Sunday, December 24, 2017

Guitar Shorty - Topsy Turvey

A little Christmas present from our good Dr. Hepcat.

Allmusic review by Bill Dahl:

More impressive than Shorty's British venture thanks to superior production values and a better handle on his past (there's a stellar remake of "Hard Life"), Topsy Turvy made it clear that Guitar Shorty was back to stay stateside. Black Top assembled a fine New Orleans combo for the majority of the album, as Shorty proved that his act translates beautifully to record minus the crowd-pleasing acrobatic antics.

  • David Torkanowsky — organ
  • Ernest Youngblood, Jr. — saxophone (tenor)
  • Clarence Hollimon, Derek O'Brien — guitar
  • Guitar Shorty — guitar, vocals
  • Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff — saxophone (baritone, tenor)
  • Sarah Brown, Lee Allen Zeno — bass
  • Herman V. Ernest III, George Rains — percussion, drums
  • Floyd Domino — piano
  • Carol Fran — vocals
  • Michael Mordecai — trombone
  • Keith Winking — trumpet

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Guitar Shorty - The 1950s Recordings

Given the recent Guitar Shorty love fest here, I wanted to make a post of his early recordings.  While Guitar Shorty's career already spans seven decades, somehow he hardly had a chance to record until the mid-1980s.   We can be grateful, however, that he had the chance to record 8 precious tracks in the beginning of his career in the 1950s.  I believe that these eight tracks are the only Guitar Shorty recordings until the mid-1980s (please correct me if I am wrong).

This interest of these recordings is not at all just historical.  There is true brilliance here.  In fact, they are far and away my favorite Guitar Shorty recordings.  The first thing that hits you are the vocals.  Guitar Shorty has always been a fine singer, but his voice in the 1950s was truly fabulous - clear, booming, and very blue.  Then there is the guitar playing - the evidence here will make you believe Guitar Shorty's claims that a young Jimi Hendrix used to idolize him.

The first recording opportunity was for Cobra records, producing one 45 in 1957.  These are pleasing R&B-infested blues.  But the cream is clearly in the tracks that Shorty was able to record for Pull records in 1959 - Hard Life, Ways of a Man, How Long Will It Last, Love Loves, I Never Thought...   Timeless classics, in my view! Enjoy.


a) Chicago, 1957: Guitar Shorty -g,v, John Tinsley-ts, Lafayette Leake-p, Willie Dixon-b, Odie Payne-d (Cobra Records)

1) Irma Lee
2) You Don't Treat Me Right

b) Los Angeles, 1959: Guitar Shorty-g,v, Bob Tate-b, unknown band (Pull Records)

3) Hard Life
4) Ways of a Man
5) How Long Will it Last
6) Love Loves
7) I Never Thought
8) Pumpkin Pie

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Marva Wright - My Christmas Song

 Not exactly 'feelin' it this year, poverty sucks, but here is a fine slice of NOLA Christmas.

For my friend Feillimed:

I have known for a long time that there was a Marva Christmas disc that I'd never heard. You would think that since I had everything else, I would have diligently tracked this down...but no, I kind of wrote it off as likely a half-ass obligatory type recording. This year I said "What the hell, get it and if it's what." Unnnh...Ooops! Do you notice where this is leading....Oh You Silly, Foolish Old Man! Are You Out Ya Mind?!

The first track opens with swelling organ, the unmistakable keyboards of Davell Crawford, the rest of the band kicks in and oh here comes the choir! It's Go Tell It On The Mountain "Damn THIS is rockin'" ...and Whoa, here comes Marva! (an enthusiastic 'chair boogie' follows) "Gee, I may have underestimated this one a bit." ya think? ...a nice sax intro, and My Christmas Song, part one  of a  classic Southern Soul tale of an abandoned woman and her inner strength to hold her family and herself together thru the Holidays...Now it really starts to get deep as Ms Marva gets your tears going with a soul stirring rendition of Silent Night....and now "OH Hell Yeah, time to get up and dance!" If Marva's Holiday Shuffle don't get ya moving...well you know.

Okay so now we are clear...I WAY underestimated this album. I mean I'm 4 tracks in and I've already laughed, cried and danced! some more strong DC piano and here comes the triumphant part two of our tale of the abandoned woman, I'll Be Fine, If this one doesn't move you then you are a heartless bastard!

A Holiday Medley is just that, a nice little piece that may or may not be live. Freddie King's classic Christmas Tears follows...beautiful...I'd guess that this is something of a tribute to the late Johnny Adams, who loved to sing that song...unh oh we goin' to church AND we gettin' funky! What follows are a trio of beautiful Christmas songs that you've never heard that are clearly born of the church. Each of them is a wonderful gem. Some spastic 'old man dancing' is left to your imagination.

 What Christmas Means To Me is so deep into Marva's wheelhouse that I'd have been shocked if she hadn't absolutely crushed it, shock, song crushed! Christmas Comes But Once A Year could be a third part to the story of our heroine, she somehow makes it all magic for her kids...there is a weary joy to this one.

Marva even manages to make the finale of Auld Lang Syne memorable, no mean feat! Today my favorite Marva Wright album is this one right here!

Johnny Adams - Christmas In New Orleans

Certainly one of the more maudlin Christmas albums ever, but it IS Johnny Adams so...

".....In 1975, he recorded his only Christmas album (A Christmas With Johnny Adams - Ace 2046) which has since been re-released on vinyl in 1987 as Maison de Soul LP-1023 with a different cover, then in a 1993 CD by Ace with the original LP cover, and again as a 1994 CD by Mardi Gras Records with still another cover and the title changed to Christmas In New Orleans.

His effortless handling of a mix of traditional carols and some of the more memorable Pop/R&B Christmas tunes ever written, all recorded at New Orleans' Sea Saint Studio and produced here with excellent sound reproduction and new and informative liner notes written by Jeff "Almost Slim" Hanusch, makes this the perfect album for Holiday enjoyment."

Backing musicians include guitarists Walter Washington and Jimmie Moliere, pianist/organists Sam Henry Jr. And Raymond Jones, pianist Isaac Bolden and drummers Danny Jones and Benson Dupre."

Okay, not Johnny's finest by any measure, but it is seasonally appropriate.

Howard Tate - I Learned It The Hard Way

Given the amount of Howard Tate posted here in the past you may be asking yourself "Do I really need this one?"...Yes you do! The majority of this disc is material not included on any previous post here...or anywhere else for that matter!

"Howard Tate: I Learned It All the Hard Way (CD)
(2016/Playback) 29 tracks. 29 songs strong retrospective of soul singer Howard Tate. It includes his essential recordings for labels like Verve, Turntable, Atlantic, Epic and HT. Although he was relatively unknown during his lifetime, his recordings are now traded up from Deep Soul fans. His songs have been covered by artists such as Janis Joplin, BB King, Jimi Hendrix or Ry Cooder."

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Son Seals - Bottom Line 1978

So way back in 1978 this then youngin' was living in San Francisco. One evening shortly after the holidays my crazy next door neighbor showed up at my front door sporting a bleeding head wound. In the course of cleaning him up and bandaging said wound he explained that his somewhat volatile girlfriend had clocked him with a frying pan and ejected him from the apartment. Knowing him she likely had considerable provocation.

This event lead to a couple weeks on my couch while he contemplated his next move. One night while toking up some fine green bud he asked if I might like to fly to New York for a few days, seems he and the girlfriend had planned the trip prior to the event described above and he had the tickets and room already paid for (he had to sneak back into the apartment to acquire them). The following Friday night we boarded a jet at SFO and went for a long weekend in The Big Apple. I seem to recall we saw something Saturday that clearly didn't impress me much since I have no recollection of who it was, but on Sunday I found a listing for a Blues show at the Bottom Line for a guy who I'd recently discovered, Son Seals.

The club was in The Village on West 4th so it was in walking distance of our rather seedy hotel and we had some pizza slices on the way over and arrived a bit early and set to some serious preparatory drinking and toking. I was aware that Seals was still new to the bizz and played some fairly primitive equipment (like a Montgomery Wards guitar) and the setup on the stage seemed to reflect that...except for the shinny new Traynor top and bottom over on the right side of the stage. The band came out and started rockin' hard, fully justifying my excitement about seeing them, but that shinny Traynor set remained alone and vacant thru the first part of the show.

I wish I could recall when it was in the show that that equipment came into use, but I must plead ancient memory and significantly altered condition. What I do recall is at some point my eyes left the stage to accomplish a somewhat less than stealthy passing of a joint when a gasp from the crowd snapped my eyes back to the stage. A tall, thin white wraith had appeared in front of the unused equipment and in a nano second my brain exploded...there stood Johnny Winter!

The rest of the show was a blur of scorching guitar and soulful singing that I will never forget! Flash forward to a week ago and on the plixid site I find this cd! Almost wet my pants!

Ted Taylor 1976

A record that I never got around to posting. Unky Cliff just sent me a new copy to remind me.

Being that this is from 1976, there is a lot more funk in Ted's game than on the earlier recordings we've explored, but that clear, easy falsetto still takes center stage.

The LP came out as  Alarm LP-1000.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Rhonda Washington - Good Woman Turning Bad

If Stax had managed to stave off bankruptcy just a little longer, there’s a good chance that Hot Sauce would have seen their album issued; one was both planned and allocated a Volt catalogue number. The group began as as a one girl, two boy trio but quickly became a solo vehicle for the astoundingly soulful voice of St Louis’ Rhonda Washington. Most of the tracks were not cut at Stax, but at Royal Studios, home of the Hi Sound, with strings and things added later in Detroit. Rhonda Washington’s recordings are among the earthiest issued on Volt during the label’s later years, when studio activity was increasingly taking place away from Memphis. Hot Sauce only charted with two of a total of five singles, ‘Bring It Home (And Give It To Me)’ and a version of ‘Stop Doggin’ Me’ that blows Johnnie Taylor’s original into the middle of next week. The others might have done better if promotional budgets had not been cut as the 70s unfolded and the company gradually imploded.

“Good Woman Turning Bad” is the title of their projected Volt album. Thanks to the recent discovery of a proposed track listing, we were able to sequence the CD in the same order. There’s also the bonus of two extremely good non-album B-sides, to complete our anthology of the Hot Sauce catalogue.

Following the demise of both Volt and Hot Sauce, Rhonda Washington is believed to have retreated into the St. Louis gospel scene. Disco was already on its way by the time of her last sessions and she may well have not wanted to be a part of that scene anyway. Wherever she is now or whatever she’s doing, it’s a real treat to be able to get all of Hot Sauce and Rhonda’s sublime sides on one CD for the first time ever. Not so much a ‘Good Woman Turning Bad’ as a good woman singing great.

By Tony Rounce

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Etta James - Call My Name

Until this issue, this Cadet album had been unavailable for many years (go figure!). The original album is augmented by a generous 12 tracks of other Chess material. Pretty much a must have for any Etta fan.

Guitar Shorty - We The People 2006

"One of Texas' most venerated blues guitarists, Guitar Shorty and his guitar "Red have stoked the engine room for Ray Charles, B.B. King, Guitar Slim, T-Bone Walker and countless other stars of rhythm and blues. Next year, he'll celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his debut single. In the meantime, on his second release for one of Chicago's premier blues labels, he and Red burn white-hot and blue.

"We the People opens with a reference to the preamble of the US Constitution, then stomps through a scalding electric blues about how tough it can be to just keep on keepin' on that stops just short of an open call to class warfare. Its lyrics might be funny if they didn't hit so sadly close to home, though it's almost impossible to resist smiling at words like these: "I grab my guitar, try to bend a note / I look up at my neck and even my string's broke! But there's nothing funny at all about this raging electric blues, matched by the roughhouse intensity of his lead vocal, which sounds spat out of his mouth like the hot and bitter thick taste of his own blood.

"Cost of Livin' continues the theme of current economic and political times but reaches back into blues history, a solo electric blues where his foot stomps out the rhythm and his guitar and vocal sound metallic and dark and anguished, resurrecting the ghost of Howlin' Wolf.

We the People also shows the influence of Shorty's Texas guitar style on such well-known rockers as ZZ Top and the Rolling Stones. The jagged riff churning within "What Good is Life? splits the difference between the hooks to "Jumpin' Jack Flash and "It's Only Rock and Roll, and every Stones guitarist from Jones to Richards to Wood has loved to play in the style of Shorty's mid-song solo, which drags rock and roll through heavy Mississippi blues mud.

The thick meaty chords and ripping hot leads of the explosive "Sonic Boom and "Can't Get Enough continue the tradition of such fine Texas roadhouse blues as "La Grange, ZZ Top's famous whorehouse song." 

Track Listing: We the People; What Good is Life?; I Got Your Number; Runaway Train; Down that Road Again; Fine Cadillac; Can't Get Enough; A Hurt So Old; Who Needs It?; Blues in My Blood; Cost of Livin'; Sonic Boom.
Personnel: Guitar Shorty: lead guitar, lead vocals; Jake Andrews: rhythm guitar; Wyzard: bass, acoustic guitar; John "JT" Thomas: keyboards; Alvino Bennett: drums.

Guitar Shorty - Get Wise To Yourself (1995)

Artist Biography by Bill Dahl

When he's not turning somersaults, doing backward flips, and standing on his head -- all while playing, of course -- Guitar Shorty is prone to cutting loose with savagely slashing licks on his instrument. Live, he's simply amazing -- and after some lean years, his latter-day albums for Black Top, Evidence, and Alligator have proven that all that energy translates vividly onto tape.

Born David Kearney on September 8, 1939, in Houston, TX, he started playing guitar at an early age. His early influences included fellow blues guitar slingers B.B. King, Guitar Slim, T-Bone Walker, and Earl Hooker. By the time he was 17, Kearney was already gigging steadily in Tampa, FL. One night, he was perched on the bandstand when he learned that the mysterious "Guitar Shorty" advertised on the club's marquee was none other than him! His penchant for stage gymnastics was inspired by the flamboyant Guitar Slim, whose wild antics are legendary. In 1957, Shorty cut his debut single, "You Don't Treat Me Right," for Chicago's Cobra Records under Willie Dixon's astute direction. Three superb 45s in 1959 for tiny Pull Records in Los Angeles (notably "Hard Life") rounded out Shorty's discography for quite a while. During the '60s, he married Jimi Hendrix's stepsister and lived in Seattle, where the rock guitar god caught Shorty's act (and presumably learned a thing or two about inciting a throng) whenever he came off the road. Shorty's career had its share of ups and downs -- once he was reduced to competing on Chuck Barris' zany Gong Show, where he copped first prize for delivering "They Call Me Guitar Shorty" while balanced on his noggin.

Los Angeles had long since reclaimed Shorty by the time things started to blossom anew with the 1991 album My Way or the Highway for the British JSP logo (with guitarist Otis Grand in support). From there, Black Top signed Shorty; 1993's dazzling Topsy Turvy, 1995's Get Wise to Yourself, and 1998's Roll Over, Baby were the head-over-heels results. In 2001, the appropriately titled I Go Wild was released on the Evidence label, proving that Guitar Shorty had no intentions of slowing down, as he clearly remained a master showman and lively blues guitarist. Watch Your Back appeared in spring 2004. A single-disc overview of his career, The Best of Guitar Shorty, appeared from Shout! Factory in 2006, as well as a new studio album, We the People, from Alligator Records. A second Alligator release, Bare Knuckle, appeared early in 2010.

R.L. Boyce - Roll And Tumble

This will get your butt movin'.

"RL Boyce was born on August 15, 1955, in Como, Mississippi, where he still resides. It is a community with enduring blues, fife-and-drum, and gospel traditions. Boyce picked up music as a teenager, starting out singing in the church choir and playing percussion in fife-and-drum bands. Regarding his evolution on the drums, he says, “I learned from a foot tub. Back then we didn’t have a bathtub – a foot tub is what you bathed in, what you had your water in.” His earliest issued recording [“Late at Midnight, Just a Little Before Day,” on Traveling Through the Jungle: Negro Fife and Drum Band Music from the Deep South] was made on his 15th birthday, accompanying his uncle Otha Turner. Boyce later adjusted that percussion style to a blues context on a more expanded drum kit, as heard on Jessie Mae Hemphill’s classic Feelin’ Good album. His singular, bursting-at-the-seams drumming on the first side of that record is a benchmark of loose-limbed groove.

Perhaps it isn’t surprising that such a vibrant musician would want to branch out from solely being a sideman to establish himself as a solo artist and leader of his own groups. Inspired by his neighbors Mississippi Fred McDowell and RL Burnside, he took up the guitar: “Oh man, I loved it. I always wanted to do what they did, so I got along with it.” He was coached by a couple local musicians including Joe Townsend (whose sole 45 for Designer Records is spellbinding, live-in-the-church gospel blues [It is unclear who plays guitar on Townsend’s 45. Bengt Olsson’s research states it was Johnnie Mays, while Boyce has consistently asserted that it sounds like Townsend accompanied himself. Of course, it is also possible that both guitarists shared a similar approach.]) and over time he developed an individual style that draws upon songs from the local repertoire and interprets them with considerable enthusiasm and spontaneity.
RL comes from a stream of the folk tradition that is less concerned with “getting it right” than getting it going, and with developing a distinct, individual sound. While regionally popular tunes and lyrics often serve as the bedrock of Boyce’s material, he takes them to places that no one else would, often peppering them with lyrics he makes up on the spot, as well as shout outs to his collaborators, his longtime companion Sheila Birge and their daughter Shanquisha, and anyone else who might happen to be in the vicinity. At other times, his songs are fully improvised. As Boyce puts it, “Most of it, when somethin’ hits my mind, I just start. You know, like if I’m around you and I think about you a lot, I could sit at home in the yard, if you hit my mind, I play one right there, right then. I’m playin’ this for Adam, a friend of mine in New York. It’d hit me like that and I’d just go right on. I don’t do no rehearsin’ with nobody. I don’t do nothin’ like that. Whatever hits me, I jump in on it.” If he is in one of these more talkative moods, his stream of consciousness delivery is reminiscent of Lightnin’ Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, and even the jokester side of Furry Lewis. When he really gets going, there is a deeply infectious sense of release, and of letting loose. At such times, laughter comes easy and often from RL and those around him.

Although Boyce occasionally takes gigs in faraway locales, most of the time he seems content to play at clubs and parties closer to home, often in his own front yard. His music developed within this informal environment where he plays largely for friends and family, which is perhaps one reason why his songs have such an open-ended, spontaneous, freewheeling quality. His performances are very social and he welcomes an unpredictable, interactive relationship with his fellow performers as well as the audience. Other musicians may be invited to join in, but they shouldn’t expect much guidance. An inquiry regarding what key Boyce is playing in will likely elicit an instruction along the lines of “follow me.” This is not always a straightforward task. They need to be ready to respond to sudden shifts, make adjustments on the fly, or play for hours while making subtle variations on a few grooves." excerpted from review of his first record - Adam Lore, author

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Howlin' Wolf - Rockin' the Blues: Live in Germany 1964

Another cut-price CD issued in the UK that I found on my travels...Without details and a rarity...but a great recording (considering the times). Howlin' Wolf  cut like a razor with his voice and delivery...
Muddy and The Wolf (with Willie Dixon as their songwriter and Bassman) created modern Blues.
Here as flac & mp3@320 - Gus

'This is a reissue of the November 6, 1964, Bremen concert that was previously available as Live in Europe 1964 on the Sundown label, with the same incorrect title references. What is first-rate is the sound, which is head-and-shoulders above most of the Howlin' Wolf live recordings of this period, undoubtedly because the show was part of the American Folk-Blues tour, large chunks of which were recorded professionally, and also the performance, which comes from a time when Wolf was still in very robust health. It's been said that if Muddy Waters had been born in Africa, he would have been a king; this show, which Chess Records could only wish they'd recorded, is a reminder that if Howlin' Wolf had been born in Africa, he'd have been a witch doctor or shaman; he's spellbinding in his performance, and the band backing him (a kind of star combo itself, with Willie Dixon and Sunnyland Slim playing alongside Hubert Sumlin) is tight, if a little restrained. And to top it off, it's mid-priced.' (Bruce Eder/AllMusic)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Muddy Waters - Live (1971, 76 & 79)

Following on from my previous post...Here are some other very good rare live performances from Muddy Waters...who epitomises The Blues ! You can never tire from his uniqueness, talent and influence !

Muddy Waters - Mojo - The Live Collection (1971&76) :
This is a compilation of other rare MW live perfomancces that have appeared on earlier independent labels...From my searches Tracks 1 to 7 are the gathering of all Muddy's vocal/guitar tracks from a gig in Switzerland April 1976 that have appeared on Jazz Helvetica CD 02 (?)

Tracks 8, 9, 10, 12 recorded at Washington University, 1971
Tracks 11, 13, 14 recorded at Oregon University, 1971
Issued under license from Red Lightnin' Ltd and courtesy of Top Cat Records...and are from a selection on the album 'Muddy Waters - The Lost Tapes' released on Blind Pig Records.
The personnel is given in my scans provided.

Muddy Waters - Windy City Blues (Live 1979) :
This is just a copy of an obscure album from Charly Records (art gathered from the net) and licensed to a small cut-price label where I stumbled across it...(and have added the cover for what its worth...with no details)...but a fine recording. Here is some info from a MW discography :
Live recording, possibly at Harry Hope’s Club, Cary, Illinois, Thur. to Sat. 22to 24 March 1979 or Fri. to Sun. 26 to 28 Oct 1979.
Muddy Waters vcl, gtr; Luther ‘Guitar Jr.’ Johnson gtr, vcl; Bob Margolin gtr;Jerry Portnoy hca; Joe ‘Pinetop’ Perkins pno, vcl; Calvin Jones bass; Willie Smith drums...
It's a gem ! - Gus
Both here as flac & mp3@320

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Muddy Waters - Hoochie Coochie Man (Live 1964)

It's been a while since we've had a Muddy Waters album here...I didn't want to post the obvious classics as I'm sure we all have those in our collections (or should !).
Here is a very good live recording that is perfect for listening in the late hours with a beer (or...Champagne & Reefer...?) in hand !
...And is slightly more obscure than his Chess live sets. It's a favourite of mine from the greatest Bluesman of them all (along with Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf and B B King...of course !)
The band consists of Muddy - Guitar and vocals, Otis Spann - Piano, George Smith - Harmonica, Sammy Lawhorn - Guitar, Luther Johnson - Bass and Francis Clay - Drums...Or so we are told from the lack of proper detail and info re where these recordings originate from. But don't let this put you off...It's a unique chilled Muddy with plenty of his slide-guitar and wonderful voice.

Robert Gordon in his book 'Can't Be Satisfied - The Life And Times Of Muddy Waters' (2002) has this to say about this recording : 
'...Hoochie Coochie Man (Laserlight) is notable both for its raucous slide guitar and its interesting set list (including 'Rosalie', an obscure track from the Library of Congress recordings). Recorded in 1964, the CD captures Muddy at his mightiest; during 'Tiger In Your Tank', when the guitar is about to overcome the vocals (as it rightly should, growling), the soundman abruptly adjusts it - it pains me every time. Nonetheless , among Muddy's live discs, this one's the one.'   

Note : on this CD 'Tiger In Your Tank' is wrongly titled as 'Sittin' And Thinkin' (track 4) amongst other errors ...I do believe that this label was a cheap release-anything-that-might-sell company...but this is a diamond for MW fans...his performances and voice are superb ! - Here as flac & mp3 with complete scans - Enjoy Gus

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fats Domino - The Original R & R Classics vols. 1-8

We have lost another giant, The Fat Man has left us for real this time.

"Antoine Dominique "Fats" Domino Jr. (born February 26, 1928, died October 24, 2017) He was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Domino is French Creole and Creole was his first language. Domino was delivered at home by his midwife grandmother. Like most families in the Lower Ninth Ward, Domino's family were new arrivals from Vacherie Louisiana. His father was a well known violinist, and young Antoine was inspired to play himself.

Domino began to develop his musical skills at a very early age, learning to play the piano from his brother-in-law Harrison Verrett on an age-worn upright owned by his parents. Many of the members of his family were involved in music, and by the time he was 10 it was clear that Fats was headed that direction himself; at the age of 14 -- having dropped out of school and taken a factory day-job to support himself -- he was already working professionally on the thriving local club circuit. The young performer quickly attracted a sizable following with his blend of blues and boogie, and by 1949 was an established, popular attraction at the Hideaway Club, where he was leading his own band three nights a week.

The turning point for Domino's career came about in that year and at that club, when he was introduced to established trumpeter/performer Dave Bartholomew. Bartholomew had been enlisted as a talent scout by the Los Angeles-based Imperial Records label, and was well aware of Domino's growing popularity; after taking label owner Lew Chudd to see one of the Hideaway Club performances, a contract with the label was quickly arranged. Recording sessions were undertaken in December, during which eight tracks were completed -- amongst them Domino's signature tune The Fat Man, the traditional creole "good luck" song Hey La Bas, Hide Away Blues and the Bartholomew composition Boogie Woogie Baby. The release of Fat Man in 1950 was met with enthusiastic sales, pushing it up to the #2 slot in the R&B charts. Over the next couple years, songs like Every Night About This Time (1950), Goin' Home (which reached #1 in 1952) and Going To The River (also 1953) maintained his popularity and chart presence.
During this period, Domino and Bartholomew maintained a productive songwriting partnership, with Bartholomew also handling production duties for their sessions. In 1955 this partnership reached its peak, placing Domino back at the top of the R&B charts while also giving him a rare break into the mainstream pop top 10 with the song Ain't That a Shame (a song subsequently covered by honky crooner Pat Boone, who took it to #1). The duo continued to churn out hit songs throughout the rest of the decade, several of which were updated versions of old classics that have since eclipsed the original performances: My Blue Heaven (a big band favorite from the 1930's), When My Dreamboat Comes Home (previously recorded by Bing Crosby), and Blueberry Hill (originally performed by Gene Autry, but formerly a hit for both Louis Armstrong and Glenn Miller). Domino's charismatic stage presence was then captured for posterity in 1957 when he appeared in the rock and roll showcase/Jayne Mansfield jiggle-a-thon The Girl Can't Help It.

By the start of the 1960s, Fats Domino's golden era as a recording artist had ended. After his contract with Imperial expired in 1962, he was lured to ABC-Paramount by the offer of an extravagant sum of money, but his chart success evaporated almost immediately: the producers at ABC shipped the singer to Nashville and gave his songs the lavish, string-drenched treatment that was typical of the "Nashville sound" at the time, effectively alienating his rock and roll following while failing to find a new audience. A few songs still managed to creep into the top 40 during the early 60s (such as his version of Red Sails In The Sunset, 1963), but by the onslaught of the British Invasion at the end of '63, Domino's prominence in the recording industry had declined. Ironically, his final entry into the charts would be a 1968 cover of The Beatles' Lady Madonna -- a song with which Paul McCartney had made a conscious attempt to imitate Domino's distinctive style.

Regardless of the fate of his recording career, Fats Domino continued to be a popular live attraction across the decades that followed, and he is widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of popular music. In 1986 he was picked as one of the first 10 inductees for the inaugural year of the Rock and Roll hall of Fame, and the following year he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 30th annual Grammy ceremony. New studio releases essentially ceased to appear after the 1960s, and the most recent exception has been a collection of Christmas songs (including a couple original compositions) issued in 1993 under the title Christmas Gumbo; however, numerous live collections have been regularly issued through a wide variety of corporate and independent labels. In 2005, Domino received a brief flurry of publicity when his fate in the wake of Hurricane Katrina remained uncertain for several days: the singer and his wife had both refused to evacuate their New Orleans home before the storm hit, but it was eventually discovered that both had been rescued by helicopter after the area was overrun by the ensuing flood." (wiki and nnbd)

Monday, October 23, 2017

Al Green - Raw, Rare and Unreleased!

I don't recall that I ever got around to posting this one.

"There's no discographical information included on this release, so it's hard to tell the origin of these cuts, but this is no fly by night, gray market release. Hi Records released all of Green's greatest (read "secular") '70s albums, and any compilation of rare and/or previously unreleased material from the Hi vaults should be regarded as manna from the heavens. The material lives up to the album title's promise; the recording quality is somewhat raw (many cuts sound like rough mixes), but never off-putting. The sonic grit only serves to increase the impact of the tunes. For much of this recording, Green is in a hard-hitting, funky mode, eschewing the fragile Love Man style he often favored. Upbeat soul numbers like "Right Now, Right Now" and a churning cover of Chuck Berry's "Memphis" (on which Green has some trouble remembering the wordy lyrics) show Green's debt to Otis Redding." AMG

Willie Dixon - Willie's Blues

"According to the original liner notes, this 1959 Willie Dixon session was cut during a two hour span in between flights. This certainly explains the relaxed, jam session feel of the recordings. Unfortunately, the songs come out sounding sluggish and stilted at times; this is partly due, no doubt, to the makeshift nature of the date, but also, more surprisingly, because of drummer Gus Johnson's overly slick and formalized playing. On top of this, one has to contend with Dixon's less-then-inspired vocals -- it's Dixon's writing talents and A&R savvy in the blues world that warrant him a place in the pantheon, not his skills at the microphone. That all said, this still is an enjoyable disc to listen to, not least of all because of the quality of Dixon's many originals and the freshness of pianist Memphis Slim's playing. And while the vaudevillian comedy of a song like "Built for Comfort" can be traced to Dixon's earlier pop R&B work with the Big Three Trio, rougher blues standouts like "Go Easy" and "Move Me" lead back to the Chicago blues world Dixon shared with Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. Not a first disc for curious listeners, but certainly a pleasant enough addition to the blues lover's collection. " AMG

Joe Haywood - Warm and Tender Soul

Back when I put my Haywood compilation together, this disc did not exist. It claims to be complete and does indeed have the one track that I knew that I was missing, but it omits the 2 unissued tracks that Kent unearthed so I have included those to make it complete.

"Joe Haywood was a Bad-Ass! In several different compilations and a few 45's, I had become limitedly aware of the singer Joe Haywood, but only recently did I focus on building something in the way of a compilation. Without the fine work of Red Kelly's soul detectives, this idea would have likely been a still birth. Between Red, Larry Grogan and Sir Shambling, I picked up the information necessary to start digging for as many of the tracks as I could find (1 more 45 is in transit that will supply a missing track and get us to 21 but I couldn't wait any longer). It is possible that there are multiple versions of a few tracks, but so far they have all been licensed re-issues of the same recording." earlier write up

By far the best biographical info is here:

Soul Detectives Joe Haywood 1
Soul Detectives Joe Haywood 2


Thursday, September 28, 2017

B B King - Lucille (1967)

I had a reissue vinyl...way back and loved it ...But I got this as a d/l ages ago and thanks to the original poster... Great sound courtesy of Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab / UltradiscII cd.
A BB you might not have...but essential ! Dedicated to KC and Cliff ,,,Blues Brothers - Gus

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Sugar Pie DeSanto - A Little Bit Of Soul 1957 - 1962

Another triumph for the good folks at Jasmine!  This set fills in most of the holes in the early discography and has very little overlap with the earlier Chess singles collection. "This collection of the earliest 45s of the fabulous blues and soul singer also contains the full content of the LP she released on Checker Records in 1962. The LP consisted of tracks recorded for the famed Bay Area producer and writer, Bob Geddins."

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Texas Gospel vol 8 & 9

These two wrap it up for this remarkable series. I've long ago run out of things to say about this stunning collection, except Thank You Opal for all you do!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

B.B. King - My Kind of Blues 1960

Listening to this right now and I feel compelled to share. Not everyone has access to all the old stuff so I think this is a fine example of what BB was like before he got 'discovered' by white folk. Sorry, but the truth is the truth.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Alvin Robinson - The Complete 'Shine'

A repost by request: 

This one here is an ongoing labor of love, much like Eldridge Holmes or Charles Brimmer. Ongoing in the sense that I would love to see competently remastered versions of ALL of these songs because in many cases the only copy of a given song that I have ever found is of decidedly poor quality. That said, I DO get to claim the triumph of assembling ALL 34 tracks that 'Shine' ever recorded, something that I don't believe has ever been accomplished by anyone, anywhere! 

b. 1937, d. 24 January 1989 in New Orleans. Robinson was a session guitarist and a vocalist whose first recordings were made with Dave Bartholomew at Imperial in 1961-62. Those first recordings (tracks 1-12) are pretty heavily Ray Charles influenced but the songs are all quite good and 'Shine's' voice is special. One can only hope that at some point those 12 songs and the four unissued tracks from Imperial will finally be remastered and reissued. Unfortunately for Robinson the early 60's were at the tail end of Lou Chudd's personal interest in the record business and thus his association with Bartholomew. With little-to-no promotion, those sides were pretty much limited to local jukeboxes. 

In 1963-64, Robinson went to New York with the Joe Jones band as singer and guitar player and there scored a minor hit in 1964 with a recording of a Chris Kenner song, ‘Something You Got’ backed by 'Searchin'. The single was released on Tiger Records, a short-lived outlet owned by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who then took Robinson to their next venture, Red Bird. His first release there, ‘Down Home Girl’, was an inspired amalgamation of New York pop and Crescent City R&B, the flip side cover of "Fever" is just as strong. Later covered by the Rolling Stones, Robinson’s single was one of the best to appear on that label. It was followed by a reshaped version of ‘Let The Good Times Roll’, and 'I'm Gonna Put Some Hurt on You, but the artist was unable to find another success.  All 8 tracks (13-20) from this period were still actually recorded in New Orleans with the regular cats from J & M.

Robinson recorded one single in New York for Joe Jones' short-lived label in 1966, and another for Atco in 1967. (21-24) He then returned home for a bit until he joined the west coast move in 1969, hooking up with the A.F.O. guys in Los Angeles. During this period he reconnected with old pal Mac Rebennack and was one of several expatriate New Orleans musicians who played on Dr. John’s debut 'Gris Gris' (which was recorded with studio time left over from a Sonny and Cher album!). Robinson also recorded the 10 killer tracks while with AFO in L.A. (only 4 of them were actually released) that fill out the remainder of this collection. (25-34)

Shine was a fairly regular member of Dr. John's band through the 70's, playing again on his New Orleans ‘tribute’ album, Gumbo, and most often in his working band. He returned to New Orleans for good in 1985 and died in 1989. He is well loved and remembered in our music community (Mac was quoted as saying that 'Shine' was a real singer, as opposed to himself, whom he considers to be 'faking it'.), and it is long past time that all these tracks see proper compilation and remastering.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Deep Dip into Texas Soul

I'm thinking that I owe y'all an apology for not having shared this earlier...I've been distracted is about the best I can do. You have to give them big props, this collection delivers on the promise of its' title in a big, big way! I could spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to point out the highlights, but the names would mean next to nothing for even the more educated audience. Just let's say you will replay quite a few tracks more than once and even as a straight jukebox style listen it smokes!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

Z.Z. Hill - Turn Back the Hands of Time

repost by request:

Given that KC and Dr. Hepcat announced that they have now assembled the entire Z.Z. Hill discography, I decided to get some hype going here.  I have a lot of questions and have never heard some of this puzzling discography.

For example, this intriguing collection was released a while back under the title "Rare and Previously Unreleased Recordings: 1965-1972," but with no discographical information about the contents.

Looking at the on-line discography of Z.Z. 45s supplied by Soulful Kinda Music (, this collection would appear to contain some of Z.Z.'s very first recordings made for his brother's MH label, as well as the listed early Messa 45.  However, these recordings were made before 1965.  Some of them were also re-recorded later, raising some questions.

The rest of the songs here would appear to come from the 1970s, also from the MH label, the Hill label, the Audrey label...   The Soulful Kinda Music discography would indicate that there is most likely a lot more where that came from.

I look forward from some enlightenment from KC and Dr. Hepcat.  :)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Geater Davis - I'll Play The Blues For You

re-post from 2013 

"Vernon "Geater" Davis (29 January 1946 - 29 September 1984) was an American soul singer and songwriter. He has been described as "one of the South's great lost soul singers, an impassioned stylist whose voice was a combination of sweetness and sandpaper grit."

Davis was born in Kountze, Texas. In the late 1960s he was heard performing, along with Reuben Bell, by record producer Allen Orange. Orange arranged for them to record in Birmingham, Alabama, and started his own House of Orange label to release their output. Geater's first release, "Sweet Woman's Love", in 1970, reached # 45 on the Billboard R&B chart. His follow-up singles on the House of Orange label, including "I Can Hold My Own" and "Best Of Luck To You", were less commercially successful, but he recorded an album, Sweet Woman's Love, which is now considered a classic of the deep soul genre. He often wrote or co-wrote his own material.

After Orange closed his label in 1972, Davis recorded for the Luna label, and then for John Richbourg's 77 label, where several of his recordings such as "I'm Gonna Change" and "A Whole Lot Of Man" were made at the FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals. His 1973 single, "Your Heart Is So Cold" reached # 64 on the R&B chart. However, Davis' records did not generally sell well, despite heavy touring on the blues and chitlin circuits. He recorded for the Ace label in the mid 1970s, and later issued some disco singles on the revitalised House Of Orange label. In 1981 he joined the MT label run by James Bennett in Jackson, Mississippi, which issued several singles and an album, Better Days.

Davis died of a heart attack in Dallas, Texas in 1984 at the age of 38."

Geater Davis - Lost Soul Man

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO HAVE TOO MUCH GEATER DAVIS! This 2 disc compilation from the folks at AIM will add at least a few more to your collection even if you already have Sadder Shades Of Blue. I haven't yet compared the remastering or any of that stuff so ya gotta take
the whole shebang.

Geater Davis - Sadder Shades of Blue

Let's rerun Preslives original post and get another dose of Geater
Geater Davis is one of those voices from the Chitlin’ Circuit  that is much loved by his peers and hard core Blues/Soul fans, but hardly known to the general music-loving public.  Fortunately, his recorded legacy has been issued on CD on a couple of fine compilations.  His first recordings can be found on a CD from Soundscape Records that I believe is still in print, “I’ll Play the Blues For You: The Legendary House of Orange Sessions.”   This older compilation on West Side, which is now out of print, compiles mostly recordings done in Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals for John Richbourg’s Sound Stage 7 label.    There is only a small overlap between these two compilations.  If you really like this one, be sure and buy the other one!   One song that is on both compilations is the first recording of a number that later became closely associated with Albert King – “I’ll Play the Blues For You. “

--> Geater Davis owes an obvious strong debt to Bobby Bland.   But his sound is more rural, with more Southern sanctified grit.   The voice is unique.  Once it grabs you, you’re hooked.    I can still remember the very first time that I heard Geater Davis on “Sadder Shade of Blue,” while listening to a "Lost Soul" compilation LP.   It blew my mind right from the get go.  I've been hunting down everything that I could find by Geater Davis ever since.   

  Geater Davis was born and raised in Texas.  He worked the Circuit for most of the 60s without a recording contract.   Allen Orange heard Davis in the late 60s and was so impressed that he started his own record label to record him: House of Orange.  In the early 70s, Davis moved to the Sound Stage Seven label where he recorded most of the tracks found here. Geater Davis died in 1984 at the young age of 38.

Claude Jeter - Yesterday and Today

The great Claude Jeter's final album (produced by Anthony Heilbut) is a satisfying mix of newly recorded (in 1991) tracks blended with unreleased Swan Silvertones material.

nytimes obit

guardian obit

Texas Gospel Vol 6

Good Morning!

This will get your blood moving!