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Some people say that a preacher won't steal. But he will do more stealin' then I get regular meals - Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe, Preacher's Blues

Author Topic: Art Satherely's "hoard"  (Read 1676 times)

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Art Satherely's "hoard"
« on: May 10, 2007, 12:16:04 PM »
What follows is something that is accepted today but thirty years ago this was exciting news. It has, in part, been discussed in Red River Blues and doubtless will be covered in much greater depth by either (or both) of the forthcoming McTell projects. Obviously it won't have the same impact on those reading it now as back then, but prior to deleting from my computer I pass it on.


In the summer of 1975 it came to my notice that the John Edwards Memorial Foundation at the University of California held a number of unissued acetates and test pressings of some of the 1933 recordings of Blind Willie McTell, Curley Weaver and Buddy Moss. Art Satherley, one-time A&R man for the American Record Company had deposited them with the JEMF following an interview, published in 1972 ("'I'm A Record Man' - Uncle Art Satherley Reminisces" Norm Cohen, John Edwards Memorial Foundation Quarterly, Vol. 7, Part 1, Spring 1972, pp. 18-21). These will now form the bulk of an album - hopefully 18 tracks - all of unissued titles and previously unissued alternate takes by these artists.

David Evans, well known for his Mississippi fieldwork and book on Tommy Johnson, lived close enough to the JEMF to co-ordinate the production of the album and was not only enthusiastic about its compilation, but had recently uncovered an immense amount of new information about McTell, including new photographs. Thanks to David's personal involvement,-and to Paul Wells at the JEMF, the Foundation undertook to issue the material, together with extremely detailed notes, Including full biographies of the three artists, a discography of the 1933 record sessions, many previously unpublished photographs and lyric transcriptions and detailed headnotes to each track.

It is hardly necessary to point out just how important this release promises to be. With my own special Interest In the blues of the East Coast states and of north-east Georgia in particular, I was very eager to proceed with the JEMF project. Pete Lowry and I have long been collecting information in Georgia; numerous articles in "Blues Unlimited" my own book ("Crying For The Carolines", Studio Vista, London, 1971) and releases on Trix and Flyright Records give plenty evidence of this. We had interviewed Buddy Moss at length in 1969 and in 1970 and 1972 we had largely pieced together the Curley Weaver story. David Evans obtained an interview with McTell's widow, Kate, and undertook further fieldwork In Georgia on McTell to add to what little Pete and I had uncovered, so that we had enough information for a serious study - let alone the unissued recordings!

On close scrutiny, It became clear that the JEMF held mint quality acetates and tests on 20 unissued items, some of them alternative takes from one another, and others being alternative takes from issued takes. Many were titles which had never appeared in any form. They were as follows:

12953-2 GEORGIA BROWNS   Next door man
14009-2 BLIND WILLIE McTELL   It's your time to worry
14025-1 CURLEY WEAVER   Dirty mistreater
14031-1 BUDDY MOSS   Back to my used to be
14031-2 BUDDY MOSS   Back to my used to be
14037-3 BLIND WILLIE  McTELL   Broke down engine
14045-1 BLIND WILLIE McTELL   Love-makin' mama
14045-2 BLIND WILLIE McTELL   Love-makin' mama
14048-1 BLIND WILLIE McTELL   Death room blues
14048-2 BLIND WILLIE McTELL   Death room blues
14050-1 BLIND WILLIE McTELL   Lord, send me an angel
14050-2 BLIND WILLIE McTELL   Lord, send me an angel
14054-1 BUDDY MOSS   Broke down engine No. 2
14054-2 BUDDY MOSS   Broke down engine No. 2
14058-1 CURLEY WEAVER   Empty room blues
14065-1 BUDDY MOSS   Some lonesome day
14065-2 BUDDY MOSS   Some lonesome day
14066-2 BLIND WILLIE McTELL   B. and 0. blues No. 2
14068-1 BLIND WILLIE McTELL   Bell Street Lightnin'
14071-1 BLIND WILLIE McTELL    East St. Louis blues (Fare you well)

Thus these 20 items can be broken down into the following:

 7 unissued
   3 unissued alternates
   1 alternate take (14066-2)
 2 unissued
   1 alternate take (GEORGIA BROWNS)
 3 unissued
   3 unissued alternates

The nature of this windfall is obvious, but It actually meant that, however it was to be compiled, some previously unissued material would have to be passed over in selecting tracks for the album! What an amazing state in which to find oneself - having to leave off unissued Blind Willie McTell material for lack of space!

While the final compilation was still undecided, Paul Wells uncovered further unissued items at the Country Music Foundation in Nashville:

14024-1 CURLEY WEAVER    You was born to die (Unissued)
14032-1 BUDDY MOSS    Can't use you no more (Alternate take)
14037-1 BLIND WILLIE McTELL    Broke down engine No. 2 (Unissued alternate)

This left a choice of 23 items from which to draw and, if possible, 18 tracks will be used for the album. Unless further items for possible consideration surface, then the album will probably appear in this order:

12953-2   14048-1
14009-2   14048-2
14024-1   14050-1
14025-1   14054-2
14031-2   14058-1
14032-1   14065-2
14037-1   14066-2
14037-3   14068-1
14045-2   14071-1

The personnel of Art Satherley's mid-1930s blues sessions has been the subject of some discussion (Bruce Bastin - John Cowley "Uncle Art's Logbook Blues", Blues Unlimited, 108, June/July 1974, pp. 12-17) and these recordings will complement this study as well as provide one of the most stimulating releases of recent years. Copyright, Bruce Bastin, March 1977
(From:Talking Blues 6, July/Aug/Sept 1977, p 6-8)


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