Welcome to Mellow's Log Cabin. This blog's purpose is to supply information on a diversity of American southern music - ranging from country, blues, old-time and folk to R&B, rock'n'roll and rockabilly. I regularly present my research results about artists, labels, shows and also give guest writers a chance to publish their texts here on occasion.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blues & R'N'B Obscure and Forgotten (But Still OK!)

In my opinion, this blog just hasn't enough blues and r'n'b on it. Now this is gonna change. I ain't that much into black music history but I know this is really great music. I have a lot of R&B recordings and I'm working on a comp featuring black music. However, I proudly present you bobsluckycat disc #2 with real great and unknown blues and rhythm and blues recordings on it. Let's read what he has to say about the artists (also included in the download folder):

Download
Here's a new link for all of you, who do not have access to the Mediafire link: ♫♫♫

Overlooked and unheard for the most part or had problems which kept them from being played on the radio, these recordings have had a way of finding an audience for the most part over the years by true believers in American Black Music by whatever name you call it. Obscure? Yes. Great recordings? Yes, every single one.

Oscar McLollie and the Honey Jumpers first release for Modern Records in late 1952 was a total rip-off of the Joe Liggins hit from 1945, "The Honey Dripper". This is the original 45 rpm recording. McLollie had a "Jump" band similar to the more famous "Johnny Otis Show" and had several well known recordings through the 50's in the R-n-B field, mostly aimed at Blacks, several of which were hits.

Big John Greer was known more as a tenor saxophone player before and after he recorded the bluesy ballad "Got You on My Mind" in late 1951 which was a huge R-n-B hit in early 1952. Greer had several releases on RCA Victor and RCA Groove into 1955, but none came close to this one. It set the tone of many R-n-B ballads to follow throughout the '50 and early '60's. Jerry Lee Lewis's early 60's cover version on Smash Records is most impressive as well.

Big Duke Henderson is a minor foot-note in R-n-B music. His recording, while funny, took statistics from the best-selling book of the day, "Sexual Behavior in the Human Female" by Dr. Alfred Kinsey which was a runaway best seller in 1953 and turned it into a riotous song which was doomed from day one to get no air-play. Jukebox plays were another thing entirely. Henderson was a post-war blues and jazz singer with many west coast "Jump" bands out of L.A. on many record labels. After this next to last recording, Henderson became a gospel D.J. personality and minister and formed a couple of Gospel Music record labels. Go figure.

Julia Lee & Her Boyfriends last release on Capitol Records in 1954 was the flip side of one of her better known fun recordings of "Last Call for Alcohol". "Goin' to Chicago" was a pretty straight forward R-n-B number and had been a standard first recorded by Count Basie and His Orch. with Jimmy Rushing on vocal. Julia Lee had been around since the 20's and was a gifted piano player, singer and comedienne much in the vein of Pearl Bailey, but at times much raunchier as well, on records and in person especially. She died in 1958, but her recordings have since been discovered by later generations who have taken to her music.

Little Walter and the Jukes had several hits on Checker Records from 1952 forward and this cut is the "B" side of his early 1956 recording of "Who" which went to #7 on the R-n-B charts. This up-tempo recording shows the "white rockabilly" influence of Scotty Moore on the guitarist, Robert Lockwood Jr. at the time. Not heard much at the time, this is the song covered by many later on, including Eric Clapton.

Lightnin' Hopkins over the years recorded for many, many labels. This 1955 Chart 45 RPM was his only one for this label. This recording is about as Black as it gets and it's in well-engineered high fidelity. Neither side got much, if any, air play at the time, but I consider it one of his best ever.

Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) came out of the South in the early 50's after a well known career there. His contract with Checker Records in the mid-50's allowed him to record an assortment of blues and r-n-b which found welcomed air-play on radio. This song "The Key" and one or two others was deemed a little too "adult" for air-play. Miller died in 1965 after several successful tours in Europe.

Dirty Tampa Red's recording of "Dirty Mother Fuyer" was for years thought to be an underground party record and more talked about than heard. It had a legitimate? release on Aladdin Records in 1947 and may have been killed due to the fact Tampa Red was a long time exclusive artist on RCA Victor and RCA Bluebird. The facts are cloudy to say the least. Bob Hite of Canned Heat rediscovered this record in the vaults while putting together a series of Blues Roots albums released on Imperial Records in 1969.

Wilbert Harrison, three years before he had the classic hit "Kansas City", in a “what was he thinking moment” cut this song for DeLuxe Records. The "A" side was entitled "Gin and Cocoanut Milk" and was a fun sort of blues record. This "B" was about inter-racial marriage and the problems going along with it. Not a candidate for air play on radio obviously, and in 1956 was not a widely done thing in the first place and was illegal to do, openly or otherwise, in some states back then.

Roy Brown from 1947 when he signed with DeLuxe Records, he was a very successful R-n-B and Blues shouter who sold a lot of records into the mid-50's, including the Original "Good Rockin' Tonight". King Records bought out the DeLuxe company primarily to secure his contract. With the coming of rock-n-roll, Brown signed a recording contract with Imperial Records. Imperial pushed his first two first two records pretty good to no avail. He was considered "old school" by then and couldn't catch on with the D.J.'s and got no air play except on Black R-n-B stations. "Saturday Night" was as good a jump record, very much in the Little Richard, Larry Williams, Fats Domino vein, being made at the time and also while at the time went nowhere, was covered in the 80's by Bill Wyman and an All-Star Group on an album entitled "Willie & The Poor Boys".

Elmore James, a legendary and influential Blues singer, guitarist, inventor of his dual pick-up slide guitar had many single records throughout the 50's. This recording on Chief Records in 1957 is a somewhat ragged cover version of the Tampa Red's RCA Victor recording from 1950. He re-recorded this song again later for Enjoy Records which is a better known version. Otis Rush recorded this song for Chess Records in 1960, after a stint on Cobra Records, and it's considered to be one of his best recordings. Otis has gone on to become one of the most well known and respected and successful Blues singers of all time, and deservedly so.

Snooks Eaglin not widely known outside of New Orleans, was a blind blues man who was widely beloved as an entertainer in the New Orleans area and Sweden and Europe as well. His reworking of Wee Willie Wayne's "Travelin' Mood" helped move R-n-B into a more modern era.

Smokey Smothers recorded several songs for Federal Records (King) starting in 1960 with Freddie King on lead guitar. This is probably the best known song. His LP "Smokey Smothers Sings the Back Porch Blues" didn't sell well and was a highly sought after "collectible". When King Records was sold to Starday Records in 1969 many copies of the LP were still in the warehouse and dumped in the cut-out bins of the Woolworth/Woolco company along with many other King, Audio Lab, and related King label LP's.

Willie Mabon was a very successful blues singer who's 1952 hit record "I Don't Know" topped the R-n-B charts and had several cover versions by a wide variety of people in a wide variety of styles. He had a humorous quality to his style which endeared him to his fans. This recording was a double entendre loaded little novelty which got no air play and sold only moderately well, but still was fun.

Jolly George put out this double entendre filled song in 1963 and I've only seen the advanced D.J. copy. It never made it to air play I'm sure. Was it released? I have no record of it. Ray Charles put out an album in early 1966 entitled "Crying Time" which featured that hit and a couple more besides. This song at 6:19 was too long for much air play, but it is one of Ray's best and most over-looked recordings of the Charles Brown classic.

Albert Collins, a Texas bluesman, had three albums out on Imperial Records circa 1969-70 with a lot of unique guitar instrumentals and blues vocals but this song was the underground favorite from the second LP that everybody listened to and laughed at. No air-play for this song, obviously.

Mississippi Fred McDowell was discovered in the late 60's by Chris Strachwitz in rural Mississippi. This Capitol recording from November 1969 is probably the best song he ever recorded in his very unique style.

West Virginia Slim (probably Lucious Johnson) is relatively unknown. This song from a late 60's Kent LP featured Slim with a mixed race combo blowing out some hard edged blues. This song about underage romance is a hoot, although by today's standards, very politically incorrect.

B.B. King recorded this song, "Blue Shadows" in June 1971 in London, England, with a host of guest players for the album "B.B. King In London". He had recorded this previously on Kent Records. It is a blues standard. This is the best version ever recorded by anybody.

Bull Moose Jackson was most famous for the risque "Big Ten Inch Record" but was a hit maker in the 40's and 50's in the R-n-B charts, equally at home doing ballads, jump and up-tempo R-n-B or covers of Country singers who also happened to record for King Records. This recording was made around 1985 with a group out of Pittsburgh called "The Flashcats", and it's based on a joke that in turn was based on the 1950's beer commercials for Carlings Black Label Beer out of Cleveland Ohio. "Hey Mabel, Black Label!" was the call. Unless you lived in the Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Northern West Virginia axis it all would have went over your head. It was a last hurrah, and a local hit for the Bull Moose. It's funny and it catches the twinkle in his eye and his voice.

Jimmy Reed recorded this in 1963. I can't make up my mind if he just played the 12 string guitar and dubbed in an earlier version with the voice track stripped out or whether it's a completely new recording. It is a good cut to end this CD on. "St Louis Blues" written by W.C Handy is an American classic as was Jimmy Reed.

5 comments:

howstean said...

Mediafire has identified it as copyright & deleted it.

Anonymous said...

File storage site used for this one won't allow! Are they confusing this with another copyrighted file with obscure and/or forgotten in the title?

Jack

Twobadeyes said...

Darn shame, this would have been some interesting listening. Didn't take 'em long ... DRAT the luck.

Mellow said...

New link!

jim said...

You say Still OK. I say Great. I've heard all the songs, but together like this is awesome. Many thanks for your efforts in doing this.