Blues & Gospel - Bulletin November/ December 2009 - Arthur Adams -> The Memphis Nighthawks + Calendar+ Books +DVDS
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BULLETIN - November/ December 2009
Blues & Gospel
Arthur Adams ->
The Memphis Nighthawks + Calendar+ Books +DVDS




CLASSIC BLUES ARTWORK FROM THE 1920S Blues Images 210 2010 Calendar ● CALENDAR $16.98
It's that time of the year again when John Tefteller gives us an early Christmas presenent with another sensational calendar and CD drawn from his phenomenal collection. The calendar (the seventh of 15) features reproductions of original artwork for advertisements printed in African-American newspapers in the late 20s and early 30s, mostly by the Paramount Record Company advertising their latest blues releases. This calendar features ads for records by artists like Robert Wilkins, Skip James, Ida Cox, Charlie Turner & Winston Holmes, Blind Blake, Ramblin' Thomas and others. The calendar also includes sample song lyrics, brief biographies and birth and death dates for many blues artists. The calendar itself would be easily worth $16.98 but in addition you get a 18 track CD featuring at least one side of all the records advertised plus six tracks for which no artwork is known to exist from Frank Palmes, Irene Scruggs with Blind Blake and Henry Townsend. Although there are no staggering new discoveries as in past years this does include previously unissued takes from Frank Palmes and Scruggs & Blake and the two Henry Townsend songs are newly remastered from the only surviving copy. This plus all the other previously reissued tracks have never sounded better thanks to Rich Nevins' brilliant remastering. Also included are full color inserts to enable you to make your own Classic Blues Artwork CD with a jewel case (jewel case not included) Since these would make such a great gift if you buy five or more calendars you can get them for $14.98 each! Calendar/ CD set counts as four CDs for shipping purposes. (FS)



Paper, 128 pages, counts as three CDs for shipping
Part of Arcadia's "Images Of America" series-which chronicles the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities all over the U.S.-this book is a great companion to the recently reviewed King of the Queen City: The Story of King Records. By using archival photographs, the Images of America books present the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today; and this volume is no exception. With McNutt-a non-fiction writer and independent record producer who has recorded with Avco-Embassy and Counterpart in the U.S. and the Gee-Dee, Hydra, and Rockhouse labels in Europe-providing the descriptive prose, these photos, advertisements, sheet music covers, copies of the company newsletter, and more tell a story of bygone era that continues to influence our lives to this day. This book is chock full of interesting tidbits; for example, the King record factory was union represented, and they were the first record label to merge with the local jukebox union in 1953. It's these little behind the scenes pictures and insights that make this book a must see.

GIVE MY POOR HEART EASE Voices Of The Mississippi Blues by William Ferris ● BOOK $34.98
Hardbound, 302 pages + CD + DVD, counts as 10 CDs for shipping
Throughout the 1960's and 1970's, folklorist William Ferris toured Mississippi documenting the voices of African Americans as they spoke about and performed the diverse musical traditions that form the roots of the blues, which have now been compiled into this book. Illustrated with Ferris' photographs of the musicians and their communities and including a CD of original field recordings and a DVD of original film, the book features more than twenty interviews relating frank, dramatic, and engaging narratives about black life and blues music in the heart of the American South. Most of the performers are fairly obscure local artists like Mary Gordon, SCott Dunbar, Fannie Bell Chapman, James "Blood" Shelby, Sergeant Webb, Lee Kizart, Jame "Son Ford" Thomas, Wade Walton, Robert Shaw and others. It also includes interviews with major artists Willie Dixon and B.B. King who started their musical careers in Mississippi. These blues musicians represent a wide range of musical traditions--from one-string instruments, bottle-blowing, and banjo to spirituals, hymns, and prison work chants-and each tells their story in a straightforward, no-frills manner. It also includes a 30 page selected bibliography, discography, filmography and list of websites that will be invaluable to following up the information in this book. Riveting material!

TEXAS BLUES The Rise Of A Contemporary Sound by Alan Govenar ● BOOK $39.98
Hardbound, 599 pages, counts as 22 CDs for shipping
Author Govenar expands upon the work begun in his other books ("Living Texas Blues," "Meeting the Blues: The Rise of the Texas Sound," and others) in this weighty, borderline coffee table tome. In documenting the emergence of a distinctly Texas sound by city (Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston, Austin, Beaumont, Port Arthur, San Antonio), region (East Texas, the Rio Grande Valley), style (Electric Blues, Zydeco), and migratory quirk (the moves to California), Govenar attempts to cover all the bases, and does manage to create a vivid picture of history being made and lived-mainly through the oral histories contributed by the artists who lived it. His story begins in East Texas and journeying to Senegal, Govenar traces the earliest roots of the music that became known as the blues in the 1890s. Through a critical examination of the work of 19th and 20th century folklorists, historians and popular writers he documents the transition from African-styled banjos to the rudiments of blues guitar and the emergence of a distinctly Texas sound. The book includes more than 400 color and black and white photos as well as label shots, advertisements and other illustrations. The "Electrifying the Blues" chapter is a bit rushed, but the chapters on Dallas, Houston, and California are solid reading bringing important players like Bob Geddins, Percy Mayfield, and Amos Milburn into the picture. Although I see the reasoning for including contemporary blues artists, I don't know that such a decision should have made at the expense of more coverage of Electric Blues and the saxophone's role in the blues. At 540 pages (not counting index, bibliography, and discography), "Texas Blues" is somewhat a daunting read, but those that stick with it will be rewarded and considering the size of the book and the copious illustrations the price is a steal!

KING OF THE QUEEN CITY The Story Of King Records by Jon Hartley Fox ● BOOK $29.95
Hardback, 234 pages, counts as six CDs for shipping
First in depth look at the history of the King label. Rounded by Cincinatti businessman Sydney Nathan in 1943 King became one of the most important independent labels in the development of blues, rhythm & blues, hillbilly, gospel and soul music in the USA. Among the many artists that recorded for the label were The Stanley Brothers, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, The Spirit Of memphis, Wynonie Harris, Grandpa Jones, Earl Bostic, Lonnie Johnson, The SWan Silvertones, james Brown and many, many more. In addition to the artists themselves the book examines the contributions of Nathan, producers Henry Glover, Ralph Bass and others and shows the unique multi racial creative interchange that ocurred between musicians, songwriters and staff. The book draws on archival research and personal interviews.

BARRELHOUSE BLUES Location Recording And The Early Traditions Of The Blues by Paul Oliver ● BOOK $24.95
Hardbound, 228 pages, counts as three CDs for shipping
First book in a while from one of the World's leading blues scholars whose work has influenced dozens of writers since his seminal publication "Blues Fell This Morning" in 1960. In this book Paul examines the location recordings made by record companies in the South in the 20s and 30s and the influence they had on the dissemination of and our understanding of the music. He looks at the "proto blues" - the music that provided the underpinning of the music and examines and responds to the work of Harlem scholar Alain Locke who wrote a pioneering study of African-American music in 1936.



VARIOUS ARTISTS Delmark DVD 1800 It Ain't Over - Delmark Celebrates 55 Years Of Blues ● DVD $22.98
16 tracks, 79 min., highly recommended
Capturing the Delmark Records 55th Anniversary bash at Buddy Guy's Legends, recorded live on 7 March 2008. So, what's not to like? Contains every bit of the CD release and adds video and 5 extra tracks, including the Mayoral Proclamation by Barry Dolans honoring Bob Koester, who is genuinely speechless, or nearly so. You get an extra Lurrie Bell cut (Reconsider Baby), another song from the late Little Arthur Duncan (I Got To Go), and Why You So Mean To Me from Aaron Moore. Special Feature: Bob Koester commentary. It's the next best thing to having been there. (JC)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Media Generation 10 The Land Where The Blues Began - Thirtieth Anniversary ● DVD $22.98
Due early December. This promises to be the blues DVD release of the year. In 1978, Alan Lomax, Worth Long, and John Bishop took portable video cameras deep into Mississippi and collaborated with the Mississippi Authority for Educational Television to produce a PBS documentary "The Land Where The Blues Bagan." Alan examined performers such as R.L. Burnside, Eugene Powell (a.k.a. Sonny Boy Nelson) and the amazingly previously unrecorded Belton Sutherland as a way of getting at the basic elements of the blues that endure. The documentary also looks at work songs, railroad songs, and levee camp life. At the end, the power of language is considered in the person of Rev. Ceasar Smith who, with the help of his flock, preaches "the wickedest man in the country" into being saved. Bar toasts like "The Signifyin' Monkey", which often emphasize brain over brawn, are also seen within the African-American tradition of playing with language. This new DVD includes the original 59 minute documentary plus 3 1/2 hours of bonus material (!) including two hours of outttakes featuring musical performances from all the above listed performers plus Jack Owens, Sam Chatmon, The Heavenly Gospel Singers, Othar Turner, St. james Church Congregation and others plus several documentaries on the making of the original documentary. It also includes two PDF files with transcripts of the documentary and the making of. Wow!



ARTHUR ADAMS Delta Groove 135 Stomp The Floor ● CD $15.98
New album from singer/ guitarist Adams who is best known for his considerable body of session work behind artists as varied as Jimmy Smith, Nana Simone, B.B. King, The Crusaders and Bonnie Raitt. This is his first album in ten years and finds him performing with a solid group on a selection of 12 new original songs. Arthur's singing and playing are both smooth and polished - fine, but lacking a certain amount of grit.

AFRISSIPPI Hill Country 1004 Alliance ● CD $10.98
9 tracks, 51 min., recommended
Where the Senegal delta meets the Mississippi Delta? World boogie? Guelel Kumba went from West Africa to Oxford, Miss., where he met guitarist Eric Deaton, who spent his youth jamming with Junior Kimbrough and R. L. Burnside. The two men join forces and musical aesthetics as Afrissippi with generally pleasing results. "Alliance," recorded Live in 2008, features the drum work of Kinney Kimbrough (Junior's son) and feels more African than not more often than not, though the blues come bleeding out of Deaton's guitar work all the same. An interesting union of sound worth checking out. (JC)

EDDIE C. CAMPBELL Delmark 799 Tear This World Up ● CD $14.98
14 tracks, 61 min., highly recommended
After a brief decade away from the American music market, Chicagoan Eddie C. Campbell returns with a smoking collection studded with first rate originals, including the humorous Big World, in which his lady is "ready, Eddie," but our man is fast asleep at the, uh, switch. When was the last time a bluesman displayed a self-deprecating sense of humor? Campbell, who has played along side Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and every king of the Chicago blues from the 1950s to date, covers Easy Baby, a Mighty Sam (Campbell's long-time friend) staple. He also burns through Howlin' Wolf's My Last Affair and even the Gershwin classic Summertime. But the stars here are aligned for Campbell's own songs, which drive forward with relentless energy and an economy of notes. No aimless noodling or self-aggrandizing showing off here. (But whoever thought it wise to put the septuagenarian on the cover shirtless might want to rethink his career in graphic arts.) Get it while you can. (JC)

WILLIAM CLARKE Watch Dog 1006 Now That You're Gone ● CD $14.98
12 previously unissued songs from the 70s and early 80s with accompaniments from musicians like George "harmonica" Smith, Mitch Kasmar, Hollywood Fats, Ronnie Earl, Jr. Watson and others. Includes the title song + Love You, Yes I Do/ She's Gone/ Bita Again/ Let's Celebrate Life/ Find A New Place To Live, etc.

BILLY "THE KID" EMERSON Bear Family BCD 16937 Red Hot - The Sun Years, Plus ● CD $21.98
33 tracks, 88 mins, very highly recommended
Billy Emerson was a very talented performer whose lack of success is surprising - he was a powerful singer and an exceptional songwriter whose songs were covered by the likes of Elvis Presley (When It Rains It Pours), Billy Lee Riley (Red Hot), Ry Cooder (Every Woman I Know (Crazy 'Bout Autombiles)) and others. These songs are here along with a whole lot more recorded for Sun, Vee-Jay, Chess & Mad between 1954 and 1957. The earliest Sun recordings find him accompanied by members of Ike Turner's Kings Of Rhythm (Billy was a member of the band at the time) and subsequent sessions found him with other fine groups including some songs with hot guitar from Calvin Newbern. The Vee-Jay, Chess & Mad sides, recorded in Chicago, have a more polished sound with larger groups but are equally fine with sidemen like Red Holloway, Lefty Bates, McKinley and others. This collection includes at least one take of every song he recorded during this period including a couple of previously unissued alternate takes from his Sun sessions. Usual superb Bear Family sound and set comes with 44 page booklet with extensive notes by Martin Hawkins, rare photos and label shots and full discographical info. And talk about value for money - at almost 88 minutes this is the longest single CD I've ever seen! (FS)

ROSCO GORDON JSP JSPCD 8822 Rosco Rocks Again ● CD $16.98
10 tracks, recommended
Fine selection of latter day live recordings by idiosyncratic Memphis bluesman Rosco Gordon. The first seven tracks are from a 1982 gig at the 100 Club in London where he is accompanied by a fine small group featuring hot guitar from the legendary Wayne Bennett and some fine tenor sax from Sid Phillips. These were previously available on a JSP LP. The remaining tracks are previously unissued sides from the 1991 Burnley Blues Festival where he is accompanied by a larger group led by acclaimed British blues guitarist Otis Grand. The material is a mix of old Gordon favorites (The Chicken/ Shooby Ooby/ Cheese & Crackers, etc) and blues standards (Hello Baby/ Kansas City, etc.). Performances are fine, sound mix on both performances find Rosco's voice somewhat down in the mix but, all in all, an enjoayble set. (FS)

BUDDY GUY Shout Factory 11303 The Definitive Buddy Guy ● CD $11.98
17 tracks, 79 min., highly recommended
The best one-disc Guy retrospective available, this album begins with Sit And Cry (The Blues), a 1958 single from Cobra subsidiary Artistic that features Otis Rush on guitar and Willie Dixon on bass, and ends with a sizzling 2001 recording of Junior Kimbrough's Baby Please Don't Leave Me cut for the Silvertone album "Sweet Tea." The musicians at his side over the years read like a blues who's who and include Little Brother Montgomery, Junior Wells (of course), Otis Span, A. C. Reed, Junior Mance, Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Jimmy Johnson, Odie Payne, Bill Wyman, and Pinetop Perkins to name several. And unlike many releases, this one reaches out to multiple labels, including Chess, Delmark, Vanguard, Blue Thumb, Atco, Evidence, Alligator, JSP, and Blind Pig. A fantastic introduction to the 5-time Grammy winner who influenced Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and countless other guitar slingers. Tracks include First Time I Met The Blues/ Ten Years Ago/ Stone Crazy, a live version of I've Got My Eyes One You, When I Left Home/ Give Me My Coat And Shoes, and many others. More booklet notes and session info would have been a plus, but still very nice. (JC)

TRAVIS "MOONCHILD" HADDIX Earwig 4955 Daylight At Midnight ● CD $15.98
10 tracks, 39 min., highly recommended
Originally released on Haddix's own Wann-Sonn label and picked up for distribution (along with the rest of his Wann-Sonn catalog) by Earwig in quick order, Daylight offers a sharp set of Haddix originals, including the humorous Nine Behind, the soulful Who Could I Be?, the blues rocker Your Kind Of Fool, and the funk scorcher What To Do. Clearly influenced by the guitar work of both Kings (B.B. & Albert), Haddix nonetheless has crafted his own sound. Also praiseworthy here is the guitar and harp work of Bob Frank and the entire horn section, which punches and jabs with power to spare. Maybe this will give Haddix the popularity in the U.S. that he already has in Europe. (JC)

HARMONICA SHAH Electro-Fi 3413 If All You Have Is A Hammer, Everything Looks Like A Na ● CD $15.98
13 tracks, 61 mins, highly recommended
Very fine new set from down home Detroit singer and harmonica player Harmonica Shah. Seward Shaw is a powerful singer and expressive harmonica player who goes for feeling in his playing rather than flash. He is accompanied by a solid trio including spot on guitar from Jack DeKeyzer. On Don't You Feel Like A Dog Covered In Fleas he joined by pianist Julian Fauth. Apart from his fine version of John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom all the rest are Shah originals and although there is the occasional nod to an old favorite the lyrics are original and at times topical. Harmonica Sha's music takes you down in the alley and keep you there! (FS)

ROSA HENDERSON Retrieval 79016 1923-1931 ● CD $10.98
20 tracks 60 mins, highly recommended
Rosa Henderson, who was born in 1896, was quite prolific, recording nearly 100 titles between 1923 and '31. She was a powerful and expressive singer and her material included blues, novelty songs and popular songs of the time. She has been neglected by most blues reissuers with exception of Document which has reissued her complete recordings in chronological order which includes tracks with mediocre accompaniments or in hard to listen sound. This CD presents an attempt to feature some of Rosa's best recordings featuring her with varied accompaniments including several Fletcher Henderson groups, The Four Musical Blackbirds, The Three Hot Eskimos and others as well as solo piano accompaniments by Fats Waller and James P. Johnson. She is featured on a variety of songs including several topical items like Clearing House Blues/ West Indies Blues and the exceptional Chicago Policeman Blues, a fine cover of Blind Lemon's Black Snake Moan and the great and witty Can't Be Bothered With No Sheik. Superb sound, detailed notes and full discographical information. (FS)

LONG JOHN HUNTER Blues Express 8 Looking For A Party ● CD $14.98
Solid new set from veteran Texas singer and guitarist Long John Hunter produced at the end of last year by Dennis Walker (producer of Robert Cray, Bettye Lavette, Frankie Lee and many others). Mostly new songs co-composed by Walker including a tribute to the 50s when John worked closely with Phillip Walker - Me And Phil.

MEMPHIS GOLD Stackhouse 1914 Gator Gon Bitechu ● CD $15.98
12 tracks, very good
Memphis Gold (Chester Chandler) is a contemporary down home blues singer and guitarist. He originally played as a child on Beale Street in Memphis and learned from the legendary Robert Wilkins. In recent years he has relocated to Washington D.C. and played at the Presidential inaugral ball earlier this year. On this selection of all original songs he is joined by a host of musicians from around D.C. area. Memphis Gold is a decent though unexceptional singer and has an entertaining selection of songs with solid though somewhat generic arrangements. (FS)


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