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I'm goin' down to the pawnshop, see if I can pawn my guitar - Blind Boy Fuller, Three Ball Blues

Author Topic: Clarence Ashley revelation!  (Read 1686 times)

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Clarence Ashley revelation!
« on: April 07, 2007, 05:04:17 PM »
Listing to Clarence Ashley's "Baby, All Night Long" a few minutes ago. It's got Clarence, the awesome Gwen Foster on harp, and some other dude singing some of the verses. I never thought about who the other guy was. Just never thought about it. It's Frank Hutchison? If anybody has this version of "Baby, All Night Long" please listen to it and see if you hear the same thing I did. I could be wrong, but some of the vocals are unmistakably Hutchison, as is the accent. 
« Last Edit: April 09, 2007, 11:56:15 AM by fischjaeger »

Offline BlindSockeyeSalmon

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Re: Clarence Ashley revelation!
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2007, 08:59:21 PM »
It's usually credited as Walter (Walt) Davis. I have some other recording of his & will take a listen to see if he sounds like the singer from the Blue Ridge Mountain Entertainers (I assume their 1931 recording is the one you're referring to).


UPDATE: Just listened to some later recordings of Walter Davis (great player & singer!) and I think it's him on the Ashley recording. Let me know if you'd like me to post a Davis clip you could listen to. Of extra interest, my favorite solo recording from Davis is "Graveyard Blues" recorded in 1980. Davis was from Black Mtn, NC and claims to have learned the song from a traveling black musician named Blind Lemon Jefferson. There's some doubt that it was really him, but more likely a mis-remembrance or someone else cashing in on Jefferson's name.

(These "Far in the Mountains" sets are really really good & deserving of wider recognition!)

« Last Edit: April 07, 2007, 09:34:11 PM by BlindSockeyeSalmon »
Old-Time, All the Time

Offline fictioneer

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Re: Clarence Ashley revelation!
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2007, 11:51:39 PM »
Tony Russell gives the personnel for the track as Clarence Greene, fiddle; Gwyn Foster, harmonica, "possibly" guitar/vocal; Tom Ashley, guitar/vocal.

Foster can't be the singer, because he chirps away on his harmonica throughout, underneath the two vocalists, so intricately that he can't have been singing either part.

The singer is undoubtedly Clarence Greene.   For comparison, check his 1929 "Johnson City Blues."  I think you'll agree that it's the same vocalist.  Song notes in New Lost City Ramblers Songbook (1964), which may well reflect conversations with Ashley (as do other song notes in the book), state that Ashley and Greene "trade off on the vocals." 

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Clarence Ashley revelation!
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2007, 11:32:40 AM »
Just listened to Baby, All Night Long and I agree, it sure sounds like Clarence Greene to me. The comparison with Johnson City is well worth it - you get to listen to Johnson City.  :D

Offline Cambio

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Re: Clarence Ashley revelation!
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2007, 02:41:33 PM »
The singing is credited to Walt Davis and Clarence Ashley, but it does sound like Clarence Green to me as well.  In any case, Walt Davis or Clarence Green is singing the first part of the verses, while Tom "Clarence" Ashley finishes the verse and sings the chorus. 

Offline Hwy80

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Re: Clarence Ashley revelation!
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2017, 01:10:45 PM »
I just posted about a Frank Hutchison JSP box I just got, but this JSP Clarence Ashley 4CD set is also a new purchase. 

Aside from having a great collection of Ashley's work - it also includes the early Dock Boggs recordings.  Before this set the only Dock Boggs I had heard were the '60s recordings on Folkways.

Earlier this month I picked up the JSP Paramount Masters box, with some really good country blues - so there's been lot's of great listening around my house lately.

~ David
« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 11:28:25 AM by Hwy80 »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Clarence Ashley revelation!
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2017, 03:14:30 PM »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Clarence Ashley revelation!
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2017, 03:21:06 PM »
That Clarence Ashley set does look great--lots of heavy hitters in addition to him:  Dock Boggs, J. R. Dykes, Emry Arthur, Gwen Foster, Clarence Greene--wow!
All best,


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