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Blind Lemon Jefferson. That's B.B. King's idol, too. Yeah, I had one of his records, and I loaned it to B.B. King. He said he was gonna bring it back, and he ain't brought it back yet, and that's been 12 years ago - John Lee Hooker, from The Voice of the Blues

Author Topic: Lesser known players?  (Read 14244 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Lesser known players?
« on: March 10, 2004, 06:45:07 PM »
Been listening to some lesser known players lately, some good, some less so. Ramblin' Thomas seems particularly wonderful to me and while not exactly unknown isn't a name you see very often. I have the Catfish CD which I believe is his complete output. The Blind Lemon qualities of some of his non-slide tunes are really fascinating. Kind of relates to the comments in another thread about playing in the style of a certain bluesman but not necessarily playing licks he laid down on a 78. I don't know that I've heard anyone sound like Lemon quite the way Thomas does but still has his own sound.

Another player I've listened to lately is Willie Trice, his recordings from the 70s on the Trix CD Blue and Rag'd. Definitely a Blind Boy Fuller sound here, although the original LP notes from Bruce Bastin go to pains to point out this is merely a regional similarity, not direct copping. I'm less sure. Quite a good record though.

Other oddballs include John Byrd and Walter Taylor on a Story of Blues CD. Kentucky players who aren't grabbing me just yet but perhaps require more listening.

Also listening to Smoky Babe's Hottest Brand Goin' who's been mentioned a fair amount on the board though is hardly a household name even in blues fan circles. A great record.

Any lesser knowns that you're enjoying these days?


Offline Eldergreene

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Re: Lesser known players?
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2004, 02:50:58 AM »
Ditto on the Ramblin' Thomas, Uncle B; - wish to god Willie Walker had recorded more, what we must have missed with that guy! Wouldn't mind a bit more Luke Jordan, too, seemed a real interesting player ..

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Lesser known players?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2004, 09:37:48 AM »
Hi UB:

Your dot disappeared again. (Maine is closer than NH).

Yeah, there's three lesser known CB artists I've been listening to lately. The first is Funny Papa Smith from Okla. who recorded +/- 20 songs in 1930-31 (not the best time to release tunes if you wanted recognition). A great inventive player with a terrific flair for improvisation. A great deep, "western" voice. Last night I was listening to his "Fools Blues" which has gospol-like words set against a blues melody.

Another one is Buddy Boy Hawkins, who recorded in the late 20's mostly Open G tuning songs. This picked-strummed raggy tunes are a bit frenitic for my taste, with a million chords. His blues numbers have a great distinctive sound and structure, quite unique. The copies of his 78's I have (mosly on Yahoo vinyl) are very uneven in quality.

I'm not a fan in general of slide guitar but two slide artists I've listened to lately I really like are King Soloman Hill and Oscar Woods. KSH's "Gone Dead Train" has strong elements of Blind Lemon Jefferson in it, at least to my ears. A great player. I gather that recently the last two of his recorded works have been found and re-released. I'd love to hear them (one's a tribute to Blind Lemon!).

I don't know much about Oscar Woods, except this great melodic slide lines.

Re: Willy Trice. I thought he was an associate of BBFuller, and recorded in the 30's during one of BBFuller's sessions
« Last Edit: March 12, 2004, 07:52:14 AM by pyrochlore »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Lesser known players?
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2004, 06:51:45 PM »
Hi Alex,

King Solomon Hill is definitely a fascinating player. If you're not familiar with Gayle Dean Wardlow's book "Chasin' That Devil Music", you might want to check it out. There are two essays in there about KSH, revolving around a controversy I wasn't familiar with in which Wardlow identifies KSH as Joe Holmes, from Sibley, Louisiana. Wardlow was taken to task early on for his claim by David Evans (who was at PT last year, and a fine fellow he was). I don't know the end result of the subsequent feud, but Wardlow certainly comes off as definitive on the issue. Holmes as it turns out hung out with Blind Lemon after Lemon passed through Minden, La. So the Lemon influence is not just out of the blue.

The KSH 78 with "My Buddy Blind Papa Lemon" and "Times Has Done Got Hard" can be seen at John Tefteller's site here. I thought perhaps there were some sound file samples available but I think I'm confusing it with the Blind Joe Reynolds stuff that was discovered a couple years ago.

(You may know all of this already...)

Anyone know if Tefteller has released these yet? Perhaps with the blues calendar?

Re. JT Funny Papa Smith, I would be remiss not to point out John Miller did an online lesson of his Tell It to the Judge here.
Just in case you weren't aware.

You're right about Willie Trice, he was indeed an associate of BBF and recorded, separately with brother Richard Trice (who I believe was called Little Boy Fuller at one point), as you say at one of the sessions Fuller did.

Oscar Woods I know little about aside from loving his "Don't Sell It Don't Give it Away"...

cheers,
uncle bud

If anyone has a membership/affiliation with a library that subscribes to NetLibrary.com, the Wardlow book Chasin' That Devil Music is available as a (fully searchable) e-book at http://netlibrary.com.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2004, 06:57:24 PM by uncle bud »

Offline frankie

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Re: Lesser known players?
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2004, 08:12:27 PM »
Wouldn't mind a bit more Luke Jordan, too, seemed a real interesting player ..

Was just listening to him the other day & it occurred to me that his Travellin' Coon is played out of F.  A most unfairly maligned key...

Offline Slack

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Re: Lesser known players?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2004, 09:12:40 PM »
Well, I've been listening to Scott Dunbar.
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How's that for oneupmanship.   :P


Offline Eldergreene

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Re: Lesser known players?
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2004, 02:18:18 AM »
I've loved Oscar Woods' "Lone Wolf Blues" since first hearing it on a compilation album back in '67 - his "Fence-Breakin Blues" & "Come On Over To My House Mama" are pretty good too; I believe he was a musical mentor for the Black Ace (BK Turner), another fine & under-recorded artist..

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Lesser known players?
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2004, 06:59:27 AM »
Well, I've been listening to Scott Dunbar.
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.
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How's that for oneupmanship.   :P



So how is it? :)  I see that Fat Possum has another George Mitchell recording out, by Jimmy Lee Williams. Unfamiliar with him.


Offline Slack

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Re: Lesser known players?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2004, 08:57:19 AM »
Quote
So how is it? ? I see that Fat Possum has another George Mitchell recording out, by Jimmy Lee Williams. Unfamiliar with him.

A little rough around the edges, not alot of 'ingredients' in his playing, but very pleasant to listen to.? I like him.? He ends most of his songs with a very infectious laugh - he's definately having a good time.? I'll find some time and do a mp3 sampler of one of his tunes.? Unfamiliar with Jimmy Lee Williams also.

cheers,
« Last Edit: April 12, 2005, 09:50:17 AM by Johnm »

M.Vidrine

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Re: Lesser known players?
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2004, 01:09:31 PM »
Slack - I totally forgot about Dunbar. Geez, I love this guy & his CD has been neglected in my collection for far too long. Well, I just moved it back into high rotation. Both his playing & vocals are so smooth. He possesses that ability to fluidly move in and out of his falsetto - he's just so effortless.
Great CD - really! I just put some Real Audio sound samples up on the Venerable Site if anyone wants to give it a listen - http://www.venerablemusic.com/catalog/TitleDetails.asp?TitleID=199.

On a recommendation, I just ordered the Jack Owens CD on Testament. Unfortunately, it was backordered by the distributor  :(. Because of the whole Skip James connection I have high expectations for this disc. Anyone else have it??

Malcolm

Offline Rivers

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Re: Lesser known players?
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2004, 02:03:49 PM »
I have this. Your post inspired me to dig it out, I'm listening on headphones as I write.

You will enjoy it. Jack and Bud had a really good thing going, wish I could have heard them at Port Townsend when they played that year; was Bud there with Jack? Some of the weenies were there that year.

I like everything about the Testament record. Good stereo mix, Jack's voice is incredible, ranging from blues yelling to a low conversational tones.

The guitar grooves and Jack's lead foot on the porch are compelling. Bud has to be one of the best ever harp accompanists.

Offline Slack

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Re: Lesser known players?
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2004, 02:43:50 PM »
Hi Malcolm,

Yes, Dunbars slipping in and our of falsetto is very interesting.  Thanks for posting the samples - you saved me some work! --- Will have to try and remember to check your site for MP3 samples in the future.

cheers,
slack

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Lesser known players?
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2004, 12:46:03 PM »
I'll second Rivers' recommendation of the Jack Owens CD. I really like it and he's a cool singer. Sometimes I like him more than Skip!

Offline waxwing

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Re: Lesser known players?
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2004, 03:26:41 PM »
Regarding King Solomon Hill., his Times Done Got Hard is on the CD released with Tefteller's (Blues Images') 2004 Calendar, as is Blind Joe Reynold's Cold Woman Blues and the Tommy Johnson "test" recording of I Want Someone To Love Me, all recent discoveries. TDGH is also on Yazoo 2067 "Times Ain't Like They Used To Be" Vol. 7. The flip side, My Buddy Blind Papa Lemon is on Yazoo 2068 "Times Ain't Like They Used To Be" Vol 8. as is the TJ number. I have the calendar, and TDGH is similar in style to Gone Dead Train, which I think is one of the most haunting and powerful blues goin'.
The two BJR sides, Cold Woman Blues and Ninety Nine Blues, are on Vols 5 and 6 of the same series, Yazoo 2063 and 2064, respectively. I couldn't find them on the Yazoo ecommerse page , but then I checked the page in our links section, which gives a much better description of everything. And, I noticed they have a 5 for 4 sale going on. Hmmmm, these four and the Patton CD?
All for now.
John C.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2004, 06:10:10 PM by waxwing »
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Offline Rivers

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Re: Lesser known players?
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2004, 09:23:42 PM »

I'll second Rivers' recommendation of the Jack Owens CD. I really like it and he's a cool singer. Sometimes I like him more than Skip!


With one proviso, Skip had a lot more variation going on than Jack. Listening to a Skip CD I don't get bored; Jack can be merciless sticking to that Bentonia guitar style. Skip sounds to me more worldly, I guess he also had the piano songs and styles that found their way into his guitar repertoire.

 


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