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Among the blues singers who have gained more or less national recognition, there is scarcely a man's name to be found - Howard Odum and Guy Johnson, 1926

Author Topic: State Street Boys  (Read 1948 times)

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Offline Rivers

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State Street Boys
« on: May 21, 2009, 08:36:49 AM »
Question re. "Don't Tear My Clothes" for anyone who might know -- credited to the State Street Boys, it appears on the Document Big Bill Complete Vol. 3, and on another Broonzy album I have.

However B&GR credits Carl Martin as the guitarist / vocalist. Who's right? The guitar is back in the mix, lot of bass licks and comping, so it's hard to tell, could be either man. My pick is Broonzy.

Session was 10 Jan '35, Broonzy is identified in B&GR as guitarist on three songs, Martin on two. If it's Carl Martin I'll post the lyrics to the current Carl Martin thread, if it's Broonzy I'll start a Broonzy lyrics topic and add one to the B&GR corrections topic.

Frankie, you guys might want to check that song out, Zeb Wright's violin is something else.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2009, 08:39:17 AM by Rivers »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: State Street Boys
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2009, 09:20:36 AM »
Oh boy, this session has been the proverbial discographical "can of worms" since the earliest days of BBB discography. Just to add another slant to the debate here's the footnote to the session in "Hit The Right Lick; The Recordings of Big Bill Broonzy" (Chris Smith, 1996 p.30):

The identification of Broonzy's fiddle playing is aural. Zeb Wright was reported to have been "one of the violin players" by Doug Jydstrup, who met him in the 60s. Wright owned a test of "Sweet To Mama", but this cannot be taken as proof that he played on that title. The speech on C 887 [Mobile & Western BH] and C 893 [The Dozen] is ascribed to Black Bob by comparison with the speech by him on "That Bonus Done Gone Thru" by Lil Johnson, recorded 12 Feb 1936. The guitar on C 893 is hard to hear, and confined to chording; it is assumed that Broonzy, as the vocalist, plays guitar on this title rather than Martin. The identification of Martin as the vocalist and guitarist on C 894 [Clothes] is aural; if the identification is correct, Broonzy is not present on this title, but it is included in view of past confusion over this session, and because the personnel given here modifies the author's conclusions in "Blues & Rhythm", issues 77 and 79.

This may well, run and run and....

Offline Rivers

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Re: State Street Boys
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2009, 10:04:34 AM »
Thanks Bunker, glad I'm not the only one confused. It's funny the very first time through I just plain assumed the vocalist is not playing guitar on 'Clothes'. I think I got this notion from the way the whole band seems to set up the verse and hang back, like they are waiting for the singer.

Another reason occurs around the 2 minute mark where the guitar is playing little trills underneath the singer that just sound independent from the vocal, or at least I would have a hard time playing like that under my own vocal, though easy enough accompanying someone else. Admittedly that's not saying much.

Another reason to think the guitar and singer are not the same person, the guitar is placed differently in the mix, you'd expect it to be close to the vocal in level, spatial orientation and tone if it was one person.

The singer is definitely not Big Bill, comparing it with The Dozens (C-893) from the same session which has the classic Broonzy vocal.

So Carl Martin singing, Broonzy guitar, I guess it's possible. That stomp guitar and bass/midrange single string G licks are so Big Bill. I also don't hear any of Carl's signature moves going to the V chord. I'm not familiar enough with Carl Martin's playing overall to be able to put my hand on a similar piece using any of the moves on 'Clothes'.

This one may well run and run.

Offline Cleoma

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Re: State Street Boys
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2009, 05:58:56 PM »
So who do you think is playing the fiddle?  I had always assumed Big Bill, but my (old) copy of Godrich Dixon says it's Zeb Wright, who is not listed on any other side of any other artist.  It also credits Carl Martin with violin on Rustlin' Man.  The 2 fiddlers do sound to me as if they might be 2 different players.  The fiddler on Sweet To Mama and Rustlin' Man has a really different tone and vibrato than whoever is playing on Don't Tear My Clothes.  Does a newer edition of G&D shed any light on this?  Did Carl Martin play fiddle on any other recordings? 
Suzy

Offline Rivers

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Re: State Street Boys
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2009, 10:01:22 PM »
Suzy, 4th Ed. of B&GR is as follows. Zeb appears only on that session, never to be heard from again. What a shame!

Zeb is credited to three tracks, Midnight Special, The Dozen and Don't Tear My Clothes.

Big Bill gets violin credit on Sweet To Mama, Rustlin' Man, & She Caught The Train.

Carl Martin is not credited on violin on any tracks, and looking up the accompanist index shows him on sessions with the expected guitar & vocals and also on string bass (w/the Tennessee Chocolate Drops). No violin sessions.

Unfortunately I don't have the complete SSB session but I'll listen and compare the fiddle on the ones I do have tomorrow and give my impressions. That session belongs in the "Sessions I would have liked to have been at (with a notebook)" thread.

Online Johnm

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Re: State Street Boys
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2009, 10:04:52 PM »
Hi all,
I believe Carl Martin has at least one number on which he plays fiddle on the Testament album that Muddy Buddy has been transcribing lyrics from over in the Carl Martin Lyrics thread.
All best,
Johnm

Offline MuddyBuddy

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Re: State Street Boys
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2009, 02:46:34 AM »
Carl Martin plays fiddle on the cd CROW JANE BLUES - Testament on the track Railroad Blues

Cheers
BERT

Offline frankie

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Re: State Street Boys
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2009, 05:36:33 AM »
Did Carl Martin play fiddle on any other recordings? 

Carl Martin played fiddle on the New Mississippi Sheiks LP, with Walter Vinson and Sam Chatmon (guitars) and Ted Bogan (bass).

Offline Rivers

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Re: State Street Boys
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2009, 06:50:03 PM »
So no fiddle credit for CM, either as primary artist or accompanist, until after at least the B&GR cutoff of 1943. The SSB session was 1935. Pretty unlikely to be Carl on fiddle at that session, I reckon. Doesn't mean it wasn't so.

 


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