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Author Topic: Hidden Treasures  (Read 5577 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Hidden Treasures
« on: December 03, 2008, 10:04:54 PM »
Hi all,
Since spending so much time with the George Mitchell Collection, I've noticed that in Post-War field recordings, in particular, you occasionally encounter singers and players whose very few recorded performances make you wish they had had the opportunity to record at length.  In the George Mitchell set, I felt this way in particular about John Lee Ziegler and William "Do-Boy" Diamond. 
Another musician who has made an impression on me this way is the singer Amelia Johnson, who appears on the CD, "Big Joe Williams and Friends--Going Back To Crawford", Arhoolie CD 9015.  Ms. Johnson does four songs on the CD, all accompanied by Big Joe:  "Checkin' Out", My Last Girl--Don't Treat Her Wrong!", "Can't Listen No More" and "Don't Stay Long".  Every one of the performances is spectacular; she sounds strong, serious, and has none of the commonly encountered "red hot mama" posturing.  She has the unmistakeable sound of someone who means what she is saying, and that is where the rubber meets the road in terms of this kind of singing, I think.  She sounded youngish at the time she was recorded, in 1971.  She could be an exciting influence at an event like Port Townsend if she is still around and still singing.
Have any of you heard recorded performances by singers or players who may have done only a couple of tunes on tape, but who delivered such a powerful "tip of the iceberg" impression, that you are permanently left wanting more of their music?  I would be interested in hearing about any such musicians.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: December 03, 2008, 10:55:14 PM by Johnm »

Offline oddenda

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Re: Hidden Treasures
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2008, 10:59:30 PM »
John -

          You're (partially) in luck - the Music Maker Relief Foundation has fairly extensive recordings of John Lee Zeigler. I went by to see him one time ('79 or '80) on the recommendation of Val Wilmer, but his wife had just died. Didn't think it appropriate to ask him to record - life be's like that, sometimes.

Peter B.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Hidden Treasures
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2008, 07:30:38 AM »


Thanks for the heads up, Pete.  I'll see if any of those recordings have been issued.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Hidden Treasures
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2008, 09:58:36 AM »
I've the following Zeigler tracks on a Flyright compilation (LP 576).

Poor boy
John Henry   
Used to be mine but look who got her now
If I lose let me lose   

Said to be recorded 1976-79. Check out Stefan's Flyright discography

Offline jharris

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Re: Hidden Treasures
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2008, 01:35:23 PM »
Something I posted back in May when I got word of Ziegler's passing:

http://sundayblues.org/archives/159

-Jeff H.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Hidden Treasures
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2008, 03:43:28 PM »
Thaks, Bunker Hill and jharris, for additional information on John Lee Ziegler.  Incidentally, was it Ziegler or Zeigler?  The George Mitchell Collection has it as Ziegler, but I understand that isn't necessarily the case.
Any other obscure favorites out there?
All best,
Johnm

Offline doctorpep

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Re: Hidden Treasures
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2008, 06:07:11 PM »
Ziegler performs "Bring It On Home To Me" amazingly.
"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 Bunker Hill

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Re: Hidden Treasures
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2008, 08:44:55 AM »
Ziegler performs "Bring It On Home To Me" amazingly.
Really. The 1961 Sam Cooke song or another similarly named?

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Hidden Treasures
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2008, 11:32:31 AM »
Sam Cooke

Offline jpeters609

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Re: Hidden Treasures
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2008, 01:18:19 PM »
As for other "hidden treasures," I'll have to tip my hat once again to the Patton-influenced Delta stylings of John Dudley ? three songs recorded by Alan Lomax at Parchman Farm in 1959. His "Clarksdale Mill Blues" is dynamite. (See the related John Dudley tag for more on this mystery man. What a missed opportunity he was!)

I also have to cast my vote for Jessie Lee Vortis, who has a couple songs on the George Mitchell box set. His songs are truly excellent Mississippi hill country performances. Apparently, he lived near R.L. Burnside and was one of Burnside's early teachers. (See R.L.'s CD on Adelphi, "My Black Name A'Ringing," recorded in 1969 and with Vortis playing second guitar on a few tracks. Did Adelphi also record Jessie Lee Vortis by himself? Wish I knew ? see my related Adelphi Records tag if you have any insights on the status of that operation!)

-Jeff
Jeff

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Hidden Treasures
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2008, 01:39:09 PM »
I also have to cast my vote for Jessie Lee Vortis, who has a couple songs on the George Mitchell box set. His songs are truly excellent Mississippi hill country performances.
I've got one of them on a Revival LP from about 1971. Better dig it out and give it a spin.

Offline daddystovepipe

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Re: Hidden Treasures
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2008, 03:36:39 PM »
On the lp 'Red River Runs' - 1934-1941 field recordings by J. and A. Lomax, Flyright lp259, there are two songs by the completely unknown "Blind Joe".  Both songs, 'When I Lie Down' and 'In Trouble' are the nearest approach to the guitar style of Blind Blake ever achieved by another artist.  The fact they were recorded in 1934, so close to Blake's appearances on record shows that Blind Joe must have been a great talent.
Bengt Olsson, interviewing a retired warden, who was at the state penitentiary (Raleigh, NC) at the same time as Blind Joe, elicited information that the man's real name was Harry Davis....

I need to work more on that time-machine...

joew

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Re: Hidden Treasures
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2008, 12:16:51 PM »
Willie Doss has two excellent songs ('Catfish Blues' and 'I Had aWoman') on the second cd of the Blues at Newport set.  I can't find anyhting else by him.  Reminds me of acoustic Burnside material.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Hidden Treasures
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2008, 01:08:19 PM »
Willie Doss has two excellent songs ('Catfish Blues' and 'I Had aWoman') on the second cd of the Blues at Newport set.  I can't find anyhting else by him. 
There have been discussions in the past, see if there is a Willie Doss TAG. In the meantime check out

http://www.wirz.de/music/dossfrm.htm

Bits and pieces of reading matter

Offline jpeters609

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Re: Hidden Treasures
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2008, 02:51:39 PM »
Here's another:
Joe Townsend (vocals, with a guitarist whose name escapes me) on the "God's Mighty Hand" compilation (Heritage HTCD 09). He has two great performances, recorded live in a church: "If I Could Not Say A Word" and "Going Over The Hill."
Jeff

 


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