis for three decades.
             He seems to have played with several Beale Street jug bands during the 1940's after he came to live in Memphis. He said he was constantly playing the juke joints in Mississippi and Arkansas. Still according to him, he would have known Robert Johnson, being the composer of his "Terraplane blues"! He also said he had recorded before and just after the war but no evidence of those could be found.
             Whatever it is, Earl has worked many jobs in Memphis, hauling freight, railroad employee, factory worker... While playing regularly in the streets of Memphis and along the Mississippi river, often with guitarist Walter Miller and harp player Memphis Sonny Boy (Marshall Jones).
             But it is only with the blues revival that Earl had at last the opportunity to record, first in 1964 for Swedish radio producer Olle Helander in 1964 (several titles are still unissued!), then in 1967 for George Mitchell, a lengthy session that has never been issued in LP or CD and that is even impossible to buy as .mp3 download from Europe!
             In 1970, Gene Rosenthal from Adelphi records waxes Earl Bell with his long-time partner Memphis Sonny Boy for a wonderful version of "Catfish" (it seems that there are also some unissued titles from that day?).
             At that point, Earl could have toured Europe that  certainly would have given him a greater recognition. But Earl - with a flailing health - was very reluctant to travel too far from his Memphis home. He appeared only in small local festivals, recording only one more title in 1973.
             He died in Memphis on July, 12th, 1977.
                                                                              Gérard HERZHAFT


Earl Bell, vcl/g. Memphis, Tn. 26 mai 1964

01. Terraplane blues

02. Travellin' man

Earl Bell, vcl/g; Abe Mc Neil, vcl/g on +; Johnny Woods, hca on *. Memphis, Tn. septembre 1967

03. Black panther+

04. Crawling kingsnake

05. Dust my broom

06. Jump on down

07. K.C. blues*

08. Leave in the morning

09. Rocky mountain

10. Telephone is ringing+

11. Terraplane blues

12. Two trains running+

13. Vicksburg blues

Earl Bell, vcl/g; Memphis Sonny Boy, hca. Memphis, Tn. juin 1970

14. Catfish blues

Earl Bell, vcl/g. Memphis, Tn. 13 mai 1973

15. Travellin' blues