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When Alan posed the question "What are the blues? What do they mean to you?" the answers were in part something he sought for himself, to understand this musical form that may have been as ancient as the griots in West Africa, or perhaps as recent as the automobile, the airplane, and the phonograph (all of which made guest appearances in the blues). The blues had become a craze, like ragtime, which grew up alongside it, and it leaped from the bottom of the social order to the Astors and the Vanderbilts, who staged blues contests for their own amusement well before the rest of white America came to know them - from Alan Lomax, The Man Who Recorded the World, by John Szwed

Author Topic: Blues Aliases  (Read 5337 times)

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Offline CF

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Blues Aliases
« on: April 30, 2008, 12:02:49 PM »
I've been compiling an index of my Blues & Old-time recordings & I've been coming across artists that I'm confused as to their possible identities. This is what people who don't have B&GR do!
Is Rev. Moses Mason the same Red Hot Old Man Moses?
Is R. T. Hanen J. D. Short?
Is Wiley Barner Joe McCoy?
Also, I can't remember where but I saw Sam Hill confused for an underrecorded artist recently when in fact it's a pseudonym for Walter Vincson right?
Then there's the ladies: Bessie Jackson = Lucille Bogan, Lottie Beaman = Lottie Kimbrough . . .
Can anyone shed some light on my above questions & perhaps this would be a good thread to start a blues/oldtime alias list? (assuming there isn't one already, I did do a bit of a search . . . )
« Last Edit: May 01, 2008, 03:03:22 PM by cheapfeet »
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline CF

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Re: Blues Alias'
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2008, 05:06:20 AM »
Mozelle Alderson also recorded under the names 'Jane Lucas', 'Kansas City Kitty' & 'Hannah May'. 'Jane Lucas' may have been used by several artists.
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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blues Alias'
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2008, 09:57:32 AM »
Also, I can't remember where but I saw Sam Hill confused for an underrecorded artist recently when in fact it's a pseudonym for Walter Vincson right?
Walter Vincson and Jesse Coleman (Monkey Joe) were teamed with a guitarist named Sam Hill by Chris Albertson in 1961 to record for Riverside. But you are correct in saying that Walter (or Brunswick) used the  pseudonym of Sam Hill (from Louisville)...confusing ain't it? Especially since Albertson states in his notes to the LP that the Sam Hill he recorded "...had cut two sides for Victor in 1929 and four for Brunswick in '31" Bet you wished you'd never opened this can of worms. :)

Offline CF

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Re: Blues Alias'
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2008, 10:46:06 AM »
Well there's a Sammy Hill & A Sam Hill (s) right?
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blues Alias'
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2008, 11:32:10 AM »
Sammy Hill recorded two titles for Victor in Dallas 1929 these can be heard on Document DOCD 5107 (Ramblin' Thomas & The Dallas Blues Singers). "Sam Hill" From Louisville's output is on BDCD 6013 (Mississippi String Bands & Associates).

Offline Chezztone

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2008, 01:50:44 PM »
All -- I like this topic and I'll try to come up with some contributions. But first, a grammar point that is really bothering me: the plural of alias is aliases (not alias'). Please fix the title! Thanks, Chezz

Offline CF

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2008, 03:03:02 PM »
Ha ha, you know I thought the same thing & just ignored it. I had originally titled the post Alias Blues & then just kinda switched the words around . . . change is made.

Oh yeah . . . can anyone shed some more light on the questions in my first post???
« Last Edit: May 01, 2008, 03:05:58 PM by cheapfeet »
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Online Johnm

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2008, 03:11:44 PM »
Hi cheapfeet,
Based on the sound of Wiley Barner's vocal on his very odd track, "My Gal Mistreats Me", I would say that he and Joe McCoy could not be the same person.  They really don't sound anything like each other.
Other performers in this category: 
   * Sam Butler and Bo Weavil Jackson
   * Pinewoods Tom and Joshua White, the singing Christian
   * The Mississippi Mudder and Joe McCoy (I think)
   * Charley Patton and Elder Hadley
   * Blind Lemon Jefferson and Deacon L. J. Bates
   * Blind Willie McTell and Blind Sammie
There must be many more.
All best,
Johnm

Offline CF

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2008, 03:17:36 PM »
John, you're right. I goofed. I was thinking of 'Bill Wilber'. Always check your notes!!
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline dj

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2008, 04:05:07 PM »
Roosevelt Sykes recorded as Dobby Bragg for Paramount (is J. K. Rowling a country blues fan?) and as Willie Kelly for Victor.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2008, 07:29:18 PM »
Didn't Big Bill have an alias or two up his sleeve?
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Offline banjochris

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2008, 11:35:49 PM »
Didn't Big Bill have an alias or two up his sleeve?

Sammy Sampson, Big Bill Broomsley and Big Bill Johnson, at least.

Lonnie Johnson recorded as Duke Owens, Willie Woods, Bud Wilson and George Jefferson for Gennett and had records issued as by Jimmy Jordan on Columbia.

Eddie Lang recorded as Blind Willie Dunn with Johnson.

McTell was also Georgia Bill and Barrelhouse Sammy and Pig 'n Whistle Red.

And one of my favorites, John Fahey and Bill Barth (IIRC) recorded as R.L. Watson and Josiah Jones in the '60s. It's one of my favorites not for the names, but for the ridiculous biography of them included in the liner notes.


There was an article in 78 Quarterly once that had all the pseudonyms that the Broadway label used when it reissued Paramount and other material -- I'll have to dig it out.

Online Johnm

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2008, 07:17:18 AM »
Hi all,
More in the Chicago blues realm than Country Blues, but a couple I remember from the '60s:
   * Muddy Waters recorded as Dirty Rivers, and my favorite, Clear Creek
   * Buddy Guy recorded as Friendly Chap
All best,
Johnm

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2008, 08:03:41 AM »
Let's not overlook Blind Boy Grunt! Or Bob Dylan!
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2008, 08:29:24 AM »
Some years ago now, a radio comedy show in the UK featured Deaf Boy Smedley and Caught Short Williamson...

Not aliases, but quite funny I thought.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2008, 09:37:41 AM »

There was an article in 78 Quarterly once that had all the pseudonyms that the Broadway label used when it reissued Paramount and other material -- I'll have to dig it out.
I'd forgotten about that. I was going to unearth John Godrich's series which he commenced in Blues Unlimted (December 1963) and crib from those. You saved me the effort! >:D

Online Johnm

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2008, 12:13:18 PM »
Hi all,
Last night I thought of Ed Bell--Barefoot Bill--Sluefoot Joe in this category.
all best,
Johnm

Offline Marshcat

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2008, 01:05:37 AM »
Nor should we forget the legendary 1930s ?migr? Glaswegian piper and bluesman sometimes known as One-Armed Jamie Mcgee, immortalised in a BBC Radio 2 "Folk on 2" documentary some years ago. Can't find it online, but this gives the general flavour:

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=45979#680537



Offline CF

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2008, 07:49:40 AM »
Merline Johnson sang a duet with a singer using the alias 'The Louisiana Kid' on a tune called 'Separation Blues' which I have on the Columbia/Roots & Blues 'Legends of the Blues Vol.2' (a tune which nicks Johnny Hodges' famous 'Jeep's Blues' intro) . . . is the identity of this vocalist known?
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2008, 08:53:06 AM »
Merline Johnson sang a duet with a singer using the alias 'The Louisiana Kid' on a tune called 'Separation Blues' which I have on the Columbia/Roots & Blues 'Legends of the Blues Vol.2' (a tune which nicks Johnny Hodges' famous 'Jeep's Blues' intro) . . . is the identity of this vocalist known?
That song was previously unissued but maybe if one can discover who else was in the studio on 7th July 1938 by locating the adjacent matrix numbers on either side of the Johnson session (2294-2297), there may be a clue there.

Offline Pan

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2008, 11:05:28 AM »
John Lee Hooker also comes to mind.

He recorded with the pseudonyms "Texas Slim", "Delta John", "Birmingham Sam & His Magic Guitar"  :), "Little Pork Chops"  :D, "Johnny Williams", "John Lee Booker" (!), "Boogie Man", and "Johnny Lee", among others. I'm sure others can add to the list, these were the first ones I dug up from the internet.

No record contract was to hold him down, it seems  ;).

Pan

Offline fictioneer

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2008, 01:03:57 AM »
Joe Evans and Billy Bird.  DGR don't equate them but they sound like the same guy to me.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2008, 06:15:10 AM »
Cheapfeet, Rev. Moses Mason was indeed "(Red Hot) Old Mose". Re. J.D. Short, I'll have to look at a St. Louis disc on Wolf, which has several of his aliae.  ;)

Speaking of Mose, Thomas Dorsey/Georgia Tom recorded as Memphis Mose for the Brunswick label.

Offline CF

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2008, 07:01:55 AM »
Thanks for that Andrew. 'Mose' & not 'Moses'? Oops
For Hanen I only have 'She Got the River Jordan in her Hips' with Clifford Gibson on guitar & have been comparing the vocal with some J. D. Short tunes & there is a very close similarity there, especially with the vibrato altho' I detect a difference otherwise. Short's voice seems to be more clenched whereas Hanen's has a more open quality, slightly more expressive. But that could be as simple as different moods/different day in the studio. Anyone else with an opinion on these two?
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Offline uncle bud

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2008, 07:17:21 AM »
I checked that St. Louis Blues disc on Wolf (WSE 115). J.D. was a complicated fellow.  :D In addition to Jelly Jaw Short, you do indeed have R.T. Hanen (sounds like Short to me) on "She's Got Jordan River In Her Hips" and "Happy Days Blues". You also have "Spider" Carter, listed as "poss. J.D. Short" on "Please Please Blues", "Dry Spell Blues", and "Don't Leave Me Blues". I have not listened too carefully but would say likely but not definitive on the first 2, pretty certain on the last. Then you have Ell-Zee Floyd, sounds like Short though a bit croonier IMO, on "Snow Bound and Blue". Then you have Joe Stone for "It's Hard Time" and "Back Door Blues". Then you have Joe C. Stone on guitar accompanying James Stump Johnson.

So
Jelly Jaw Short
"Spider" Carter
R.T. Hanen
Ell-Zee Floyd
Joe Stone
Joe C. Stone

were all probable aliae for J.D. Short.

And yes, Mose, not Moses.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2008, 09:02:36 AM »
Thought of another one, though not a recording alias, as far as I recall. Leadbelly = Walter Boyd.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Blues Aliases
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2008, 08:10:11 AM »
While poking around in B&GR for information related to JohnM's question over on the JD Short thread (I've got nothin'), I came across another alleged alias for J.D. Short. According to B&GR, the singer named "Neckbones" doing a duet with Peetie Wheatstraw on his first record, "Tennessee Peaches Blues" and "Four O'Clock in the Morning" is believed to be Short. My problem with this is that the singer doesn't sound like J.D. Short that much to me. It actually sounds more like Charley Jordan. A less assured Jordan perhaps. There's no giveaway to my ear in the simple guitar accompaniment, which is listed as being played by the ubiquitous "unknown". However, Jordan possibly recorded with Wheatstraw less than a week later, accompanying on guitar.


 


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