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It was in tune when I bought it - Big Dave MacLean, in concert, while retuning his ancient slot head Gibson

Author Topic: Jr Kimbrough  (Read 821 times)

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Jr Kimbrough
« on: February 11, 2016, 01:11:41 AM »
In light of what JohnM and Harriet have posted at the YT discussion, this ancient piece maybe of interest. Conducting a Weenie which has failed to find it, so here goes.  ;D

Junior Kimbrough by (the now deceased) Tom Freeland 15/01/1997

There is a new/old Junior Kimbrough recording just out; I'm going to use it as an occasion to update some posts that I did on Blues-l & PostWar blues group in May of 1995. The subject, then, was Junior Kimbrough's output prior to Deep Blues.  His Highwater single is more-or-less well known; his other work is pretty obscure and hard to run down.  I've since obtained a few more pieces of information, and even heard some of the recordings.  It seems that he has had the following recording sessions:

two in the sixties, one involving Charlie Feathers and one at Phillwood that did not. The latter, in 1966 according to Sylvester Oliver, may have involved Scotty Moore. These are very interesting connection because they are *serious* connections to Memphis? rockabilly era.  According to Quentin Claunch, Feathers recorded five songs with Junior in the predecessor to American Studios; they were never released. Claunch stated that the sound on these tapes was substandard, and he still has them.  The songs were "Ain't It Lonesome" "I Feel Good, "I'm Sorry" "I Done Got Old," and "Meet Me In The City."  Claunch let Goldwax have a copy of those tapes in the early 1990s.

one in the seventies involving Charlie Feathers, plus an interview broadcast on the BBC.

one in the eighties involving Highwater.

and then Deep Blues and Fat Possum.

The releases prior Fat Possum were all either on compilations or singles.  In the 60s, he put out a Phillwood single from the non-Feathers' session. The Phillwood single was "You Can't Leave Me" b/w "Tram", which is a typo-- it should be "Tramp", the Lowell Fulson song.

In the 70s, he put out an English single from the 70s Feather?s session. According to Oliver, this was in 1975 or 1976.  The song was called "Meet in the City" (I do not know what the other side was).  In 1972, he was interviewed by Geoffrey Haydon for the BBC TV series "The Friendly Invasion" as a result of an interview with Feathers. The series did not include the interview, and Haydon allowed Charlie Gillett to broadcast it on a BBC radio show, Honky-Tonk.  Included in the broadcast was a performance of "Meet In The City;" I've heard from someone with that performance on tape, who says it is wonderful.

In the early 80s, Gillett compiled an album (on a Dutch label) of musicians who had career breaks on Honky Tonk; it included a Kimbrough track along with Ian Dury, Lena Lovitch, Graham Parker, Mark Knofler, Elvis (then D.P.) Costello, and others.

Sylvester Oliver produced the Highwater sessions.  Oliver says that
 there are 10 unreleased sides from those sessions (plus two that were
 released); he says they were in 1982 (Evans said to me they were from

In the late 80s/early 90s, Quentin Claunch sent Goldwax Records (then in Nashville) the 60s Charlie Feather's session tapes, which Claunch considered substandard from technical standpoint. Goldwax was supposedly considering licensing them, but didn't.

This seems to have lead to a release by a label called ADVENTURE IN MUSIC on a compilation called COTTON PATCH BLUES, AIM-028 (copyrighted in
1991). It included 3 Junior Kimbrough tracks:  "I Feel Good", "Ain't It Lonesome" and "I'm Sorry."  The liner notes states that Goldwax is going to put out a CD of Junior's material; also on the compilation are some Frank Frost tracks ("Midnight Prowler" and "I Got Jane On My Mind."  The former is not the same as the Earwig version).  I had access to it for literally about 15 minutes last summer; I was very impressed with Junior's singing on the tapes, but found his band less interesting than on his more recent material.   The CD implies that a full-blown release by Junior is forthcoming, but I have seen no credible evidence that such a release exists (I think at one point Vincent was convinced it did, but I also think he doesn?t think that anymore).

Finally, a Nashville label is has just released a 78 (!) which consists of one side of Junior Kimbrough on electric guitar and Charlie Feathers acoustic, with Junior singing, titled "Feel Good Again".  The other side is a Feathers song, "Now, Little Girl."  It is on the Perfect label, a reproduction of an old 78 label.  I do not know whether it is "I Feel Good" from the 60s Feathers session for from some other session; it is virtually impossible that it is a more recent recording.

The information in this post comes from telephone interviews with Quentin Claunch, Sylvester Oliver, Dave Evans and Eliott Clark at Goldwax in Nashville.  Additionally, information about the BBC radio programs and subsequent releases came from Alan Balfour (who contacted Charlie Gillett) and Chris Smith, and about the AIM release is from blues-list's very own Vincent.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Jr Kimbrough
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2016, 06:16:30 AM »
Thanks very much for that background information on Junior Kimbrough, Bunker Hill.  It appears that the version of "Meet Me In The City" that I posted may have been the one from the '60s, based on the description of the sound quality issues on those recordings.  Whatever the case, it was a wonderful take.  It sounds as though Junior Kimbrough had good reason to be soured on the music business.
All best,

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Jr Kimbrough
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2016, 06:22:53 AM »
The first I heard of Kimbrough was on the Charlie Gillett radio programme and I have "Meet Me in the City" on the compilation LP that Charlie put out. I think this track by Kimbrough was recorded for the British arts TV programme "Arena" by Anthony Wall.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline jpeters609

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Re: Jr Kimbrough
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2016, 06:45:59 AM »
According to the Fat Possum/Big Legal Mess record label (who issued them on LP a few years back), Jr. Kimbrough's first recordings are the following, recorded by Quinton Claunch at American Studios in Memphis, TN in 1966:

1. Lonesome In My Home
2. Feels So Good #1
3. Done Got Old
4. Meet Me In The City
5. Feels So Good #2
6. Feels So Bad

These are available as an LP (and apparently a CD) called "First Recordings."


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