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Author Topic: Joe Callicott & Furry Lewis  (Read 5476 times)

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Offline blueshome

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Joe Callicott & Furry Lewis
« on: February 26, 2007, 10:32:38 AM »
Just picked up The complete Blue Horizon seesions double CD by Furry Lewis & Joe Callicott - What great stuff.  Furry in very fine form and J.Callicott sounding very like Frank Stokes on some tracks. Highly recommended.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Joe Callicott & Furry Lewis
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2007, 11:08:53 AM »
Thanks for this. Are the Joe Callicott tracks the recordings by George Mitchell? If so, there's some overlap with other recordings that have the Mitchell recordings (Fat Possum, Arhoolie). But there's tracks here that aren't on either, making this a must have for me.

Offline blueshome

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Re: Joe Callicott & Furry Lewis
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2007, 11:17:22 AM »
No duplication of tracks, these were recorded about a a year after the G.Mitchell's by Mike Vernon at Ardent in Memphis.
I'll list the Callicott's - the 2nd version of Frankie has many more verses than his other versions.
You don't know my mind
Dough roller blues
War time blues (not the BLJ)
Joe's troubled blues
On my last go round
Hoist up your window
Married woman blues
Poor boy blues
Frankie & Albert #1
Frankie & albert #2
Leavin town blues
Goin away blues
Worried now in a Tennessee town
Lost my money in Jim Kinnane's
Worried blues
You don't know my mind#2

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Joe Callicott & Furry Lewis
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2007, 12:05:43 PM »
Wow half the tracks were never on the original Callicott LP so this is their first outing. See Stefan's discography http://www.wirz.de/music/calicfrm.htm

(There's also one for Furry Lewis which can be consulted)
« Last Edit: February 26, 2007, 12:14:29 PM by Bunker Hill »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Joe Callicott & Furry Lewis
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2007, 12:24:15 PM »
Wow indeed, Phil, that's very exciting, thanks for the tip.

Offline outfidel

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Re: Joe Callicott & Furry Lewis
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2007, 07:10:30 PM »
featured in the latest Roots & Rhythm newsletter

FURRY LEWIS/ MISSISSIPPI JOE CALLICOTT
Columbia/ Blue Horizon 704 179-2     
TT: The Complete Blue Horison Sessions
CD $19.98

Two CDs, 29 tracks, highly recommended

Two superb Mississippi blues artists recorded for Blue Horizon in 1968 and originally issued on two LPs. This two CD set adds a bunch of bonus unissued tracks - two by Furry and six unissued songs by Callicott plus two alternate takes. Both artists were based around Memphis and their music has a gentler, more melodic quality, than their Delta countertops. Both artists had recorded pre-war and Furry, who was rediscovered in 1959, was able to resume his career as part of the blues revival of the 60s and continued to perform until he was well into his 70s and passed away in 1981. Callicott was discovered by researcher George Mitchell in 1967 and, sadly, passed away a few moonths after these recordings so was unable to get the attention he certainly deserved. Because Furry recorded so extensively most of the songs here will be familiar but he is in fine form and his joy in performing transcends the familiarity of the material. Callicott's material is mostly based around traditional themes though he also has some very fine individual songs like War Time Blues, the lovely Hoist Your Window And Let You Curtain Down with it's very effective use of falsetto and the song about infamous Memphis entrepreneur Jim Canaan (or Jim Kinnane) in the fascinating, previously unissued Lost My Money In Jim Kinnane's. A must for country blues lovers. (FS)
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Offline uncle bud

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Re: Joe Callicott & Furry Lewis
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2007, 08:07:52 PM »
I'm going to first of all thank Phil for bringing this double-CD to our attention. I ordered it about ten minutes after he posted.

I'll also second Frank Scott's "Highly Recommended" rating, but perhaps for different reasons, with a couple negative notes. I was actually thinking about doing a full review but will just post some thoughts here, since realistically, I don't have time for a full review right now.

Furry Lewis is indeed in fine form here. I think this may be one of his most varied post-war sessions and while a lot of the material is familiar, his playing is not sloppy (as it can be postwar), he is never presenting tired versions of the material (Casey Jones sounds great), and there are elements of songs here that I haven't heard him do before in postwar recordings. For instance, "Let's Shake Hand in Hand" begins with a You Don't Know My Mind riff and has boogie bass I don't recall Furry doing elsewhere. Take Your Time Rag begins with the solo from Billy Lyons and Stack O' Lee from Furry's 1920s recordings, moves into a version of Take Me Back, goes into a Robert Wilkins-like solo from Police Sergeant Blues, returns to Take Me Back, Stack O' Lee etc. It's a really nice, inventive treatment of the overall Take Me Back theme. The Furry Lewis material is worth the price of the disc alone, IMO.

My reason for instant ordering was nonetheless the Joe Callicott material, since the only recordings we've had available recently have been the 1967 George Mitchell recordings, once partially available on Arhoolie and now only available, as far as I know, on Fat Possum, again in incomplete form. This is indeed a completely different session as Phil pointed out, recorded for Blue Horizon on July 21, 1968 - the same day as Furry's session, as well as another by Booker White. How's that for a day of recording?

There is much of interest to Callicott fans here, including a couple songs and musical themes that will be unfamiliar to Arhoolie and Fat Possum listeners (the folk-like pre-blues song, War Time Blues, and a song about Jim Kinnane/Jim Canaan's that is not the Robert Wilkins tune). Unfortunately, Callicott is not in Mitchell-recording form here, frequently singing off-pitch and generally singing and playing a bit sloppier than "usual". For those who, like me, listen to his singing on the Mitchell recordings with their jaws hanging down to the floor, this will be a bit of a disappointment. But there's a lot to listen to. There are 8 tracks that were unissued on the original LP release, including, as Phil noted, two takes of Frankie and Albert. While they can't hold a candle to the 1967 version, it's certainly fascinating to hear more lyrics from Joe, and interesting to hear attempts at a Frank Stokes/Dan Sane sound with the addition of Bill Barth on second guitar. Not quite successful but nonetheless worthwhile since Stokes appears to have been an influence on Callicott.

While much of the material will be familiar, even given the bonus tracks, it's still fascinating to listen to simply for the lyric variations in Joe's tunes. The tracks tend to be longer, and he goes on for numerous verses on many of the songs. Frankie as heard on the Mitchell recordings was definitely no set-piece.

The other reason to get this CD is the detailed liner notes from Mike Vernon, who produced the reissue. These are extensive (a 20-page booklet) and the sections dealing with Callicott are particularly worthwhile, especially given the parsimonious "notes" on the Fat Possum release.

I'm sure I'll have more to say as I listen more, but this is definitely a CD worth picking up, despite some disappointments as far as the Callicott material is concerned. Since we have so little of him, I'm very happy to have this.



« Last Edit: March 13, 2007, 08:11:08 PM by uncle bud »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Joe Callicott & Furry Lewis
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2007, 12:38:35 AM »
.....and the song about infamous Memphis entrepreneur Jim Canaan (or Jim Kinnane) in the fascinating, previously unissued Lost My Money In Jim Kinnane's.
On a humourous note, I have ancient, fading photocopies of Mike Vernon's original BH session sheets. This title is listed as "Lost My Money In Gym Cannon". :)

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Joe Callicott & Furry Lewis
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2007, 07:11:22 AM »
.....and the song about infamous Memphis entrepreneur Jim Canaan (or Jim Kinnane) in the fascinating, previously unissued Lost My Money In Jim Kinnane's.
On a humourous note, I have ancient, fading photocopies of Mike Vernon's original BH session sheets. This title is listed as "Lost My Money In Gym Cannon". :)

Yes, Vernon mentions this amusing item in the notes. Several song titles have been corrected I believe.

It's also probably worth mentioning that at least two Weenies make it to the liner notes and thank yous, including a strong pitch for Stefan Wirz's discography site.  :D

I'm not sure how they convinced Sony/BMG to release this CD, but kudos to Vernon et al for doing so. For those interested in it, I'd pick it up sooner rather than later, as who know how long it will stay around.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Joe Callicott & Furry Lewis
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2007, 11:10:12 AM »
...including a strong pitch for Stefan Wirz's discography site.  :D
At the risk of causing Stefan to blush I'd say well deserved too. In fact in the forthcoming 2nd edition of Robert Ford's blues bibliography each artist or label entry - where appropriate - ends with a URL to one of Stefan's pages. So don't you dare move the location Stefan! ::)  ;D

Offline Stefan Wirz

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Re: Joe Callicott & Furry Lewis
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2007, 12:41:33 PM »
happened !

Offline Stefan Wirz

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Re: Joe Callicott & Furry Lewis
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2007, 12:46:23 PM »
and now for something completely different:

Added a few things to my MJC discography, e.g. the Southland SCD-35 with George Mitchell recordings previously unissued - or were they ?

Also an overview of the Mitchell recordings - Not quite sure if that's all correct (because of mistitling ?) - any help is appreciated !!!

Stefan

« Last Edit: March 15, 2007, 09:40:35 AM by Stefan Wirz »

Offline Stefan Wirz

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Re: Joe Callicott & Furry Lewis
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2007, 05:43:17 AM »
Addendum (my first attempt at a Weenie Campbell table ;-):

1967 Joe Callicott recordings by George Mitchell on LP / CD
- Lonesome Katy BluesArhoolie 1042Arhoolie CD 402Fat Possum CD 80360 -
- Come Home To Me BabyArhoolie 1042Arhoolie CD 402Fat Possum CD 80360 -
- Fare You Well Baby BluesArhoolie 1042Arhoolie CD 402Fat Possum CD 80360 -
- Country BluesArhoolie 1042Arhoolie CD 402Fat Possum 10677-7 -
- Laughing To Keep From CryingArhoolie 1042Arhoolie CD 402Fat Possum CD 80360 -
- Love Me Baby Blues
(= France Chance)
Arhoolie 1042Arhoolie CD 402Fat Possum CD 80360 -
- Rolling And Tumbling
(= I Rolled And I Tumbled)
(= Roll And Tumble)
Revival 1002Arhoolie CD 402Fat Possum CD 80360Southland SCD-35
- Riverside BluesRevival 1002 - - -
- Down Home BluesRevival 1002 - - -
- Old Boll WeevilRevival 1002Arhoolie CD 402 - -
- Frankie And AlbertRevival 1002 - Fat Possum CD 80360Southland SCD-35
- Good Time BluesRevival 1002 - Fat Possum CD 80360Southland SCD-35
- Up Town BluesRevival 1002Arhoolie CD 402 - Southland SCD-35
- Down To The River JordanRevival 1002 - Fat Possum CD 80360Southland SCD-35
- River BluesRevival 1002 - Fat Possum 10677-7Southland SCD-35
- Up The CountryRevival 1002 - - -
- Fare Thee Well Blues - - Fat Possum CD 80360 -
- Goodbye Baby Blues - - Fat Possum CD 80360Southland SCD-35
- Let Your Deal Go Down - - Fat Possum CD 80360Southland SCD-35
- Good Times Blues - - - Southland SCD-35
- Something Just Keep A-Worryin' My Mind - - - Southland SCD-35
- The Saints - - - Southland SCD-35

Since I do not own the Fat Possum and the Southland CDs I've not been able to check if perhaps only the track titles (and not their content) have been changed !!!
Stefan
« Last Edit: March 20, 2007, 06:02:45 AM by Stefan Wirz »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Joe Callicott & Furry Lewis
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2007, 09:40:10 AM »
Thanks Stefan! Great to have the side-by-side comparison. I always forget that Southland disc, since it was announced but never available for what seemed like ages. It does seem to be currently available.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Joe Callicott & Furry Lewis
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2007, 11:53:04 AM »
I took the liberty of emailing UB's well considered review of the CD set to Mike Vernon in deepest southern Spain. Here's his response:

Much obliged to you sir!  Actually, this seems to be an honest comment  on the overall release and in general I would agree with the writer.  Joe was considerably side-tracked in the studio as there were so many people sitting in the studio and I think he was a little in awe of the whole deal!  Anyway, much appreciate the opportunity to see this - I would never have the time nor the patience (with dial-up) to go looking for all this stuff!
Regards, Mike

 


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