collapse

* Member Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

* Like Us on Facebook

* Support Weenie!

Shop on Amazon using these search boxes and Weenie earns a small commission:
USA
Search Now:
In Association with Amazon

United Kingdom
Search Now:
In Association with Amazon

Canada
Search Now:
In Association with Amazon

* Weenie's CD!

I can't stand to sing the same song the same way two nights in succession, let alone two years or ten years. If you can, then it ain't music, it's close-order drill or exercise or yodeling or something, not music - Billie Holiday, 1915-1959

Author Topic: Favorite singers  (Read 28770 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline dj

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 2615
  • Howdy!
Re: Favorite singers
« Reply #45 on: January 20, 2006, 07:28:24 AM »
I've been listening a lot to Blind Teddy Darby lately thanks to John M.'s lyric posts.  I have to say I'm very impressed with Darby's singing.  He recorded over an 8 year span, from 1929 to 1937, and it seems like he kept developing his vocal style throughout the period.  In 1929 his vocals sound to me very much influenced by Lonnie Johnson, especially on "Lose Your Mind" and "What Am I To Do".  By the time of his 1933 sessions, he'd pretty much ditched the Lonnie Johnson mannerisms for a (mostly) deeper, rougher, and more expressive style.  Some of my favorite Blind Teddy Darby vocal moments come from this session.  In "Low Mellow" he sings "She's so mellow, I love to hear her" in his normal singing voice, then switches to a hoarser half-whisper for the end of the line: "when she talks".  "Don't Like The Way You Do" contains the wonderful couplet "Now you promised some shoes, you promised some socks / The first thing you brought me was a dose of medicine", and there's an almost audible chuckle in Darby's voice on the "dose of medicine".  Then on "She Ain't No Girl Of Mine" from the same session Darby pitches his voice much higher for an entirely different effect.  By 1935, Darby's standard singing voice was pitched higher than it had been in 1933, though lower than the voice he used on "She Ain't No Girl Of Mine", and he sang with more vibrato.  Teddy Darby was quite an interesting performer, with a constantly evolving vocal style, a guitar style that started out as rural fingerpicking and ended up as a more urban flatpicking, and some unusual lyric twists.  I wish he'd recorded after 1937.

Offline dj

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 2615
  • Howdy!
Re: Favorite singers
« Reply #46 on: February 07, 2006, 03:42:42 PM »
The pianist Jesse James was a minor figure in the history of the blues, having recorded only four songs at a single session for Decca in Chicago on June 3rd 1936.  James seems to be pretty much a biographical cypher.  There's a rumor that he was a prisoner brought to the studio under guard, but Howard Rye, in the notes to Document's Piano Blues Volume 1 says "it is not clear what evidence there is for this tale".  At any rate, Jesse James had a rather hoarse bass but expressive voice that exuded a sly humor.  I find his singing quite appealing.  All four of James's recorded titles are now on the Juke.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2006, 03:20:21 AM by dj »

Offline dj

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 2615
  • Howdy!
Re: Favorite singers
« Reply #47 on: March 03, 2006, 06:34:47 PM »
I caught another singer that I really like on the Juke the other day: Burl C. "Jaybird" Coleman.  The steam-driven Victrola played Trunk Busted - Suitcase Full Of Holes, and Jaybird's delivery, full of sudden falsetto leaps, made me think he ought to be recognized on this thread.  Sometimes Coleman reminds me of Ishmon Bracey, with a pronounced nasal quality to his tone.  On some other songs, he brings to mind Texas Alexander, with a deep, slow delivery reminiscent of a field Holler.  And on his religious pieces, like I'm Gonna Cross The River Of Jordan - Some O' These Days, Coleman uses a more "normal" voice (sorry for my lack of vocabulary :().  I like him a lot.

Did anyone have more hyphens in their song titles than jaybird Coleman?  I realize it wasn't really Coleman but someone at the Gennett Company. but no matter who was to blame, Coleman released:

Trunk Busted - Suitcase Full Of Holes
I'm Gonna Cross The River Of Jordan - One Of These Days
No More Good Water - 'Cause The Pond Is Dry
Save Your Money - Let These Women Go

Offline Slack

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 8772
Re: Favorite singers
« Reply #48 on: March 03, 2006, 07:45:46 PM »
Hey DJ, good pick.  "Jaybird" Coleman is a favorite of mine.  "Man Trouble Blues" is just fabulous.  You are right -- great vocal variety -- often sounds to me as if he is imitiating his whining harmonica.

Offline Bunker Hill

  • Member
  • Posts: 2832
Re: Favorite singers
« Reply #49 on: March 04, 2006, 01:13:04 AM »
I caught another singer that I really like on the Juke the other day: Burl C. "Jaybird" Coleman.  The steam-driven Victrola played Trunk Busted - Suitcase Full Of Holes, and Jaybird's delivery, full of sudden falsetto leaps, made me think he ought to be recognized on this thread. 
An artist in a similar mould - described by somebody reviewing a 1971 Roots compilation as "an anarchic version of Jaybird Coleman" - is Alfred Lewis. Haven't checked to see if his two numbers are on the Juke but well worth a listen.

Offline jharris

  • Member
  • Posts: 120
    • Big Road Blues
Re: Favorite singers
« Reply #50 on: March 04, 2006, 09:40:24 AM »
It appears I'm a little late to this discussion but I didn't see Doctor Clayton mentioned. Clayton was an incredible vocalist who had an instantly recognizable style and who was fairly influential. He employed an impressive falsetto technique, later refined into a powerful, swooping style in addition to being an unparalleled songwriter, writing mostly original material with a rare wit, intelligence and social awareness. Clayton's vocal style was widely emulated and a number of his songs became blues standards although he rarely gets the credit.

B.B. King said this about him: "Dr. Clayton was the man I used to idolize; just about everything he did, I used to sing along with it for hours." Indeed King covered a number of Clayton's songs. Also attesting to his popularity was Sunnyland Slim who recorded as "Doctor Clayton's Buddy" on his debut 1947 sessions and Willie Long Time Smith who in 1947 recorded the tribute, "My Buddy Doctor Clayton."

Clayton's complete output can be found on Document DOCD-5179 with six later sides found on Old Tramp's "Doctor Clayton And His Buddies" (OTCD-05).

Here's a Clayton audio feature:


Also Stefan Wirz has an excellent Clayton discography:
http://www.wirz.de/music/claydfrm.htm

-Jeff Harris

boots

  • Guest
Re: Favorite singers
« Reply #51 on: March 04, 2006, 09:55:46 AM »
Cheers for the audio Jeff. Most enjoyable.

Offline Bunker Hill

  • Member
  • Posts: 2832
Re: Favorite singers
« Reply #52 on: March 04, 2006, 10:40:49 AM »
Also Stefan Wirz has an excellent Clayton discography:
http://www.wirz.de/music/claydfrm.htm
If one enlarges the front cover RCA publicity photo of Dr Clayton on the issue of Talking Blues displayed you'll notice that the Doc is performing in bare feet! The original of this was very kindly - and trustingly - loaned to myself by Paul Garon for use on that cover. Oh yes, and Chris Smith's lengthy appreciation ain't bad either.  ;D Shame nobody has since asked him to revise and update it for publication elswhere. In the meantime double click the pages as thoughtfully supplied by Stefan and give them a read.

Offline Bunker Hill

  • Member
  • Posts: 2832
Re: Favorite singers
« Reply #53 on: March 04, 2006, 12:03:15 PM »
The pianist Jesse James was a minor figure in the history of the blues, having recorded only four songs at a single session for Decca in Chicago on June 3rd 1936.  James seems to be pretty much a biographical cypher.  There's a rumor that he was a prisoner brought to the studio under guard, but Howard Rye, in the notes to Document's Piano Blues Volume 1 says "it is not clear what evidence there is for this tale". 
Quite so. This 'tale' seems to have been first told on the sleeve of a 1950s Brunswick EP that featured Jesse James on one side and Johnny Temple the other. This is what it says:

"On June 3, 1936, he appeared at the American Decca's recording studios in a striped prison uniform and with prison guards and asked to be allowed to record o few blues. Although the session was unscheduled, and came as a surprise, it took place. The colored jail-bird waxed four titles then collapsed under the strain. He was subsequently taken bock to the prison and was never heard of again."

At one point it was thought that Big Bill Broonzy may have been the source of this but the more cynical out there tended to suggest that it was a piece of Decca flim-flam dreamed up to sell records. But who cares, like DJ, I think he's great.

Offline MTJ3

  • Member
  • Posts: 161
  • Howdy!
Re: Favorite singers
« Reply #54 on: March 05, 2006, 01:28:44 PM »
At one point it was thought that Big Bill Broonzy may have been the source of this but the more cynical out there tended to suggest that it was a piece of Decca flim-flam dreamed up to sell records. But who cares, like DJ, I think he's great.

Flim flam no doubt aided by his Carr-derived "I'm going to the big house, and I don't even care" etc. and his original "...Buddy, what made you stop by here.  Some of them got six months, partner, and some got a solid year, but I believe my partner, Lord, got a lifetime here," which lines appear in his "Lonesome Day Blues."  All of which is made much more dramatic and poignant by the convict recording anecdote.

According to Steve Tracy (author of Cincinnati Blues, (1) Karl Gert zur Heite had James living around Memphis and working and broadcasting out of Little Rock, (2) Pigmeat Jarrett had James living around Cincinnati until 1955 when James moved to Kentucky, and (3) Paul Oliver is the source of the convict recording session information.  The Decca session at which James's four sides were recorded was in Chicago.

I already voted for James (supra), but I guess you can vote early and often here with no adverse consequences.

Offline Bunker Hill

  • Member
  • Posts: 2832
Re: Favorite singers
« Reply #55 on: March 05, 2006, 11:53:08 PM »
According to Steve Tracy (author of Cincinnati Blues, ..... Paul Oliver is the source of the convict recording session information. 
I might be going mad but the citation in Tracey's book is to Coinversation With The Blues p. 223. Unfortunately there aren't that number of pages in the book and James isn't listed in the index. Be that as it may, Oliver was told the tale by Yannick Bruynoghe in the 50s but wasn't informed of the source, hence the speculation it might have come via Broonzy.

Offline MTJ3

  • Member
  • Posts: 161
  • Howdy!
Re: Favorite singers
« Reply #56 on: March 06, 2006, 09:33:04 AM »
Re:  Jesse James

The number in the index of Oliver's Blues Fell This Morning that corresponds to Jesse James is the number of the song cited in the text, not a reference to the page number.  (I wonder if Tracy didn't fall into the trap that I did with the other Oliver book, assuming that the number was a reference to that of the page rather than the song.)  At page 213, Oliver states: "On the third day of June 1936, by some unexpected arrangement, a prisoner is reported to have been brought under guard into the Decca studios to record four blues.  Only one record was issued, as by Jesse James."  Oliver goes on the describe, discuss and set forth his transcription of the lyrics to "Lonesome Day Blues," but he cites no source for this statement re the session or the artist.

Offline Bunker Hill

  • Member
  • Posts: 2832
Re: Favorite singers
« Reply #57 on: March 06, 2006, 12:38:44 PM »
Flim flam no doubt aided by his Carr-derived "I'm going to the big house, and I don't even care" etc. and his original "...Buddy, what made you stop by here.  Some of them got six months, partner, and some got a solid year, but I believe my partner, Lord, got a lifetime here," which lines appear in his "Lonesome Day Blues."  All of which is made much more dramatic and poignant by the convict recording anecdote.
And a convict did indeed sing, "Some got six months and some got a solid year, but me and my partner, Lord, got lifetime here", for Harry Oster and his name was Robert Pete Williams.  Now where did he pick them up from?;D

Offline MTJ3

  • Member
  • Posts: 161
  • Howdy!
Re: Favorite singers
« Reply #58 on: March 06, 2006, 04:44:59 PM »
And a convict did indeed sing, "Some got six months and some got a solid year, but me and my partner, Lord, got lifetime here", for Harry Oster and his name was Robert Pete Williams.  Now where did he pick them up from?

BH, That is really uncanny!  Leadbelly's "Shorty George" contains a similar line, and I'm pretty sure that I've heard the lines on a James Booker recording, so I would guess that it was circulating in the folk tradition when RPW picked it up.  The ur-text could well be Joe McCoy's "Joliet Bound" (recorded Feb. 3, 1932, three years before James's session):  "Now some got six months, some got a solid year/Now me and my buddy got a lifetime here."  Nonetheless, the RPW version seems closer to the Jesse James version.

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10353
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: Favorite singers
« Reply #59 on: March 06, 2006, 04:59:49 PM »
Hi all,
Doesn't that verse also appear in "Viola Lee Blues"?  I remember that great mournful vocal on that one.
All best,
Johnm