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Author Topic: Blind Lemon and I Had a Ball  (Read 742 times)

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Offline Stumblin

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Blind Lemon and I Had a Ball
« on: December 21, 2012, 03:45:19 AM »
I keep reading about an article: "Blind Lemon and I Had a Ball," either written by or reporting and interview with Victoria Spivey. The article appeared in Record Research no. 76 (May 1966), google isn't producing the goods. Does anyone here have a scanned copy I could have a look at?
Muchas gracias  8)
Oh, and congrats to all on surviving the apocalypse, looks like Sheffield is still here, at least.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 09:49:02 PM by Slack »

Offline Stuart

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Blind Lemon and I Had a Ball
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2012, 08:11:56 AM »
Google probably didn't have access to it, but here a link to the OCLC/WorldCat list of libraries with Record Research in their holdings:

http://www.worldcat.org/title/record-research/oclc/4554179&referer=brief_results

If one of the members is close and has access, perhaps s/he can make a photocopy/scan for you.

Offline Stumblin

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Blind Lemon and I Had a Ball
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2012, 08:22:53 AM »
Cheers, Stuart.
Actually, I've received an offer of a scan, I just have to wait a few days for it to materialise. That's all right though, there's no big hurry.

Offline JohnLeePimp

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Re: Blind Lemon and I Had a Ball
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2012, 05:31:13 PM »
Actually, I've received an offer of a scan

You mind if i get in on this deal?
...so blue I shade a part of this town.

Offline Stumblin

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Re: Blind Lemon and I Had a Ball
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2012, 01:52:34 AM »
Here it is, courtesy of BH:

BLIND LEMON AND I HAD A BALL by Victoria Spivey
(Record Research 76, May 1966 p.9)

I imagine that most of the folk singers of today would be happy be able to say that they "rubbed shoulders together" with BLIND LEMON JEFFERSON. Well, I couldn't blame them. I was the lucky one.

Way back before my Black Snake Blues was recorded I met Lemon one night in Galveston, Texas, where I was working as a blues singer and pianist. And he helped me out by sitting in and singing his blues giving me an opportunity to take a break and mingle with my friends. His blues were so full of soul and made a big hit with the people. Lemon and myself continued meeting at house parties where we would give one another much needed intermissions. What a pleasure! It got so good that the landladies would try to hire both of us at the same time. We did it when we could and loved it. I just admired him as a great artist who had plenty of courage. We used to play picnics too, all over Texas. Do you know that I had one song I wrote, "I Ain't Got No More Baby?" When he heard that tune it was a sign for him to come back for his performance and I would take my leave. The more money the house lady made the more we made   although we never worked the joints under Ten Dollars per night, no perhaps, but per night. Plus stacks of those Bo dollars (silver dollars) which people would lay as tips across the piano board   plus all you could fool the public that you could drink.

Blind Lemon was a medium size brown skin who kept himself neatly dressed. He was erect in posture and his speech was lovely and direct to the word. He had no glasses when I first saw him. A young man who was very attentive to him acted as his guide. Although he was supposed to be completely blind I still believe he could see a little. If he couldn't he darn sure could feel his way around (the old wolf!! smiles!!). Lemon never let his misfortune on sight press him. He would let you know that he was just as much a man as anybody. One of his most common expressions was, "Don't Play Me Cheap"   and people liked him and respected him.

We were buddies and everything went along swell until I heard his recording of Black Snake MOAN on Paramount which came out some months after my original Black Snake BLUES on Okeh. It was so much like my Black Snake Blues including the moan. I was really angry for a while knowing that Lemon and myself were like brother and sister in our jobs. I could not understand how it happened. He had heard me sing the Black Snake at different house parties way before I recorded it. John Erby and myself met Lemon in St. Louis and we straightened the matter out   having a big laugh and we were still friends. Lemon had made me recall one night at a party before he recorded Black Snake Moan that he asked my permission, "Hey, Vickie (that is what he used to call me!), I want to ask you something. Do you mind me using those snakes? I won't do it like you do. I mean the moan." I said, "help yourself"   not taking him seriously   and not believing that he would or could do it. What a surprise! Before I knew it Jesse Johnson who was a scout for record companies had made some type of deal with Lemon and Paramount records. Black Snake MOAN not only made Blind Lemon Jefferson but pulled him out of the sticks. It was so good for him that Paramount had him make more versions of it for future records. So, really, why should I hold it against my friend when the whole world was doing it and still is doing it. I never had another word about his Black Snake Moan from that day until this day. I was very happy that my Black Snake BLUES had helped my old buddy.

Blind Lemon Jefferson is now gone. In fact he has become a legend. They reissue his old records and they name coffee houses after him. Do you know that he is world famous and they write thousands of words about him in different languages? And so many of his songs are sung by the younger generation today. I only wish that all those youngsters could have seen and heard him in person. He was a great blues man and a wonderful part of blues history. We owe him a lot.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Blind Lemon and I Had a Ball
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2012, 06:52:34 AM »
Thanks BH and Stumblin.

Offline dj

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Re: Blind Lemon and I Had a Ball
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2012, 12:56:56 PM »
Quote
Before I knew it Jesse Johnson who was a scout for record companies had made some type of deal with Lemon and Paramount records.

That's an interesting statement.  I know that Victoria Spivey was signed to her first recording contract through Jesse Johnson, the St. Louis talent scout, but I wasn't aware that Johnson had any dealings with Lemon, and Paramount's Rise And Fall dates his involvement with Paramount as starting in 1929, three years after Spivey recorded Black Snake Blues and two after Jefferson recorded Black Snake Moan.  Does anyone with a better knowledge of either Johnson or Paramount than me know if Johnson was involved with Paramount in 1926/1927?  I wonder if Spivey is just misremembering here, or if she had some actual knowledge of Johnson's involvement with Lemon's recording of Black Snake Moan.   

Offline jostber

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Re: Blind Lemon and I Had a Ball
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2013, 01:48:37 PM »
A very interesting read from someone who knew Lemon closely as a friend. Thanks for posting.

 


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