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lundi 20 février 2023






  This post brings to the fore the Texas piano blues school, a big amount of piano players generally labelled as "Santa Fe piano blues" because the pioneers of the genre were playing in the juke joints scattered along the railway stations of the ATSF (Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe), a line that starting in Kansas brought travellers and goods to Santa Fe in New Mexico through Texas.


          One of the pioneer of this style is the enigmatic Andy Boy (probably Anthony Boyd), born in Galveston on 10th November 1904. His playing has touches of older ragtime and he recorded behind Joe Pullum and Walter Cowboy Washington as well as eight beautiful titles in San Antonio in 1937. One don't know when and where he died. He was heard in the 50's in the juke joints of Kansas City although Blues/ A regional experience gives New York as the possible place of his death.



Earl Gilliam was born at Lafayette, La. on 13 January 1930. But he was raised at New Waverly, Tx. where he started to play the piano in his local church at an early age. Trying to make a living with his music, Earl went to Houston and found quickly a job as the piano man of Gatemouth Brown's band. He stayed in Houston almost all his life, playing constantly in local venues, bars and joints. He played as a solo act as well as an accompanist for many bluesmen like Albert Collins, Albert King, Lightnin' Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, Big Mama Thornton. He also played with Western Swing bands like the famous Light Crust Doughboys which allowed him to make his debut recordings under his name on the Sarg label, mostly a Western Swing and Hillbilly Music label. He only recorded a handful of numbers between 1955 and 1968 (all are here). This is while backing Joe Hughes that he as "rediscovered" and recorded at last a whole excellent album in 2004 for the Dialtone label. Gilliam died 19 october 2011 at his home of Tomball, Tx.


          Although Connie Mack Booker is the pianist of dozens of sessions throughout the years behind a big amount of artists (B.B. King, Jr Parker, Blues Boy Jones, Johnny Copeland etc...) he has not been very well documented. Born on 2 May 1931 at Edinburg, Tx. Connie was raised at Houston, starting to play a deep and bluesy style of piano in the clubs as soon as 1948. He recorded under his name a small amount of tracks that we have been able to gather here, I guess for the first time.


          A lot of thanks to Tom Thumb and Jose Yraberra for their help, sharing some of the rarest tracks on this collection.


                                                 Gérard HERZHAFT



ANDY BOY, vcl/pno. San Antonio, Tx. 24 February 1937

01. Evil blues

02. House raid blues

03. Too late blues

04. Church Street blues

05. Out o'line blues

06. Lonesome with the blues

07. Jive blues

08. Yellow gal blues

EARL GILLIAM, vcl/pno; Lucian Davis, a-sax; Gene Burke, t-sax; Russell Willis, g; Donald Cooks, bs; Leo Hopkins, dms. Houston, Tx. may 1955

09. Don't make me late baby

10. Nobody's blues

11. Wrong doing woman

12. Petite baby

Earl Gilliam, vcl/pno; B.J. Brooks, t-sax; g; bs; Ivory Lee Semier, dms. Houston, Tx. 1962

13. Just you and I

Earl Gilliam, vcl/pno; band. Houston, Tx. c. 1968

14. Funky twist

15. Going back home

CONNIE MACK BOOKER, pno; Eddie Green, dms; L.C. Williams, vcl. Houston, Tx. june 1949

16. Shout baby boogie

17. Rich women blues

Connie Mack Booker, vcl/pno; Goree Carter, g; band. Houston, Tx. 1949

18. Loretta

19. You're trying to bring me down

20. Rich woman blues

21. My baby left me

Connie Mack Booker, vcl/pno; Henry Hayes, a-sax; Ed Wiley, t-sax; Goree Carter, g; Donald Cooks, bs; Ben Turner, dms. Houston, Tx. 1950

22. Trouble making woman

23. Dolphin Street stomp

Connie Mack Booker, vcl/pno; Cal Green, g; band. Houston, Tx. 8 december 1953

24. Love me pretty baby

25. All alone

26. Freight train rollings


mercredi 1 février 2023

CHARLES SHEFFIELD Voodoo is still working



Artiste important de la musique louisianaise, certains de ses titres étant même devenus "titres-cultes"!, Charles "Mad Dog" Sheffield n'en demeure pas moins très largement inconnu et, malgré tous nos efforts, nous n'avons pu recueillir que peu d'informations sur lui.
            Dans son ouvrage essentiel"South to Louisiana" sur les musiques du Sud de la Louisiane paru en 1983, John Broven n'est pas particulièrement disert sur Charles Sheffield qu'il situe esentiellement comme étant un chanteur "originaire de Lake Charles".
En fait, grâce à la ténacité du regretté Eric Le Blanc, nous savons que Charles Richard Sheffield est né le 16 février 1931 à Houston (Tx). Mais c'est effectivement pour le producteur de Lake Charles, Eddie Shuler et son label Goldband, que Sheffield enregistre en 1955-56, accompagné de
l'orchestre du superbe guitariste Clarence Garlow avec en plus Lionel Torrence au saxophone ténor! Mais ce sont les séances suivantes, cette fois puissamment produites par l'incontournable Jay Miller et réalisées dans ses studios de Crowley qui vont faire la réputation de Charles Sheffield. Pratiquement tout est exceptionnel de l'endiablé Shoo shoo chicken au morceau de danse très néo-orléanais The Kangaroo en passant bien sûr par le sublime It's your voodoo working, certainement un des meilleurs morceaux louisianais des années 60.
            Le succès a cependant été modeste et malgré deux séances plus tradives à La Nouvelle Orléans en 1965-66 sous le sobriquet de Prince Charles, Charles Sheffield disparaît de la scène musicale. Il décède dans l'anonymat le 27 mars 2010 à Beaumont (Tx).
            Pour envelopper encore plus de mystère cet artiste, plusieurs anthologies lui ont attribué des titres dans lesquels il n'est nullement présent et que nous avons donc signalés dans la discographie. Il manque encore deux morceaux (en rouge) pour pouvoir compléter cette petite mais importante oeuvre. Comme toujours, toute copie est la bienvenue.
            Merci à Benoit Blue Boy, Marc D. et Robert Wingfield pour leur aide.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

            An important and influential musical figure from South Louisiana with some records still revered in many circles, Charles "Mad Dog" Sheffield remains nevertheless and despite all our efforts to unearth any clue, a very elusive artist.
            In his essential book, "South to Louisiana" from 1983, John Broven writes some facts about Charles Sheffield, particularly about his sessions and him being from Lake Charles. And those lines have been reproduced again and again through the years without unearthing further facts! But thanks to the late Eric Le Blanc we know that our man was in fact born in Houston (Tx) on February 16, 1931.

            But in 1955-56, Charles recorded a dozen titles in Lake Charles for local producer and Goldband label owner Eddie Shuler. Good sides backed by a top-notch band with Clarence Garlow playing the guitar and the great Lionel Torrence blowing his saxophone. But these are the following sessions in 1959-61 - this time for the ubiquitous J.D. Miller in his Crowley studios - that will launch Sheffield's reputation. Everything here is exceptionnal from the boisterous Shoe shoe chicken to the New Orleans type dance tune The Kangaroo through the masterpiece It's your voodoo working, still highly praised everywhere and certainly one of the very best track coming from South Louisiana during the 1960's.
            But the success must have been modest. Charles would record only twice in New Orleans in 1965-66 before vanishing completely. He died in Beaumont (Tx) on March, 27, 2010.
     To add to the mystery, Sheffield has been credited on several anthologies of titles in which he is not present at all! We have put those in the discography. Two titles are still missing to give a complete collection of Charles' works and any copy of it would be welcomed and fully credited.
            Thanks to Benoit Blue Boy, MarcD and Robert Wingfield for their help.
                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT



CHARLES SHEFFIELD/ Complete Recordings

Charles Sheffield, vcl; Lionel Torrence, t-sax; Boogie Joe Joseph, pno; Clarence Garlow, g; James Williams, bs; Little Brother Griffin, dms. Lake Charles, La. 1955

01. Ooh! Wee baby! Ooh! Wee

02. Isabella

Cry baby cry

Charles Sheffield, vcl; Lionel Torrence, t-sax; tpt; tb; Boogie Joe Joseph, pno; Clarence Garlow, g; James Williams, bs; Little Brother Griffin, dms. Lake Charles, La. 1956

03. Cool Cat

04. Mad dog (Goldband)

05. Mad dog (Hollywood)

06. Clear my nights of misery

07. I got a fever

08. Wicked old fever

09. You move me

10. Nights of misery

11. One hour thirty minutes too long

12. Ball game

Boogie Chidren (in fact by Tabby Thomas)

I love you so (in fact I love her so by Alonzo Smith)

Nothing can keep my love from you (by Alonzo Smith)

Charles Sheffield, vcl; Big Sambo's Swingsters, band. Crowley, La. 1959

13. Is it because I love you?

14. Never no more

I've gotta love

15. Shoo Shoo Chicken

Charles Sheffield, vcl; Lionel Torrence, t-sax; Harry Simoneaux, t-sax; Peter Gosch, b-sax; Katie Webster, pno; Bobby Mc Bride, bs; Warren Storm, dms. Crowley, La. janvier 1961

16. It's your voodoo working

17. Rock'n'roll train

Charles Sheffield, vcl; same band. Crowley, La. juin 1961

18. I would be a sinner

19. The Kangaroo

Give it up (in fact by Vince Monroe/ Mr Calhoun)

20. You're gonna need somebody

Charles Sheffield, vcl; Doctor John, pno; Joey long, g; band. New Orleans, La. 1965

21. Come on home

22. Only you

Charles Sheffield (as Prince Charles), vcl; band. New Orleans, La. 1966

23. Sick

24. Get down on your knees and pray