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Author Topic: Favourite Recording Sessions  (Read 10261 times)

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Offline CF

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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 »
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Offline Johnm

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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Offline dj

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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

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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'.
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Offline dj

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.
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Offline doctorpep

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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!
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Offline outfidel

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2008, 10:59:51 AM »
Blind Willie Johnson (6 songs) & Washington Phillips (5 songs) -- recorded separately by Frank Walker in Dallas, December 2-5 1927

Johnson: If I Had My Way; Mother's Children Have a Hard Time; It's Nobody's Fault but Mine; Jesus Make up My Dying Bed; I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole; Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground

Phillips: Denomination Blues; Take Your Burden To the Lord and Leave It There; Paul and Silas in Jail; Lift Him Up That's All; Mother's Last Word To Her Son
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Offline Johnm

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2008, 11:25:04 AM »
Wow, you aren't kidding, those are some great sessions, Michael!  I never knew that Washington Phillips and Blind Willie Johnson were ever in the studio at the same time.  There were a number of performances recorded in the sessions you cite that would make for a great session even if they were the only song recorded.  Whew!
All best,
Johnm

Offline outfidel

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2008, 01:18:42 PM »
Hi JohnM - It is an amazing set of songs recorded by Johnson & Phillips over the course of a few days. How cool would it have been had they recorded together? I imagine Johnson's slide & Phillips' zither/dolceola would have been an interesting contrast.

Also, I haven't read much about Frank Walker, but I wonder to what extent he realized the greatness of the music that he helped discover & record? Seems that guys like him & Ralph Peer were out trying to make records that would sell. They probably had no idea that, 80 years later, people would still marvel at the depth & beauty of this music.
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Offline Bill Roggensack

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2008, 03:10:20 PM »
I probably knew this once and had forgotten it, but in my current read (Hank Williams: The Biography, by Colin Escott et al.), the author notes that after starting with Okeh (looking after the "race" recording series), Peer went to Victor in 1925, where he agreed to take a nominal fee ($1) for each recording he arranged in return for taking the publishing (mechanical) rights. That eventually led to the formation of his publishing company, Southern Music (and later, Peer Music), and also to key involvement in setting up BMI. As an highly successful A&R man, he definitely turned up gems (including the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers at that incredible first recording session for both in Bristol TN), he really wasn't financially motivated by the sale of records. His payoff was to come from publishing original blues and country songs that derived from those recording sessions. He had is eye on a prize, but it was a little further out than the record companies he worked for ever realized.

An overview of Ralph Peer's life and accomplishments can be found here:
http://www.peermusic.com/aboutus/companyhistory.cfm

I can only imagine what stories he could tell! To do what he did, he must have had a real love for "roots" music, and thanks to him, we have access to a large cache of sonic time capsules.
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Offline jostber

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2008, 03:15:40 AM »
Hi JohnM - It is an amazing set of songs recorded by Johnson & Phillips over the course of a few days. How cool would it have been had they recorded together? I imagine Johnson's slide & Phillips' zither/dolceola would have been an interesting contrast.

Also, I haven't read much about Frank Walker, but I wonder to what extent he realized the greatness of the music that he helped discover & record? Seems that guys like him & Ralph Peer were out trying to make records that would sell. They probably had no idea that, 80 years later, people would still marvel at the depth & beauty of this music.

I believe Frank Walker worked with John Hammond at Columbia, and Mr.Walker also recorded and produced all of Bessie Smith's sessions at Columbia according to Chris Albertson.




Offline CF

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #20 on: September 01, 2008, 11:42:19 AM »
I listened to a lot of Lemon last week & I'll cite his second session as a favourite. 'Got the Blues', 'Long Lonesome Blues', 'Booster Blues' & 'Dry Southern Blues' were all recorded c.March 1926 in Chicago. This is some of the nuttiest, most technically breathtaking & original music that you'll ever hear. I'm always hearing new things each time I listen to him. This time around it struck me how frontier Lemon sounds. His music is obviously from a different age but it is uncommon as ever, and his control & speed of his ideas is 
remarkable. Lemon does sound like a musician working out of a tradition but it is one he has manipulated in such a personal & exciting way. You can hear that he must have spent a lot of time alone noodling & inventing.
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Offline oddenda

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2008, 03:38:36 AM »
In more recent times is a session produced by Chris Albertson for Prestige/Bluesville atRudy VanGelder's studio in NJ: One LP came out entitled "Blues & Ballads" - Lonnie Johnson and Elmer Snowden w. Wendell Marshall on bass. When Fantasy reissued stuff on the Original Blues Classics line, this album was included, plus a second volume came later with the remaining (?) titles by the three. The music was sublime, but then Lonnie was that. I never tire of them.

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Offline Rivers

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2008, 07:03:11 PM »
I'm very partial to Willie McTell's last sessions. The pathos, and the uplift, are sublime. McTell was just so totally on. The world weariness is balanced by maturity and humor that gets me every time. Inspiring.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2008, 08:21:58 PM »
Not sure how many sessions exactly but I got turned on to Otis Rush's Cobra Sessions '56 - '58 recently, how did I miss that one. Legendary sessions and deservedly so. I'm not an electric blues guy but there's a lot about those recordings that sets them apart from the very first run through and it only gets better with repeated plays. Taste, sophistication, intelligence, ego-free, less is more. A pivotal disk, wish all electric blues were like this.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2008, 06:47:07 AM »
Not sure how many sessions exactly but I got turned on to Otis Rush's Cobra Sessions '56 - '58 recently, how did I miss that one. Legendary sessions and deservedly so. I'm not an electric blues guy but there's a lot about those recordings that sets them apart from the very first run through and it only gets better with repeated plays. Taste, sophistication, intelligence, ego-free, less is more. A pivotal disk, wish all electric blues were like this.
Flyright in 1980 obtained UK licence rights to the Cobra catalogue and managed to reissue the entire Rush recordings. See the range FLY LP560 to 594 at http://wirz.de/music/flyrifrm.htm and later CD reissues in 1990s.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2008, 06:53:18 AM by Bunker Hill »

Offline jpeters609

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2008, 08:21:53 AM »
I agree. And a big part of what made Otis Rush's Cobra sessions so great (in my opinion) was the presence of Ike Turner on second guitar for some of the tracks. Check those out ("Double Trouble" in particular), and you'll see they have a raw edge and excitement that sets them apart.
Jeff

Offline dj

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2008, 09:52:45 AM »
Quote
Flyright in 1980 obtained UK licence rights to the Cobra catalogue and managed to reissue the entire Rush recordings.

Paula issued them on CD in the States.  Apparently, all the Paula JOB and Cobra packages were straightforward reissues of the Flyright reissues, right down to the indifferent sound quality.  I see the Otis Rush stuff is out on Varese Sarabande now.  Anyone know if the sound is at all improved, or was the murkiness in the original recordings?

Offline Rivers

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2008, 06:12:00 PM »
My edition is on Fuel Records, released 2000, '...in cooperation with Varese Sarabande Records'. Sounds pretty good to me but I'm so used to 78s...

Neil Slaven's notes state: "His fifty-year career has contained some memorable recordings but none has surpassed the tortuous and tortured sounds that were coaxed from Eli Toscano's inadequately-equipped studio".

Nice package except no personnel listings, though we know Ike, Dixon, Horton and Little Walter are in there, and Little Brother Montgomery.

Once again doesn't count as one session ('56-'58) but it's legendary and usually packaged as a set of related sessions so I guess it almost fits.

If you like that you'll love Slim Harpo, The Excello Singles Anthology! A topic for Other Musical Interests perhaps. I'm very grateful to the guy who turned me onto those two records which I think are pivotal.

Offline dj

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2009, 05:45:29 PM »
One session I would have loved to attend is the one where Gennett recorded a bunch of St Louis artists in mid April of 1927.  There was a diverse group of vocalists, from vaudevillians to "classic" female singers to more country singers, with the absolutely wonderful Henry Johnson And His Boys holding things together instrumentally.  I would love to have been able to hear all the music live, to observe the personal interactions of such a diverse group, and to see what the heck Mr. Johnson was playing.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #29 on: February 17, 2009, 05:56:11 PM »
Blind Willie McTell, Friday 23 October 1931, Atlanta:

Southern Can Is Mine
Broke Down Engine Blues
Stomp Down Rider
Scarey Day Blues

Oh to have been hanging around the studio at that one.

Offline oddenda

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #30 on: February 17, 2009, 08:23:28 PM »
Hell, to have been around for ANY session by McTell would have been precious.

Peter B.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #31 on: November 06, 2009, 06:36:19 AM »
On Saturday, October 22, 1938, in San Antonio, Bo Carter recorded 18 songs, including

Shake 'Em On Down
World in a Jug
Who's Been Here?
Let's Get Drunk Again
Some Day
Old Devil
Country Fool
Be My Salty Dog
Ways Like a Crawfish

among others. Talk about a good day's work.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #32 on: November 06, 2009, 08:24:55 AM »
Quote
Hell, to have been around for ANY session by McTell would have been precious.

Dont'cha think there's gotta be a film clip of him playing on the street that some tourist shot, lying in some attic somewhere?

I agree about Bo's session UB. What a line up!
« Last Edit: November 06, 2009, 08:26:33 AM by Mr.OMuck »
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Offline phhawk

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #33 on: November 06, 2009, 10:17:21 PM »
A few sessions that jump out at me; Birmingham Jug Band, Dec 11, 1930, Alanta, Ga. Can you imagine getting all those guys together. Like hearding cats. But they sure knew what to do when they got there.

Also, The Georgia Browns, 1/19/1933, NYC. Another great ensemble session with two guys that have already been meintioned in this thread. Buddy Moss and Curley Weaver  with Fred McMullen, especially Tampa Strut & Decatur Street 81. What a record!!

Finally, The Beale Street Sheiks, especially the March 1929 session. Hunting Blues knocks me out..

Phil

Offline Johnm

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2010, 11:19:17 AM »
Hi all,
I've been thinking about him a lot lately, but I would have to rate Memphis Willie B.'s recording session in Memphis on August 12, 1961 very highly.  To get two albums worth of top-notch material in one session is a mammoth undertaking--whew!
All best,
Johnm

Offline Doc Brainerd

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2010, 01:29:31 PM »
Two of my favorites:
Skip James 1931 session for Paramount in Grafton, WI
Dock Boggs 1927 (?) first session for Brunswick in NYC

Offline LeftyStrat

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #36 on: January 28, 2010, 02:35:25 PM »
I'd hafta say that as far as sessions go, the ones I'd most like to see (at least that come to mind right away) are:

Explanations and editorial comments in Italics after each selection :)

Atlanta, 7-8 December 1930:

The Georgia Cotton Pickers (Barbecue Bob, Curley Weaver, Buddy Moss)

I'm On My Way Down Home
Diddle-da-Diddle
She Looks So Good
She's Coming Back Some Cold Rainy Day

In the 2nd one, it often sounds to me like Bob sings the title lyric "Do-da-Do" Anyone else hear that, perchance? Maybe my ears are weird). The fourth one is perhaps my favorite Bob track, and if as the Document series appears to indicate, it was his last, then what a helluva way to go out! :)

Atlanta,  9 November 1927 & 23 April 1930

Barbecue Bob & Charlie Lincoln together. Need I say More?

While I agree that any Willie McTell session would've been awesome to see, I have a specific one in mind:

Atlanta, 26-27 November 1929

Even though Mr. McTell wasn't at the forefront of this session, it  produced the track "Teasin' Brown", with Alphoncy Harris on vocals. IMO, he had quite an impressive set of pipes, as they say. One of my favorite BWM tracks (sad, isn't it? That I should say that of a track where Willie is actually backing someone else LOL)

Anything by Charlie Patton, but specifically the December '29 session in which "Rattlesnake Blues" was recorded.
May well have been previously mentioned

Anything by Henry Thomas.
There's very little I wouldn't give to have seen him in action.

Richmond, IN 9 October 1928  William Harris

Kansas City Blues
Kitchen Range Blues
Keep Your Man Out Of Birmingham
Electric Chair Blues

The First and Fourth are probably my favorite of his tunes. Toss in "Bullfrog Blues" and "Hot Time Blues" (recorded over the next 2 days) and that would be a sight to see & hear, IMO

Gotta throw in the Leadbelly session in NYC on 17 February '44 where he recorded "In New Orleans" too, as well as anything by Tommy Johnson.

Gonna stop now, else I'll think of some more and be here for the rest of the evening.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2010, 05:34:17 PM by LeftyStrat »
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Offline dj

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #37 on: January 28, 2010, 04:55:26 PM »
Lately I've been listening a lot to a session that took place in Chicago for Vocalion on March 26 and 27 1935.  The session featured a bunch of guys from St. Louis:  Peetie Wheatstraw, Teddy Darby (his next-to-last session), Charley Jordan (unfortunately, none of the 4 titles he recorded was issued), and the relatively unknown Leroy Henderson.  Also present was Casey Bill Weldon, making his first recordings.  It was an interesting group of people, and resulted in a bunch of music of a high standard.  I would love to have been a fly on the wall, just to hear the music live and to catch the interactions among the players.   

Offline dj

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #38 on: March 06, 2010, 08:48:35 AM »
Johnm's mention of The Big Boat in the Eight Bar Blues thread puts me in mind of another day that I would have liked to have been in the studio.  The place and time: whatever studio Vocalion was using in Chicago on September 3, 1936.  The day started with Big Bill Broonzy, supported by George Barnes on electric guitar, Charlie McCoy on mandolin, and Black Bob on piano, recording four songs.  Then Barnes left and the other three backed Casey Bill Weldon on 6 songs.  Weldon's songs were a varied lot.  Besides the 8 bar format of The Big Boat, there were three 12 bar blues, a hokum song, and a pop song, all written by Weldon.  This group seems to have brought out the best in Casey Bill, and the session produced two of his most enduring sides, I Believe I'll Make A Change and We Gonna Move (To The Outskirts Of Town).  The playing by everyone is simply outstanding, and the results so good that I'm surprised that Lester Melrose didn't bring Charley McCoy in to play with these guys more often.  I'd love to have seen a whole concert put on by the five guys who were in that studio that day!       

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #39 on: June 07, 2013, 12:05:28 PM »
Hi all,
I've had occasion recently to be thinking about Big Joe Williams' first session on February 25, 1935.  It yielded:           
   * "Little Leg Woman",
   * "Somebody's Been Borrowing that Stuff" w/Henry Townsend
   * "Providence Help The Poor People"
   * "49 Highway Blues"
   * "My Grey Pony"
   * "Stepfather Blues",
   and from Walter Davis:
   * "Sloppy Drunk Again" with Big Joe and Henry Townsend
   * "Travelin' This Lonesome Road", also with Big Joe and Henry
   * "Sad And Lonesome Blues", w/ Big Joe and Henry
   * "Minute Man Blues, pts 1 and 2, w/Big Joe and Henry
   * "Sweet Sixteen", w/Big Joe and Henry
   * "Wonder Where My Baby's Gone", w/both Henry and Joe, though Joe is uncharacteristically subdued
   * "Lay Around On Your D B A"--a solo number for Walter Davis
This strikes me as being a real decent day in the studio.  Whew!

All best,
Johnm
   

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #40 on: September 19, 2013, 08:08:01 PM »
Tommy Johnson on the mind . . . he's been mentioned a few times in this thread already but in particular his c. Dec 1929 session for Paramount is a beaut with some truly soulful performances & songs. This session is almost the dark twin of the famous & sonically superior Victor recordings of 1928. The string of tunes starting with SLIDIN' DELTA & including LONESOME HOME BLUES [#2] & the unissued MORNING PRAYER/BOGALOOSA WOMAN are Delta Blues at its finest. The tone of these songs is of a different sort than many Blues records & Johnson isn't recycling one of his established riffs from the Victors. I WANT SOMEONE TO LOVE ME & I WONDER TO MYSELF actually open the session. One's a ballad in the Jimmie Rodgers mold & the other is a rag with extended kazoo solos! The two BLACK MARE BLUES (with the frenetic Jazz backing on clarinet & piano) & RIDIN' HORSE & ALCOHOL & JAKE BLUES were possibly from the same session, B&GR only has an approximate idea when these songs were recorded but it was in Grafton, Wisconsin. The MAREs & HORSE are reworkings of MAGGIE CAMPBELL & ALCOHOL is set to the tune of CANNED HEAT.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2013, 08:27:57 PM by cheapfeet »
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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #41 on: September 20, 2013, 04:58:07 AM »
Yeah, that Paramount session would have been an interesting one to see and hear.  Not just Tommy Johnson, but also Ishman Bracey doing a bunch of good stuff (and a bunch of stuff that never got released), Charley Taylor cutting loose with some fine piano, and Bracey and Taylor swapping humorous stories.  Though if I were there, I would have hidden Kid Ernest's clarinet somewhere where it would have taken him weeks to find it.   ;) 

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #42 on: September 25, 2017, 05:24:03 PM »
Hi all,
I've just become aware of a really stellar session of Yank Rachell's in Chicago on December 11, 1941 (four days after Pearl Harbor!).  For the session, Yank was joined by John Lee Williamson on harmonica, Washboard Sam on washboard, and Alfred Elkins on "bass cano".  In Alfred's case, I believe it was a "can o' silence".  Everyone else is in exceptional form.  Here are the titles recorded that day:
   * Yellow Yam Blues
   * Tappin' That Thing
   * Rainy Day Blues
   * Peach Tree Blues
   * She Loves Who She Please
   * Bye-Bye Blues
   * Loudella Blues
   * Katy Lee Blues
Yank's energy level is extra high, he's really jacked up, and it shows in both his singing and his playing.  He plays every one of the songs out of G position in standard tuning, and far from becoming monotonous, his playing is elevated by working out of just that one playing position.  This might be my favorite playing in G position that I've ever heard.  I can't praise it highly enough.  Sonny Boy is likewise stellar, and really tuned in, and their rapport is readily apparent.  These tracks can all be found on the JSP "Sleepy John Estes" set, and they are really worth seeking out.

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: September 25, 2017, 07:31:03 PM by Johnm »

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #43 on: September 25, 2017, 07:42:47 PM »
I agree, Johnm, great session. Great band.

But you never seem to have a kind word for Alfred Elkins. What's up with that? You'll never hear the bass if you are relying on computer speakers.

In the topic you started last January that inspired me to explore Elkins' discography I singled out "Tappin' That Thing" from this session as a particularly fine example of his playing. This was recorded at the peak of Elkins' career and during the last two months of 1941 he played on 70 sides for 12 different bands. You can find a youtube of "Tappin' That Thing", with pretty good sound, if you scroll down in this post: http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=11300.msg99751#msg99751 and if you listen with headphones, or even good earbuds, you can hear some pretty fine and well recorded Bass Cano (which I'm pretty sure is a washtub bass), unless you think those quick walking bass runs are Rachel on guitar (tuned real low)? I think he is an equal partner to the other stellar members of this group and deserves better credit.

Jeez, it's sad to see how many of the youtube videos I linked have been pulled down. That was only 9 months ago.

Wax
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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #44 on: September 25, 2017, 10:44:06 PM »
Thanks for suggesting I re-listen to the tracks in a better listening situation, Wax.  I will do that, and attempt to see if I can hear more clearly what Alfred Elkins was playing on those tracks.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Hwy80

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Re: Favourite Recording Sessions
« Reply #45 on: September 26, 2017, 02:34:20 AM »
Two of my favorites:
Skip James 1931 session for Paramount in Grafton, WI
Dock Boggs 1927 (?) first session for Brunswick in NYC

Me too, especially Dock Boggs.

 


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