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Uncle Sam leave me alone, I got to watch these pretty women while their other men is gone - Bukka White "Army Blues"

Author Topic: How did that get recorded?  (Read 8684 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: How did that get recorded?
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2006, 11:17:49 AM »
Hi Phil,
You make good points concerning "Chittlin' Supper".  I think I got too hung up on the musical aspect of it and didn't devote enough attention to the banter.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: How did that get recorded?
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2008, 10:17:02 PM »
Hi all,
This topic has not been posted in for a while, but I heard a performance the past couple of days that is a natural for it:  Gabriel Brown's piece, "A Dream of Mine", which can be found on the JSP "Shake That Thing" set.  The notes inform us that the piece is in the Hawaiian style that Brown started out on guitar in, but from listening, you would think he had never previously attempted it.  It is an inchoate mess, sound in a vain search for melody or musical sense, and Brown's characteristically lax approach to tuning his instrument doesn't exactly help things along, either.  Whew!  This piece could define "difficult listening".
All best,
Johnm   
« Last Edit: January 04, 2008, 10:30:45 PM by Johnm »

Offline frankie

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Re: How did that get recorded?
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2008, 09:54:09 AM »
I've been helping a friend of mine with some mandolin stuff and listening to lots of Charlie McCoy.  He was a pretty versatile guy - capable of real uptown playing, especially on the mandolin.  He also plays guitar - a little on the noodly side, but a good player overall.  On the Document CD devoted to him, there are three sides with Rosie Mae Moore singing with Charlie's accompaniment.  One of the songs, "Ha-Ha Blues," is a version of "Gonna Tip Out Tonight," recorded by Pink Anderson & Simmie Dooley.  Maybe it's even a cover of that performance...  at least the singing might be...  that's a great song...  but Charlie recasts the accompaniment as an Ishman Bracey styled one-chorder...  a feat he pulls off with aplomb, but neither he nor the singer back down off of their preconceptions of the piece.  Rosie Mae clearly sings a melody that calls out for some chord changes & Charlie ignores her.  There's enough overlap in the singing & accompaniment to reassure the listener that these two people are in fact playing together, but only just enough.

The overall effect is completely weird.  Rosie Mae doesn't have too much expression as a singer, but McCoy does such a deft accompaniment that you kind of want to like it, but just can't.  Weird.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2008, 11:19:20 AM by frankie »

Offline Johnm

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Re: How did that get recorded?
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2013, 12:04:47 PM »
Hi all,
I've been listening to the Yazoo piano anthology"Mama Don't Allow No Easy Riders Here-Strutting The Dozens".  The opening piece on the program is "Trenches", by Turner Parrish.  The piece might more accurately have been named "Shambles".  Turner Parrish had a nice touch, a fine pulse and knew some blues cliches, but the way he strung things together showed zero concept of having the music make sense in any way other than from instant to instant (and sometimes not even then).  His playing reminds me of a friend's description of an acquaintance who never stopped talking and wasn't overly scrupulous about how one idea led to the next:  "a random syllable generator."  I can envision his playing working well for dancers who either weren't listening or were very drunk.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Lyle Lofgren

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Re: How did that get recorded?
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2013, 02:01:47 PM »
The record company A&R men mostly didn't know what they were doing. Ralph Peer, for instance, thought Fiddlin' John Carson's music was "pluperfect awful," but he had enough sense to pay attention when the records sold out in Atlanta. I don't know if he ever really appreciated the music, but he learned to recognize commercial potential. That didn't necessarily correlate with musical talent.

I'd nominate "I Got Your Ice Cold Nugrape," by the Nugrape Twins in the "how did that get recorded?" category. Their musical ability is good, but the subject matter would be suitable for a singing commercial on the radio, not a record that would cost a significant chunk of a week's wages.

Lyle

Online Norfolk Slim

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Re: How did that get recorded?
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2013, 03:25:37 PM »


Weird!

Offline frankie

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Re: How did that get recorded?
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2013, 03:34:40 PM »
wow - major ear fatigue on that one. I'd go one better - how did that get reissued by a company that prides itself on cherry picking the finest performers and performances? Document, I could understand.... but....

Offline dj

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Re: How did that get recorded?
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2013, 04:02:08 PM »
Turner Parrish actually recorded 6 songs over 4 years.  Two vocals for Gennett in 1929 featured a plodding piano and a vocal that was somewhat in tune.  He did another two vocals for Champion in 1933, by which time both his piano playing and his voice had improved a bit, and two instrumentals at the same session.  The second instrumental, "Fives" is every bit as disjointed as "Trenches"

Offline oddenda

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Re: How did that get recorded?
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2013, 07:06:52 PM »
"Quill Blues" by Big Boy Cleveland! "Oh, yeah, this'll sell a bag of records". Makes one wonder what the hell the third, unissued side done on the day might have been like!!!

Offline pkeane

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Re: How did that get recorded?
« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2013, 08:22:32 PM »
I'm embarrassed to mention that I've always kind of enjoyed Turner Parrish :-)!  But mainly the recording he made called "Ain't Gonna Be Your Dog No More" (on the Down in Black Bottom Yazoo Comp). I think it's his rhythmic sense (the pulse as John said) that I find attractive.  Listening now to Trenches and also "The Fives" from that same compilation I hear train-wreck-ishness of it.  I recall there are some other of the barrelhouse guys that have a similarly wacky right hand (a steady left, generally, though).  I used to see Pigmeat Jarrett in Cincinnati before he died and he had that style.  It's in pretty stark contrast to someone like Jimmy Yancey (or Meade Lux Lewis) who made recordings that had a beautiful narrative structure and flow. 

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: How did that get recorded?
« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2013, 02:43:49 AM »
Well, I'm with Peter. What you're hearing is the essence and definition of barrelhouse. The piano as a folk instrument. Next you'll be saying you don't like Skip James's piano...which was pure all over the place and pure genius at the same time!

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Offline The Jazzbo Tommy Settler

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Re: How did that get recorded?
« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2013, 05:48:22 AM »
Henry Johnson And His Boys' Blue Hawaii/Hawaii Harmony Blues, Freeman Stowers' Sunrise On The Farm and Jazzbo Tommy Settlers' Big Bed Bug.
A few of my favourite tunes: Telephone Girl - Arville Reed, Rag Baby - Willie Baker, Big Bed Bug - Jazzbo Tommy Settler, How Long Blues - Jed Davenport, Toodle Doo - Alec Johnson, Am I Right Or Wrong - Son House, Don't The Moon Look Pretty - Seven Coloured Boys, Barbecue Bust - Blind Roosevelt Graves, Omie Wise - Grayson & Whitter.

Offline Johnm

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Re: How did that get recorded?
« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2013, 06:51:33 AM »
I don't know, Professor.  I don't think "folk" and "incoherent" are synonymous.  Skip is wild, sure enough, but he hits the changes.  I feel like you have to be able to exercise some critical faculty--otherwise you end up like a kindergarten teacher--"You made that?  It's beautiful!". 
All best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: How did that get recorded?
« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2013, 06:57:11 AM »
Peter and Professor, it's not that Turner Parrish is unlistenable.  He's interesting, in a bizarre sort of way.  The question is how did a talent scout, A&R director, and record company exec all come together to think that his records might sell enough to turn a profit?

And Jazzbo, you're right - while Jazzbo Tommy Settlers is interesting enough, how did anyone at Paramount involved with his 1930 session ever think that the world was clamoring for unaccompanied kazoo/vocal records?  I mean, it was the depression, and Paramount only had a limited amount of resources.  Why did they choose to expend some of those resources on Jazzbo Tommy?  I really think the foreman at the pressing plant came in drunk one day and pressed up a few hundred copies each of the wrong masters before he sobered up a bit and realized his mistake.   :D   

Edited to add:  I'm really not putting down Jazzbo Tommy Settlers when I wonder how his records ever got released.  Every time I call my wife's cell phone, it rings with the intro to Jazzbo Tommy's "Blue Face Cow".

« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 07:01:18 AM by dj »

Offline bnemerov

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Re: How did that get recorded?
« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2013, 07:21:05 AM »
Hello all,

I think it's pretty clear, from the research done these past forty years, that the companies and their field reps (A&R men) did not know what would sell to the blacks and hillbillies. So they used the "spaghetti" method....throw it at the wall and see what sticks.

It didn't really cost a field unit much to record local musical weirdos once the equipment was set up in situ. Any successful "artists" could be (more expensively) called to the home office for further recording---Carter Family, MJH et. al.
I think Paramount is a special case--couldn't afford field units for the trial recordings, and by 1930 was so desperate they would bring almost anyone to Grafton.

As to those tracks so outre as to be the head-scratchers of today: I think quite a few, like "Nu-Grape" (which I think is a wonderful piece of music, btw), "Beans" and any kazoo/vocal selection should be viewed as novelties, a genre which has a good commercial track record. Let's recall "Mairzy Doats" from the era, and, more recently, "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini."

best,
bruce

 


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