Sunday, 30 January 2011

Drippers' Boogie Parts 1 & 2 - Joe Liggins & his Honeydrippers (Exclusive 232)









Recorded in Los Angeles, July 8th, 1946. Joe Liggins (piano), Little Willie Jackson (soprano and baritone saxes), James Jackson (tenor sax), Frank Pasley (guitar), Red Callender* (bass), Peppy Prince (drums).

It's Joe Liggins again, this time with a frantic two parter from 1946 which attempts to follow in the footsteps of his 1945 hit, "The Honeydripper Parts 1 & 2." Thanks to El Enmascarado for these rips and label scans from an original 78rpm disc.

Downloaders don't despair - there'll be another Joe Liggins LP on Be Bop Wino very soon. The sharp eyed among you may have spotted the album cover on a recent post. We'll be concentrating on the jivin' side of rhythm and blues over the next month or so with a selection of movin' and groovin' tracks and albums from the finest jump bands of the 1940s.

If you're new to the blog and you want to hear more of this kind of cool music then search for posts on Roy Milton, Jack McVea, Bull Moose Jackson, Jimmy Liggins, Tab Smith, Johnny Otis and T-Bone Walker.

* Although regular Honeydrippers bass player Eddie Davis is credited on the disc label, Joe Liggins stated in interviews that Red Callender took over bass playing duties on most recording sessions.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Gum Shoe - Sonny Thompson


This post is by way of a preview of the latest updated post - the Sonny Thompson LP "Cat on the Keys" which was originally posted back in September 2007. I have included new scans of the LP artwork, plus a folder of Joan's scans of Sonny Thompson EPs and singles. There has also been an extensive rewrite of the post which you can find here.

The featured track on this post, "Gum Shoe," was recorded in 1956 and features blistering sax work by King Curtis. For a resume of Sonny's career swing on over to "Cat on the Keys."


My thanks to Joan for the label scan of the original 45rpm release of  "Gum Shoe."

Listen to Sonny Thompson's "Gum Shoe" here:

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Strato-Cruiser / Sunday Blues - Joe Lutcher's Jump Band (Capitol 40052)









Thanks to El Enmascarado and his collection ot 78 rpm discs, here is Joe Lutcher's Jump Band recorded in Los Angeles on August 29th, 1947. This was Joe's first session for Capitol.

Personnel: Joe Lutcher (vocal, alto sax); Bill Ellis (tenor sax); Leon Beck (baritone sax); Karl George (trumpet); L.H. Morrow (piano); Ulysses Livingstone (guitar), Bea Booker (bass); Booker Hart (drums)

Joe had previously recorded four sides for Specialty in April 1947 and went on to record several more sessions for Capitol, the final one being in November 1947. In 1949 he had a number of sessions for Modern and in 1950 recorded a couple of sides for Peacock in Houston. He then reportedly signed up with Derby but his musical career came to a juddering halt when he got religion.

This was a shame because Joe, who was the brother of the much better known Nellie Lutcher, was a talented alto sax player, bandleader and vocalist. And the rockin' rumour machine has it that it was Joe who converted Little Richard and temporarily diverted him from his unspeakably sinful ways.

"Strato-Cruiser" is a fine example of that late 1940s music which could be described as jazz or jump or rhythm and blues. It's dominated by the feisty tenor sax of Bill Ellis. On "Sunday Blues" Joe's alto and light vocalizing are to the fore.

Once again thanks to El Enmascarado for label scans and rips from shellac.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Late Freight / Sonny's Return - Sonny Thompson Quintet featuring Eddie Chamblee (Miracle 128)









"Late Freight" was recorded circa December 7th 1947 in Chicago. The "Sonny Thompson Quintet" consisted of Sonny Thompson, The Sharps and Flats and Eddie Chamblee. In other words the exact same line up which recorded "Long Gone, Part 2." Personnel: Eddie Chamblee (tenor sax), Sonny Thompson (piano), Alvin Garrett (guitar), Leroy Morrison (bass), Thurman "Red" Cooper (drums).

"Sonny's Return" was recorded circa December 24th 1947 with the same personnel as above, minus Eddie Chamblee.

"Late Freight" was released in August 1948 and was the follow up to the huge hit “Long Gone” which had been released in March 1948 and had become the third biggest R&B seller of the year, tucked in behind Lonnie Johnson’s “Tomorrow Night” and Julia Lee’s “King Size Papa.” Among the discs it outsold were “Good Rockin’ Tonight” by Wynonie Harris, “I Want a Bowlegged Woman” by Bull Moose Jackson, and Hal Singer’s frantic honker “Cornbread” which featured every rock ‘n’ roll riff ever known to man or womankind.

On “Late Freight,”  the “Long Gone” formula for success was repeated with Eddie Chamblee being recalled to the fray to lay down more great tenor sax work over a moody slow boogie which evoked the sound of a steady moving train going clickety clack over the tracks – yeah, blues in the night! “Late Freight” was another hit for Sonny, being the eleventh top selling disc of 1948 and along with “Long Gone” it helped to make him the third best selling R&B artist of that year with Bull Moose Jackson securing the top spot and Louis Jordan coming in as the second top selling artist.

With many thanks to El Enmascadero for the rips from shellac and label shots of the original 78rpm disc.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Lovers Lament / Miss Betty’s Blues – Joe Liggins and his Honeydrippers (Exclusive 213)



Recorded in Los Angeles, 1946. Personnel: Joe Liggins (vocal, piano), Little Willie Jackson (alto, baritone saxes), James Jackson (tenor sax), Frank Pasley (guitar), Red Callender (bass), Peppy Prince (drums).






Joe Liggins had a massive hit in the race charts in 1945 with the two part riffer “The Honeydripper.” He was one of a number of jump blues artists who helped launch the first wave of rhythm and blues music on the West Coast as World War Two drew to a close. Los Angeles became a centre for the new music as independent record companies such as Exclusive, Modern, Aladdin, Specialty and others started up to cater for the increasing popularity of performers like Roy Milton, Jack McVea, T-Bone Walker, Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers, Ivory Joe Hunter and Johnny Otis.

This disc represents quite a change in mood from "The Honeydripper" with "Lovers Lament" finding Joe in a mellow and sentimental mood while "Miss Betty's Blues" has an air of melancholy and loss about it.

The origins of  “Miss Betty’s Blues” go back well before “The Honeydripper,” as Joe related in an interview quoted in Peter Grendysa’s sleeve notes for the Jukebox Lil LP “Darktown Strutters Ball.”

“I wrote that tune for a girl named Betty. Before I got my own band or even played with a band, I came to Los Angeles to play piano for Betty. I had met Betty in San Diego at the Creole Palace – called the Douglas nightclub. She needed a pianist and I knew I was coming to Los Angeles to live when I got married, so I wanted a line to a job. I came up and started accompanying Betty in a night club, mostly after hours.

“Betty would fall in love with these guys and she’d go with a guy for maybe two or three months, and they’d break up. I’d pick her up for work and she’d be all morose and sad and she’d perform that way. And I just wrote the tune – ‘Miss Betty’s got the blues, ‘cause her man is gone …”

Joe Liggins’ “The Honeydripper” LP on Jukebox Lil is posted here.

Many thanks to El Enmascarado for original 78rpm label scans and rips from shellac.