Category Archives: Delta Blues

Kansas Joe Mc Coy’s finest Blues and Jazz standards like “When You Said Goodbye”

Back in the day musicians performed under different names. The bluesman of this post had quite a few. He is best known as Kansas Joe McCoy and further performed as  Bill Wither, Georgia Pine Boy, Hallelujah Joe, Big Joe McCoy and His Washboard Band, and the Mississippi Mudder. But above all, he recorded some of the best pre-war blues songs like his hit “When You Said Goodbye” in 1940.

Kansas Joe Mc Coy and Memphis Minnie

Joe Mc Coy recorded several songs in the  Twenties and recorded with his wife Memphis Minnie in the thirties. In the late thirties, he divorced Memphis Minnie while they lived in Chicago. So to get his music going he teamed up with his brother to form the Harlem Hamfats.

 

The Harlem Hamfats  “The Weed Smoker’s Dream”

In 1936, the Harlem Hamfats released their recording of the song “The Weed Smoker’s Dream”. According to the bluestrail.com  “The original line up also included Herb Morand from New Orleans, Odell Rand and John Lindsey, also from New Orleans, and drummer Pearlis Williams and pianist Horace Malcom from Chicago. They were also joined from time to time by Johnny “Geechie” Temple, a long time friend of the McCoy brothers”.

Jazz Standard “Why Don’t You Do Right”

This song would later become an absolute standart. Mc Coy, changed the lyrics and retitled the song “Why Don’t You Do Right?” for Lil Green, who recorded it in 1941.  ” Why Don’t You Do Right?” remains a jazz standard and is McCoy’s most enduring composition.

 


Continue reading Kansas Joe Mc Coy’s finest Blues and Jazz standards like “When You Said Goodbye”

Please follow and like us:

Looking back at Muddy Waters birthday on 4 april: his first recording session

This week blues legend Muddy Waters would celebrate his 104th birthday. Muddy is still a major influence  in music history, artist like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and even today rappers like Kanye  West are all influenced by his sound. For his birthday we look back at his first recording session.

Stovall Plantation recording session 1941

It was historian Alan Lomax who made a trip to the Stovall Plantation back in August 1941 to record McKinley Morganfield with Henry ‘Son’ Sims. They recorded ‘Country Blues’, ‘I Be Troubled’ and ‘Burr Clover Blues’.

“Morganfield would later become the ‘King of Chicago Blues’ as Muddy Waters. He had learned the guitar and harmonica and began playing in juke joints and at parties and dances in and around the Clarksdale, Mississippi area from about 1935 onwards”.(udiscovermusic)

Continue reading Looking back at Muddy Waters birthday on 4 april: his first recording session

Please follow and like us:

“I shall not be moved” Folkloric masterpiece – Mississippi John Hurt

Mississippi John Hurt – I Shall Not Be Moved

I Shall Not Be Moved is a special song in several ways, I heard this song for the first time in the HBO tv series Deadwood and put on repeat a whole lot of time since then. Mississippi John Hurt is an excellent guitarist, but his vocals in this song really do it for me.

According to internet’s biggest encyclopedia “The folkoric song describes how the singer “shall not be moved” because of their faith in God. Secularly, as “We Shall Not Be Moved” it gained popularity as a Civil Rights Movement, protest, and union song

I’m on my way to heaven, I shall not be moved
I’m on my way to heaven, I shall not be moved
Just like a tree that’s planted by the water
I shall not be moved

 

mississippi John HurtPhoto: This is a 1965 recording of “Mississippi” John Hurt singing, “Lonesome Valley” on the TV program, “Rainbow Quest”.

Million Dollar Quartet – I Shall Not Be Moved

Also The Million Dollar Quartet, (Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins & Johnny Cash). Recorded “I Shall Not Be Moved”. The song was naturally transformed into a rock n roll version. It was art of a hiatorical recording at Sun Studio on Tuesday, December 4, 1956.

‘I Shall Not Be Moved’ CHARLEY PATTON

In late November early December of 1929 Charley Patton was the first known artist to record “I Shall Not Be Moved.

I shall not, I shall not be moved
I shall not, I shall not be moved
Just like a tree that’s planted by the water
I shall not be moved

I’m on my way to heaven, I shall not be moved
I’m on my way to heaven, I shall not be moved
Just like a tree that’s planted by the water
I shall not be moved

Oh preacher, I shall not be moved
Oh preacher, I shall not be moved
Just like a tree that’s planted by the water
I shall not be moved

I’m sanctified and holy, I shall not be moved
Sanctified and holy, I shall not be moved
Just like a tree that’s planted by the water
I shall not be moved

Please follow and like us:

Samuel James: gatekeeper of the Delta Blues

Samuel James: gatekeeper of the Delta Blues

Samuel_James_by_Jon_Reece_floating
Samuel_James_by_Jon_Reece_floating

If Samuel James had lived eighty years ago he would be on posters around town alongside Son House, Robert Johnson and Big Joe Williams. He is a Blues guitarist inspired by the delta sound. Groovy, now and then slow, but always a bluesy voice accompanied by guitar. Samuel James isn’t a new cat in town, this blues-based singer/songwriter has dazzled audiences around the world for the better part of a decade. 

Samuel James is a fantastic guitarist in the Delta Blues style. Not only for using the slide in a lot of songs, but also the way James puts rhythm in a ´simple´ riffs is admirable. There are a lot of singer-songwriters around, I often miss the rhythm and the groove in their songs, I always hope they will start playing some blues songs. Samuel James is the singer-songwriter you want to see. He plays blues and there is always rhythm in Blues.

Recorded albums Samuel James

Albums of James that give you the best insight in his style are ‘Songs Famed for Sorrow and Joy’ (2008) ‘For Rosa, Maeve and Noreen’ (2009) And ‘for the Dark Road Ahead’ (2012) all released on Toronto’s Northern Blues label.

Stomping Delta Blues

His songs make you Stomp your feet and you will easily listen it for hours. Samuel James describes his music as: “A mixture of Charlie Patton, Preston Reed, Bill Withers and Townes Van Zandt”. Most of all: Samuel James is a gatekeeper of the Delta Blues.

Samuel James on Spotify

Samuel James “Wooooooo Rosa”

Samuel James “Bumly” playing Parchment Farm

 

Please follow and like us:

Square-necked guitar of Black Ace

Square-necked lap guitar of Black Ace

Black Ace  was the boss card in your hand and one of the only bluesmen to play a square-necked, `Hawaiian` Lap Guitar.  This Texas Blues man  by the name of Babe Karo Turner was an unique guitarist, playing his songs with the guitar flat on his knees. For the Slide effect Black Ace used an old small medicine bottle.

Black Ace for Arhoolie Records

Black Ace recorded in 1937 a few songs, twenty three years later Ace met Arhoolie founder Chris Strachwitz who was in Dallas with the British researcher Paul Oliver in search of a singer named Little Brother. Instead of Little Brother they found Black Ace. Strachwitz recorded  after meeting Ace in a local bar a magnificent album his house. The album would be Black Ace´s only published record. (Arhoolie 40th anniversary collection booklet)

Black Ace Best blues songs


Songs you Should really listen are `The Black Ace´, a song with great guitar and the theme song of the artist of this article. “Beer Drinking Woman”,  is a true delta blues song sang in the speech style of the delta. “Your Legs Too Little”, is a faster song, and lyrically a precursor of hip hop and rap.  `Santa Claus Blues,’ isn’t a song of begging for better times or more money but, for the return of Black Ace’s baby. (Scott Cooper —Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Review of Black Ace


Living Blues writer Brett Bonner explains the greatness of Balck Ace in his review: “Black Ace is an artist often passed over by blues listeners because he recorded so little and doesn’t fit into any of the most well-known regional stylistic categories. His music is beautiful, though, with a sensitive styling that is totally his own.”

(Brett Bonner — Living Blues)

 

Black Ace on Spotify

Please follow and like us: