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Author Topic: Ollie Rupert--Any info?  (Read 2570 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Ollie Rupert--Any info?
« on: December 26, 2006, 05:49:03 PM »
Hi all,
I recently heard for the first time a track by the singer Ollie Rupert, and it made me curious, since I know nothing about her.  The tune, entitled "Ain't Gonna Be Your Low-Down Dog", is on The Document CD "Memphis Blues", DOCD-5159, and it looks like she recorded only two titles.  The version I heard was burned by a friend and included no information.  Based on the accompaniment, I thought she must be from St. Louis, since the guitar behind her sounds like it comes right out of the "Cairo Blues"/"Hard Times" mold of Henry Spaulding and Lane Hardin.  After the first verse, a second guitar enters, tuned extremely low, using A position to sound in E, I think.  Entering at the same time as the second guitar is a person playing a jaw harp, something I don't recall hearing on any other commercially released Country Blues recording.  The sound of the record is pretty intriguing, and I wondered if anyone had any information on Ollie Rupert or her accompanists.
All best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: Ollie Rupert--Any info?
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2006, 06:04:40 PM »
John,

   Nothing much is known of Ollie Rupert, according to the notes to The Document Memphis Blues CD.  The other song she recorded was "I Raised My Window And Looked At The Rising Sun".  Both songs were recorded in Memphis on February 28, 1927.  B&GR gives the personnel as unknown jew's harp, possibly Will Weldon and Will Shade, guitars.

   Both of Ollie Rupert's songs are on the Juke.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2006, 06:05:47 PM by dj »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Ollie Rupert--Any info?
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2006, 08:36:52 PM »
Thanks for the information, dj.  Will Weldon and Will Shade do seem like likely candidates for the accompaniment.  Someone was remarking a while back, I think either Uncle Bud or you, as to how much the playing on Will Weldon's duets with Will Shade, "Turpentine Blues" and "Hitch Me To Your Buggy, And Drive Me Like Your Mule" sounded like St. Louis playing.  It really does.
All best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: Ollie Rupert--Any info?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2006, 04:50:12 AM »
Quote
Someone was remarking a while back, I think either Uncle Bud or you

Credit where credit is due: it was Uncle Bud.

This might be a good spot to mention that Document 5159: Memphis Blues 1927 - 1938 is well worth checking out.  In addition to the Ollie Rupert tracks, it's got Walter Rhodes doing a rare blues accompaniment on accordion with Maylon and Richard "Hacksaw" Harney on guitars, a couple of tracks by Pearl Dickson, also accompanied by the Harney brothers, four songs by Hattie Hart accompanied by Allen Shaw and Willie Borum on guitar, two songs each by Sam Townsend and George Torey, and the four pre-war recordings by John Henry Barbee.  There's a lot of variety and a lot of music by really interesting artists who for one reason or another didn't get much chance to record.     
« Last Edit: December 27, 2006, 11:50:05 AM by dj »

LoneWolf

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Re: Ollie Rupert--Any info?
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2006, 12:12:28 PM »
Never heard those recordings, but is that possible that Will Weldon and Casey Bill Weldon are the same person?

Offline Johnm

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Re: Ollie Rupert--Any info?
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2006, 12:18:12 PM »
Hi Lone Wolf,
I believe Will Weldon and Casey Bill Weldon are supposed to have been the same person, but the playing on the records attributed to each is quite different, with Will Weldon not playing slide, and generally working out of E in standard tuning and Casey Bill playing, as far as I know, lap-style slide exclusively.
All best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: Ollie Rupert--Any info?
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2006, 12:32:21 PM »
As far as I know, the only reason for the identification of Casey Bill as Will is the similarity of names.  Does anyone know if any of the Memphis guys, when they were found and interviewed in the 50s and 60s, identified Will as Casey Bill?

Based on the discussion here, it would be interesting to look for William Weldons in the St. Louis area in the 1910 and 1920 censuses.  One of these days I'll have to get access again...   :( 

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Ollie Rupert--Any info?
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2006, 07:29:35 AM »
Quote
Someone was remarking a while back, I think either Uncle Bud or you

Credit where credit is due: it was Uncle Bud.

This might be a good spot to mention that Document 5159: Memphis Blues 1927 - 1938 is well worth checking out.  In addition to the Ollie Rupert tracks, it's got Walter Rhodes doing a rare blues accompaniment on accordion with Maylon and Richard "Hacksaw" Harney on guitars, a couple of tracks by Pearl Dickson, also accompanied by the Harney brothers, four songs by Hattie Hart accompanied by Allen Shaw and Willie Borum on guitar, two songs each by Sam Townsend and George Torey, and the four pre-war recordings by John Henry Barbee.  There's a lot of variety and a lot of music by really interesting artists who for one reason or another didn't get much chance to record.     

I'll second dj's recommendation. Definitely worth checking out, even if it was only for the George Torey and John Henry Barbee. But you get Hattie Hart as well. Document's website currently has this disc on special for ?1.99. Description and tracks here:  http://document-records.com/fulldetails.asp?ProdID=DOCD-5159

Offline Johnm

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Re: Ollie Rupert--Any info?
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2006, 02:34:58 PM »
dj and Uncle Bud, it looks like you are trying to get me to spend my money!  Any chance to hear some more Allen Shaw has to be taken seriously, even if he's just working in an accompaniment capacity.  I only have one of the cuts on which he and Memphis Willie B. backed Hattie Hart, "The Coldest Stuff In Town", from an old Yazoo anthology, "Memphis Jamboree".  On that cut, Shaw comes in singing the final verse and steals the show.  What a singer he was, one of the greatest deep-voiced Blues singers ever, I think.
All best,
Johnm

Offline blueshome

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Re: Ollie Rupert--Any info?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2007, 11:10:46 AM »
Memphis Blues is listed by Document at ?1.99,

Offline JohnLeePimp

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Re: Ollie Rupert--Any info?
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2012, 04:20:48 AM »
I'm pretty sure that's the drone of a Diddley Bow on Ollie Rupert's two tracks - available on spotify (though they're mislabeled as John Henry Barbee tracks)

...it works really well - and I'm not aware of any other prewar recordings that feature a one string
...so blue I shade a part of this town.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Ollie Rupert--Any info?
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2012, 08:27:37 AM »
Hi John Lee,
I played in a band with one of the greatest jews harp players around, Tapani Varis, and that is definitely a jews harp on Ollie Rupert's recordings.  I heard the late Lonnie Pitchford play a diddley bow in person and the sound was quite different.
All best,
Johnm

Offline rfschwar

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Re: Ollie Rupert--Any info?
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2017, 01:23:08 PM »
Hi Lone Wolf,
I believe Will Weldon and Casey Bill Weldon are supposed to have been the same person, but the playing on the records attributed to each is quite different, with Will Weldon not playing slide, and generally working out of E in standard tuning and Casey Bill playing, as far as I know, lap-style slide exclusively.
All best,
Johnm
I'm a little late to this party, but they can't be the same person, as Will Weldon died in 1934.

Offline David Kaatz

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Re: Ollie Rupert--Any info?
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2017, 11:00:04 AM »
I too am late to this. The original tune mentioned here has been added to youtube in the interim, by the seemingly bottomless pit of country blues recordings, Nico Fournier. Does anyone know who he or she is? (Not that it matters at all  ;) )



Dave

 


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