Attention Mac Users!

Mac users have been experiencing problems in unpacking the WinRAR archives used on this blog. Two solutions have been suggested.

1. Use The Unarchiver - www.theunarchiver.com - see comments on Little Esther Bad Baad Girl post for details.

2. Use Keka - http://www.kekaosx.com/en/ - see comments on Johnny Otis Presents post.

Friday, 31 December 2010

Smokey Hogg Sings The Blues (Crown CLP 5226)




Side One:
1. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
2. Coming Back Home To You
3. Look In Your Eyes Pretty Mama
4. You Can't Keep Your Business
5. Worryin Mind
6. My Baby's Worryin' Me

Side Two:
1. Runaway
2. You Just Gotta Go
3. It' Raining Here
4. I Got Your Picture
5. When You Get Old
6. Goin Back To Chicago

Once again we thank the mysterious El Enmascadero Del Platter for another vintage Crown LP, complete with “lived in” cover. This time around it’s blues time as we look at the series of “… Sings the Blues” LPs which were released on the Bihari brothers’ budget Crown label in 1961. Four albums of rough and ready bluesmen were released in the short series: “Lightning Hopkins Sings The Blues” (CLP 5224), “Smokey Hogg Sings The Blues” (CLP 5226), “John Lee Hooker Sings The Blues” (CLP 5232) and “Howling Wolf Sings The Blues” (CLP 5240). Thanks to Joan K for the "cleaner" sleeves below. El Enmascadero has sent in the magnificently worn-looking Howling Wolf cover.





Cover "cleaned" by 'Brian with a B'
For blues fans of the late 1950s / early 1960s there were other releases on Crown, including a series of B.B. King albums, a magnificently sleazily packaged Elmore James collection ("Blues After Hours"), more John Lee Hooker, a Pee Wee Crayton LP and a couple of Jimmy Witherspoon albums, including one called “Jimmy Witherspoon Sings The Blues.” Of course what all this material had in common was that it was gathered from the Bihari’s Modern, Flair and RPM labels and the sides were recorded from the late 1940s through to the mid 1950s. Thanks again to Joan K for more covers:




As noted in the previous posts about Crown, the packaging of these albums could be extremely shoddy, with sleeves that had pasted on photos on the front covers, generic back covers and as in this Smokey Hogg LP, a track list which didn’t match up to the record sleeve or the disc label. Ignore the evidence of your eyes, for Side One of this LP has six tracks and not five, the “extra” track being “My Baby’s Worryin’ Me.”

“Ragged but right” is the phrase (as yelled by Smokey somewhere on the LP) which best describes the music here. We simply haven’t had enough wild blues stomp on Be Bop Wino and I’m hoping that this post will go some way towards correcting that failing. Texan Smokey Hogg’s recording career started with a release on Decca before the Second World War but didn’t really pick up until around 1947 when he cut some sides for the small Dallas label Bluebonnet Records. These were leased by Modern and eventually led to a direct recording deal with the Biharis and a move out to the West Coast. His biggest hit was “Little School Girl” which on this album is titled “Good Morning Little School Girl”, and in fact this may well be an alternate take and not the original single version. Judge for yourselves!


Listen to the single release of “Little School Girl,” courtesy of Joan K.



Although his comparatively early death in 1960 meant Smokey never did attract the audiences that Hopkins, Hooker and The Wolf enjoyed thanks to the 1960s blues revival, Smokey had a pretty productive recording career through most of the 1950s, cutting many sides for Modern as well as Specialty, Imperial, Sittin’ In With, Exclusive, Mercury, Federal, Combo and goodness knows who else. His final recordings were for Ebb in late 1957 or early 1958.

Ripped from vinyl at 96 kbps. Password = greaseyspoon

Download from here:

http://rapidshare.com/files/439834263/Smokey_Hogg_Sings_The_Blues.rar

Or here:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=PA5J3WIQ

Side One:
1- Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (LA Dec 10 1947)
2- Coming Back Home To You Again (LA Feb 17 1950)
3- Look In Your Eyes Pretty Mama (LA 1950)
4- You Can't Keep Your Business Straight (LA 1950)
5- Worrying Mind (LA Dec 10 1947)
6- My Baby’s Worryin’ Me (LA Nov 22 1947)

Side Two:
1- Runaway (LA 1950)
2- You Just Gotta Go (LA November 22, 1947)
3- It's Raining Here (LA September 1951)
4- I Got Your Picture (LA Feb 17 1950)
5- When You Get Old (LA Feb 17 1950)
6- Goin Back To Chicago (LA Feb 17 1950)

Recommended purchases:

The UK Ace label owns the rights to the Modern label recordings and has released three CDs of Smokey Hogg –

“Midnight Blues” has the look of an original Crown LP but in fact the front cover photograph is from a Crown LP of Bizet’s “Carmen.” It’s a great evocation of the Crown “look,” though!

“Serve It to the Right” has a mixture of Modern and Combo recordings and “Deep Ellum Rambler” is drawn solely from the Modern vaults.

I simply must take this opportunity to recommend the Ace reissue of “Howling Wolf Sings The Blues.” The original twelve tracks (including two by Joe Hill Louis) are augmented by eight bonus tracks and there are superb sleeve notes by Dave Sax in which he not only recalls the impact of the arrival of imported Crown LPs in the UK, but also sorts out the tangled tale of Howling Wolf, Sam Phillips, Ike Turner, Modern and Chess from back in Memphis in the early 1950s. A superb release.

With many thanks to the mysterious masked record man, and to Joan K. Information garnered from the Both Sides Now website and the Bruyninckx discography.

Happy New Year, everybody.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Christmas on Be Bop Wino

Looking north from Queen's Park, Glasgow, December 2010
Once again the annual state of festive disorganization on the part of your humble blog host has brought actual posting to a grinding halt. So there now appears the usual Christmas stream-of -consciousness panic post.

Winter sun, Queen's Park, Glasgow, December 2010

Be Bop Wino and friend
Glasgow, the home city of Be Bop Wino, currently resembles a frozen Arctic wasteland. The snow arrived a few weeks ago and temperatures have sunk to around minus ten which makes for the coldest December I can remember. I've put up a few pictures taken in the South Side's Queen's Park when the snow first arrived. It looks very Christmassy indeed.

At this time I like to repost Joan's great collection of Christmas doo wop. If you haven't already got it then here is the link:

https://rapidshare.com/files/329639692/Joan_Selects_Volume_11.rar



And let's all listen to my favourite vocal group Christmas record:



Thanks to Joan for sound and sight

Merry Christmas everybody! May you enjoy a peaceful Yuletide.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Amos Milburn - Vicious Vicious Vodka





Side A:
1. Vicious Vicious Vodka
2. Long Long Day
3. Juice, Juice, Juice
4. Anybody's Blues
5. Tears, Tears, Tears
6. Money Hustlin' Woman
7. Birmingham Bounce

Side B:
1. Rum And Coca-Cola
2. Soft Pillow
3. Thinking Of You Baby
4. My Luck Is Bound To Change
5. Blue And Lonesome
6. Walkin' Blues
7. In The Middle Of The Night

This is the fourth of the Pathe Marconi series of Amos Milburn LPs to be posted on the blog. The fourteen sides were recorded for Aladdin between 1947 and 1957 and cover the various styles of music recorded by Amos – booze anthems, rockers, ballads, blues, they’re all here. There’s no boogie woogie, though, but if you’ve been following the series so far you’ll know that boogie fans have already been well catered for. If you’ve downloaded the other LPs you certainly won’t need any persuading from me to grab this collection by one of the greatest performers of the golden age of rhythm and blues.

The back cover of the LP lists recording details and a track by track breakdown of the contents of this fine album, so there’s no need for me to add much more. I would just like to say that “In the Middle of the Night” is one of my favourite R&B ballads. I seem to remember nearly twenty years ago watching the UK’s finest R&B revivalist band, The Big Town Playboys, perform at the Edinburgh Blues Festival in the Caledonian Brewery. Mike Sanchez shouldered his way through the crowd (there was no proper stage) sat down at the piano and started singing “In the Middle of the Night.” That was me captivated before the set had even begun properly. Needless to say the band went on to deliver a sensational performance of real rockin’ rhythm and blues.

First posted on the original Be Bop Wino blog. Reposted here with new scans and new links.

Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps.

Download from here:

http://www102.zippyshare.com/v/0sBuSZYK/file.html

1. Vicious Vicious Vodka
2. Long Long Day
3. Juice, Juice, Juice
4. Anybody's Blues
5. Tears, Tears, Tears
6. Money Hustlin' Woman
7. Birmingham Bounce
8. Rum And Coca-Cola
9. Soft Pillow
10. Thinking Of You Baby
11. My Luck Is Bound To Change
12. Blue And Lonesome
13. Walkin' Blues
14. In The Middle Of The Night

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Jimmy McCracklin - Twist With Jimmy McCracklin (Crown LP 5244)





Side 1:
1. I Can't Tell
2. I'm Gonna Tell Your Mother
3. My Mother Says
4. That Ain't Right
5. Please Forgive

Side 2:
1. Couldn't Be A Dream
2. Oh Baby
3. You Don't Seem To Understand
4. Reelin' And Rockin' Twist

Many thanks to El Enmascadero Del Platter for this 1962 Crown LP. If anyone can actually do the twist to any of these tracks, then Mister You’re A Better Man (or Woman) Than I. For the moment let us just accept the fact that we are entering Mondo Exploitation with this album. Let’s just go with the flow.

In fact the story of this LP begins a year before it was issued, and it begins not with cheapo exploitation label Crown, but with the far more prestigious Atlantic diskery. The Twist (a dance for morons) had swept the US of A in August 1960 when Chubby Checker’s cover version of a Hank Ballard B-side had reached number one in the pop charts.

Danny and the Juniors had a number twenty seven hit with “Twistin’ USA” in October 1960, but 1961 was the year The Twist started to break out with Chubby’s next Twist record “Let’s Twist Again” reaching number eight in the US pop charts in July and number two in the UK Hit Parade in December, thus turning The Twist into a worldwide phenomenon. There were other Twist hits towards the end of that year – “Peppermint Twist” by Joey Dee & The Starlighters in December and a comeback for Chubby’s “The Twist” in November. In 1962 there was a veritable of flood of 45s to Twist to – by Gary U.S. Bonds, The Marvelettes, Sam Cooke, King Curtis, The Isley Brothers and Bill Black’s Combo, among others.

It was inevitable that the record companies would try to sell LPs on the back of the craze and one of the first and most successful so to do was Atlantic which in late 1961 cobbled together a bunch of Ray Charles tracks originally recorded between 1953 and 1959 and released them under the title “Do The Twist! With Ray Charles” (Atlantic 8054). The front cover bears a remarkable resemblance to the Jimmy McCracklin album on Crown, of course.


The Ray Charles album was a big seller, entering the album charts in December 1961 and reaching number eleven. The back of the album had instructions on how to Twist, so for all you would-be early 1960s type swingers, here’s how to do, do, do it:


With the Atlantic example of reaping success with a bunch of old R&B sides packaged as a Twist album, how could the Bihari brothers possibly not try to reach for the stars with their own Crown budget label? They had a mountain of R&B sides by well known names which could be profitably (perhaps) repackaged and so in 1962 there issued forth twelve Twist LPs on the cheap ‘n’ shoddily packaged Crown label. The Jimmy McCracklin collection with its front cover shamelessly ripped off from the successful Ray Charles album was the first in the series.

The rather paltry nine tracks on the LP were from McCracklin sessions for Modern which dated back to 1954 and 1955. There was one exception – “Reelin’ and Rockin’ Twist” was recorded for Modern in 1950 and originally released as “Rockin’ All Day.” Many of the tracks on the LP were given new titles, most of which didn’t disguise their origins. One cannot help but wonder at the reaction of eager young twisters placing this platter on the turntable in anticipation of an energetic gyratory dance session only to be regaled with the low down blues of “I Can’t Tell.” There must have been howls of dismay throughout the land. The reaction was probably similar to that of eager young rock and rollers when they put on a Hen Gates and His Gaters LP and found themselves listening to wild honk tracks by Freddie Mitchell and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis.

This LP may have been a disappointment to the youth of 1962, but to R&B fans in the year 2010 it is a delight, because what we have here is one hell of a blues album. The 1955 tracks find Mr. McCracklin in a “down home” mood, being recorded in a style not dissimilar to that of Jimmy Reed. This style of blues really suits Jimmy McCracklin’s voice and he can blow a reasonable blues harp too. “I Can’t Tell” is a moody blues similar to “I Just Want To Make Love To You” by Muddy Waters. “I’m Gonna Tell Your Mother” is a good stomper, while “My Mother Says” and “That Ain’t Right” are just good blues which you couldn’t possibly Twist to.

The four tracks from 1954 are recorded in a sax led R&B style. “Please Forgive” is a slow blues while “Couldn’t Be A Dream” is a hilarious account of the worst date you could ever go on. “Oh Baby” is another slow blues but the more up tempo “You Don’t Seem to Understand” is the nearest thing to a Twist record on this collection. All of the tracks so far are from Jimmy McCracklin’s second tenure at Modern but the final track “Reelin’ and Rockin Twist” is from his first spell with the label. It’s a catchy jump blues recorded with Jimmy’s classic Blues Blasters group – Jimmy himself on vocals and piano, with Little Red on drums and Robert Kelton on guitar. The group is probably augmented by Lafayette Thomas on second guitar and Maxwell Davis on sax.

“Twist With Jimmy McCracklin” was followed by more R&B LPs you could try to Twist to – “Doin’ The Twist” with Joe Houston, “Twist With Jimmy Beasley,” “Twist With B.B. King” (you could bop to tracks like “Groovin’ Twist” and “Rockin’ Twist” as well as the more familiar “You Upset Me Baby” and “Woke Up This Morning”), “Twist With Etta James” (“Twist With Me Henry” she pleaded, or did she?) and a second offering from Joe Houston – “Twisting In Orbit” featuring the inevitable “All Night Long Twist.”



There were more Twist LPs on Crown credited to Steve Douglas and the Rebel Rousers, Joe Barragan and the Twist Stompers, and Mike Adams and the Red Jackets. There was a piece of particularly shameless exploitation with an LP called “Peppermint Twist” with the title in huge letters across the front cover, and “The Twisters” in considerably smaller letters beneath. In even smaller letters and even lower down was a track list which featured the other artists who performed on the LP – B.B. King, Marvin and Johnny, Young Jessie, Rosco Gordon, Shirley Gunter and the Queens, The Flairs, The Dreamers, Joe Houston and Jimmy Witherspoon. Ye Gods, a line up to die for!

Like all dance crazes, The Twist eventually faded, although it sort of hung around long enough for me to dance it at my primary school leaving dance in 1965, to the wild sound of a 45rpm disc of Lulu and the Luvvers belting out “Shout.” Crown went the way of all poor quality vinyl and crap stuck together record sleeves, and that Ray Charles “Do The Twist” LP on Atlantic was renamed “The Greatest.”

But Jimmy McCracklin just kept rolling on. He had already been recording for seventeen years when this LP was released. The nine tracks on this album demonstrate that he could adapt to different R&B styles. In 1958 he had even had a big pop hit with his own dance craze tune “The Walk” on Checker. When R&B became Soul he was able to make the transition. His versatility as a performer and talent as a songwriter has kept his musical career going right up into the present decade. From the forties to the noughties and perhaps on into the teens? I hope so.

1962 Chess LP courtesy Joan K
Check out these links -

Both Sides Now Discography of Crown LPs 1961-63 (great sleeves on display)

The Hound on Lafayette "The Thing" Thomas - Jimmy's long time guitar player

Ripped from vinyl at 96 kbps. Password = greaseyspoon

Download from here:

http://rapidshare.com/files/435282075/Twist_With_Jimmy_McCracklin.rar

or here:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=QFWIVY6B

Track details – original title where applicable, year recorded, original release:

1. I Can't Tell (I Got Eyes for You, recorded 1955, Kent 369)
2. I'm Gonna Tell Your Mother (Gonna Tell Your Mother, recorded 1955, Modern 967, Kent 369)
3. My Mother Says (My Mother Said, recorded 1955, Kent LP 5027)
4. That Ain't Right (recorded 1955, Modern 967, Kent 369)
5. Please Forgive (Please Forgive Me Baby, recorded 1954, Modern 951)
6. Couldn't Be A Dream (recorded 1954, Modern 951)
7. Oh Baby (Darlin’ Share Your Love, recorded 1954, Modern 934)
8. You Don't Seem To Understand (Give My Heart A Break, recorded 1954, Modern 934)
9. Reelin' And Rockin' Twist (Rockin’ All Day, recorded 1950, Modern 20–762)

Recommended purchases:

Jimmy McCracklin settled in Los Angeles in 1945 after being based in Long Beach during his war service in the Navy. He was an admirer of piano bluesmen like Walter Davis and Memphis Slim, although he didn’t play piano on his own recordings until he formed the Blues Blasters trio in 1947. He started recording for small LA labels in 1945, kicking off his career with “Miss Mattie Left Me” which he recorded for Globe with J.D. Nicholson providing piano accompaniment.


Jimmy’s Blues 1945-1951 (Acrobat ACRCD 101)

This 2003 CD on Acrobat can still be found with a bit of searching. It has Jimmy’s earliest recordings for LA labels Globe, Excelsior and J&M Fullbright recorded in 1945 -46. In 1947 Jimmy relocated to the Bay Area and started recording for Bob Geddin’s Oakland based labels Trilon and Cavatone. It was at this time that he formed the Blues Blasters trio with guitarist Robert Kelton and drummer Little Red. Some of the Geddins sides were picked up by LA label Modern who signed the trio in 1948. The Blues Blasters remained with Modern through 1949 and into 1950 (see next recommended CD). In 1951 Jimmy recorded for Swingtime with a larger band which included guitar player Lafayette Thomas who would remain a long term collaborator with Jimmy. This CD has 9 of the Swingtime sides.


The Modern Recordings 1948-1950 (Ace CDCHD 720)

This is a superb collection of jump blues recorded by the original Blues Blasters for Modern. Trios were very much the “in” thing on the West Coast after the arrival of the King Cole Trio in the early 1940s. The Blues Blasters, as their name implies, were a more blues oriented combo than the King Cole Trio or even Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers. With piano, drums and electric guitar which were often reinforced by a second electric guitar and saxophone and with Jimmy’s rough edged blues singing to the fore, the Blues Blasters were a powerful band. This is CD is definitely in my top ten of Ace CDs. There are probably about twenty CDs in that particular top ten, I’m afraid.


Blues Blastin’ – The Modern Recordings Volume 2 (Ace CDCHD 993)

In 1954 Jimmy returned to Modern after recording for Swingtime in 1951 and Don Robey’s Peacock label from 1952-1954. He recorded six sides with a full band featuring a sax section and the faithful Lafayette Thomas on guitar. In 1955 he recorded a further session for Modern but this time with a completely different sound. Jimmy accompanied himself on piano and harmonica with Lafayette Thomas on guitar, and a drummer and bass player completing the line up. The result was a basic blues sound which was much closer to Jimmy Reed or even Muddy Waters than the sax led jump sides of his previous Modern sessions. This CD has the complete 1954-55 Modern sessions as well as previously unissued sides from his earlier sessions with the label. There are also sides released under the names of some of Jimmy’s sidemen – Lafayette Thomas (as Jerry Thomas), Johnny Parker and Baby Pee Wee Parham.


Everybody Rock! The Best Of Jimmy McCracklin (Chess CD RED 10)

In 1955-56 Jimmy’s label hopping became ever more frenetic, with sides for Imperial (unissued), Hollywood and Irma (back with Bob Geddins.) In 1957-58 Jimmy stopped off at Chess where he recorded his top ten pop hit “The Walk.” This CD has 18 Chess / Checker sides including not only “The Walk” but also the absolute classic “He Knows The Rules.”


The Mercury Recordings (Bear Family BCD 15558 AH)

After his spell at Chess, Jimmy recorded for Mercury between 1958 and 1960. This CD has every recording he made at the label, but that comes in at a very modest thirteen sides. Included are “The Wobble,” “The Georgia Slop” and “Let’s Do It (The Chicken Scratch)” so it may be worth chasing down if you can find it at a reasonable price. Bear Family issues are from Germany and tend to be pretty expensive in the UK.

And that completes our survey of vintage Jimmy McCracklin reissues, such as it is. Ahead lie the 1960s and a long and fruitful spell with Imperial, Minit and Liberty, but here on Be Bop Wino we wave farewell to Jimmy and return to the 1940s and 50s - the era of real R&B!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Blog Update - Eddie Vinson on Mercury



Thanks to El Enmascadero Del Platter (uh?), four label scans of the Eddie Vinson recordings on Mercury of  "Cherry Red Blues" and "Somebody's Got To Go" have been added to the post "Mr Cleanhead Steps Out." Worth a look!