Sunday, 30 September 2012

Big John Greer - R & B In New York City






Side 1
1 Woman Is A Five Letter Word
2 Tell Me So
3 Got You On My Mind
4 Let Me Hold You
5 You Played On My Piano
6 Lonesome And Blue
7 I Need You
8 I'll Never Let You Go

Side 2
1 I'm The Fat Man
2 Beginning To Miss You
3 Rhythm In The Breeze
4 Drinkin' Fool
5 Getting Mighty Lonesome For You
6 Too Long
7 Come Back Maybelline
8 Night Crawlin'

This LP was originally uploaded to Be Bop Wino about 5 years ago. Ye gods, we’ve passed our 5th anniversary – 5 years of online rhythm ’n’ bluesin’ – doesn’t time fly? Back then I hadn’t worked out how to scan complete LP covers, so the accompanying scans were pretty poor. The previous post of El Enmascarado’s Big John Greer disc on Sittin’ In With gives me a good excuse to re-up this collection with all new Be Bop Wino standard cover scans and present them for your pleasure. Plus I can also include a little more info on Mr Greer. It’s still the same sound files though …

Tenor sax man and vocalist John Greer arrived in New York to join the Lucky Millinder Orchestra in 1948, on the recommendation of his former school bandmate Henry Glover. As we saw in the previous post he recorded four sides for Bobby Shad’s Sittin’ In With label before his first session on RCA Victor with Millinder which came in January 1949. Possessor of a pleasant singing voice, able to handle sweet ballads and more raucous jump material as well as being more than handy on the tenor sax, he was a natural replacement for Bull Moose Jackson, who had left the Millinder outfit to embark on a very successful solo career.

Greer’s career path closely followed that of Jackson – recording simultaneously with the Millinder band and with his own Rhythm Rockers. When Millinder left RCA in 1950, Greer continued to record for the label and its Groove R&B subsidiary until 1955. Many of his releases were ballads but they failed to bring the success that Bull Moose enjoyed with similar material in the late 1940s and early 50s. In the meantime, Greer continued to record with the Millinder band through 1950 after they had moved to King, most noticeably at a May 1950 session where he was the featured vocalist on several sides including "Let It Roll Again."

Also on King, Greer recorded with Wynonie Harris (“Oh Babe!” “Teardrops From My Eyes” and “Bloodshot Eyes”), Bull Moose Jackson (“Nosey Joe” and “Bearcat Blues”), and Annisteen Allen. His only substantial hit on RCA was “Got You On My Mind” which reached number two on the Billboard R&B chart in the spring of 1952. His contract with RCA / Groove was not renewed in 1955, and he had two sessions for King in 1956 before his recording career was brought to a premature end by what are euphemistically called “lifestyle issues” aka booze.

“R&B In New York City” was released in 1988. As well as the big hit “Got You On My Mind,” there are a few good rockers such as the raunchy “You Played On My Piano” (with Dolores Brown), “I’m The Fat Man” and “Come Back Maybelline” – a fine answer record to Chuck Berry’s “Maybelline.” Ballads predominate on this collection, but they aren’t too sickly sweet and in fact make for pleasantly relaxed listening.

Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps.

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Recommended purchase – “I’m The Fat Man” (Rev-ola CR Band 17)


This thirty track collection compiled by Dave Penny concentrates on the swinging, jumping and rocking side of Big John Greer’s music. It includes four tracks recorded with The Du Droppers and comes with very informative notes. An excellent purchase for rockin’ R&B fans.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Tonight’s The Night / Hey Bruz – Big John Greer and his Quartet (Sittin’ In With 518)




Both sides recorded in New York City in the second half of 1948. Exact recording date, personnel and date of release are unknown.

This one-off session for Bobby Shad’s Sittin’ In With label marked the recording debut of Big John Greer. Two singles resulted from the session – “Rockin’ With Big John” / “Wine-ola” (Sittin’ In With 510) plus the featured platter on this post which we can all enjoy thanks to El Enmascarado’s work in ripping these sides from the original 78 rpm shellac disc.

The Sittin’ In With date was something of a moonlight session for tenor sax player and vocalist Big John Greer who had arrived in New York City to join Lucky Millinder’s Orchestra as a replacement for Bull Moose Jackson who had embarked on a solo career. The Millinder outfit was under contract to RCA Victor and Greer’s first recording session with the band took place in January 1949. He sang on “Little Girl Don’t Cry” which was a number fifteen R&B hit, although it was heavily outsold by the Bull Moose Jackson version which reached number two in the charts.

Greer’s career followed a parallel path to that of his fellow saxophonist / vocalist Bull Moose Jackson when he started recording as leader of a small group called The Rhythm Rockers, which consisted of Millinder band members, in April 1949 for RCA Victor. When the Millinder band moved to King in 1950, Greer continued to record for Victor and subsequently its R&B subsidiary Groove until the mid 1950s. He recorded as a sideman for King, being on the Lucky Millinder / Wynonie Harris session which produced a storming version of Louis Prima’s “Oh Babe!” He was also on Bull Moose Jackson’s epic double entendre rocker “Nosey Joe” and recorded several sessions with fellow former Millinder vocalist Annisteen Allen.

We’ll be taking a look at Big John Greer’s output for Victor and Groove in an upcoming updated post of the “R&B In New York City” LP.

Thanks again to El Enmascarado for these rips which are in remarkably good sound quality.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Suckin' and Blowin' - Harmonica Blues






Side 1
1 Telephone Blues - George Smith
2 Keep On Doggin' Me - Sonny & Jaycee
3 East Of The Sun - Jerry McCain
4 Little Sweet Thing - Long Gone Miles
5 P.L. Blues - Papa Lightfoot
6 Love Life - George Smith
7 I'm Lonesome - Cousin Leroy
8 Blues And Misery - Ole Sonny Boy

Side 2
1 Hello Josephine - Long Gone Miles
2 Tell Me Why - Morris Bailey
3 Polly Put Your Kettle On - Sonny Boy Williamson
4 Wine-O-Wine - Jerry McCain
5 You Better Change - Ole Sonny Boy
6 Blues In The Dark - George Smith
7 Dangerous Woman - Sonny Terry
8 Mailman, Mailman - Sonny Boy Williamson

If you dug the recent Little Walter post then you’re sure to love this collection of stompers and wailers by a selection of both well known and obscure blues harp men.

This Dutch LP is probably a bootleg, date unknown. I bought it in “Southside Records” a shop about which I blogged a couple of years back. Sadly the shop is no more, having closed down last winter.

There are good sleevenotes on the back cover and I have added more notes at the end of this post. Download, wail and stomp, blues lovers. And if anyone has the lowdown on the identity of "Ole Sonny Boy" please share this valuable knowledge with the rest of us!

Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps. Password = greaseyspoon

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Mediafire takedown? Try this new link instead:

Suckin' And Blowin' Download

  1 Telephone Blues - George Smith
  2 Keep On Doggin' Me - Sonny & Jaycee
  3 East Of The Sun - Jerry McCain
  4 Little Sweet Thing - Long Gone Miles
  5 P.L. Blues - Papa Lightfoot
  6 Love Life - George Smith
  7 I'm Lonesome - Cousin Leroy
  8 Blues And Misery - Ole Sonny Boy
  9 Hello Josephine - Long Gone Miles
10 Tell Me Why - Morris Bailey
11 Polly Put Your Kettle On - Sonny Boy Williamson
12 Wine-O-Wine - Jerry McCain
13 You Better Change - Ole Sonny Boy
14 Blues In The Dark - George Smith
15 Dangerous Woman - Sonny Terry
16 Mailman, Mailman - Sonny Boy Williamson

More info on the tracks:

George Smith – “Telephone Blues” and “Blues In The Dark” recorded in Kansas City in late 1954 / early 1955. Original release – RPM 434. “Love Life” recorded in Culver City, California in early 1956. Backing provided by the Maxwell Davis Orchestra:
Jake Porter (tp) Jack McVea (as) Maxwell Davis (ts) Maurice Simon (bar) Austin McCoy (p) Chuck Norris (g) Red Callender (b) Lee Young (d). Original release – RPM 456.

Sonny Terry – “Dangerous Woman” recorded in Philadelphia in early 1952. Original release on Gramercy G1005 and Josie 828.

Sonny & Jaycee = Sonny Terry and J.C Burris. “Keep On Doggin’ Me” recorded in New York in 1958, first released on Ember 1034.

Jerry McCain – “East of the Sun” and “Wine-O-Wine” were recorded in Jackson, Mississippi, on October 10th, 1953. Personnel: Jerry "Boogie" McCain (vcl,hca,tamb) acc by Bernard Williams (ts) Dave Campbell (p) Chris Collins (g) Herman Fowlkes (b) Walter McCain (d). Both sides originally released on Trumpet 217.

Long Gone Miles = Luke Miles. “Hello Josephine” and “Little Sweet Thing” were recorded in Los Angeles in 1968/9. “Long Gone” Miles on vocal, George Smith on harmonica. First release on Kent?

Papa Lightfoot – “P.L. Blues” recorded in New Orleans on November 19th, 1952. Personnel: Papa Lightfoot (hca); Tommy Ridgley (p); Edgar Blanchard (g); John 'Silver' Cooks (dr). Original release on Aladdin 3171.

Cousin Leroy = Leroy Rozier. “I’m Lonesome” recorded in New York in August 1957. Originally released on Ember E-1023. Personnel: Cousin Leroy (vcl,g) acc. by Sonny Terry (hca) Champion Jack Dupree (p) Larry Dale (b) Gene Brooks (d).

Ole Sonny Boy = Man of Mystery. Thought by some to be Papa Lightfoot, by others to be J.D. Horton. “Blues and Misery” and “You Better Change” were recorded in Nashville in 1956 and released on Excello 2086.

Morris Bailey – perhaps recorded in Nashville circa 1962. Released on Bailey 500.

Sonny Boy Williamson – “Polly Put Your Kettle On.” John Lee Williamson, usually referred to as Sonny Boy Williamson I, to avoid confusion with Rice Miller, the second “Sonny Boy Williamson” who recorded for Trumpet and then Chess in the 1950s and 60s. John Lee Williamson recorded for Bluebird and Victor from 1937 until 1947. He was murdered in June 1948. “Polly Put Your Kettle On” was recorded in Chicago on March 28th, 1947. Personnel: Sonny Boy Williamson (vcl,hca) acc by Blind John Davis (p) Big Bill Broonzy (g) Willie Dixon (b) Charles "Chick" Sanders (d). Original release on Victor, Vic 20-2521.

Sonny Boy Williamson – “Mailman, Mailman.”  Real name Jeff Williamson. Originally from New Orleans, he recorded “Mailman, Mailman” in Shreveport for Ram, accompanied by guitarist James Moore. The record was released on Ram 2501 in late 1961.

Some of my favourite tracks from "Suckin' and Blowin'" on streaming audio: