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I'm broke and I'm hungry, ragged and dirty, too. If I clean up, mama, can I come home with you? - William Brown, Ragged and Dirty

Author Topic: Allen Shaw  (Read 2708 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Allen Shaw
« on: August 19, 2008, 01:15:30 PM »
Hi all,
I have a question for one of you Weenies who owns "Blues and Gospel Recordings".  Did the Memphis musician, Allen Shaw, appear on any other recordings apart from his two titles, "I Couldn't Help It" and "Moanin' The Blues", and "The Coldest Stuff In Town", on which he and Memphis Willie B. accompany and sing alongside Hattie Hart?  I would be particularly interested in any other titles on which Allen Shaw sang.  I think he was one of the greatest deep-voiced country blues singers ever, in a class with Son House.
all best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: Allen Shaw
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2008, 03:16:21 PM »
Hi, John,

Shaw, or Shaw and Willie Borum, accompany Hattie Hart on 4 songs: "I'm Missing That Thing", I Let My Daddy Do That", "Coldest Stuff In Town", and "Happy-Go-Lucky Blues".  All 4 are on Document's Memphis Blues CD.  There are an additional 15 (!) unissued Hattie Hart songs from that session, plus 3 by Allen Shaw and 4 by Willie Borum, with Shaw probably playing guitar on at least two of Borum's titles.  So there are 22 unissued titles that either do or may feature Shaw.  We can but hope that a few will turn up some day!   

Offline Johnm

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Re: Allen Shaw
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2008, 06:20:34 PM »
Thanks very much for that information, dj.  I guess Allen Shaw joins artists like Sam Collins, William Moore, Scott Dunbar and Funny Papa Smith who had tons of unissued titles.  As you say, we can only live in hope of some of the masters being located.  Have you heard the other three issued Hattie Hart titles with Shaw and Memphis Willie B.?  What are they like?
All best,
Johnm     

Offline banjochris

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Re: Allen Shaw
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2008, 10:26:54 PM »
Have you heard the other three issued Hattie Hart titles with Shaw and Memphis Willie B.?  What are they like?

I think they're excellent, both the two guitars and the vocals. Very similar in sound to "Coldest Stuff in Town" but I don't think Shaw sings on the others. They're all on the Document Memphis Blues album, the one with Walter Rhodes, etc., not the one with Robert Wilkins.
Chris

Offline doctorpep

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Re: Allen Shaw
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2008, 01:09:08 PM »
Jesus! "Funny Papa" Smith, one of the best lyricists in the history of the Blues, and Cryin' Sam Collins, a wonderful singer and slide player, have tons of unreleased stuff out there?!?
"There ain't no Heaven, ain't no burning Hell. Where I go when I die, can't nobody tell."

http://www.hardluckchild.blogspot.com/

Offline dj

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Re: Allen Shaw
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2008, 04:24:41 PM »
Quote
Funny Papa" Smith, one of the best lyricists in the history of the Blues, and Cryin' Sam Collins, a wonderful singer and slide player, have tons of unreleased stuff out there?!?

And Charley Patton, and Son House, and Ishmon Bracey, and a host of others.  But don't worry: chances are slim to none that we'll ever get to hear any of it. 

Offline doctorpep

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Re: Allen Shaw
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2008, 06:40:10 PM »
That really sucks! I thought I remembered reading somewhere, maybe on Allmusic.com, that Cryin' Sam Collins recorded 60 sides! Not to get too off topic, but the tragedy of the Blues, beyond many singers' early deaths, is that many great Bluesmen, with their own individual styles, were never recorded, and we (I don't mean this in a selfish way) and the rest of the world will never know the talents of these people and their beautiful music. It's basically true that the record companies didn't value Old-Timey music like we do today, but, boy, did they really under-appreciate the Blues of the '20s and '30s! Ironically, we have all the wonderful recording technology today, in addition to mp3s and readily available cds, but we just don't have men with the genius of these old Country Blues guys (I know this is just my opinion, so please don't get upset if you're a musician yourself!). Anyway, I hope that some of these old sides will be found by someone like Joe Bussard or just anybody. If not, at least we have Alvin Youngblood Hart, who sends shivers up and down my spine.
"There ain't no Heaven, ain't no burning Hell. Where I go when I die, can't nobody tell."

http://www.hardluckchild.blogspot.com/

Offline jostber

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Re: Allen Shaw
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2008, 09:54:36 AM »
Allen Shaw, a brilliant pre-war blues artist. I first heard him on the great vinyl collection "Recording The Blues" on CBS that I got some years ago.





Offline dj

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Re: Allen Shaw
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2008, 03:19:28 PM »
Quote
It's basically true that the record companies didn't value Old-Timey music like we do today, but, boy, did they really under-appreciate the Blues of the '20s and '30s!

As commercial concerns, they apparently had good reason.  The Victor company listed sales figures on its pressing information cards at some point in 1933.  Dick Spottswood surveyed the cards for the 23000 series, which included blues, Hawaiian, and hillbilly music.  The results of his research were published in 78 Quarterly Number 5 (1990).

While it's unclear what exactly the sales figures meant - were they records shipped, records shipped minus returns, actual sales reported from dealers, or something else entirely? - comparing sales figures is instructive, to say the least.  The biggest selling blues title from the period where sales were listed was Walter Davis' "Blue Sea Blues"/"Broke And Hungry", with sales of 3,231 copies.  Compare this with Jimmie Rodgers' "Moonlight And Skies"/"Jimmie Rodgers Visits The Carter Family" (with the Carter Family), which sold 24,093 copies, or the Carter Family's "On The Rock Where Moses Stood"/"Darling Nellie Across The Sea", which had sales of 16,407.  It only gets worse as you go down the blues list, especially if you look at the sales of the artists who are considered "major" today: Washington White, "The Panama Limited": 412 copies; Teddy Darby, "Deceiving Blues": 262; Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe, "I'm Going Back Home": 162; Ramblin' Thomas, "Shake It Girl": 327; Frank Stokes, "I'm Giong Away": 207.  This in a period when Duke Ellington would sell 28,979 copies of a release and guys that nobody's heard of today like Frank Crumit and Gus Arnhem sold 22,580 and 29,066 respectively. 

It's frankly a wonder that blues continued to be recorded at all.  And, when you realize that Kid Coley's "Freight Train Blues"/"War Dream Blues" sold 69 copies, it's a wonder that copies of these records survived to be heard today.       

Offline jostber

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Re: Allen Shaw
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2010, 08:44:40 AM »
Is that unissued as in recorded but not released, or recorded, released and not found?


Offline dj

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Re: Allen Shaw
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2010, 08:49:37 AM »
Recorded but not released.  Due to scrap drives during the second World War, the masters have almost certainly been destroyed.

 


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