Saturday, December 26, 2015

Plug It In, Turn It Up! - Electric Blues, Part 4 1970-2005

AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
"In some ways, the fourth installment of Bear Family's four-volume Plug It In! Turn It Up! Electric Blues - The Definitive Collection is the most important -- not because this was the most innovative period for electric blues but rather the years of 1970-2005 are generally considered to be when the genre was rather dormant. Certain acts had hits now and then, but the blues weren't ruling the R&B charts and rock & roll starts to shed its blues influence during the '70s, so its presence doesn't seem as immediate. Nevertheless, this fourth volume proves that electric blues not only has a rich legacy but that it is one that continues into the modern era, both by old hands (Buddy Guy pops up with his 1991 "Damn Right, I've Got the Blues") and new (Robert Cray's "Smoking Gun," which actually crossed over into the Top 40). Most of the major names of soul-blues and mainstream blues are here -- B.B. King, Al Green, Z.Z. Hill, O.V. Wright, Bobby Rush, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Albert King -- and this also traces the rise of Alligator Records (Hound Dog Taylor's "Give Me Back My Wig" still sounds nasty all these years later), grapples with such rock bands as the J. Geils Band and ZZ Top, and makes a case for the influence of Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. While it doesn't necessarily make a case for the next generation -- some of the newer tracks toward the end of the set are by old guys like R.L. Burnside -- this fourth volume does prove that electric blues remained vital well into the new millennium."

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Bessie Griffin - Even Me

And one more time this Sunday!

Mother Mahalia was not the only Gospel queen from New Orleans, Bessie Griffin was often referred to as .Mahalia's protegee, but her voice was very different and she was a highly accomplished artist in her own right.

"Bessie Griffin (July 6, 1922 – April 10, 1989) Born Arlette B. Broil in New Orleans, Louisiana, she was the daughter of Enoch Broil and Victoria Walker Broil. Her mother died when she was just five and she was raised by her grandmother, Lucy Narcisse, from whom she learned to sing. Griffin was educated in the Orleans Parish schools graduating from McDonough Number 35 Senior H.S. Her first marriage to Willie Griffin lasted two years and her second to Spencer James Jackson, Sr. produced one son Spencer Jr. She sang in church choirs and a number of gospel singing groups.

In 1951, Mahalia Jackson invited Griffin to sing at Jackson’s anniversary celebration. Two years later Griffin joined the Caravans and traveled with them for a year before settling in Chicago. She also hosted her own radio show “The Queen of the South” in New Orleans. In 1956, Griffin visited and worked in Los Angeles. After performing in the musical, Portraits in Bronze, she moved there.

It was in Los Angeles that Griffin began to take Gospel into the nightclub circuit. This allowed her to contribute to her profession and differentiated her from Jackson. Both singers were from the same hometown. Jackson was Griffin’s mentor, to whom she was often compared but Jackson would never have performed in nightclubs. Some of Griffins noted recording were: The Days Are Passed and Gone, It’s Real, and Soon-ah Will Be Done With the Trouble of the World. She worked concert tours, television, and Broadway and was nominated for a Grammy. Bessie Griffin died on April 10, 1989 in Los Angeles.

Mahalia Jackson - How I Got Over, Vol 3

Of course this is reposted as well.

The final volume of the pre-Columbia recordings of the great Mahalia Jackson. Thanks to our brother Elder Clifford for providing this lovely set.

The divine Mother Mahalia rules this Sunday!

Mahalia Jackson - How I Got Over, Vol 2

Once again a repost - more of the magical early recording of the great Mahalia Jackson.

Mahalia Jackson - How I Got Over, Vol 1

A repost by request
My prayers go out this morning to the family, and the friends of Les Muscutt, banjo and guitar master and former member of the Preservation Hall Band. Les passed away at home early Friday morning. His quick, dry wit will be sorely missed by those of us lucky enough to regularly while away our morning coffee hours with him. (this was 2 years ago now)

This comes complete with full scans of the 20 page booklet from Opal Louis Nations.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Bill Coday - Right On Baby: The Crajon Recordings

When Bill Coday left us suddenly in the summer of 2008, most of America took no notice.  But the Chitlin' Circuit mourned one of its favorite singers.  While Bill Coday released a number of excellent records during his career, his first recordings, collected here and produced by Willie Mitchell, are the cornerstone of his legacy.

Bill Coday was born in 1942 in Coldwater, Mississippi.   He began his career in music as a teenager, working mostly in Arkansas.  For a while, he was in the same local band as a young Son Seals.  In the 1960s, he moved to Chicago and changed his name to Chicago Willie.  After Denise LaSalle heard him there in 1969, she signed Coday to her Crajon label and sent him to Memphis to record with Willie Mitchell.   One of his first recordings with Mitchell, "Get Your Lies Straight" hit #14 on the national R&B charts.   Coday's powerful performance of the strangely titled composition contributed by Denise LaSalle, "If You Find a Fool, Bump His Head," also charted. But none of the other Crajon singles did as well, despite their high quality.    

 Bill Coday recorded a few other songs for Epic in the mid-70s before essentially retiring from music for ten years.   None other than Denise LaSalle again brought him back to the Southern Soul scene in 1985, where he built a strong following and released a number of LPs on Echo Records until his death.   One of his last Southern hits was a tribute to the Chitlin' Circuit, "On The Chitlin' Circuit."

The Bill Coday heard on these early recordings sounds something like a cross between Wilson Pickett, O.V. Wright, and Johnnie Taylor - not a bad thing!  Whether you happen to be in the mood for a rougher-voiced O.V. or a bluesier Pickett, Bill Coday might just hit the spot.  Add quality material and classic Willie Mitchell arrangements/accompaniments and you have yourself some timeless music that can provide repeated enjoyment.  

Little Bob and the Lollipops - I Got Loaded

Re-posting this got me to listen to it again - Wow these guys were good and Bob was a really good singer! Can you imagine what it was like in Lafayette when these guys played 6 nights a week!

"Little Bob and the Lollipops
It Was Beautiful
By Gene Tomko

"Ask any musician from the 1960s Southwest Louisiana blues and R&B scene to name the best band that has ever come out of the area and one name gets repeated over and over—Little Bob & the Lollipops. In a land where so many extremely talented musicians emerged, to be remembered so enthusiastically by so many is quite an amazing feat.
At the height of his popularity in the mid-1960s, singer, songwriter, drummer and bandleader Little Bob was Lafayette’s reigning superstar, performing six nights a week and even hosting his own local television show. With a top-notch nine-piece band consisting of some of the area’s finest musicians such as ace saxophonist John Hart and former Excello guitarist Guitar Gable, Little Bob absolutely dominated the area music scene for more than a decade. He also happened to record some of the finest soul music to ever come out of Louisiana, most notably for La Louisianne and Jin Records.

Camille Bob was born on November 7, 1937 in Arnaudville, Louisiana, and was raised just southeast of Opelousas in rural Prairie Laurent. Bob grew up working on the farm but took an early interest in music and started singing in talent shows at school, inspired by Guitar Slim, B.B. King and Count Basie. He acquired his first set of drums by trading a horse for a drum kit and by 1955 was performing with Good Rockin’ Bob [Ed Thomas]. Music provided a good excuse to avoid working in the fields, as childhood friend Roscoe Chenier explains, “He was playing with Good Rockin’ Bob and if the dance was at three, he would tell his mom that it would start at eleven so he wouldn’t have to pick cotton!”

While working with Good Rockin’ Bob at the Moonlight Inn in Opelousas, he left his drums on the bandstand one night and returned to find the bass drum professionally hand-lettered with the words ‘Good Rockin’ Bob featuring Little Bob on drums.’ It was from then on he would be known as Little Bob.

In 1958, Little Bob formed his own group and made his recording debut for Goldband Records. Throughout the next several years he and his top-notch band the Lollipops developed a following that was unrivaled. Singer Bobby Allen recalls, “[Little Bob] came down to the Peppermint Club every Monday night and would play there. It was awesome. [He had] a big band. You had to be there early—I mean early like five or six o’clock in the evening in order to get a seat!”

Lafayette record label La Louisianne signed Little Bob in 1964 and he recorded a string of soul and R&B classics for the label throughout the next several years including Nobody But You, Look Out Mr. Heartache and the b-side party anthem, I Got Loaded, which still remains one of the most requested songs on Southwest Louisiana bandstands to this day.

Little Bob and the Lollipops were continuously hailed as the region’s top band, crisscrossing from New Orleans to Houston, but at the very heart of their success was Little Bob’s magnificent voice. Allen remembers one of the best compliments he’s ever received, which also reveals Little Bob’s confidence in his own talents. “[Bob and I] were talking and he said, ’Well, you know, you can get any musician you want.’ I said, ‘You think so?’ He said, ‘Oh, yeah, you can. You can and I can. As far as I’m concerned, there’s only three singers in Southwest Louisiana.’ I said, ‘Really?’ He said, ‘Oh, yeah. And I’m one of them.’ I said, ‘Well, who are the other two?’ He said, “Why, you of course—and Johnny Truitt.’”

Little Bob retained his unprecedented popularity through the 1970s but the huge zydeco resurgence of the 1980s made work as an R&B artist increasingly difficult. He made a brief comeback in the 1990s with Back Again for Vidrine Records, reuniting with Gable, Hart and drummer Jockey Etienne, and performed sporadically through the early 2000s.

But due to increasing health issues, Bob retired from performing in 2005 and is currently residing in a nursing home in Opelousas, where he still receives visits from old friends like Jude Taylor and Guitar Gable. Although he recorded many soul and R&B classics during his prime, one in particular remains extra special, as Bob fondly recalls the good old days, “It was beautiful, man. It was beautiful. [We had] three or four [records] you couldn’t beat. But I Got Loaded did it all and we got movin’. We got movin’!” [smiles]
From Living Blues

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Best of Christmas Gospel

A little pre-Christmas Gospel service...not a bad little collection.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Swanee Quintet - 4 more parts!

Well I promised a supplemental - I didn't really expect that it would be as big as the 4 parts already posted! Dr. Hep Cat was busy tapping some of his sources for this so some additional thank yous are in order - Mr. Robert Laughton & Mr. John Glassburner were extremely helpful in filling the gaps that we had - particularly on the older tracks. 

If you take your previous four parts extract them to a single folder, then drop these in, sort by album name, then year and you should have them in order - you will find 5 or 6 duplicates, I think the tracks from this group will be the better sounding. Once you are finished you will be in possession of the largest, most complete set ever assembled!