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Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Memphis Blues

Side 1:
01. Passing By Blues - Howlin' Wolf
02. I'm The Wolf - Howlin' Wolf
03. The Way You Treat Me - Joe Hill Louis
04. Highway 99 - Joe Hill Louis
05. Walter's Blues - Walter Horton
06. Love My Baby - Bobby Bland & Junior Parker

Side 2:
01. Drifting From Town To Town - Bobby Bland
02. Western Union Man - Joe Hill Louis
03. The Sun Is Rising - Howlin' Wolf
04. My Friends - Howlin' Wolf
05. Lonesome Bedroom Blues - Willie Nix
06. Little Boy Blue - Walter Horton

This LP was originally issued on the Bihari's Kent label around 1969/70 as part of the "Anthology Of The Blues" series which was later reissued on their budget United label and then on the French Musidisc label. I posted the two Elmore James LPs from this series back in 2016, leaving another 3 from the series to post, which I'll be doing over the next week or two.

"Memphis Blues" follows on nicely from the previous post of Howlin' Wolf's recordings for Sam Phillips. This LP has 4 of the sides Wolf recorded for Joe Bihari and Ike Turner in West Memphis after the great fall out between Sam and the Biharis as recounted in the posts on Wolf and Rosco Gordon.

The first track on the LP, Wolf's "Passing By Blues," suffers from a woefully out of tune piano on which Ike Turner bashes away enthusiastically. Don't let that put you off because the rest of the tracks are pretty ace. Many were recorded in 1951 at the Memphis Recording Service pre-dating the Phillips / Bihari dispute. Full details are below.

Trax Fax

Howlin' Wolf -

"Passing By Blues" - recorded on October 2nd 1951, West Memphis. Released on RPM 340 in December 1951. Personnel - Howlin' Wolf (vocal, harmonica); Ike Turner (piano); Willie Johnson (guitar); Willie Steele (drums).

"I'm The Wolf," "The Sun Is Rising" and "My Friends" recorded in West Memphis on February 12th, 1952. First released this album Kent LP 9002). Personnel as above, add unknown bass player.

Joe Hill Louis -

One man band - vocal, guitar, harmonica, hi-hat, bass drum.

"Highway 99" and "The Way You Treat Me" - recorded on April 30th, 1951, Memphis Recording Service. First released on this album (Kent LP 9002).

"Western Union Man" - recorded on February 24th, 1953 at the Meteor Recording Studio, Memphis. First released on this album (Kent LP 9002). Different take to version released on Meteor 5004 as by "Chicago Sonny Boy."

Bobby Bland -

"Love My Baby" - recorded on January 24th, 1952, Memphis Recording Service. First released on this album (Kent LP 9002). Personnel - Bobby Bland (vocal); Junior Parker (vocal, harmonica); Johnny Ace (piano); Matt Murphy (guitar), Earl Forrest (drums).

"Drifting From Town To Town" - probably recorded on January 24th, 1952, Memphis Recording Service. Different version to that released on Modern 868 in June 1952. Personnel as above. First released on this album (Kent LP 9002).

Walter Horton -

"Little Boy Blue" and "Walter's Blues (I'm In Love With You)" recorded January or February 1951, Memphis Recording Service. Both first released on this album (Kent LP 9002). "Little Boy Blue" is probably a different take from that released on Modern 809. Personnel - Walter Horton (vocal, harmonica); Joe Hill Louis (guitar, percussion); Willie Johnson (guitar).

Willie Nix -

"Lonesome Bedroom Blues" recorded in July 1951, Memphis Recording Service. First released on RPM 327, Autumn, 1951. Personnel - Willie Nix (vocal, drums); Willie Johnson (guitar); Billy Love (piano).

Recommended Purchase

Blues sides released on Modern and its subsidiaries were packaged into a series of CDs by Ace (UK). "The Modern Downhome Blues Sessions" ran to 4 volumes. Volume 3 "Memphis On Down" was a 26 track collection which features some of the sides on this LP but now seems to be out of print. Try digging around! Still available from Ace as an MP3 download.

On The Blog

Grab yourselves some more of that Memphis blues sound!


FLG said...

Wow, thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mate

pino said...

thank you very much !

Anonymous said...

splendid again !
- Jay from the North.

george said...

Many thanks, boogiewoody!

Tommy C said...

Thank you BoogieWoody!