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dimanche 28 avril 2024






We're going back this time to our Los Angeles Blues series with, for this 5th Volume, several excellent but very few known blues artists.

            Despite several records under his name, singer and saxophonist Paul Clifton is very poorly documented. We just know he was a member of the Ollie McLollie band and that he was highly praised by his colleagues musicians around Los Angeles during the 1950-60's. He leaves us some very good tracks, some having been fairly reissued, others not.

            I've tried quite hard to find anything about pianist and singer Herb Fisher  who recorded a lot between 1950 and 1953 but in vain. I've been able to gather the most from his recorded works but some are missing and any help would be welcome. Like Paul Clifton, many of his tracks are very good.

            Chance Halladay was a jazz singer, sometimes cornered on the Rockabilly genre perhaps because he was white. His music is very blues oriented and his version of the Dickie Thompson's classic Thirteen women is a treat. Hallady was although known as a talent scout and a producer around the Los Angeles area for awhile.


R.S. Rankin
(born 22nd February 1933 in Royse City, Tx) is T-Bone Walker's nephew (as T-Bone himself explained to Living Blues Magazine in an interview) and he recorded a handful of excellent tracks under the name T-Bone Jr. Rankin was also a member of T-Bone's band for awhile. He is the only bluesman from this post who had a short article written on him by Darryl Stolper in Blues Unlimited n°115! Although he is probably dead by now, we don't know nothing of what happened to him after the 1970's.

            Thanks to all who helped me for this post and if anyone have more details, facts and/or music, it would be great.

                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT

LOS ANGELES BLUES/ Volume 5/ Discography


mardi 16 avril 2024







This new opus of our "Texas Blues" series is entirely dedicated to the rich Country blues tradition of this State.

            Despite he was rediscovered by Chris Strachwitz in 1967, Manny Nichols (Manuel Nichols) is largely ill documented. He was born on 15th March 1906 at Cuero (Tx) and recorded a handful of tracks at ACA Studios early in 1950, some of them being issued on Imperial but going nowhere. A quite primitive guitar player, Manny's blues music has nevertheless a strong deep feeling that makes his music very rewarding. He died on 25th November 1970 at Victoria (Tx)


            James Tisdom (sometimes nicknamed Smokestack) was born at Goliad (Tx) 17th March 1912 and lived almost all his life around Corpus Christi. He apparently learned guitar at an early age and played the blues while making a living outside music. He anyway managed to record ten tracks for very obscure labels. He would also record during the late 1960's for researcher Mack McCormick. A citizen of Goliad, he became a local character and while playing the blues in a nursing home James was featured on the Victoria Advocate a few years before his passing away at Fort Worth on 5th November 1992.


            Nathaniel "Pops" Overstreet has had the honours of a small article on a Special Houston Living Blues issue by Alan Ainsworth. Born in De Kalb (Tx) 27 July 1928, "Pops" worked most of his life on several steel mills in Illinois and Michigan, learning guitar and the blues from B.B. King's records.

Back to Houston after 1963, Overstreet met Lightnin' Hopkins who taught him some guitar licks and some blues lyrics. To my knowledge, Pops recorded only four tracks and died in Houston on 27th January 2000.


            The cousin of the famous "Smokey" Hogg, John Hogg (born 5 August 1912 at Glenfawn, Tx) was also a deep bluesman and Texas-styled guitar picking who recorded a handful of excellent tracks in 1951. Although he never made a living from his music, John Hogg never stopped playing and he recorded again on 1974. He died at Inglewood, Ca. on 11th November 1997.


            Outside two James Tisdom's tracks all the recordings of those four down home Texas bluesmen have been gathered here.

                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT


MANNY NICHOLS, vcl/g. Houston, Tx. may 1950

01. Walkin' blues

02. Forgive me baby

03. Forgive me

04. Throw a little boogie

05. Worried life

06. No one to love me

07. Walking talking blues

08. Tall skinny mama blues

JAMES TISDOM, vcl/g; g. Los Angeles, Ca. july 1949

09. Model T. boogie

10. Last affair blues

James Tisdom, vcl/g; hca; bs. Los Angeles, Ca. december 1949

11. Throw this poor dog a bone

12. Winehead swing

13. I feel so good

14. Overhaul blues

James Tisdom, vcl/g; Fats Ferro, pno; bs; dms. San Benito, Tx. 8 march 1950

Just can't take it baby

Selling that stuff

James Tisdom, vcl/g; g; bs. Ideal, Tx. 1951

15. Cadillac blues

16. 51 blues

James Tisdom, vcl/g. Corpus Christi, Tx. may 1968

17. Salty dog rag

18. Steel guitar rag

19. I feel so good

NATHANIEL POPS OVERSTREET, vcl/g. Houston, Tx. 1985

20. Baby please don't go

21. Downtwon boogie

22. Good morning little schoolgirl

23. I'll fly away

JOHN HOGG, vcl/g; Ed Wiley, t-sax; Willie Johnson, pno; Goree Carter, g; Donald Cooks, bs; Ben Turner, dms. Houston, Tx. 9 janvier 1951

24. Got a mean woman

25. Why did you leave me?

John Hogg, vcl/g. Los Angeles, Ca. novembre 1951

26. Worrying blues

27. Black snake blues

28. West Texas blues

John Hogg, vcl/g; Bill Murray, pno. San Diego, Ca. avril 1974

29. I used to be a cowboy

30. I'm going back to Texas

31. Messin' around

32. Please don't leave me

33. You can't do me wrong


samedi 6 avril 2024







  Because he recorded under many names (Big Moose, Bushy Head, Moose John, J.W. Walker and at last Johnny "Big Moose" Walker), in cities as diverse as Saint Louis, Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Johnny Mayon Walker was a shadowy figure for a long time.

            Born in Stoneville, Ms, near Greenville on 27 June 1927 from a Cherokee mother and a father who was a musical preacher, Johnny learned as a young age guitar, piano, harmonica and bass, playing the blues more than the church songs of his father. He started to play on stage with Cleanhead Love and was a regular player at the famous radio programme King Biscuit Time, playing drums or keyboards behind Joe Willie Wilkins or Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller). After a two years stint serving Uncle Sam in Korea (and playing piano at an officer's club), Johnny Walker cut his first four tracks on November 1955 in Saint Louis produced and backed by Ike Turner and his band. Unfortunately, the session remained unissued until the 70's. Later on in 1955, he waxed two tracks for the tiny Ultra (a Johnny Otis) label under the moniker of Moose John. Those tracks although issued went nowhere. But by now Moose John or Big Moose was a well known figure among blues musicians. He so toured awhile as the piano player of Lowell Fulson, Elmore James (which whom he would record in New York under the name of Bushy Head!) before relocating in Chicago. There he became a long time member of Earl Hooker's band, recording a lot behind his leader but also Junior Wells, A.C. Reed, Lilian Offitt, Ricky Allen, Jackie Brenston, Magic Sam, Muddy Waters and Curtis Jones (playing a good lead guitar for Jones' Bluesville session) and sometimes also as a leader. At last, in 1969, John recorded a very good Bluesway album with great backing by Earl Hooker. A decade later, Walker cut four magnificent tracks (his best ones to my ears, Sunnyland Train being a masterpiece) for the renowned Alligator's Living Chicago Blues series.


Now recognized as an important bluesman, Big Moose toured a lot, appearing in festivals and concerts in the USA as well as overseas, recording a good album in France and then an odd (but quite good) session alone on the 88s. He recorded another last album for JSP in 1992 which is currently easily available.

            Unfortunately, Johnny shortly after that suffered a stroke that prevented him to play again, bringing him on a nursing home. He died in Chicago on November 27, 1999.

            Here are gathered all his studio recordings from 1955 to 1984. Thanks a lot to all who helped with this project, particularly Bluzbug, Tom Thumb and Kansas Joe.

            Also a lot of thanks to Sebastian Danchin, Bob Eagle and Bill Dahl with their researches and interviews with Big Moose that I used on this article.

                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT


Thanks to Tom Thumb here is another (rare) track from the very first Big Moose session: 

WALKERJBM04A Why won't you be true