Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => SOTM - Song Of The Month => Topic started by: Norfolk Slim on March 01, 2019, 12:14:06 AM

Title: SOTM March 2019 - Kansas City Blues
Post by: Norfolk Slim on March 01, 2019, 12:14:06 AM
I had to double check the list twice for this one, as it seemed almost certain to have been done before...

So far as I can tell, it was first recorded (and possibly written) by Jim Jackson.  He is not an artist particularly well known to me- but its notable how often he seems to crop up when I do research for SOTM threads.  He did early versions of Travelling Man and In the Jail house now- two of the previous SOTMs I have done.

Unusually, we have no fewer than 4 takes of the original available, listed as parts 1 to 4 on the Document recordings.  It seems that parts 1 and 2 were released on one record in 1927 and then parts 3 and 4 on another, in May 1928- presumably due to the success of the first.  They are all essentially the same song and accompaniment, with different lyrics.  Its interesting that it had  a heavier boom-changish groove than many of the later more urban versions seems to have.  I also noted that Part 1 sounds in F whilst all the others sound in E.  A recording speed issue or a deliberate adjustment of tuning (or capo)?



The song was so popular that Jackson churned out a further version also in 1928- this time called ?move to Louisiana? where the refrain changes to ?move to Louisiana Sugar, New Orleans going to be my home?


Charley Patton was presumably inspired by that version for his?Move to Alalbama? Charley retains the boom-chang (which is very much in his style anyway) but changes Kansas for Alabama and swaps ?baby where they don't allow you? for ?make Georgia be our home?.  It was recorded in October 1928- 5 months after Jackson's 'Louisiana' version was released.


Then there's Broonzy.  It seems like an archetypal Broonzy song to me.


And the wonderful MJB


I'm not so keen, personally, on the later more urban versions which became so popular- but I am sure there are some great versions which people will throw into the mix below...

Title: Re: SOTM March 2019 - Kansas City Blues
Post by: Johnm on March 01, 2019, 06:33:11 AM
Thanks for the Song of the Month selection and the initial post.  Thanks also for leaving plenty of opportunities for other folks to find other versions, too.

Here is one by "Red" Willie Smith, from the Folkways album, "Negro Folk Music From Alabama--Secular".  I believe Smith only recorded the three tracks of his that appear on this album, ever.  They're all really strong performances, too.  I apologize if this video is not viewable by non-U.S. Weenies:


Here is a version from William Harris, who may be the Alonzo Boone whom the record purports to be a performance by, or may be accompanying Alonzo Boone.  In any event, it's William Harris playing the guitar, and he builds on Jim Jackson's time stroke in his accompaniment.


Here is a version, "She Don't Walk" by the artist, Andrew Dunham, who recorded in Detroit in the late '40s or early '50s.  I have a longer take of this version on a CD, and Dunham tells the producer not to record him before performing the song.  Dunham has some pretty tough lyrics here, and the performance is unusual for being played out of D position.


All best,
Title: Re: SOTM March 2019 - Kansas City Blues
Post by: TenBrook on March 01, 2019, 08:56:32 AM
Thanks for putting this together Slim. Here's an old time take on the song by Bill Cox and Cliff Hobbs from 1936:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFrB3GJcG1U (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFrB3GJcG1U)
Title: Re: SOTM March 2019 - Kansas City Blues
Post by: Thomas8 on March 01, 2019, 05:13:44 PM
First two numbers that greeted me on my introductory LP to Lonnie Johnson, Deloise Searcy's piano got me from the moment it started. Interestingly Lonnie plays very little guitar but his downtrodden vocals and delivery are just beautiful. That's my kind of singing melancholic and honest.   


Title: Re: SOTM March 2019 - Kansas City Blues
Post by: DavidCrosbie on March 02, 2019, 07:34:41 AM
Like Jim Jackson, Furry Lewis played and sang for medicine shows. When Sam Charters 'rediscovered' him in 1961 he recorded this version:


A later performance was filmed. Perhaps not quite such an interesting guitar accompaniment to listen to ? but here you can watch him. After John Lee Hooker and a couple of songs from Furry, Kansas City starts about 25 minutes in.

Title: Re: SOTM March 2019 - Kansas City Blues
Post by: Pan on March 02, 2019, 10:52:16 AM
Thanks for the topic!

Speaking of Memphis Jug Band, here's a video of Will Shade and Charlie Burse playing Kansas City live in 1958.



Title: Re: SOTM March 2019 - Kansas City Blues
Post by: alyoung on March 02, 2019, 11:54:16 PM
Re Alonzo Boone ... it is William Harris. Recorded October 9; 1928 The same track was also issued on Gennett 6707 under Harris' name. It was common for record companies to issue the same tracks under various names on different labels that they owned.
Title: Re: SOTM March 2019 - Kansas City Blues
Post by: randyweinstein on March 06, 2019, 08:49:53 AM
Robert Nighthawk does a nice job with this tune
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoODzmh3vWM (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoODzmh3vWM)
Title: Re: SOTM March 2019 - Kansas City Blues
Post by: banjochris on March 06, 2019, 05:20:02 PM
I seem to remember in one of the footnotes in the Wardlow/Calt Patton bio an assertion that Blind Blake wrote "Kansas City" and that Booker Miller heard him play it in Chicago. I'd be interested in hearing more about that if anyone can elucidate.
Title: Re: SOTM March 2019 - Kansas City Blues
Post by: Stuart on March 06, 2019, 06:05:58 PM
Right you are, Chris. Page 176 in the text ("Kansas City Blues"), note 4 (page 270 in the back). Unfortunately, I don't know any more than what is in the book. (See attached PDF)
Title: Re: SOTM March 2019 - Kansas City Blues
Post by: DavidCrosbie on March 08, 2019, 09:05:33 AM
Brownie McGhee called the song Movin' To Kansas City and recorded it several times: solo, with Sonny Terry and this 1946 recording ? my favourite ? with his brother Sticks.

SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2020, SimplePortal