Monday, January 1, 2018

The Chitlin Circuit

"The "Chitlin' Circuit," like "Tin Pan Alley" and "Motown" and other legendary music locations, is both a real and symbolic term for the on-and-off-again venues--shoebox-sized bars, clubs, cafes and increasingly in the 21st century, casinos-- that support traditional rhythm and blues in a tenuous but tenacious thread through America's mostly rural (or low-profile urban) Bible Belt." Daddy B. Nice

" A circuit of nightclubs and theaters that feature African-American performers and cater especially to African-American audiences.

When Jim Crow and segregation were even more prominent in the United States, the Negro race, freed through emancipation, did not have equal access to public “White Only” places. The Chitlin’ Circuit - a connected string of music venues, diners, juke joints, and theaters throughout the eastern and southern United States that catered primarily to African American audiences was created.

The Chitlin’ Circit was the only option for touring Black entertainers such as Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Etta James, Billie Holiday, Ike and Tina Turner, B. B. King, Bobby “Blue” Bland, T.D. Bell and the Blues Specialists, Roosevelt "Gray Ghost" Williams, Eubie Blake, Robert Shaw, Big Joe Williams and many others begin touring in an effort to “eek” out a living when Jim Crow and segregation was even more prominent in the United States.

Historically, Baltimore was the first city on the Chitlin' Circuit. The Chitlin’ Circuit stretched through the South, bending Westward throughout Texas, extending Eastward on through Chicago, offering continuous opportunities for black entertainers." Urban Dictionary

"The "Chitlin' Circuit" is the collective name given to the string of performance venues throughout the eastern and southern United States that were safe and acceptable for African-American musicians, comedians, and other entertainers to perform in during the age of racial segregation in the United States (from at least the early 19th century through the 1960s) as well as the venues that contemporary African American soul and blues performers, especially in the South, continue to appear at regularly. The name derives from the soul food item chitterlings (stewed pig intestines) and is also a play on the term "Borscht belt" which referred to a group of venues (primarily in New York's Catskill Mountains) popular with Jewish performers during the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

Noted theaters on the Chitlin' Circuit included the Royal Peacock in Atlanta; the Carver Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama; the Cotton Club, Small's Paradise and the Apollo Theater in New York City; Robert's Show Lounge, Club DeLisa and the Regal Theatre in Chicago; the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C.; the Uptown Theatre in Philadelphia; the Royal Theatre in Baltimore; the Fox Theatre in Detroit; the Victory Grill in Austin, Texas; the Hippodrome Theatre in Richmond, Virginia; the Ritz Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida; and The Madame C. J. Walker Theatre on Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis.

The second historic marker designated by the Mississippi Blues Commission on the Mississippi Blues Trail was placed in front of the Southern Whispers Restaurant on Nelson Street in Greenville, Mississippi, a stop on the Chitlin' Circuit in the early days of the blues. The marker commemorates the importance of this site in the history of the development of the blues in Mississippi. In the 1940s and 1950s, this historic strip drew crowds to the flourishing club scene to hear Delta blues, big band jump blues and jazz." wikipedia

Much love to Wikipedia on this project, they have saved enormous amounts of time for me and most of what I've found so far is pretty informative and reasonably accurate. Believe me, I'll cheerfully point out where they got it wrong and do my own writing where necessary but the point of an encyclopedia is a place to cite information from and in this function they have been invaluable. On the music side I am deeply indebted to "Unky Cliff" for a huge portion of what appears here and for the books I am educating myself with as well. My morning discussions with him will often filter into the blog. The files here that do not come from actual rips or itunes, likely originated on other blogs through the years, thanks to all of them as well, your generosity to me is being passed on.  kc 

Shares and Requests

Here is a place to drop both your own shares and requests for shares in a central place everyone can check - you know how this works by now.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Muddy Waters - Live (1971, 76 & 79)

Following on from my previous post...Here are some other very good rare live performances from Muddy Waters...who epitomises The Blues ! You can never tire from his uniqueness, talent and influence !

Muddy Waters - Mojo - The Live Collection (1971&76) :
This is a compilation of other rare MW live perfomancces that have appeared on earlier independent labels...From my searches Tracks 1 to 7 are the gathering of all Muddy's vocal/guitar tracks from a gig in Switzerland April 1976 that have appeared on Jazz Helvetica CD 02 (?)

Tracks 8, 9, 10, 12 recorded at Washington University, 1971
Tracks 11, 13, 14 recorded at Oregon University, 1971
Issued under license from Red Lightnin' Ltd and courtesy of Top Cat Records...and are from a selection on the album 'Muddy Waters - The Lost Tapes' released on Blind Pig Records.
The personnel is given in my scans provided.

Muddy Waters - Windy City Blues (Live 1979) :
This is just a copy of an obscure album from Charly Records (art gathered from the net) and licensed to a small cut-price label where I stumbled across it...(and have added the cover for what its worth...with no details)...but a fine recording. Here is some info from a MW discography :
Live recording, possibly at Harry Hope’s Club, Cary, Illinois, Thur. to Sat. 22to 24 March 1979 or Fri. to Sun. 26 to 28 Oct 1979.
Muddy Waters vcl, gtr; Luther ‘Guitar Jr.’ Johnson gtr, vcl; Bob Margolin gtr;Jerry Portnoy hca; Joe ‘Pinetop’ Perkins pno, vcl; Calvin Jones bass; Willie Smith drums...
It's a gem ! - Gus
Both here as flac & mp3@320

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Muddy Waters - Hoochie Coochie Man (Live 1964)

It's been a while since we've had a Muddy Waters album here...I didn't want to post the obvious classics as I'm sure we all have those in our collections (or should !).
Here is a very good live recording that is perfect for listening in the late hours with a beer (or...Champagne & Reefer...?) in hand !
...And is slightly more obscure than his Chess live sets. It's a favourite of mine from the greatest Bluesman of them all (along with Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf and B B King...of course !)
The band consists of Muddy - Guitar and vocals, Otis Spann - Piano, George Smith - Harmonica, Sammy Lawhorn - Guitar, Luther Johnson - Bass and Francis Clay - Drums...Or so we are told from the lack of proper detail and info re where these recordings originate from. But don't let this put you off...It's a unique chilled Muddy with plenty of his slide-guitar and wonderful voice.

Robert Gordon in his book 'Can't Be Satisfied - The Life And Times Of Muddy Waters' (2002) has this to say about this recording : 
'...Hoochie Coochie Man (Laserlight) is notable both for its raucous slide guitar and its interesting set list (including 'Rosalie', an obscure track from the Library of Congress recordings). Recorded in 1964, the CD captures Muddy at his mightiest; during 'Tiger In Your Tank', when the guitar is about to overcome the vocals (as it rightly should, growling), the soundman abruptly adjusts it - it pains me every time. Nonetheless , among Muddy's live discs, this one's the one.'   

Note : on this CD 'Tiger In Your Tank' is wrongly titled as 'Sittin' And Thinkin' (track 4) amongst other errors ...I do believe that this label was a cheap release-anything-that-might-sell company...but this is a diamond for MW fans...his performances and voice are superb ! - Here as flac & mp3 with complete scans - Enjoy Gus

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fats Domino - The Original R & R Classics vols. 1-8

We have lost another giant, The Fat Man has left us for real this time.

"Antoine Dominique "Fats" Domino Jr. (born February 26, 1928, died October 24, 2017) He was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Domino is French Creole and Creole was his first language. Domino was delivered at home by his midwife grandmother. Like most families in the Lower Ninth Ward, Domino's family were new arrivals from Vacherie Louisiana. His father was a well known violinist, and young Antoine was inspired to play himself.

Domino began to develop his musical skills at a very early age, learning to play the piano from his brother-in-law Harrison Verrett on an age-worn upright owned by his parents. Many of the members of his family were involved in music, and by the time he was 10 it was clear that Fats was headed that direction himself; at the age of 14 -- having dropped out of school and taken a factory day-job to support himself -- he was already working professionally on the thriving local club circuit. The young performer quickly attracted a sizable following with his blend of blues and boogie, and by 1949 was an established, popular attraction at the Hideaway Club, where he was leading his own band three nights a week.

The turning point for Domino's career came about in that year and at that club, when he was introduced to established trumpeter/performer Dave Bartholomew. Bartholomew had been enlisted as a talent scout by the Los Angeles-based Imperial Records label, and was well aware of Domino's growing popularity; after taking label owner Lew Chudd to see one of the Hideaway Club performances, a contract with the label was quickly arranged. Recording sessions were undertaken in December, during which eight tracks were completed -- amongst them Domino's signature tune The Fat Man, the traditional creole "good luck" song Hey La Bas, Hide Away Blues and the Bartholomew composition Boogie Woogie Baby. The release of Fat Man in 1950 was met with enthusiastic sales, pushing it up to the #2 slot in the R&B charts. Over the next couple years, songs like Every Night About This Time (1950), Goin' Home (which reached #1 in 1952) and Going To The River (also 1953) maintained his popularity and chart presence.
During this period, Domino and Bartholomew maintained a productive songwriting partnership, with Bartholomew also handling production duties for their sessions. In 1955 this partnership reached its peak, placing Domino back at the top of the R&B charts while also giving him a rare break into the mainstream pop top 10 with the song Ain't That a Shame (a song subsequently covered by honky crooner Pat Boone, who took it to #1). The duo continued to churn out hit songs throughout the rest of the decade, several of which were updated versions of old classics that have since eclipsed the original performances: My Blue Heaven (a big band favorite from the 1930's), When My Dreamboat Comes Home (previously recorded by Bing Crosby), and Blueberry Hill (originally performed by Gene Autry, but formerly a hit for both Louis Armstrong and Glenn Miller). Domino's charismatic stage presence was then captured for posterity in 1957 when he appeared in the rock and roll showcase/Jayne Mansfield jiggle-a-thon The Girl Can't Help It.

By the start of the 1960s, Fats Domino's golden era as a recording artist had ended. After his contract with Imperial expired in 1962, he was lured to ABC-Paramount by the offer of an extravagant sum of money, but his chart success evaporated almost immediately: the producers at ABC shipped the singer to Nashville and gave his songs the lavish, string-drenched treatment that was typical of the "Nashville sound" at the time, effectively alienating his rock and roll following while failing to find a new audience. A few songs still managed to creep into the top 40 during the early 60s (such as his version of Red Sails In The Sunset, 1963), but by the onslaught of the British Invasion at the end of '63, Domino's prominence in the recording industry had declined. Ironically, his final entry into the charts would be a 1968 cover of The Beatles' Lady Madonna -- a song with which Paul McCartney had made a conscious attempt to imitate Domino's distinctive style.

Regardless of the fate of his recording career, Fats Domino continued to be a popular live attraction across the decades that followed, and he is widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of popular music. In 1986 he was picked as one of the first 10 inductees for the inaugural year of the Rock and Roll hall of Fame, and the following year he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 30th annual Grammy ceremony. New studio releases essentially ceased to appear after the 1960s, and the most recent exception has been a collection of Christmas songs (including a couple original compositions) issued in 1993 under the title Christmas Gumbo; however, numerous live collections have been regularly issued through a wide variety of corporate and independent labels. In 2005, Domino received a brief flurry of publicity when his fate in the wake of Hurricane Katrina remained uncertain for several days: the singer and his wife had both refused to evacuate their New Orleans home before the storm hit, but it was eventually discovered that both had been rescued by helicopter after the area was overrun by the ensuing flood." (wiki and nnbd)

Monday, October 23, 2017

Al Green - Raw, Rare and Unreleased!

I don't recall that I ever got around to posting this one.

"There's no discographical information included on this release, so it's hard to tell the origin of these cuts, but this is no fly by night, gray market release. Hi Records released all of Green's greatest (read "secular") '70s albums, and any compilation of rare and/or previously unreleased material from the Hi vaults should be regarded as manna from the heavens. The material lives up to the album title's promise; the recording quality is somewhat raw (many cuts sound like rough mixes), but never off-putting. The sonic grit only serves to increase the impact of the tunes. For much of this recording, Green is in a hard-hitting, funky mode, eschewing the fragile Love Man style he often favored. Upbeat soul numbers like "Right Now, Right Now" and a churning cover of Chuck Berry's "Memphis" (on which Green has some trouble remembering the wordy lyrics) show Green's debt to Otis Redding." AMG

Willie Dixon - Willie's Blues

"According to the original liner notes, this 1959 Willie Dixon session was cut during a two hour span in between flights. This certainly explains the relaxed, jam session feel of the recordings. Unfortunately, the songs come out sounding sluggish and stilted at times; this is partly due, no doubt, to the makeshift nature of the date, but also, more surprisingly, because of drummer Gus Johnson's overly slick and formalized playing. On top of this, one has to contend with Dixon's less-then-inspired vocals -- it's Dixon's writing talents and A&R savvy in the blues world that warrant him a place in the pantheon, not his skills at the microphone. That all said, this still is an enjoyable disc to listen to, not least of all because of the quality of Dixon's many originals and the freshness of pianist Memphis Slim's playing. And while the vaudevillian comedy of a song like "Built for Comfort" can be traced to Dixon's earlier pop R&B work with the Big Three Trio, rougher blues standouts like "Go Easy" and "Move Me" lead back to the Chicago blues world Dixon shared with Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. Not a first disc for curious listeners, but certainly a pleasant enough addition to the blues lover's collection. " AMG

Joe Haywood - Warm and Tender Soul

Back when I put my Haywood compilation together, this disc did not exist. It claims to be complete and does indeed have the one track that I knew that I was missing, but it omits the 2 unissued tracks that Kent unearthed so I have included those to make it complete.

"Joe Haywood was a Bad-Ass! In several different compilations and a few 45's, I had become limitedly aware of the singer Joe Haywood, but only recently did I focus on building something in the way of a compilation. Without the fine work of Red Kelly's soul detectives, this idea would have likely been a still birth. Between Red, Larry Grogan and Sir Shambling, I picked up the information necessary to start digging for as many of the tracks as I could find (1 more 45 is in transit that will supply a missing track and get us to 21 but I couldn't wait any longer). It is possible that there are multiple versions of a few tracks, but so far they have all been licensed re-issues of the same recording." earlier write up

By far the best biographical info is here:

Soul Detectives Joe Haywood 1
Soul Detectives Joe Haywood 2


Thursday, September 28, 2017

B B King - Lucille (1967)

I had a reissue vinyl...way back and loved it ...But I got this as a d/l ages ago and thanks to the original poster... Great sound courtesy of Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab / UltradiscII cd.
A BB you might not have...but essential ! Dedicated to KC and Cliff ,,,Blues Brothers - Gus

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Sugar Pie DeSanto - A Little Bit Of Soul 1957 - 1962

Another triumph for the good folks at Jasmine!  This set fills in most of the holes in the early discography and has very little overlap with the earlier Chess singles collection. "This collection of the earliest 45s of the fabulous blues and soul singer also contains the full content of the LP she released on Checker Records in 1962. The LP consisted of tracks recorded for the famed Bay Area producer and writer, Bob Geddins."

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Texas Gospel vol 8 & 9

These two wrap it up for this remarkable series. I've long ago run out of things to say about this stunning collection, except Thank You Opal for all you do!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

B.B. King - My Kind of Blues 1960

Listening to this right now and I feel compelled to share. Not everyone has access to all the old stuff so I think this is a fine example of what BB was like before he got 'discovered' by white folk. Sorry, but the truth is the truth.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Alvin Robinson - The Complete 'Shine'

A repost by request: 

This one here is an ongoing labor of love, much like Eldridge Holmes or Charles Brimmer. Ongoing in the sense that I would love to see competently remastered versions of ALL of these songs because in many cases the only copy of a given song that I have ever found is of decidedly poor quality. That said, I DO get to claim the triumph of assembling ALL 34 tracks that 'Shine' ever recorded, something that I don't believe has ever been accomplished by anyone, anywhere! 

b. 1937, d. 24 January 1989 in New Orleans. Robinson was a session guitarist and a vocalist whose first recordings were made with Dave Bartholomew at Imperial in 1961-62. Those first recordings (tracks 1-12) are pretty heavily Ray Charles influenced but the songs are all quite good and 'Shine's' voice is special. One can only hope that at some point those 12 songs and the four unissued tracks from Imperial will finally be remastered and reissued. Unfortunately for Robinson the early 60's were at the tail end of Lou Chudd's personal interest in the record business and thus his association with Bartholomew. With little-to-no promotion, those sides were pretty much limited to local jukeboxes. 

In 1963-64, Robinson went to New York with the Joe Jones band as singer and guitar player and there scored a minor hit in 1964 with a recording of a Chris Kenner song, ‘Something You Got’ backed by 'Searchin'. The single was released on Tiger Records, a short-lived outlet owned by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who then took Robinson to their next venture, Red Bird. His first release there, ‘Down Home Girl’, was an inspired amalgamation of New York pop and Crescent City R&B, the flip side cover of "Fever" is just as strong. Later covered by the Rolling Stones, Robinson’s single was one of the best to appear on that label. It was followed by a reshaped version of ‘Let The Good Times Roll’, and 'I'm Gonna Put Some Hurt on You, but the artist was unable to find another success.  All 8 tracks (13-20) from this period were still actually recorded in New Orleans with the regular cats from J & M.

Robinson recorded one single in New York for Joe Jones' short-lived label in 1966, and another for Atco in 1967. (21-24) He then returned home for a bit until he joined the west coast move in 1969, hooking up with the A.F.O. guys in Los Angeles. During this period he reconnected with old pal Mac Rebennack and was one of several expatriate New Orleans musicians who played on Dr. John’s debut 'Gris Gris' (which was recorded with studio time left over from a Sonny and Cher album!). Robinson also recorded the 10 killer tracks while with AFO in L.A. (only 4 of them were actually released) that fill out the remainder of this collection. (25-34)

Shine was a fairly regular member of Dr. John's band through the 70's, playing again on his New Orleans ‘tribute’ album, Gumbo, and most often in his working band. He returned to New Orleans for good in 1985 and died in 1989. He is well loved and remembered in our music community (Mac was quoted as saying that 'Shine' was a real singer, as opposed to himself, whom he considers to be 'faking it'.), and it is long past time that all these tracks see proper compilation and remastering.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Deep Dip into Texas Soul

I'm thinking that I owe y'all an apology for not having shared this earlier...I've been distracted is about the best I can do. You have to give them big props, this collection delivers on the promise of its' title in a big, big way! I could spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to point out the highlights, but the names would mean next to nothing for even the more educated audience. Just let's say you will replay quite a few tracks more than once and even as a straight jukebox style listen it smokes!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

Z.Z. Hill - Turn Back the Hands of Time

repost by request:

Given that KC and Dr. Hepcat announced that they have now assembled the entire Z.Z. Hill discography, I decided to get some hype going here.  I have a lot of questions and have never heard some of this puzzling discography.

For example, this intriguing collection was released a while back under the title "Rare and Previously Unreleased Recordings: 1965-1972," but with no discographical information about the contents.

Looking at the on-line discography of Z.Z. 45s supplied by Soulful Kinda Music (, this collection would appear to contain some of Z.Z.'s very first recordings made for his brother's MH label, as well as the listed early Messa 45.  However, these recordings were made before 1965.  Some of them were also re-recorded later, raising some questions.

The rest of the songs here would appear to come from the 1970s, also from the MH label, the Hill label, the Audrey label...   The Soulful Kinda Music discography would indicate that there is most likely a lot more where that came from.

I look forward from some enlightenment from KC and Dr. Hepcat.  :)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Geater Davis - I'll Play The Blues For You

re-post from 2013 

"Vernon "Geater" Davis (29 January 1946 - 29 September 1984) was an American soul singer and songwriter. He has been described as "one of the South's great lost soul singers, an impassioned stylist whose voice was a combination of sweetness and sandpaper grit."

Davis was born in Kountze, Texas. In the late 1960s he was heard performing, along with Reuben Bell, by record producer Allen Orange. Orange arranged for them to record in Birmingham, Alabama, and started his own House of Orange label to release their output. Geater's first release, "Sweet Woman's Love", in 1970, reached # 45 on the Billboard R&B chart. His follow-up singles on the House of Orange label, including "I Can Hold My Own" and "Best Of Luck To You", were less commercially successful, but he recorded an album, Sweet Woman's Love, which is now considered a classic of the deep soul genre. He often wrote or co-wrote his own material.

After Orange closed his label in 1972, Davis recorded for the Luna label, and then for John Richbourg's 77 label, where several of his recordings such as "I'm Gonna Change" and "A Whole Lot Of Man" were made at the FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals. His 1973 single, "Your Heart Is So Cold" reached # 64 on the R&B chart. However, Davis' records did not generally sell well, despite heavy touring on the blues and chitlin circuits. He recorded for the Ace label in the mid 1970s, and later issued some disco singles on the revitalised House Of Orange label. In 1981 he joined the MT label run by James Bennett in Jackson, Mississippi, which issued several singles and an album, Better Days.

Davis died of a heart attack in Dallas, Texas in 1984 at the age of 38."

Geater Davis - Lost Soul Man

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO HAVE TOO MUCH GEATER DAVIS! This 2 disc compilation from the folks at AIM will add at least a few more to your collection even if you already have Sadder Shades Of Blue. I haven't yet compared the remastering or any of that stuff so ya gotta take
the whole shebang.

Geater Davis - Sadder Shades of Blue

Let's rerun Preslives original post and get another dose of Geater
Geater Davis is one of those voices from the Chitlin’ Circuit  that is much loved by his peers and hard core Blues/Soul fans, but hardly known to the general music-loving public.  Fortunately, his recorded legacy has been issued on CD on a couple of fine compilations.  His first recordings can be found on a CD from Soundscape Records that I believe is still in print, “I’ll Play the Blues For You: The Legendary House of Orange Sessions.”   This older compilation on West Side, which is now out of print, compiles mostly recordings done in Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals for John Richbourg’s Sound Stage 7 label.    There is only a small overlap between these two compilations.  If you really like this one, be sure and buy the other one!   One song that is on both compilations is the first recording of a number that later became closely associated with Albert King – “I’ll Play the Blues For You. “

--> Geater Davis owes an obvious strong debt to Bobby Bland.   But his sound is more rural, with more Southern sanctified grit.   The voice is unique.  Once it grabs you, you’re hooked.    I can still remember the very first time that I heard Geater Davis on “Sadder Shade of Blue,” while listening to a "Lost Soul" compilation LP.   It blew my mind right from the get go.  I've been hunting down everything that I could find by Geater Davis ever since.   

  Geater Davis was born and raised in Texas.  He worked the Circuit for most of the 60s without a recording contract.   Allen Orange heard Davis in the late 60s and was so impressed that he started his own record label to record him: House of Orange.  In the early 70s, Davis moved to the Sound Stage Seven label where he recorded most of the tracks found here. Geater Davis died in 1984 at the young age of 38.

Claude Jeter - Yesterday and Today

The great Claude Jeter's final album (produced by Anthony Heilbut) is a satisfying mix of newly recorded (in 1991) tracks blended with unreleased Swan Silvertones material.

nytimes obit

guardian obit

Texas Gospel Vol 6

Good Morning!

This will get your blood moving!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Texas Gospel, Vol. 5: Devil Can't Harm A Praying Man 1956/57

The organ swells and we are once again at Gospel Sunday.

"In the 1950s, if you were a quartet and a Peacock Recording Artist, man, you were something.
Some of the top quartets of the decade were on Peacock’s roster. Thanks to the Texas Gospel series by Opal Nations and Acrobat Records, the vast majority of Houston-based Peacock’s “World’s Greatest Spirituals” singles from its 1500 and 1700 series are now available on CD, some for the first time.
Sadly, after releasing the first two Texas Gospel volumes, Acrobat is no more. Nevertheless, gospel historian and project annotator Opal Nations has picked up the standard and is stewarding sales of Texas Gospel Volumes 3, 4, and 5. He plans for Texas Gospel to be a seven-volume series of Peacock singles when all is said and done. Meanwhile, this three-CD set, subtitled Devil Can’t Harm a Praying Man (a 1955 Dixie Hummingbirds song included here), features 85 tracks and a 60-page illustrated booklet by Nations that is so thick it hardly fits in the jewel case. (The liner notes are available for reading at
The 85 tracks on Vols. 3 – 5 take the listener from Peacock 1736 to 1781, or from 1951 to 1957, and feature quartets such as the Dixie Hummingbirds, Sensational Nightingales, Original Five Blind Boys (tracks not already included on a separate Acrobat set dedicated to the Archie Brownlee aggregation), Spirit of Memphis, Gospelaires of Dayton and singers Jessie Mae Renfro and Cleophus Robinson. Gospel hits such as the Birds’ “Trouble in My Way” and “Christian’s Automobile,” and the ‘Gales’ “Somewhere to Lay My Head” and “See How They Done My Lord” are intermixed with lesser-known but equally exquisite tracks such as the Spirit of Memphis’ “When” and the Blind Boys’ pop-flavored “There’s No Need to Cry,” featuring a passionate lead by Brownlee.
Even if you already own many of these recordings on vinyl, there is something about hearing them in chronological order. First, the experience hammers home just how much give and take there was between the “street corner” vocal groups of the mid-50s and gospel quartets when it came to employing doo-wop background vocals, impassioned leads, scooping and soaring falsetto leaps. Second, it helps you appreciate even more the artistry of the Dixie Hummingbirds and Sensational Nightingales and their respective leads Ira Tucker and Julius Cheeks. Third, hearing the various quartets in one sitting gives you a sense of the rivalry of the day, and how amazingly different the Spirit of Memphis was turning out to be. Fourth, it’s easier to carry around than a box full of 78s."
Five of Five Stars
Reviewed by Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Robert Cray - Selected Rarities

This is a compilation of mine...following on from KC's Robert Cray retrospective...

Robert Cray - Selected Rarities

Tracks 1 to 7 have been dubbed by me fom 12" singles RC released in the UK, direct to Yamaha Digital Recorder. They do not appear in this form on any of his albums. (1985-88)

Tracks 8 to 11 are from an FM broadcast of Eric Clapton's Blues Night at the Royal Albert Hall on 03 Feb 1990 - From my tapes.

Tracks 12 to 19 are from an FM broadcast recorded in London on 20 May 1992 - From my tapes

It's a great listen from a master !

Monday, July 3, 2017

Don Bryant - Don't Give Up On Love

Just when you think we may have reached the end of these wonderful 'rediscovery' projects thru sheer attrition; Don Bryant offers this absolute masterpiece. I'm going to have to go buy a copy of this one TODAY! You got any sense, you will too.

"Dedicated to wife Ann Peebles, Don't Give Up on Love is Don Bryant's first secular album since 1969, the same year he placed a co-writing credit on This Is Ann Peebles. Bryant also recorded several singles for Hi Records during the latter half of the '60s, but he settled into penning songs for other artists and spun some gold with his partner, exemplified by "I Can't Stand the Rain." Long after Bryant devoted all his musical energy to the church, Hi Rhythm Section drummer Howard Grimes persuaded the singer to perform with him in the Bo-Keys. Bryant's return to R&B felt so right that it led to Don't Give Up on Love. Recorded in Memphis with several of the Bo-Keys, including Grimes and fellow Hi veterans Charles Hodges (organ) and Hubby Turner (keyboards), as well as bandleader Scott Bomar (bass), it stays true to the tradition of late-'60s/early-'70s Memphis soul. Much of that has to do with the enduring might of Bryant's voice. It seizes attention on the opening cover of Vernon Morrison and Don Robey's "A Nickel and a Nail" -- popularized by O.V. Wright, for whom Bryant wrote material -- and seldom loosens its grip through a set that is mostly originals composed by Bryant either alone or with Bomar. Out of the new songs, "How Do I Get There" is the standout, a resolute hybrid of gospel, blues, and soul where Bryant sings about the promise of the afterlife. Bryant also goes all the way back to 1960 for an update of "I Got to Know," which he wrote for vocal group the "5" Royales, and revisits his "It Was Jealousy," recorded separately during the early '70s by Otis Clay and Peebles. This is one pleasant and pleasing surprise."

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Bobby Marchan - Get Down With It (expanded)

0n the extended conversation around Little Richard and his New Orleans posse; the guy I've left out is Bobby Marchan. Bobby was one of the three lead singers for Huey P. Smith's Clowns as well as a star at the Bourbon Street & Dew Drop drag revues. The first cover here is the base that this collection is made from but I have flushed it out to 32 tracks with some excellent stuff that was left out and a later single rip.

Until I put this thing together I confess I was at best lukewarm on Bobby, but this collection (actually there is a good bit more) has made me a believer; this dude could flat out sing! 

"Bobby Marchan (born Oscar James Gibson) (April 30, 1930 in Youngstown Ohio – December 5, 1999) was a well-respected American rhythm and blues bandleader, MC, singer-performer, recording artist, and female impersonator, who initially began performing in New Orleans nightclubs, specifically the Dew Drop Inn and the Club Tijuana in the mid 1950s.

Marchan also toured with the band of Huey "Piano" Smith, sometimes performing as lead singer / bandleader and substituting vocally for Huey Smith (who reputedly often would stay in New Orleans to write and record while his namesake band "Huey Smith and the Clowns" played clubs and toured on the road). The touring band included James Booker on piano. (Huey did not like leaving New Orleans and his local connections, he also had a penchant for double booking dates so there were often two versions of the band playing at the same time)

One of Marchan's vocal performances with Huey Smith and the Clowns can be heard on the New Orleans R&B recording, "Don't You Just Know It", which was released in 1958. Marchan also had a solo #1 hit on the national R&B charts in 1960 with the tune "There is Something on your Mind," a cover of a song performed by Big Jay McNeely.

Marchan recorded for a handful of small soul labels such as Fire Records, Volt, Dial, Cameo, and Gamble as well as Ace Records, which had released the Clowns' records. Marchan regularly performed at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

In the 1990s his company Manicure Productions was involved in hip hop music booking and promotion including Take Fo' Records bounce music artist DJ Jubilee. He was involved with the formation of Cash Money Records.

Marchan died from liver cancer on December 5, 1999"   

The more I listen, the more I am moved to say that rarely in singing history has anyone had better control of his falsetto than Bobby!  

Texas Gospel, vol 4

Happy Sunday!

The Robey Revolution begins to flower as influences and musicians creep in from the Duke side.

Lots of killer Hummingbirds and Nightingales, Blind Boys of Miss.,  Sister Jessie Mae Renfro, Sister Josephine James...really a remarkable set.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Robert Cray - 34 years of Young Bob

Just one track each from 19 albums...I've always said this would result in a strong comp and it has. The fun thing is that Gus could do the same thing tomorrow and come up with a different, but equally good volume 2. It is an interesting way to listen to his body of work.

One thing that is clear to me is that he shares much more with the Southern Soul of ZZ Hill, OV Wright, and Little Johnny Taylor, than with the Blues of the Kings or even the Texas guys. 

...pssst,   gus has added a volume 2, so now there are 40 tracks!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sherman Robertson - Going Back Home (1998) & Guitar Man Live (2006)

Sherman Robertson is an American blues guitarist, songwriter and singer, who has been described as "one part zydeco, one part swamp blues, one part electric blues and one part classic rhythm and blues." (Wikipedia)

Sherman  Robertson  is  a  blues singer/guitarist born in Louisiana in 1948 and raised in Houston, Texas . He started playing professionally in his teens in the local bar scene and spent some time, during his formative years, on the road as Bobby Bland’s  guitarist. Clifton Chenier heard Robertson at a Blues Festival in 1982 and invited him to join his band – He appeared on a couple of his albums and stayed with him for 5 years up until Chenier's illness and subsequent death in 1987.
Robertson went on to join the bands of Rockin’ Dopsie and Terrance Simien & the Mallet Playboys. He also made an appearance on Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ album (on the track Crazy Love Vol II).
After going  solo  Robertson released his first album ‘I’m The Man’ in 1993 on the UK Indigo label produced by Mike Vernon , famous for his productions of  John Mayall’s Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton , Peter Green/ Fleetwood Mac’s early recordings and many others. The album received numerous positive reviews, and was nominated  for a W C Handy Award  He has since toured internationally and released further albums, Here & Now (1996) Going Back Home (1998) Guitar Man - Live (2006) all receiving critical acclaim .
Bruce Iglauer , President of Alligator Records, had this to say about him :
“When I saw him...he was on fire .He ruled the stage. had the audience in the palm of his hand, and his just plain physical showmanship reminded  me of Albert Collins... He’s got that Texas energy, great guitar chops, and is a wonderful, soulful singer.”
It was reported back in 2012 that Robertson had suffered a Stroke but I have still been unable to find any up-to-date reports on his recovery – Here’s hoping  he’s doing well. Anyone know his current situation ? - Gus (back in 2012 with update)
This guy is a beaut ! Just get these gems in your collection...listen and tell me he's not essential to modern Blues history ! ..He's got classic Blues Soul Gospel in his vocals and a modern exciting edge in his guitar style...I first heard him on a Rockin' Dopsie album...and he caught my ear then as a sideman...And still does,,, Louisiana born but Texas is the main influence here ( Albert Collins et al)...What better roots can you have ?...Gus

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Albert Collins, Robert Cray & Johnny Copeland - Showdown!

AllMusic Review by

Cray found himself in some pretty intimidating company for this Grammy-winning blues guitar summit meeting, but he wasn't deterred, holding his own alongside his idol Albert Collins and Texas great Johnny Copeland. Cray's delivery of Muddy Waters' rhumba-rocking "She's into Something" was one of the set's many highlights.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm

OH YES YES YES!!!! The Robert Cray who blew my mind some 20 years ago is BACK!!!. After those first 3 classic albums, it has been spotty at best....until now!!!  Bad Bob has finally seen his calling as the ZZ Hill of his generation! Can't recall being more thrilled by something NEW in this genre for a loooooong time!

Start to finish you gonna be MOVIN', I promise! Vocals better than ever, guitar work brings back the smoke....Damn this is good!!