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Author Topic: Smoky Babe  (Read 4413 times)

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Offline Rivers

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Smoky Babe
« on: February 16, 2009, 03:36:32 PM »
I don't have any Smoky Babe, what's the disc to get?

[edit: changed topic title, removed "Re." from begining so it sorts better in discogs tag results]
« Last Edit: January 07, 2012, 11:07:26 AM by Rivers »

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2009, 12:52:39 AM »
I don't have any Smoky Babe, what's the disc to get?

Anything by Smoky Babe is worth having (in my humble opinion).  I have a couple of LPs, but I assume some stuff is available on CD now. You'll have to do a bit of research.
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Offline oddenda

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2009, 03:53:16 AM »
Stephan Wirtz MUST have a listing for him!

Peter B.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2009, 05:31:04 AM »
Stephan Wirtz MUST have a listing for him!
Peter B.
Of course he does http://www.wirz.de/music/smokyfrm.htm

Offline Stefan Wirz

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2009, 05:31:57 AM »
sho nuff he does: Illustrated Smoky Babe discography  ;)

(isn't there a theory about the 'duplication of events'? Has that anything to do with 'great minds'?)
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 05:53:58 AM by Stefan Wirz »

Offline jpeters609

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2009, 06:25:13 AM »
There are only two Smoky Babe CDs that I'm aware of: "Louisiana Country Blues" on Arhoolie (which he shares with Herman Johnson) and "Hottest Brand Goin'" on Original Blues Classics (which is out of print and hard to find). You can't go wrong with either one. Both were recorded by Harry Oster at around the same time (1960 or so), and they are excellent. I don't believe he recorded any additional material that would fill an album of his own, but he does have a couple tracks on Arhoolie's "Country Negro Jam Session," which is also highly recommended.
Jeff

Offline Stefan Wirz

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2009, 06:33:32 AM »
just had a look at the 'New Testament' (Fancourt/McGrath) and obviously there are so many 'unissued' Smoky Babe tracks to fill two more CDs. Anyone knows if they're only on some list or actually available on tape ?

(to give truth the honour, there are 24 'unissued' tracks, that makes one well packed CD)  >:D
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 09:46:19 AM by Stefan Wirz »

Offline jpeters609

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2009, 06:53:30 AM »
just had a look at the 'New Testament' (Fancourt/McGrath) and obviously there are so many 'unissued' Smoky Babe tracks to fill two more CDs. Anyone knows if they're only on some list or actually available on tape ?

This is similar to something I looked into a while back in regard to Clarence Edwards' numerous unissued tracks (like Smoky Babe, Edwards' tracks were recorded by Harry Oster in 1960). Arhoolie owns these recordings now, and when I contacted Chris Strachwitz about the Edwards' recordings he indicated that they would probably not be issued. If the unissued Smoky Babe tracks were also recorded by Harry Oster, then I assume Arhoolie owns them as well. Whether or not they might be reissued is up in the air (in the case of the Clarence Edwards' tracks, Chris Strachwitz felt they weren't up to snuff. If the Smoky Babe tracks were going to be issued, it seems like Arhoolie would have done so when they put out the Smoky Babe CD, instead of splitting it with Herman Johnson. Just a guess.)
Jeff

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2009, 07:09:44 AM »
Hi folks, I split this off into its own topic.

I agree with the opinions so far, get everything.  :P It's not much to get anyway. And for the two Arhoolies, if you order through Arhoolie direct online and have another Arhoolie disc you've been thinking of picking up, they give you a pretty good discount for 3 or more CDs. The Louisiana disc gets you Herman Johnson as well, who is wonderful in a very different way. The Jam Session disc gets you a pile of great music.

Jam Session disc is reviewed here: http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=782.0

« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 07:12:41 AM by uncle bud »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2009, 07:45:13 AM »
BTW, I have a hard time imagining 2 CDs' worth of Smoky Babe material being not good enough to issue, unless there is something wrong with the actual tape. Smoky Babe just seems like a player who is almost always ON. Perhaps a tune or two might go awry, but 2 CDs of songs? I wonder whether it's more a question of not wanting to bother, for lack of a market or another reason.

Offline Lyndvs

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2009, 07:52:18 AM »
all the Smoky Babe cd`s are great-my favourite is the arhoolie disc-it`s just so alive.A few months ago RedLick records in the uk had a batch of Smoky Babe`s"hottest brand.."cd`s on clearance-i replaced my vinyl copy-for just ?6.00!.They may still have some?!.
    It is out of print and i`ve seen copies on amazon for"silly"money.
        take care
lyndvs.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2009, 09:04:06 AM »
Hottest Brand Goin' has long been one of my favorite records (I have the LP) and Smokey Babe invites comparison with almost anyone in the canon really. Is there a more swingin' back country Mississippian? I don't think so.
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Offline jpeters609

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2009, 11:18:28 AM »
BTW, I have a hard time imagining 2 CDs' worth of Smoky Babe material being not good enough to issue, unless there is something wrong with the actual tape. Smoky Babe just seems like a player who is almost always ON. Perhaps a tune or two might go awry, but 2 CDs of songs? I wonder whether it's more a question of not wanting to bother, for lack of a market or another reason.

I agree, wholeheartedly. In the case of the Clarence Edwards recordings that Arhoolie has decided to keep in the can, Chris Strachwitz indicated that the problem was with Butch Cage's fiddle playing. Evidently, Butch just wasn't feelin' it on those songs! Perhaps the unissued Smoky Babe recordings also suffer from a problem with a backing musician.
Jeff

Offline Johnm

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2009, 11:25:12 AM »
Hi Mark,
I agree that all the Smoky Babe recordings I've heard have been excellent, but would choose "Hottest Brand Going" if I had to select one.  You can't lose, though, really.  If you get the "Louisiana Blues" one on Arhoolie you get all the great Herman E. Johnson material.  Get it all, there's not that much stuff out there.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Rivers

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2009, 03:31:58 PM »
Many thanks guys. Arhoolie here I come.

Offline dj

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2009, 05:55:13 PM »
I'll add my thanks for the discussion.  I've just ordered the Smokey Babe/Herman E. Johnson CD.   

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2009, 05:58:57 PM »
BTW, I have a hard time imagining 2 CDs' worth of Smoky Babe material being not good enough to issue, unless there is something wrong with the actual tape. Smoky Babe just seems like a player who is almost always ON. Perhaps a tune or two might go awry, but 2 CDs of songs? I wonder whether it's more a question of not wanting to bother, for lack of a market or another reason.

I agree, wholeheartedly. In the case of the Clarence Edwards recordings that Arhoolie has decided to keep in the can, Chris Strachwitz indicated that the problem was with Butch Cage's fiddle playing. Evidently, Butch just wasn't feelin' it on those songs! Perhaps the unissued Smoky Babe recordings also suffer from a problem with a backing musician.

Ah yes, good point, and there were two harp players involved on those Oster recordings of Smoky Babe. Perhaps they fell out of tune with each other.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 06:00:02 PM by uncle bud »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2009, 06:05:51 PM »
dj, me too. While I was there I got a couple of others. Jesse Fuller, Country Negro Jam Session, Howard Armstrong, Jelly Belly, Texas Blues, Lil Son Jackson (have it on vinyl) etc. Paid up, went back into the site and found a Lightnin' Hopkins disc I'd been looking for (Po' Lightnin', I didn't know it was on Arhoolie, heard tracks on the radio). Next time.

Hottest Brand Goin' is a hard-to-find item it looks like, will have to keep my eyes peeled when I raid the bins.

Offline frankie

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2009, 07:37:18 PM »
Hottest Brand Goin' is good enough reason to try out emusic...

Offline dj

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2009, 06:32:51 AM »
Quote
Country Negro Jam Session

I got that one, too.  Also the Butch Cage and Willie B. Thomas disk and the Johnny Young set.

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2009, 06:47:29 AM »
I just made a post to this thread and it disappeared into cyberspace.... So here goes again.

This thread put me in mind of when I first bought the Arhoolie album, "Hot Blues".  Back in the late 1970s I was a regular visitor to Flyright Records in Bexhill-on-Sea (UK) and this LP was recommended to me by Simon Napier (a great guy with encyclopaedic knowledge of the genre, who was taken from us at a very young age). When I got home and played the record I was more than delighted.  I particularly remember playing "Bad Whisky" for the first time and the pleasant surprise when the slide kicks in - magic!  However all tracks are superb.

I think Smoky Babe qualifies for the same kind of accolades as Fred McDowell, i.e. the man could do no wrong.
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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2009, 07:44:11 AM »
dj, me too. While I was there I got a couple of others. Jesse Fuller, Country Negro Jam Session, Howard Armstrong, Jelly Belly, Texas Blues, Lil Son Jackson (have it on vinyl) etc. Paid up, went back into the site and found a Lightnin' Hopkins disc I'd been looking for (Po' Lightnin', I didn't know it was on Arhoolie, heard tracks on the radio). Next time.
Here's a guide that might help you spot any more Arhoolie to belatedly catch up on? http://www.wirz.de/music/arhoofrm.htm  ;)

Offline dj

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2009, 08:14:23 AM »
When I was in high school, probably in late 1968 or sometime in 1969, someone in my circle of friends sent away for one of those Arhoolie catalogs like the one pictured in the upper left of Stefan's Arhoolie page.  I can vividly remember sitting around in the cafeteria at lunch time poring over the catalog and speculating on what the records sounded like.  The cover with Johnny Young and Walter Horton caught my eye way back then, and now, 40 years later, I'm finally going to get it.  One of the ones we thought looked the coolest but never bought was the Reverend Louis Overstreet LP.  One of these days I'm going to break down and get that one. 

I have to say, I wish they hadn't colorized some of those covers and completely replaced others.  Those original covers were just beautiful.   

Offline lindy

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2009, 09:41:05 AM »
One of the ones we thought looked the coolest but never bought was the Reverend Louis Overstreet LP.  One of these days I'm going to break down and get that one. 

I was going to recommend http://www.arhoolie.com/titles/111.shtml, which contains my favorite Rev. Overstreet song, but unfortunately it's out of print. If you see it in a used CD store, snap it up, great stuff!

I'm not sure, but I think the linked page lets you listen to the complete song.

As for Smoky Babe, his talking blues describing a raccoon hunt never fails to knock me flat. It's probably the one song that even I could play harmonica on. Funky funky funky.

Lindy

Offline Rivers

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2009, 04:09:00 PM »
Thanks to a PM'd tip from Andrew I ordered Hottest Brand Goin' offa EBay.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2009, 07:23:13 AM »
dj, me too. While I was there I got a couple of others. Jesse Fuller,

You'll enjoy the Jesse Fuller disc (Frisco Bound), as with all his records. Although I must say there are a couple rather un-Jesse-like tunes on this one, some religious instrumental slide numbers that sound more like "Jesse drops some purple microdot and improvises the soundtrack for a documentary on whales".

Offline Rivers

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2009, 08:40:07 PM »
Well the Arhoolie Smokys arrived (Jam Session & w/Herman Johnson), and Hottest Brand Goin' on OBC from eBay also. So as you all recommended I've gone from a 'no Smoky' zone to a completist, at least on the issued material, in less than a week. Smoky is right up my street, infectious groove. I will study-up on the material while bashing-out code tomorrow and post something.

Offline Gumbo

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2011, 06:26:33 PM »
it seems pertinent to bump this thread too!

Offline Stumblin

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2011, 10:33:03 PM »
Thanks for bumping this, I just read the discussion.
Lazy Lester told me that Clyde Causey's name was actually Leroy, that Dr. Oster wasn't particularly bothered about such details. Of Robert Brown (Smoky Babe), he said, "he drank himself to death." When I asked him a bit about Harry Oster, he told me:"that motherfucker never paid us!"
2 CDs worth of unusable material? I doubt that. It would be nice to hear some more though, I've been a fan for years.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2011, 11:59:52 PM »
See the related Clarence Edwards/Oster discussion and the acquisition of Oster's recordings by Strachwitz http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=5135.msg39402;topicseen#msg39402

Offline RobBob

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2011, 09:59:55 AM »
I found a copy of Best Brand Goin' at Amazon US and UK.  Bought the one at Amazon US and got word of it shipping today.

Offline Stumblin

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #31 on: May 18, 2011, 11:15:03 AM »
BH, that's interesting.
How about we all email Chris Strachwitz, thereby demonstrating that a groundswell of public opinion is clamouring for more Smoky Babe, dud accompanists or no?
Just a thought, if that.
But still...

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2011, 12:15:10 PM »
BH, that's interesting.
How about we all email Chris Strachwitz, thereby demonstrating that a groundswell of public opinion is clamouring for more Smoky Babe, dud accompanists or no?
Just a thought, if that.
But still...
I'd be surprised if he'd even cover his production costs on the sales he'd get on such a release. I'd happily be proved wrong.

In the meantime here's a scan of the Smoky Babe entry in The Blues Discography as mentioned by Stefan. Probably will turn out a dog's breakfast when posted but layout looks good now.
=========================================

SMOKY BABE 

Robert Brown, v/g.
         Scotlandville, La, 6 February 1960
      Shake, shake Mattie   unissued
      Biscuit bakin? mama   unissued

         Scotlandville, 10 February 1960
      Long way from home   BvLP 1063
      I?m goin? back to Mississippi   BvLP 1063
      Baby don?t you want to go?   unissued

V/g with Sally Dotson (v).
         Scotlandville, 25 February 1960
      Dell on the mountain   unissued

V/g.
         Scotlandville, 27 February 1960
      Bad luck and trouble   unissued
      Now your man done gone   BvLP 1063
      
From above sessions: V/g with Sally Dotson (v -1) Henry Thomas (Lazy Lester) (h -2)
William Dotson (v -3) Clyde Causey (h -4).

      I?m broke and I?m hungry   Folk Lyric FL 108
      Bad whiskey   Folk Lyric FL 108
      Going back home   Folk Lyric LP 108
      Melvanie blues   Bv LP 1063
      Ocean blues   Bv LP 1063
      Boogy woogy rag   Bv LP 1063
      Low down woman   unissued
      Rabbit blues -1   Folk Lyric FL 108
      Black ghost -1   Folk Lyric FL 108
      Mississippi river (so deep and wide)  -2   Folk Lyric FL 108
      Too many women -2   Folk Lyric FL 108
      My baby put me down -2   Folk Lyric FL 108
      My baby she told me -2   Folk Lyric FL 108
      Two wings -3   Folk Lyric FL 108
      Ain?t got no rabbit dog -4   Folk Lyric FL 108
      Black gal -4   BvLP 1063
      Locomotive blues -4   BvLP 1063
      Coon hunt -4   BvLP 1063
      
G only.
         Scotlandville, 6 March 1960
      Boogie   Stv(Dk) SLP 129

V/g with Sally Dotson (v) Hilary Blunt (g).
         Scotlandville, 14 April 1960
      Your dice won?t pass   Folk Lyric FL 111

V/g.   
         Scotlandville, 3 November 1960
      Goin? downtown boogie   Folk Lyric FL 111
       (Talkin? blues or baby)
      Leavin? blues   unissued

         Scotlandville, 6 January 1961
      No special rider   unissued
      Mean mistreatin? woman   unissued

V/g with Sally Dotson (v -1) Henry Thomas (Lazy Lester) (h -2.)
         Scotlandville, 10 February 1961
      Chicago bound   unissued
      Somethin? wrong with my machine -2   BvLP 1063
      Down  by the waterfall -1   unissued

V/g.   
         Scotlandville, 10 March 1961
      Hard times blues   unissued

         Scotlandville, 27 March 1961
      Insect blues   BvLP 1063

         Scotlandville, 1 April 1961
      Workin? blues   unissued
      I went down 61 Highway   Stv(Dk) SLP 129
      Hottest brand goin?   BvLP 1063

poss above date.

      Regular blues   Stv(Dk) SLP 129

         Scotlandville, La, 14 June 1961
      Cold, cold snow   BvLP 1063

         Vance, Ms, 10 August 1961
      Cotton field blues   Arh CD 372

         Vance, 11 August 1961
      Friends, goodbye   unissued
      Terraplane blues   unissued
      Car trouble blues   unissued
      Back home again   unissued

V/g with Annie Brown (v -1) Clyde Causey (h -3)  prob Hilary Blunt (g -2).

      Won?t be back til Fall  -2   unissued
      Bad bad whiskey   unissued
      Shoot him along   unissued
      Ain?t it hard to be a nigger -1   unissued
      Ship-y-show   unissued
      Segregation blues -3   unissued
      Mr. Bug  & Mr. Bug No. 2  -3 (inc)   unissued

Offline Stumblin

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #33 on: May 18, 2011, 04:07:26 PM »
Thanks again, BH,
Just back from regular pub acoustic blues session, critical faculties and spelling somewhat diminished.
I'll look this through during breaks tomorrow.
Mahalo!
 8)

Offline Johnm

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #34 on: May 18, 2011, 10:20:14 PM »
Hi all,
Unreleased cuts are an interesting issue.  Serious fans would quite often like to hear everything that their favorite musicians recorded, but often the recording musicians themselves are at best ambivalent about initially rejected takes being made available to the public.  I remember the great Jazz guitarist Jim Hall remarking once, re a bunch of alternate takes being made available years after the sessions at issue were recorded, to the effect that, "The takes that were released in the first place were selected for a reason." 

I know that almost every recording project I've been involved in has had tunes that didn't make it on to the final product, and in all but a few instances I've certainly not mourned their loss.

All best,
Johnm

Offline Stumblin

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Re: Smoky Babe
« Reply #35 on: May 19, 2011, 01:01:21 AM »
I know that almost every recording project I've been involved in has had tunes that didn't make it on to the final product, and in all but a few instances I've certainly not mourned their loss.
Good point, well made.
I'm just the same way, most of what I record is too diabolically excruciating for public, or private, consumption. Sometimes though, I just have to lower my standards in order to release anything at all into the wild.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 02:03:46 AM by Stumblin »