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mercredi 21 septembre 2022

CHICAGO/ The Blues Yesterday/ Volume 26


CHICAGO/ The Blues Yesterday/ Volume 26




Let's go back to our very popular series "Chicago/ The blues Yesterday"!

            For this 26th Volume, we start with the great singer Arelean Brown (1924 – 1981) who enjoyed a local hit with her witty I'm a streaker. Born in Tchula, Ms from a very musical family that encompassed blues luminaries like Otis and Abe Smothers, Lee Shot Williams, George Brown (who played guitar with Howlin' Wolf), Arelean started singing professionally in Detroit where she would have first recorded sides hitherto unissued. She relocated in Chicago, got friend with Little Mack Simmons for whom she recorded a handful of 45s backed by first rate Chicago musicians like

Lonnie Brooks, L.V. Johnson and Scotty & The Rib Tips. Although she had to make a living outside music Arelean managed to play regularly in Chicago clubs and even tour the Southern States. Her untimely death from cancer prevented her to make more records and tour Europe where her singles were high praised with blues audiences. 

 I don't know very much about The Highway Man whose real name was/is (?) William Holland. A good impersonator of Howlin' Wolf he has recorded two singles of four Wolf's well known songs. He is backed by the good guitarist L.C. Roby who is reputed to be his son. According to Rob Ford, those tracks by The Highway Man are only part of a whole album which unfortunately has never been issued. Any more info about this artist and L.C. Roby would be very much needed.


Eddie Shaw (1937-2018) is a very well known and high rated singer, saxophone player, harp player, bandleader, composer who played with Howlin' Wolf for two decades and ran his band during the maestro's last years. After backing Ike Turner and Little Milton while still a teenager in Mississippi, Shaw joined Muddy Waters' band for some time in Chicago before teaming with Magic Sam (with whom he will record his first tracks under his own name) and then Howlin' Wolf. After the Wolf's death, Eddie Shaw kept his band together and toured the USA and Europe as The Wolf Gang, recording a vibrant tribute to the Bluesmen of Yesterday on his first LP produced by Howlin' Wolf's widow. I had the chance to see Shaw and his Wolf Gang in Washington DC during those years and he gave an extraordinary show with Hubert Sumlin at the top of his talent! After that, Shaw recorded many LPs and CDs (many for Red Rooster, the excellent Austrian's Wolf label! and one for the French Isabel), all of them being of a high level despite the absence of Hubert Sumlin. We have gathered all of Shaw's early tracks.

                                                                       Gérard Herzhaft


Eddie Shaw (right) with Bobby Fields and A.C. Reed c. 1965


ARELEAN BROWN, vcl; Buddy Scott, g; Little Mack Simmons, hca; The Rib Tips, band. Chicago, Ill. january 1971

01. Hello baby

02. I love my man

Arelean Brown, vcl; Lee Shot Williams, vcls; Little Mack Simmons, hca; Lonnie Brooks, g; Detroit Jr, pno/org; L.V. Johnson, g; Robert Covington, bs; Billy Davenport, dms. Chicago, Ill. 12 january 1974

03. Impeach me

04. You're gonna miss me around here

05. I'm a streaker baby

06. Why I love you

Arealean Brown, vcl; Little Mack Simmons, hca; Emmitt Brown, pno; Lonnie Brooks, g; L.V. Johnson, g; Buddy Scott, bs; Tommie J. Brown, dms. Chicago, Ill. 4 february 1974

07. I'm so blue

08. Pushing our love aside

09. I can't believe it

10. Chicken man

Arelean Brown, vcl; Lonnie Brooks, g; L.V. Johnson, g; Little Mack Simmons, hca; Buddy Scott, bs; Tommie J. Brown, dms. Chicago, Ill. 7 february 1974

11. Broken many hearts

12. I love my man

13. Eagle stirs her nest

Arelean Brown, vcl; band. Chicago, Ill. late 1974

14. Humpty dumpty

15. Gotta find my baby (fragment)

HIGHWAY MAN (William Holland), vcl; L.C. Roby, g; Eddie Shaw, t-sax; Billy Branch, hca; Detroit Jr, pno; Marilyn Love, bs; Ben Sandmer, dms. Chicago, Ill. 29 september 1979

16. Don't laugh at me

17. I walked from Dallas

18. Killing floor

19. Louise

EDDIE SHAW, t-sax; Magic Sam, g; Mac Thompson, bs; Bob Richey, dms. Chicago, Ill. 6 february 1966

20. Riding high

21. Blues for the West Side

22. Looking good

Eddie Shaw, vcl/t-sax; Shorty Stalworth, t-sax; Milton Houston, g; Willie Kent, bs; Little Addison, dms. Chicago, Ill. 2 august 1969

23. A hog with my horn

24. Shaw time

25. It's all right

26. Eddie's rock

Eddie Shaw, vcl/t-sax; Hubert Sumlin, g; Jimmy Dawkins, g; James Green, bs; Fred Below, dms. Chicago, Ill. 20 january 1971

27. Little by little

Eddie Shaw, vcl/t-sax; Detroit Jr, pno; Hubert Sumlin, g; Shorty Gilbert, bs; Chico Chism, dms. Chicago, Ill. 4 june 1973

28. I don't trust nobody

Eddie Shaw, vcl/t-sax; Detroit Jr, kbds; Hubert Sumlin, g; Shorty Gilbert, bs; Chico Chism, dms. Chicago, Ill. 29 june 1977

29. This little voice

30. I can't stop loving you

31. Big leg woman

32. I've got to tell somebody I

33. Blues men of yesterday I

34. Blues men of yesterday II

35. I've got to tell somebody II

Eddie Shaw, vcl/t-sax; Johnny "Big Moose" Walker, kbds; Hubert Sumlin, g; Shorty Gilbert, bs; Chico Chism, dms. Chicago, Ill. 18 january 1978

36. Out of bad luck

37. Stoop down baby

38. Sitting on top of the world

39. My baby's so ugly

40. It's alright

mercredi 7 septembre 2022






I guess it's no use to present Willie Dixon (1915-1992) to most of this blog's followers who are, for the most part, hardcore blues buffs!

            Singer and bassist, sometimes guitarist, Willie is above all renown for being the composer, producer and arranger of some of the most brilliant blues classic tunes and sessions of the postwar years. And his compositions can be read like a who's who of the greatest blues numbers ever when sung and played by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Otis Rush, Koko Taylor etc...

            As a performer, Willie was very often a little bit too much sententious and corny. His deep voice could be particularly striking sometimes but seemed without enough range otherwise.

            Well, this is certainly not to belittle the greatness of some Willie Dixon's albums, particularly during the 1970's, like Peace?, Catalyst or Earthquake and hurricane which should be in all blues collections. Or the excellent albums he made with his Chicago Blues All Stars that gathered blues giants like Big Walter Horton, Johnny Shines, Sunnyland Slim...


In fact, Willie started his career with Leonard Caston's Big Three Trio, a group of guitar, piano and bass with shared singing parts. They recorded prolifically during the late 1940's and early 50's in a jazz/blues/pop style. Many of the songs that would become Dixon's blues classics were recorded first with the Big Three Trio in a way very different that it would be later on. Those Big Three Trio have been heavily reissued, so we have only kept an example with the first version of My blues will never die which would become a striking, moving masterpiece by Otis Rush.

            We have then gathered all the recordings Willie made for different labels during the next decade (1952-62) that were hard to find and scattered in a lot of compilations, most of them being unavailable today.

                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT




Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Leonard Caston, pno; Bernardo Dennis, g. Chicago, Ill. 16 june 1952

01. My love will never die

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Harold Ashby, t-sax; band. Chicago, Ill. 17 february 1954

02. Wang dang doodle

03. So easy

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Leonard Caston, vcls; Ollie Crawford, g/vcls; Harold Ashby, y-sax; Lafayette Leake, pno; Al Duncan, dms. Chicago, Ill. october 1954

04. Violent love

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Harold Ashby, t-sax;  t-sax; Lafayette Leake, pno; Fred Below, dms. Chicago, Ill. may 1955

05. If you're mine

06. Alone

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; t-sax; Lafayette Leake, pno; Fred Below, dms. Chicago, Ill. july 1955

07. Walking the blues

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Harold Ashby, t-sax;  t-sax; Lafayette Leake, pno; Ollie Crawford, g/vcls; Fred Below, dms. Chicago, Ill. november 1955

08. Crazy for my baby

09. The pain in my heart

10. I'm the lover man

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Harold Ashby, t-sax;  t-sax; Lafayette Leake, pno; Al Duncan, dms. Chicago, Ill. 27 july 1956

11. Twenty nine ways to my baby's door

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Jody Williams, g; dms. Chicago, Ill. april 1957

12. Firey love

13. All the time

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Champion Jack Dupree, pno. New York City, 1958

14. Could I would I?

15. Ugly girls

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Memphis Slim, pno; Wally Richardson, g; Harold Ashby, t-sax; Gus Johnson, dms. Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 3 december 1959

16. Built for comfort

17. Don't tell nobody

18. Go easy

19. Good understanding

20. I got a razor

21. Move me

22. Nervous

23. Sittin' and cryin' the blues

24. Slim's thing

25. That's all I want baby

26. That's my baby

27. Youth to you

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Memphis Slim, pno/vcls. Los Angeles, Ca. 5 january 1960

28. Rub my root

29. Home to mama

30. Shaky

31. One more time

32. Now howdy

Willie Dixon, vcl/bs; Lafayette Leake, pno; Clifton James, dms. Chicago, Ill. june 1962

33. Back home in Indiana

34. Wrinkles

Willie Dixon, vcl; J.T. Brown, t-sax; Hubert Sumlin, g; Johnny Jones, pno; Jerome Arnold, bs; Junior Blackmon, dms. Chicago, Ill. 28 september 1962

35. Tail dragger