collapse

* Member Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

* Like Us on Facebook

He liked the sound of the cash register - Columbia A & R man Frank Walker's wife, commenting on Walker's taste in music, quoted in Paul Oliver's Songsters & Saints

Author Topic: Looking for some suggestions for Broonzy and Skip James Albums  (Read 1608 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Blue in VT

  • Member
  • Posts: 309
  • Howdy!
Looking for some suggestions for Broonzy and Skip James Albums
« on: January 07, 2008, 10:00:51 AM »
Howdy ya'll...just looking for few suggestions on some new music to get.  I've been working through the grossman DVD on open tunings and have really fallen in love with the style of Skip James (though I've loved "I feel Good" since I heard the Cream version of it many years ago)...just fantastic and they really seem to stand up as instrumental pieces...which is good for someone like me...so can ya'll suggest which collections of his music is the best?

Along the same lines I'm looking for Big Bill albums as well...and specifically albums with just big bill.  I know he did a lot of duets and playing with a band but I'm most interested in his solo work.

thanks for your help,

Blue
Blue in VT

Offline uncle bud

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 8314
  • Rank amateur
Re: Looking for some suggestions for Broonzy and Skip James Albums
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2008, 10:41:20 AM »
Hiya Blue - For Skip James 1930 recordings, you need to get the Yazoo CD "Hard Time Killin' Floor". This supersedes Yazoo's Complete Early Recordings of Skip James, which still seems to be available. Hard Time is remastered. I haven't heard the CD myself, though have heard that there's not as much noticeable improvement in sound as there is on some of Yazoo's other newer releases, but Skip's early recordings are pretty whupped.

After that, if you want to hear things better, you can dip into his 1960s catalogue. The standards would be Skip James Today! and Devil Got My Woman on Vanguard. These cover a lot of ground. However, I've always been partial to the Biograph release, which I have as "Greatest of the Delta Blues Singers" but is now available, confusingly given the new Yazoo title, as "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues".

Re. Big Bill. I'm no expert, but a lot of his material is with ensembles of some kind, so for the early stuff, you'll generally get some of this on whatever you buy. While the Yazoo disc The Young Big Bill Broonzy is very good, as is the second disc, Do That Guitar Rag, it would seem that the first JSP set might be the way to go. Postwar recordings that feature Broonzy I'm even less familiar with, but the Trouble In Mind CD on Folkways is solo Bill and has some great stuff. The Bill Broonzy Story box set recorded in 1957 looks great.

Offline Blue in VT

  • Member
  • Posts: 309
  • Howdy!
Re: Looking for some suggestions for Broonzy and Skip James Albums
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2008, 10:44:38 AM »
Andrew,

Thanks alot...I'll look into those...

This is where I really miss the JUKE...it was a great place for a relative newbie like me to be exposed to lot of different "new" music...and helped me figure out which artists I wanted to pursue further...oh well....sigh... :(

cheers,

Blue
Blue in VT

Offline Bunker Hill

  • Member
  • Posts: 2832
Re: Looking for some suggestions for Broonzy and Skip James Albums
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2008, 11:23:30 AM »
This is a bit cheeky of me but Chris Smith's excellent 1996 discographical booklet "Hit The Right Lick: The Recordings of Bill Bill Broonzy" culminated with a list of Big Bill recommendations by era and as accompanist. Although now a little elderly it provides a fair assessment of the various stages of BBB's recorded output.
====================
SOME RECOMMENDED RECORDINGS

This list tries to strike a balance between the best and the most readily available. CDs are recommended where possible, rather than LPs. and the titles and issue numbers are of those versions most likely to be available, rather than of the original versions. Issues without a nationality indicated are American. This list is intended to be a starting point for exploration, not an exhaustive evaluation.

GENERAL NOTE

The French Masters Of Jazz label is issuing a series of CDs which aims to include all titles (it is not known up to what date) on which Broonzy appeared, whether as name artist or accompanist. The sound quality of the first two volumes is disappointing. All Broonzy's recordings under his own name up to 1942, and some where he is a group member, are reissued on Document, Blues Documents and Milan; Blues Documents plans to issue two further CDs, of Broonzy's postwar recordings, but no release date was available at the time of writing (late 1994). Most titles on which Broonzy appears as an accompanist have or will appear on Document or its related labels. For the senous collector, these discs furnish both an indispensable research tool and some great entertainment; some of them are recommended below, where they provide the best reissue of the artist concerned, but in other cases it has been assumed that a good representative selection is the first requirement:

BIG BILL BROONZY
The Young Big Bill Broonzy Yazoo CD 1011
Do That Guitar Rag Yazoo CD 1035

Two impeccable selections from Broonzy's recording career to 1935, superbly remastered, concentrating on his work as a self-accompanied solo singer, but also including work with the Famous Hokum Boys. Few blues singers have ever combined commitment with enjoyment to better effect.

Big Bill Broonzy
Black & Blue (F) CD 59.252 2/MU 777
Good Time Tonight Columbia CD 46219/(Eu) CD 467247
I Feel So Good Indigo (UK) IGOCD 2006

The best selections currently available from the 30s and early 40s, when Broonzy was accompanied by rather variable small groups. Portrait CD 44809/(Eu) CD 465020 ("Big Bill Blues"), originally an LP, can still sometimes be found, and is worth looking out for, despite shorter playing time.

Midnight Steppers Swingtime (It) LP 2001
Black Brown And White Mercury (F) CD 842743

The Swingtime covers 1940-47, including a side of tough postwar band blues with Big Maceo superb on piano for three titles. On Mercury, the transition begins; honking R&B nestles - surprisingly cosily - next to the first "folk-blues" items. The Swingtime is now hard to find, but worth the effort, pending the completion of the Document/Blues Document series (see above).

Big Bill Broonzy & Washboard Sam
Chess CD 9251/(UK) CD 19028/ KWest (NL) CD 5161

Usually summed up as an atypical Chess session by two singers who were past their prime. Listen without prejudice, and remember that history is lived forwards, and should not be understood backwards.

The London Sessions Sequel (UK) CD 119/ Collectables COLCD 5161
Big Bill Broonzy Sings Folk Songs Smithsonian-Folkways CD 40023

The best of the ?folk-blues? era recordings on CD, and among the best from the period, with Broonzy holding UK jazz musicians and US liberals in the palm of his hand, duelling with Pete Seeger's banjo, making topical comments that are still topical, and kicking pre-World War I pop songs into vigorous life. The Sequel CD is deleted but should be traceable; the Collectables version reproduces it entirely.

FAMOUS HOKUM BOYS Famous Hokum Boys Vol. 1 Wolf (Au) WBCD 011

Smooth, fast and ingeniously dirty-minded, Broonzy, Georgia Tom, Jane Lucas et al. (forming one of the first groups created specifically to record), celebrate the urban lifestyle and their own musical prowess.

JAZZ GILLUM
Jazz Gillum/Washboard Sam: Harmonica And Washboard Blues Black & Blue (F) CD 59.252 2/MU 777
Jazz Gillum Traveling Man (UK) LP 808

The Black & Blue is a good selection of 12 tracks apiece, with careful attention paid to remastering. Mournfulness was never more fun than in Gillum's hands. The Traveling Man LP is deleted, but worth searching for; it reissues the first ever Jazz Gillum compilation (on RCA), which had the benefit of choosing the best rather than reissuing the rest.

LIL GREEN
Lil Green Rosetta LP 1310

Recommended because RCA LP 574 "Romance In The Dark", though better, is deleted. (The Rosetta LP includes too many of her postwar recordings, which are inferior, among other reasons because they do not include Broonzy.) Lil Green sings pop-tinged blues better than Billie Holiday, and behind her Broonzy plays amplified guitar with good taste, inventiveness and swing.

LIL JOHNSON
Lil Johnson Vol. 2 Document (Au) DOCD-5309

Never great, but always a reliable chirper of double meanings, Lil Johnson here receives more Broonzy accompaniments than on her two other Document CDs. This disc was issued after the cut-off date for this work and is therefore not included in the main text.

CRIPPLE CLARENCE LOFTON
Cripple Clarence Lofton Vol. 1 RST Blues Documents (Au) CD 6006

Only three tracks with Broonzy (four if he plays washboard on ''Strut That Thing"), but a blues collection without the swaggering joie de vivre of ~Brown Skin Girls" is incomplete.

WASHBOARD SAM
Rocking My Blues Away Bluebird CD 61042/(Eu) CD 90652
Washboard Sam Best of Blues (Au) CD 1

Washboard Sam's heavy vibrato and clattering tinware bring the unlikely grace of a dancing carthorse to the blues; Broonzy and various distinguished accompanists add flash and dazzle. Superb sound quality on the Bluebird CD (deleted, but still around at the time ot writing). See also entries for Big Bill Broonzy and Jazz Gillum.

SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON
Sonny Boy Williamson Vol. 2 Document (Au) CD 5056
Sonny Boy Williamson Vol. 5 Document (Au) CD 5059

The harmonica player who set the standard and defined the aesthetic for the rest. All five volumes are necessary because of the leader; these happen to be the two with the most Broonzy.

VARIOUS ARTISTS
Blues In The Mississippi Night Rykodisc CD 90155/Sequel(UK) CD 122

The Rykodisc has superior sound, and is slightly different from Sequel's reissue of this documentary collection of talk and music; it also has notes by Alan Lomax, who made the original recordings, among his other advantages over the present writer, who annotated the Sequel version with an acute sense of chutzpah. Broonzy, Memphis Slim and Sonny Boy Williamson make you both ashamed and enthralled to be listening, and show how the blues was one weapon in the triumph over white attempts to deny meaning to black lives. A necessary component of any blues collection.
 
« Last Edit: January 07, 2008, 11:25:08 AM by Bunker Hill »

Offline uncle bud

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 8314
  • Rank amateur
Re: Looking for some suggestions for Broonzy and Skip James Albums
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2008, 11:35:14 AM »
While Bunker was posting that great information, I was A/B-ing some tracks from the JSP set with the two Yazoo discs. Yazoo has better sound, far and away. So despite the fact that each disc only has 14 tracks each, they must get the nod. Much warmer and clearer, and as noted focusing on solo material more. 

Edited to add: While I hope these kinds of questions continue to be asked here, are always welcome, and generate interesting discussion and posts (such as the great info compiled by Chris Smith above), I should point out that another project Smith has been involved with, The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings, has been invaluable to me when trying to answer such questions for myself. Highly recommended and pays for itself within a few CD purchases...
« Last Edit: January 07, 2008, 11:40:15 AM by andrew »

Offline Bunker Hill

  • Member
  • Posts: 2832
Re: Looking for some suggestions for Broonzy and Skip James Albums
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2008, 11:49:49 AM »
Concerning Skip James, thanks to the indefatigable Herr Wirz here's the Jame's discography which I'm sure folk here will guide you through the do and don'ts of...:)

http://www.wirz.de/music/jamesfrm.htm

Beanman

  • Guest
Re: Looking for some suggestions for Broonzy and Skip James Albums
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2008, 01:33:52 PM »
Hey man -

I picked up some really good stuff from the library of Big Bill - A CD called Blue sof Big Bill Broonzy, and most all of it was just him and guitar. also of interest might be a dvd floating around through Netflix that has Big Bill playing all by his lonesome. The other part is Leroy carr on Piano. It is really a trippy dvd as the set is a fake nightclub kind of scene, and there is definitely some wierd racial shit goin' on. check it out.

I picked up all my Skip James stuff off of I-Tunes. COmplete recordings. there is also a dvd out called Devil got My Woman whcih has Skip James, Bukka WHite, Howlin Wolf and some other cats on it. Shot in the 60's at the Newport Folk festival.

Good Luck, and Maybe see you at blues camp. I am going to the bottke neck camp at the end of this month.

Offline Rivers

  • Tech Support
  • Member
  • Posts: 6946
  • I like chicken pie
Re: Looking for some suggestions for Broonzy and Skip James Albums
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2008, 04:43:03 PM »
If you're into Bill and have got the early recordings you should check out the stuff he recorded for French label Vogue in 1951/2. The complete recordings have recently been reissued, google for "broonzy" "vogue".

Bill was in top form on these. His playing and particularly his voice are incredible, and he's clearly in an expansive mood having been appreciated all over again by European blues fans. The one older CD I have released 1984, "Big Bill Blues", is one of my favorite albums guaranteed to put me in a good mood, with just a tinge of sadness knowing what we do about Bill's later years. The sound quality is very good and the tracks on that disc are all solo Bill. I really must get the complete Vogue recordings as well before they, inevitably, go out of print again.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2008, 04:55:38 PM by Rivers »

Offline Mr.OMuck

  • Member
  • Posts: 2605
    • MuckOVision
Re: Looking for some suggestions for Broonzy and Skip James Albums
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2008, 07:06:18 PM »
A must have BBB, imho  is "Conversations with the Blues" a 1956 radio show hosted by Chicago's eminent Studs Turkle and also including Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. The playing is great and the interview, informative. Its like you're there hangin' out with these four worthies. Its available special order from Smithsonian- Folkways.
There was another great '60's release on a label called "Archive of Folk Music"  just called "Big Bill Broonzy" that has the greatest, most swingin', most happenin' and coolest instrumental version of St. Louis Blues you're ever gonna hear! A couple of other tremendous late instrumentals too.
Big Bill is great throughout his career. Make sure you pay attention to his singing which is about as inventive, creative, soulful and just plain wildass as it comes.

http://www.myspace.com/mromuck
« Last Edit: January 07, 2008, 07:07:48 PM by Mr.OMuck »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Mr.OMuck

  • Member
  • Posts: 2605
    • MuckOVision
Re: Looking for some suggestions for Broonzy and Skip James Albums
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2008, 11:30:35 PM »
OOPS! I'm sorry its "This is the Blues" ....Conversations with the blues is a book (Charters? Oliver?)
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

 


SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2020, SimplePortal