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Well you is one black rat, someday I'll find your trail. Yes I'll hide my shoe somewhere near your shirt tail - Memphis Minnie Lawlers, & Ernest Lawlers, You Is One Black Rat

Author Topic: SOTM February 2018 Louise Louise Blues  (Read 470 times)

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Offline Prof Scratchy

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SOTM February 2018 Louise Louise Blues
« on: February 09, 2018, 05:19:08 AM »
SOTM February 2018 Louse Louise Blues

Johnny Temple recorded Louise Louise Blues in Chicago on 12 November 1936. The piano accompaniment was probably by Horace Malcolm, and there is conjecture as to whether Johnny Temple played guitar or whether it might have been Charlie McCoy, with Johnny just doing the vocal honours.



The record must have sold well, because the crew were back in the studio the following May, this time with the addition of a string bass.




Perhaps the popularity of the song had been enhanced by the recording, at the Adolphus Hotel, Dallas, TX on 9 February 1937, of Louise Louise Blues by the western swing pioneers Milton Brown?s Musical Cowboys. The personnel were as follows: Jimmie Davis & Milton Brown?s Musical Cowboys* (Derwood Brown [vcl-4/gt], Ocie Stockard [vcl-3/banjo], Wilson Perkins [steel], Wanna Coffman [bass], Robert Buchanan [vcl-1/fiddle], Johnny Borowski [vcl-2/fiddle], Fred Calhoun [piano]). Milton Brown had died in April 1936 following a car accident, so I assume the ?Musical Cowboys? were carrying forward the legacy with a new lead vocalist, Milton?s brother Derwood. The early recording of the song by a white country outfit raises the question of the song?s authorship. Had Johnny Temple authored the song, as he was first to record it, or was it rather authored by the Brownies, who regularly broadcast on radio, where Johnny may have heard it. Or perhaps the song was already popular in the public domain. Answers on a postcard!



Blind Boy Fuller was in the studio in New York on Wednesday 8 September 1937 to record his version of the song. The guitar accompaniment is wonderful and features occasional discordant bends.



A few months prior to the Fuller recording, on 9 June 1937, Big Bill and his Orchestra (Broonzy on vocals and guitar, Alfred Bell on trumpet, probably Blind John Davis on piano and an unknown drummer) had put out a version of Louise Louise for ARC. I?ve not been able to find this track on You Tube, but the following live recording from the Carnegie Hall concert of December 1938 is available. Albert Ammons is on piano and Walter Page plays bass.



Fast forward to the nineteen fifties, and the song is still very much in the repertoire Big Bill toured in Europe. The approach is much more sparse and folky I think. His   vocals soar over the lyric and this, the first performance of the song I encountered as a teenager, remains a favourite.



Louise Louise Blues continued to feature in the post war repertoire of many performers. Here I?m less clear on the chronology, so maybe other Weenies can help out. So I?ll present them in no particular order, starting with a version by Sonny Terry, accompanied by his harmonica (of course) and some interesting percussion and bass goings-on in the background.





In 1961, the song was recorded by Sonny with Brownie McGhee on guitar.



The previous year, Lil Son Jackson had recorded his version. The accompaniment features many of his signature licks, and an insistent bass.



Next up is probably an oddity for non-UK based Weenies. It?s a recording of the song by Duffy Power, accompanied by Alexis Korner. They were major forces on the London blues revival scene in the late fifties and early sixties. They were already top dogs on the scene at Eel Pie Island and other London venues in the days when Brian Jones, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were starting out.



Whilst we?re in Europe, let?s travel in time to the nineties and drop in on Champion Jack Dupree and German boogie boogie maestro Axel Zwingenberger.



Back into the time machine to visit more earlier recordings of Louise Louise, this one for example from Robert McCoy (who I believe started out playing piano for Peanut the Kidnapper)!




Robert Pete Williams? version of the song has, to my ears, a haunting West African quality in the guitar playing.



In a similar vein, and with an equally hypnotic quality, here?s Fred McDowell?s version.




Big Walter Horton?s understated version is worth the price of entry for the harmonica introduction.



The version recorded by Tampa Red probably hails from the early sixties.



This next version, By Big Chief Ellis, is from the early 1970s, and fairly romps along.



He returned to the studio to record another version, accompanied by Cephas and Wiggins.



We have Slack to thank for drawing my attention to the following version by JW Warren. If you search JW Warren using the WeenieCampbell search facility, you should find the review Slack did of the album from which this version of Little Louise is taken.




Well, that just about wraps it up, though I?m sure there are many other fine interpretations to be found, including songs like Sonny Boy Williamson I singing Suzannah, which closely follows the Louise formula. Maybe this thread may prompt fellow Weenies to post their own versions?

Offline harriet

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Re: SOTM February 2018 Louise Louise Blues
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2018, 10:24:57 AM »
I love that song, thanks for choosing it as a topic - I'm not familiar with most of the versions that you've posted so it a treat for me.  Here's a short one by Napolian Strickland, shot by Alan Lomax:


Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM February 2018 Louise Louise Blues
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2018, 11:39:20 AM »
Thanks for your Song of the Month choice, Prof, and the research that went into your post and the finding of the different versions.  Thanks also to Harriet for the Napoleon Strickland version.  I look forward to hearing the versions that I've not heard before.  I first heard this song in the Brownie McGhee/Sonny Terry version.   I don't think Johnny Temple's original vocal will ever be improved upon--wow!  The Robert Pete Williams cover is kind of miraculous, it seems to me.  Maybe we should all start playing in B position, standard tuning, like he did there.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM February 2018 Louise Louise Blues
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2018, 12:15:43 PM »
Hi all,
I just found this version of "Louise Blues" by Lum Guffin, a Mississippian, I believe.  Here it is:



All best,
Johnm

Offline DavidCrosbie

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Re: SOTM February 2018 Louise Louise Blues
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2018, 06:41:50 PM »
Mance Lipscomb does a nice version.



By contrast, Howling' Wolf:



And with the John Lee Hooker treatment...



From the same year (1951) here's JB Lenoir. (At least, I think this is his 1951 recording.)



Jimmy Gordon recorded his version of Louise Louise in 1934  ? which doesn't necessarily mean that he was singing it before Johnny Temple was. This makes it interesting ? though not as varied as Temple's version. And it was Temple's verses that later singers copied.

It can't be found on YouTube. If anybody's interested, I can make and post a low-fi sound file.


« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 05:59:23 AM by DavidCrosbie »

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: SOTM February 2018 Louise Louise Blues
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2018, 01:07:38 AM »
Thanks all for the additional versions!


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Offline DavidCrosbie

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Re: SOTM February 2018 Louise Louise Blues
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2019, 05:56:41 PM »
Here's the missing Jimmie Gordon version



If it wan't for the title, I'd say it's a different song from Johnnie Temple's.

Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM February 2018 Louise Louise Blues
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2019, 09:22:37 PM »
Hi David,
You're right--it is a different song than Johnnie Temple's.  The melody is different, the way the lyrics are structured, etc.  It just has a similar title (though not the same title).
All best,
Johnm

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