collapse

* Member Info

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

* Like Us on Facebook

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller, catchphrase

Author Topic: Favourite Recording Sessions  (Read 10246 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline CF

  • Member
  • Posts: 885
Favourite Recording Sessions
« on: March 28, 2008, 06:37:56 AM »
I've been meaning to start this thread for a while. So what are your favourite recording sessions? I'm going to show my hand right off the bat & say my fav session of all 'pre-war' sessions, the pinnacle of delta blues recordings in my opinion is Son House's 1941-2 Library of Congress sessions with Alan Lomax & John Work. Son's 1930 recordings are equally amazing but where they present a very passionate & driving bluesman new to the record-making process in 1941-42 we hear a more experienced bluesman (Son apparently was a late bloomer as a musician & by 1941 had only been playing for roughly 13-15 years). The variety of songs & settings recorded at these sessions is eye-opening. We hear Son & Willie Brown with Fiddlin' Joe Martin & Leroy Williams performing string band blues, there is an unaccompanied camp holler, an interview with Son about his guitar tuning, a couple pre-blues tunes which showcase an older style that by 1941-2 was already old-fashioned &, of course, a bunch of low-down blues. 'Shetland Pony Blues', 'Depot Blues', 'Low Down Dirty Dog Blues', 'Delta Blues', 'Special Rider Blues', 'County Farm' & 'Jinx Blues pt1&2' are masterful performances. Son's technique & skill level were still intact & he plays with a patience & ease not present on his commercial recordings. I would say the field recording setting aids in the atmosphere of these recordings as we hear trains passing by during songs, roosters crowing & standers-by laughing & listening to the proceedings. If you take into account Willie Brown's 'Make Me A Pallet', Leroy Williams' 'Uncle Sam Done Called' & Fiddlin Joe's tunes recorded during the same trips this accounts for one hell of a group of recordings!     
« Last Edit: March 29, 2008, 04:21:55 AM by cheapfeet »
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10911
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2008, 08:50:22 AM »
Thanks for the great thread idea, cheapfeet.  Without elaborating too much (a first?), I'm drawn to sessions/days when musicians got on a roll and recorded a great number of usable takes.  It seems a good indication of a musician at the top of his or her game.  Two such instances that come to mind are:
   * Buddy Moss's solo sessions of July 30, 1934, and August 7, 8, 9, and 11 of 1934, when he recorded 17 absolutely stellar tracks with a great deal of variety, some of the strongest East Coast blues ever; and
   * Bukka White's sessions with Washboard Sam's backing, on March 7th and 8th, 1940.  These sessions might take the cake:  12 incredible performances, including "When Can I Change My Clothes?", "High Fever Blues", "District Attorney Blues", "Fixin' To Die Blues", "Bukka's Jitterbug Swing", and other classics.  Whew!  Like my dad would say, lots of meat and not very many potatos.
All best,
Johnm 

Cooljack

  • Guest
Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2008, 12:58:00 PM »
I don't really have any in perticular but my favorate period for recording sessions has to definatly be between 1927 and 1931

Offline Bunker Hill

  • Member
  • Posts: 2832
Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2008, 01:12:55 PM »
In 1970 Johnny Parth released on his Roots label an album entitled "The Famous 1928 Tommy Johnson - Ishman Bracey Session". That was some session. Like the 1968 Columbia/CBS release of the 1940 Bukka White sessions (mentioned by John) both LPs rarely left the turntable.

Offline waxwing

  • Member
  • Posts: 2543
    • Wax's YouTube Channel
Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2008, 01:58:27 PM »
Well, I don't think any list of great country blues sessions would be complete without at least a mention of the famous Patton, Brown, House, Louise Johnson session at the Paramount studios in Grafton ('29, 30 ?). Even if you don't consider it Patton's or House's best work it was still a session with a major impact on modern players.

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Offline dj

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 2638
  • Howdy!
Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2008, 02:20:00 PM »
Thanks for starting a good topic, cheapfeet.  I often think of my favorite sessions and have thought of starting a similar thread in the past, but, being inherently lazy...   ;D

One of my favorite sessions would be the one held in New York City in mid-July of 1933 which saw Lucille Bogan, Walter Roland, and Sonny Scott recording for ARC.  I know I've mentioned this session 3 times already in the past year, but it really produced an outstanding body of work.  You had 2 absolutely great vocalists in Bogan and Roland, and Sonny Scott, though a notch below them, was pretty good himself.  Bogan did all of her work with Roland accompanying on piano, but Roland and Scott teamed up in all sorts of combinations.  Each accompanied himself on solo guitar, and Roland, of course, accompanied himself on piano.  They did a few guitar piano duets, Roland did some piano solos, Roland and Scott did two songs on which the singer was accompanied by a guitar duet, and they did two absolutely beautiful guitar duet instrumentals.  There were lots of blues recorded, of course, but also hokum tunes, a pop tune, and a spoken skit with buck and wing dance backed by Roland's piano.  Unfortunately, the Document CD with Bogan's portion of the session is currently unavailable, but the rest of the session is available on Walter Roland Volume 1 and the Alabama And The East Coast compilation.   
« Last Edit: April 09, 2008, 11:05:34 AM by dj »

Offline CF

  • Member
  • Posts: 885
Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2008, 04:18:18 AM »
Great suggestions everyone . . .
Big Bill Broonzy had a particularly successful session in New York on March 29-30, 1932 when he recorded the definative versions of 'Too Too Train Blues', 'Worrying You Off My Mind (pt.1&2)', 'Bull Cow Blues' & 'Long Tall Mama'. Besides the brilliance of the music & the maturation of Big Bill's singing & playing the records themselves sound real good, better than any of his previous recordings.
Leadbelly's first commercial recordings for ARC have always been among my favourites. These were done between January & March of 1935. Only 3 records (6 songs) of approximately 40 recorded songs were released at the time to not much success (Leadbelly's 'old-fashioned' style is often cited as the reason for the poor sales). He sounds very eager in this session, like he was trying to impress & be impressive & he recorded a lot of blues. Stand-out performances include 'Packin' Trunk', 'Roberta', 'You Don't Know My Mind', 'Fort Worth Blues', 'Kansas City Papa', 'Daddy I'm Comin' Back To You', 'C. C. Rider' (my vote for one of the best slide performances), 'Mister Tom Hughes' Town', etc.
I have a large portion of the sessions on Columbia's 'King of the Twelve String' & 'Leadbelly'.
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline dj

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 2638
  • Howdy!
Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2008, 06:39:15 AM »
Another of my favorite recording sessions took place on the top floor of the Leland Hotel in Aurora Illinois on May 5, 1937.  On that date, Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Lee McCoy (later known as Robert Nighthawk), and Big Joe Williams entered the studio to record as a tight little band, with Sonny Boy and Robert Lee making their recording debut.  The first song recorded was Sonny Boy's "Good Morning Schoolgirl", and it was a good one.  It featured a good set of lyrics set to a melody that hadn't been heard much before, Sonny Boy's pleasant singing voice, and harmonica playing that really fundamentally changed the way the instrument would be heard and played in the future.  Maybe this is a bit of a stretch, but I always think that the effect of that record on first-time listeners in 1937 must have been like the effect that Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" had on me the first time I heard it as a 15 year old, coming out of a radio speaker while sitting on a beach at Cape Cod, broadcast by WRKO out of Boston.  Sonny Boy recorded a bunch of other good songs that day - "Blue Bird Blues" and "Sugar Mama" among them - and Robert Lee McCoy and Joe Williams recorded some of their best material at that session.  The session had an overall high standard for songwriting, arranging, and musicianship, and fundamentally changed the way the harmonica would be perceived.         

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10911
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2008, 08:42:28 AM »
Hi all,
Once you start thinking of these, you keep thinking of more.  A couple:
   * On August 12, 1927, Texas Alexander and Lonnie Johnson were back in the studio after having recorded two titles (their first together), "Range In My Kitchen Blues" and "Long Lonesome Blues", the day before.  The session on the 12th resulted in three sides, but what sides:  "Corn Bread Blues", "Section Gang Blues" and "Levee Camp Moan Blues".  On the last two tunes, Lonnie Johnson came up with a completely new approach to accompanying the blues, and, I think, paved the way for all single-string back-up and fills behind blues singing right up to the present.  Alexander's singing is supernaturally strong and it seems possible Lonnie might not have come up with his approach had he been backing a "normal" singer with more conventional phrasing.
   * In a session or sessions in Chicago in mid-1930, Charley Jordan recorded 8 titles, all but two of the total solo-guitar-backing-voice songs he was ever to record.  The songs:  "Stack O'Dollar Blues", "Dollar Bill Blues", "Keep It Clean", "Big Four Blues", "Just a Spoonful", "Two Street Blues", "Raidin' Squad Blues", and "Hunkie Tunkie Blues".  That's a great session.
All best,
Johnm

Offline jostber

  • Member
  • Posts: 629
Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2008, 10:28:03 AM »
I also go for that session with Texas Alexander and Lonnie Johnson. Wonderful music was created that day. Also love that June 1940 session with Leadbelly and Golden Gate Quartet which produced a classic version of "Midnight Special" and many more.




Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10911
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2008, 01:42:52 PM »
Hi all,
I thought of/noticed a couple of more great recording sessions.  Here goes:
   * On May 20, 1929, West Virginia guitarist and singer Dick Justice went into a recording studio in Chicago.  As far as I know, it was the only time he was ever recorded commercially.  In the course of that one day, he recorded six solo numbers, "Old Black Dog", "Brown Skin Blues" and "Cocaine", among the finest Hillbilly blues ever recorded, and three terrific renditions of songs from the Appalachian song and ballad tradition:  "Little Lulie (a sort of version of "Darling Corey"), "Henry Lee", and "One Cold December Day".  In addition, he backed Reese Jarvis, a really nice fiddler on four tunes:  "Guian Valley Waltz", Poor Girl's Waltz", "Poca River Blues" (sometimes called "East Tennessee Blues") and "Muskrat Rag".  All the pieces with Jarvis are great, but the waltzes are particular beauties.  Dick Justice lived into the 1950s but never made into the studio again.  Considering his productivity on May 20, 1929, just think how much he might have gotten recorded had he been booked for two more days!
   * On August 20, 22, and 23, 1949, Dan Pickett recorded 18 titles, the only time he would ever be recorded.  These performances, which can be found on the JSP set, "Shake That Thing", are among the strongest solo recordings by any post-War Country Blues musician.  I'm sure Pickett never thought at the completion of the sessions that he would never be recorded again, but it turned out that way.  We're lucky he made it in on those days in 1949.
All best,
Johnm 

Offline jostber

  • Member
  • Posts: 629
Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2008, 03:42:27 AM »


Grafton, Wisconsin. May 28, 1930.

On H.C.Spier, one of the greatest early Blues session men:

http://www.bluesworld.com/SpierOne.html


Offline jharris

  • Member
  • Posts: 126
    • Big Road Blues
Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2008, 04:51:23 PM »
This article should be of interest:

Blues In The Round by Ed Komara: An account and analysis of the famous 1930 Grafton recording session of Charley Patton, Son House, Willie Brown and Louise Johnson.

http://www.sundayblues.org/docs/Komara.pdf

-Jeff


Offline CF

  • Member
  • Posts: 885
Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2008, 04:00:24 PM »
Curley Weaver's April 23rd, 1935 session in Chicago is a great one. 'Trick Ain't Walkin' No More', 'Oh Lawdy Mama', 'Two Faced Woman', 'Early Morning Blues' & 'Fried Pie Blues' are real catchy tunes & are wonderfully played by both Curley & Blind Willie Mctell (Willie was there recording a religious session with Weaver & Kate McTell in tow). I like Curley's vocals very much on these sides.
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline doctorpep

  • Member
  • Posts: 290
Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2008, 06:47:53 PM »
There is a guy on YouTube named Little Brother Blues. He is a huge Curley Weaver fan and even knows his daughter! He loves the Atlanta Blues. He also gives free guitar lessons on YouTube. You should definitely look him up and have a chat about Curley. He said that Curley's family was playing the "No No Blues" in the 1800s!
"There ain't no Heaven, ain't no burning Hell. Where I go when I die, can't nobody tell."

http://www.hardluckchild.blogspot.com/

 


SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2020, SimplePortal