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Hi John C.,
You're right, Cat Iron's surname evidently was Carradine.  He was recorded by foklorist/music researcher Frederick Ramsey, Jr. in Natchez, Mississippi, and died within months of being recorded. The one album's-worth of material that was recorded is great and splits about evenly between religious material and really tough Blues.  I have the album.  I'll see if i can get it on the Juke.  One of the best tunes on it, "Jimmy Bell" was included on the fairly recently released anthology "Classic Blues On Folkways" put out by Smithsonian Folkways (not vol. 2 in that series).
All best,

I must have been thinking of this post from you on the old weenie list.? pwb, weenie...? it's all a big blur from 1927...

--- Quote ---From:? John Miller
Date:? Wed Apr 9, 2003? 12:54 am
Subject:? Cat Iron

Hi all,
Thanks for posting the info on Cat Iron, Andrew. As you and John D.
observed we did his "Tell Me, You Didn't Mean Me No Good" in class last
summer at Port Townsend. Another one of his songs from this Folkways album,
"Jimmy Bell", a great spooky one-chord number in the mold of Robert Wilkins'
"Rolling Stone", is featured on the new Smithsonian/Folkways compilation,
(same place I got the Roosevelt Sykes quote of two days ago). Some more
information on Cat Iron is supplied there as well. Evidently his name was
William Carradine, and folklorist Frederick Ramsey misunderstood his
pronunciation of the name, and heard him as saying "Cat Iron" when asked
what his name was. Carradine was from Natchez, south of Vicksburg, on the
river, an area curiously unmined for Blues players down through the years.
One side of his Folkways album is hymns and spirituals and the other side is
Blues, and particularly low-down ones, at that. "Jimmy Bell" verges on
blasphemy, something not often encountered in the music. Cat Iron was a
great singer and a very expressive rough guitarist. I sure would like to
see that documentary. Judging from his photos, he was a big
impressive-looking guy who looked to have some Choctaw in him like many of
his neighbors. According to the new information in the Smithsonian/Folkways
compilation, he died in 1958, the same year Ramsey recorded him, so he might
just as easily have gone unrecorded. Sometimes the windows into musicians'
lives are so narrow they are barely an opening.
All Best,
--- End quote ---

Re. acoustic Fred McD, you really must get the first recordings CD (Rounder), recorded by Lomax at Fred's house. It's a classic in all respects.

OK so I'm partially through my list; I ordered acoustic Fred McDowell from Rounder (2 CD's), decided I really wanted "Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues" from Teddy Darby at which point it took about 30 minutes to track down an available copy of the Document collection (thanks again to John Miller for doing this tune at PT) and added Memphis Minnie to my need to own list. Now here's the challenge, I really like Teddy Williams' "Catfish Blues" (on a local college radio station late one night during some strange blues show I heard a recording of the song by Jimmie Hendrix that really caught my attention so now I check out every version) I can't find anything that contains this specific song except for the WC Juke. In the meantime I was referred to a David Merrick musical "The Happy Time" starring Robert Goulet in which Teddy Williams is listed as part of the choir, I'm curious is this the same Teddy Williams?

Someone suggested I listen to the Juke to save money, I can't get it in my truck! >:(

Hi Gary,
My favorite version of "Catfish Blues" was done by Robert Petway, though there were very good ones done by Skip James, Tommy McClennan, Pink Anderson and others, I'm sure.  The Petway version is included on a new JSP set of Mississippi Blues which includes all of Big Joe Williams early recordings along with all of Robert Petway's, Tommy McClennan's, Willie Lofton's, and possibly Arthur Pettis's, too.  It's quite a haul and the price is quite reasonable, around $26.00.  I'm glad you have been enjoying "Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues" and were able to track it down.
All best,


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