Saturday, 30 March 2013

Various Artists - Nashville Jumps

 



Side One
1 Cecil Gant - Nashville Jumps
2 Cecil Gant - Loose As A Goose
3 Wynonie Harris - Lightning Struck The Poorhouse
4 Wynonie Harris - Dig This Boogie
5 Cecil Gant - Anna Mae
6 Rudy Greene - No Good Woman Blues
7 St. Louis Jimmy - Going Down Slow
8 Rudy Greene - Buzzard Pie

Side Two
1 B.B. King - I Got The Blues
2 B.B. King - Miss Martha King
3 B.B. King - Take A Swing With Me
4 B.B. King - When Your Baby Packs Up And Goes
5 Red Miller Trio - Nobility Boogie
6 Roosevelt Sykes - Candy Man Blues
7 Little Eddie - My Baby Left Me
8 Guitar Slim - Certainly All

The Bullet record label of Nashville, Tennessee was founded in early 1946 by Jim Bulleit, Wally Fowler and C.V. Hitchcock. There is an interesting article about the fascinatingly restless Jim Bulleit, on the website of the Illinois Wesleyan University Magazine. Bullet Records recorded blues, hillbilly, gospel and pop, achieving its biggest hit in August 1947 with "Near You" a big band swinger by Nashville bandleader Francis Craig which reached number one in the Billboard pop charts. However, the label overextended itself by investing too much capital in the search for a similar hit and by 1949 was mired in financial trouble. Jim Bulleit sold out his share to Hitchcock but maintained involvement in the music industry via other enterprises such as his J-B label. He encouraged Sam Phillips to set up Sun Records in Memphis and was an investor in that label.

Bullet Records continued to issue material until around 1952 when it finally succumbed to its financial woes. The biggest R&B hit on the label was "Bewildered" by The Red Miller Trio and the biggest country hit was probably "Rag Mop" by Johnny Lee Wills. This 1983 LP on the UK Krazy Kat label gathers together some of the R&B / Blues output of Bullet, and it proves to be an eclectic and at times surprising mix. The earliest blues sides on Bullet featured two artists who were already established stars.

Nashville native Cecil Gant had a huge hit on the West Coast in 1945 with the sentimental wartime ballad "I Wonder." Recorded in 1944 in Los Angeles for the Gilt-Edge label, "I Wonder" is often credited with initiating the California boom in what would one day be called Rhythm and Blues music. Gant recorded for Bullet from 1946 to 1949, with titles like "Nashville Jumps", "Boogie Woogie Baby", "Ninth Street Jive" and "Boozie Boogie" indicating where his true talent lay. In 1950 he recorded a pounding version of Wild Bill Moore's "We're Gonna Rock" for Decca. And then, less than a year later, he was dead.

Wynonie Harris had been doing a fair bit of label hopping since leaving the Lucky Millinder Orchestra following his big hit with the band, "Who Threw The Whiskey In the Well." In 1945 he recorded for Philo ("Around The Clock") and then Apollo (including "Young Man's Blues", "Playful Baby" and "Everybody's Boogie."). As 1945 turned to 1946 he recorded four sides for the Hamp-Tone label, including a two part version of "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop." Composer credits on that version went to Lionel Hampton and Curley Hamner but we all know the song originated with Big Jim Wynn, don't we, fellow winos?

In the spring of 1946 Harris was in residency at the Club Zanzibar in Nashville. His manager, Harold Oxley, made an agreement with Jim Bulleit for Harris to cut four sides for the new Bullet label, backing to be provided by the same musicians with whom he was appearing at the club, the Jimmie Jackson band out of Chicago. In the band was pianist, arranger and former Alabama territory band leader Sonny Blount, later to be known as Sun Ra. Blount left Alabama following a torrid time with the draft board as he had declared himself a conscientious objector. As the consequences had included a short prison term and a spell in a work camp followed by illness, a fresh start was in order. Now some years beforehand Blount had been transported to the planet Jupiter (in a dream, perhaps) but what with transport to the gas giant being rather unreliable he opted instead for the equally exotic destination of Chicago.

There in the Windy City the future Sun Ra hooked up with alto saxophonist Jimmie Jackson and some months later we find him making his recording debut with Wynonie "Mr Blues" Harris in Nashville and featuring prominently on "Dig This Boogie." The full story of the R&B background of Sun Ra can be found on The Red Saunders Research Foundation website.

And there's another notable recording debut on this collection - the first ever sides cut by B.B. King. At the time of these recordings, made in mid-1949, King was a performer and deejay on the Memphis based "Mother Station of the Negroes" WDIA where he hustled Pep-Ti-Kon, a patent medicine with an alcohol content of 12% and rival to the better known Hadacol. By the time King recorded for Bullet, Jim Bulleit had left the company. One year after the release of "Miss Martha King", B.B. made his first recordings for the Bihari owned RPM label and his big breakthrough followed at the end of 1951 with the release of "3 O'clock Blues" on RPM 339.

"Nashville Jumps" is one of those LPs which lay unplayed on my record shelves for many years. The sound quality is rough (being mastered from rare 78s) and the performances are rather less sophisticated than the output of bigger labels such as King or Atlantic but as I've worked on this disc to produce a blog post, I've come to really like it. Here's a flavour of what's on offer in the download:



The back cover has very informative notes by Colin Escott, Martin Hawkins and Hank Davis. The history of the Nashville independent recording scene can be read in Martin Hawkins' book "A Shot In The Dark: Making Records In Nashville, 1945 - 1955." (Vanderbilt University Press, 2006)


Download "Nashville Jumps" from here:

http://rapidshare.com/files/3983281661/Nashville%20Jumps.rar

or from here:

http://www26.zippyshare.com/v/37318856/file.html

Tracks with approximate date of issue:

Cecil Gant - Nashville Jumps (Bullet 250 issued April 1946)
Cecil Gant - Loose As A Goose (Bullet 250 issued April 1946)
Wynonie Harris - Lightning Struck The Poorhouse (Bullet 251 issued April 1946)
Wynonie Harris - Dig This Boogie (Bullet 251 issued April 1946)
Cecil Gant - Anna Mae (Bullet 257 issued October 1946)
Rudy Greene - No Good Woman Blues (Bullet 261 issued November 1946)
St. Louis Jimmy - Going Down Slow (Bullet 270 issued April 1947)
Rudy Greene - Buzzard Pie (Bullet 266 issued March 1947)

B.B. King - I Got The Blues (Bullet 315 issued November 1949)
B.B. King - Miss Martha King (Bullet 309 issued July 1949)
B.B. King - Take A Swing With Me (Bullet 315 issued November 1949)
B.B. King - When Your Baby Packs Up And Goes (Bullet 309 issued July 1949)
Red Miller Trio - Nobility Boogie (Bullet 295 issued November 1948)
Roosevelt Sykes - Candy Man Blues (Bullet 319 issued November 1949)
Little Eddie - My Baby Left Me (Bullet 348 issued July 1951)
Guitar Slim - Certainly All (J-B 603 issued 1953)

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Messin' Around With The Blues Volume 2 - Pete "Guitar" Lewis and Little Willie Littlefield





Side One
1. Pete "Guitar" Lewis - Louisiana Hop
2. Pete "Guitar" Lewis - Raggedy Blues
3. Pete "Guitar" Lewis - Crying With The Rising Sun
4. Pete "Guitar" Lewis - Harmonica Boogie
5. Little Willie Littlefield - Goofy Dust Blues

Side Two
1. Little Willie Littlefield - Striking On You Baby
2. Little Willie Littlefield - Blood Is Redder Than Wine
3. Little Willie Littlefield - The Midnight Hour Was Shining
4. Little Willie Littlefield - My Best Wishes And Regards
5. Little Willie Littlefield - Falling Tears

Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps. No password.

Download from here:

http://www19.zippyshare.com/v/74542208/file.html


Here's the second LP from the 1979 Gusto double album "Messin' Around With The Blues." Volume 1 featured 12 tracks from 1946 and 1947 by Memphis Slim which were bought by the King label from Hy-Tone and Miracle for re-release on King and Federal. Volume 2 has a mere 10 tracks, 4 by Pete "Guitar" Lewis and 6 by Little Willie Littlefield, all of which were released on Federal in the early 1950s.

The sleeve notes on the back of the LP have only this to say about Lewis and Littlefield: "Little is known about the artists Pete "Guitar" Lewis and Little Willie Littlefield. One must assume by listening to their music, that both men lived in the world of Rhythm and Blues." What is remarkable about this lack of information about the artists on this disc is that in 1979 Little Willie Littlefield had already embarked on a comeback after some years in obscurity and had recently appeared at the San Francisco Blues Festival and toured Europe.

Be Bop Wino is the blog that brings you the lowdown on vintage R&B so please bear with your humble scribe while I attempt to fill in some of the background on these two great musicians who are nowadays much better known to blues fans.

Louisiana born Pete "Guitar" Lewis was the guitarist in the Johnny Otis Orchestra. He was signed up by Otis after an impressive performance in the talent show at the Barrelhouse Club in LA in 1948. He was a member of the Otis outfit through the great years of the late 1940s and early 1950s when the band had hit after hit on Savoy. He remained with the band through most of the 1950s when they label hopped from Savoy to Mercury to Peacock, finally ending up on the Otis owned Dig label.

As well as working for the above mentioned labels, Otis recorded for Federal around 1951 and 1952 but was unable to use his own name as he was signed up with Mercury until August 1952 when he switched to Peacock. The Federal recordings were issued under the names of band members such as Little Esther, Preston Love and Pete "Guitar" Lewis.

Two recording sessions were held under Pete Lewis's name, one in January 1952 from which the four recordings on this LP originate, and another in August 1952 from which two singles were released, "Ooh Midnight" / "Scratchin'" (Federal 12103) and "Chocolate Pork Chop Man" / "The Blast" (Federal 12112).

The four sides on this LP were originally released on two singles - "Louisiana Hop" / "Crying With The Rising Sun" (Federal 12066) and "Harmonica Boogie" / "Raggedy Blues" (Federal 12076). The recordings reveal that not only was Pete Lewis a good guitar player, he was also an excellent blues singer and could blow a mean harmonica.

The musicians on these four Pete Lewis sides were: Pete "Guitar" Lewis (vocal, harmonica, guitar); George Washington (trombone); Walter Henry (tenor sax); Devonia Williams (piano); Mario Delagarde (bass); Leard Bell (drums). The session was recorded in Los Angeles on January 3rd, 1952.

Pete Lewis left the Johnny Otis outfit in 1957, being replaced by Jimmy Nolen. He died in the early 1960s.

The old Charly CD "Scratchin'" had the complete Lewis Federal sessions as well as tracks by Jimmy Nolen and Cal Green.



Little Willie Littlefield was born in Texas in 1931 and in the early post-war years he was already a piano pounding, blues singing prodigy in the joints on Houston's Dowling Street. In 1948 he signed for a small local record label, Eddie's, and cut a few sides, one of which was released on the slightly more important Freedom label. In 1949 he was spotted by the Biharis and signed to their Modern label. His earliest recordings for Modern were made in Houston, and the first release, "It's Midnight", was a smash hit, reaching number three in the R&B charts.

Willie moved out to LA where he continued to record for Modern until late 1951. His husky voice was well suited to both rambunctious rockers and more reflective blues numbers. It's likely that the Biharis saw him as a potential rival to Amos Milburn, but despite turning out a series of superb R&B records, sales were disappointing and Willie's contract was not renewed.

In the summer of 1952 he signed up with Federal for whom he recorded three Ralph Bass produced sessions in August 1952, May 1953 and October 1953. The six tracks on this LP represent all three of these sessions.

"Striking On You Baby" and "Blood Is Redder Than Wine" were recorded in Los Angeles on August 15th, 1952. They were originally released on Federal single 12101. The musicians at this session were: Little Willie Littlefield (vocal, piano); Maxwell Davis (tenor sax); Jewel Grant (alto and baritone sax); Herman "Tiny" Mitchell (guitar); Ralph Hamilton (bass); Jesse Sailes (drums).

"The Midnight Hour Was Shining" and "My Best Wishes And Regards" were recorded in Cincinnati on May 9th, 1953. The sides were originally released on Federal single 12137. Musicians on this session were: Little Willie Littlefield (vocal, piano); Rufus Gore (tenor sax); Charlie Grayson (guitar); Edwin Conley (bass); Bill Douglas (drums).

"Goofy Dust Blues" and "Falling Tears" were recorded in Los Angeles on 30th October 1953. They were originally released on Federal single 12174. Musicians on this session were: Little Willie Littlefield (vocals, piano); Wardell Gray (tenor sax); Jesse Irvin (guitar); Mario Delagarde (bass); Bill Douglas (drums).

Undoubtedly the best known of Willie's Federal sides is "K.C. Lovin'" which was recorded at the August 1952 session. It was revived by Wilbert Harrison in 1959 as "Kansas City", becoming a huge international pop hit.

After his 1953 Federal sessions, Willie did not record again until 1957/58 when he laid down some sides for the Rhythm label of San Francisco. Thereafter there was a slide into obscurity with Willie, like so many of his R&B contemporaries, being a forgotten figure in the 1960s and most of the 1970s. However this is an R&B story with a happy ending for towards the end of the 1970s Willie started recording again and made appearances at major blues festivals. In the 1980s there was a huge rise in interest in the R&B sounds of the 1940s and 50s, especially in the UK and Europe. Ace Records in the UK reissued many of Willie's Modern sides and recorded an LP of new material, "Happy Pay Day", a song which had become something of an anthem among UK fans of rockin' R&B.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Willie recorded a series of albums for the Dutch Oldie Blues label and having married a local girl he started a new life in the Netherlands.

Willie's complete Federal output is available on the Ace CD "Going Back To Kay Cee."


Ace have issued two compilations of Willie's Modern material: "Kat On The Keys" and "Boogie, Blues and Bounce."


"Kat On The Keys" is a tremendous R&B collection, which I highly recommend.


Thursday, 14 March 2013

Messin' Around With The Blues Volume 1 - Memphis Slim




Side One
1 Messin' Around With The Blues
2  Midnight Jump
3 Darlin' I Miss You
4 Now I Got The Blues
5 Harlem Bound
6 Letter Home

Side Two
1 Mistake In Life
2 Don't Ration My Love
3 Pacemaker Boogie
4 Grinder Man Blues
5 Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child
6 Slim's Boogie

This is the first LP of a 2 LP set issued by Gusto in the late 1970s. Volume One is devoted to Memphis Slim while Volume Two features sides by Pete "Guitar" Lewis and Little Willie Littlefield. Volume Two will be posted in a few days time.

The Memphis Slim sides featured here, which were recorded in 1946 and 1947, were leased or bought in for release on King / Federal from the Chicago based Hy-Tone and Miracle labels. They represent a good sampling of the start of the rhythm and blues phase of the long career of Memphis Slim.

He was born in Memphis in 1915. According to the Red Saunders Research Foundation article on the Hy-Tone label, his real name was John L. Chatman and not Peter Chatman, which was the name under which he made his first recordings for the Okeh label in Chicago in August, 1940. He moved over to the Bluebird label in October, 1940, recording as Memphis Blues and then Memphis Slim, until the eve of the American entry into World War II in December 1941.

In early 1946 he recorded 8 sides for the small Hy-Tone label. There are six tracks on this collection which originate from Hy-Tone: "Mistake In Life" / "Grinder Man Blues" (Hy-Tone 10); "Slim's Boogie" (Hy-Tone 17); "Now I Got The Blues" / "Don't Ration My Love" (Hy-Tone 18) and "Letter Home" (Hy-Tone 19). All 8 Hy-Tone sides were leased to King in 1948 when Hy-Tone went out of business. All of these titles were subsequently released on King, but according to the Red Saunders Research Foundation, 4 of them were in fact re-recorded versions. "Letter Home" and "Slim's Boogie" are probably King remakes.

Slim started recording for Miracle in October 1946. "Darlin' I Miss You" (Miracle 102) dates from that month. He recorded four sessions for Miracle in 1947. "Pacemaker Boogie" / "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child" (Miracle 110) and "Harlem Bound" (Miracle 111) date from the first session which was held in March. "Messin' Around With The Blues" / "Midnight Jump" (Miracle 125) were recorded at the final session in December 1947.

"Messin' Around With The Blues" topped the R&B charts in the spring of 1948. Slim had further chart success in the late 1940s and early 50s, recording R&B for Peacock, Premium, United (where Matt Murphy joined Slim's band) and VeeJay. The VeeJay recordings of 1958-59 were his last which were intended for the R&B market. As the 1950s turned to the 1960s Slim became part of the "blues revival," appearing at folk and jazz venues and recording for Verve, Folkways and Bluesville. In 1962 he moved to Paris and continued to record and play in Europe until the late 1980s. He died in 1988.

Memphis Slim is one of the few artists featured on this blog whom I have seen live - in Dundee in the mid-1980s. He was nothing short of sensational - just him, his piano and a drummer. However my abiding memory is of his outrageous flirting with a statuesque blonde lady who was sitting in the front row. Way to go, Slim.

Download from here:

http://www12.zippyshare.com/v/27901462/file.html

Volume 2 will be along soon!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Jump & Jive On 78 - Volume 3



It's time to gather together the latest selection of El Enmascarado's 78 rpm rips in downloadable form. We proudly present Volume 3 of our series of "Jump & Jive On 78" virtual LPs. If you dig your R&B on the jazzy side, then this is the collection for you.

Click on the artist names in the labels section to find out more about these tracks. The download includes a folder of label scans.

Download from here:

http://www24.zippyshare.com/v/28763255/file.html

No password

Track list:

1 Calvin Boze - Slippin' and Slidin'
2 Big John Greer - Hey Bruz
3 Gene Ammons - Dues In Blues
4 Tiny Bradshaw - Walking The Chalk Line
5 Red Saunders - Blow Mr Low Blow
6 Russell Jacquet - Lion's Roar
7 Sonny Thompson - Backyard Affair
8 Joe Liggins - How Come
9 Calvin Boze - Baby You're Tops With Me
10 Gene Ammons - Odd-En-Ow
11 Tiny Bradshaw - Bradshaw Boogie
12 Russell Jacquet - Suede Jacket
13 Big John Greer - Tonight's The Night
14 Tiny Grimes - Flying Home Part 1
15 Tiny Grimes - Flying Home Part 2
16 Red Saunders - Lyin' Girl Blues
17 Joe Liggins - Worried
18 Sonny Thompson - Dreaming Again


Collect 'em all!





With thanks, as ever, to El Enmascarado.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Worried / How Come - Joe Liggins And His Honeydrippers (Exclusive 262)



Recorded in Los Angeles, probably at the end of 1947. Personnel: Little Willie Jackson (alto and baritone saxes); James Jackson (tenor sax); Joe Liggins (piano and vocal); Frank Pasley (guitar); Red Callender (bass); Peppy Prince (drums).



Exclusive 262 was released in March 1948 and reviewed in Billboard on the 13th of that month. Of "Worried" Billboard said, "Relaxed instrumental for more sophisticated race locations. Jackson Brothers on sax with Pasley's guitar provide smooth blend."

Billboard gave "How Come" higher ratings than "Worried." The review ran thus: "Band jumps with Leon Rene tune. Liggins handles vocal chore capably. Sax work excellent."

I agree with the Billboard review. "How Come" is an infectiously catchy jump tune with a tight arrangement and good sax breaks, especially by tenor man James Jackson. I really like it. "Worried" just doesn't do it for me, but judge for yourselves. This record didn't get into the race music chart. The biggest hit for Joe in 1948 was "Darktown Strutters' Ball." Although Billboard refers to the "Jackson Brothers", Little Willie Jackson and James Jackson were in fact unrelated.

Thanks to El Enmascarado for yet another slice of shellac!