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I never drink unless I'm alone or with someone - R.L. Burnside, festival in Corvallis Oregon, 1983

Author Topic: Smoky Babe  (Read 4408 times)

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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.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

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

 


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