Be Bop Wino Pages

Joan Selects - the complete Joan Selects Collection

Big Ten Inchers - 78rpm rips by El Enmascarado

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 - - see comments on Little Esther Bad Baad Girl post for details.

2. Use Keka - - see comments on Johnny Otis Presents post.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Gatemouth Moore Sings Blues (King LP 684)

Side 1:
01. I'm A Fool To Care
02. Highway 61 Blues
03. Gambling Woman
04. Don't You Know I Love You Baby
05. Teasin' Brown
06. Hey Mr. Gatemouth
07. You're My Specialty Baby
08. Gotta Walk

Side 2:
01. Something I'm Gonna Be
02. I Ain't Mad At You Pretty Baby
03. Did You Ever Try To Cry
04. Satisfying Papa
05. Graveyard Disposition
06. Willa Mae
07. After Loving A Woman
08. You're Having Hard Luck

Gatemouth Moore Sings Blues (Zippy)

I've "reconstructed" this LP which was originally issued in June 1960 by trawling the internet for the artwork and matching it up with tracks in my collection. As I did this a few weeks ago I've managed to forget where exactly I found the artwork! Probably or a record sales site, so my thanks to whoever uploaded the cover and label shots.

Arnold Dwight "Gatemouth" Moore was one of the best of the 1940s blues shouters, yet his recordings for two of the larger independent record companies, National and King, failed to sell. He was a performer who could not only shout rambunctious blues but was also capable of handling crooning duties on pop standards and ballads.

Born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1913, his music career took off in 1930 in Kansas City where he sang in a club which featured musicians such as Benny Moten and Count Basie. He formed a quartet in Topeka called the Four Sharps who were recruited for a tour of Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas by the Beckman and Garrity Carnival, a booking which was the start of years on the road for Gatemouth and the Four Sharps with tent shows, circuses, minstrel shows and reviews - outfits such as Porkchop Chapman's Show, Sammy Green's Down In Dixie Minstrels, Sam Dale's Circus, Ida Cox's Darktown Scandals and the F.S. Wallcot Rabbit Foot Minstrels. After being left stranded in Clarksdale Mississippi by the Walcott show, Gatemouth split from the Four Sharps and settled in Memphis.

In 1939 he was recruited by the Walter Barnes band for an extensive tour which lasted into 1940. In April 1940, the tour was about to finish and the band were due to head back to their home base in Chicago when they accepted an extra booking by the Rhythm Club in Natchez, Mississippi. The Rhythm Club consisted of a rather ramshackle club / dance hall housed in a timber and tin sheeting building which had served as a pentecostal church and then as a blacksmith's or motor repair shop. The owners had booked the Tiny Bradshaw band for a dance timed to coincide with the local black high school's commencement celebration on April 23rd, 1940. Bradshaw, however, was offered a week's residency at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem and withdrew from the arrangement.

The Walter Barnes band was a long established and popular outfit on what was to become known as the Chitlin' Circuit - that network of clubs, dance halls and ghetto theatres (and even tobacco warehouses) which constituted the venues on the touring itinary of black musicians. The Barnes outfit accepted the late booking, the dance was saved, and the musicians could return home the following day.

What happened on that evening in Natchez has entered history as one of the worst night club fire disasters in the U.S. The Rhythm Club was a potential death trap as the owners had decorated the hall with dried Spanish moss soaked in a kerosene based insect repellent and then sealed all exits and boarded up the windows to prevent non paying spectators from seeing or hearing the band. The only door left open was the main entrance and that was a door which opened inwards.

When fire broke out it spread rapidly and mass panic broke out as the dancers attempted to flee through the only available exit. The death toll came to 209 with many others injured. Deaths were due to crushing, suffocation (the fire consumed all available oxygen), scalding (the heated tin sheeting turned water from the fire brigade's hoses to steam) and burning. Firemen who attempted to enter the building by the front door were confronted by a wall of bodies and had to rip down the sheeting from the walls to gain entry and to let survivors escape.

Walter Barnes, who had kept the band playing in a heroic attempt to quell the panic, died along with all of his musicians except the bass player and drummer who managed to smash their way out of the doomed building. A third surviving band member was Gatemouth Moore who was outside the building in the band bus when the fire broke out. One contemporary report stated that he had already left the tour in the company of several other musicians a few days before the disaster but his inclusion in this group appears to have been mistaken.

Gatemouth returned to Memphis for a spell, singing with the Andrew Jenkins band. In 1941 he moved back to Kansas City to take up a residency at the Chez Paree club where he was backed by the Carolina Cotton Pickers with whom he toured in 1942. The club owner, a Mrs Gilmore, decided to start her own record label, Gilmore's Chez Paree, for which Gatemouth made his recording debut in 1944 or early 1945. He cut two singles backed by an "all star" lineup of KC musicians which included Tommy Douglas and Walter Page.

The first single released had two of Gatemouth's own compositions, "I Ain't Mad At You" and "Did You Ever Love a Woman" which he went on to re-record for National when he signed with that company in May of 1945. Unfortunately despite some good records backed by top class bands Dallas Bartley And His Small Town Boys, the Budd Johnson Orchestra, and the Tiny Grimes Swingtet (including John Hardee on tenor sax), the records failed to sell and Gatemouth's contract was not renewed after his third session for National in October 1946.

His first session for King was in August 1947 with a piano, guitar and drums trio. For his second session in October 1947, the group was augmented with a horn section. A total of eight sides were recorded at these sessions, all of which were released on singles and six of which made it to this LP. See section below for details.

On the 26th December 1947 Gatemouth was in a Chicago studio where he recorded a mammoth 20 tracks as King were stockpiling sides in anticipation of the American Federation of Musicians recording ban due to come into force on the 1st January 1948. Of the twenty sides, ten are included on this LP, only four of which had a previous single release. The remaining masters remained unreleased until the the issue of the Westside CD "Hey Mr. Gatemouth" in 2000. There was, however, one exception - a re-recording of "Did You Ever Love a Woman" the master of which had disappeared.

Gatemouth before he renounced sin

Despite the generally very good standard of Gatemouth's King recordings his experience with National was repeated - disappointingly low sales and the termination of his contract. He kept performing live though, until one night in 1949 at the Club DeLisa in Chicago he underwent a sudden religious conversion on stage. His voice simply vanished and he was unable to utter a sound despite the Red Saunders band repeatedly cuing him in. Then he launched into "Shine On Me" amidst tumultous scenes in that palace of sin. On Sunday he was in church, on Monday he enrolled in Bible college and he was on the way to becoming the Reverend Gatemouth Moore, saviour of souls.

That was the end of the Reverend's R&B career, with one exception. After decades of preaching, recording religious songs and playing gospel records on Memphis station WDIA, in 1977 he arranged with Johnny Otis to record an album of R&B tracks which included his old songs and a new song in which he looked back to the now vanished days of his life as a blues singer, "Beale Street Ain't Beale Street No More." He can be seen singing this song in the film "The Road To Memphis", an episode in the TV series "Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues" from 2003. He appears alone, apparently singing to himself as he walks down a deserted and much changed Beale Street. The Reverend Gatemouth Moore went to his reward in 2004.

The Tracks - The Lowdown

I'm A Fool To Care; Highway 61 Blues - recorded in Cincinnati, 12th August, 1947. Personnel - Gatemouth Moore (vocals); Allen Smith (piano); Willie Gaddy (guitar); Monty Morrison (drums). Also recorded at this session but not on this LP - Christmas Blues; East Of The Sun.

I'm A Fool To Care / Highway 61 Blues - released on King 4178 in October 1947.

Don't You Know I Love You Baby; Gamblin' Woman; Satisfying Papa; Teasin' Brown - recorded in Cincinnati, September 1947. Personnel as above but add unknown trumpet, alto sax, tenor sax.

Gamblin' Woman / Satisfying Papa - released on King 4187 in December 1947.

Teasin' Brown / Christmas Blues - released on King 4195 in December 1947.

Hey Mr. Gatemouth; Did You Ever Try To Cry; Something I'm Gonna Be; You're Having Hard Luck Blues; Willa Mae; Graveyard Disposition; You're My Specialty Baby; After Loving A Woman; Gotta Walk; I Ain't Mad At You Pretty Baby - recorded in Chicago, 26th December, 1947. Personnel: Gatemouth Moore (vocals); Bill Martin (trumpet); Bert Patrick (alto sax); Moses Gant (tenor sax); Nat Walker and Simeon Hatch (piano); Adolphus Dean (bass); James Adams (drums).

Hey, Mr. Gatemouth / Don't You Know I Love You Baby - released on King 4211 in April 1948.

East Of The Sun / Gotta Walk released on King 4224 in May 1948.

Something I'm Gonna Be / You're My Specialty Baby released on King 4256 in December 1948.

Did You Ever Try To Cry; You're Having Hard Luck Blues; Willa Mae; Graveyard Disposition; After Loving A Woman; I Ain't Mad At You Pretty Baby - all first released on King LP 684 "Gatemouth Moore Sings Blues" in June 1960.

A further ten tracks were recorded at the 26th December 1947 session. Nine were first issued on Westside CD WESF 100, "Hey Mr. Gatemouth. Complete King Recordings" in 2000. One master, "Did You Ever Love a Woman," remains lost.


Savoy Jazz CD SVY 17327 collection of complete National recordings. 20 tracks.

Westside CD WESF 100 the complete King recordings. 27 tracks. Detailed article by Neil Slaven on Gatemouth which is the main source of information for this post.

The Chitlin' Circuit and the Road to Rock 'N' Roll - Preston Lauterbach. History of the network of clubs and theaters worked by Black music acts from the 1930s onwards. Contains a full account of the Natchez Rhythm Club fire.

On YouTube - The Rhythm Club Fire Documentary (complete film). 30 minute award winning film on the Natchez Rhythm Club fire.

notes by Neil Slaven to Westside CD "Hey Mr. Gatemouth: Complete King Recordings."
"The Chitlin' Circuit And The Road To Rock 'N' Roll" - Preston Lauterbach.
"Big Band Jazz" by Albert McCarthy.
Bruyninckx discography.
Billboard magazine.

Friday, 10 May 2019

If It's Not A Hit I'll Eat My Hat

Side 1:
01. Hound Dog - Big Mama Thornton
02. Pledging My Love - Johnny Ace
03. I Love My Baby - Little Richard
04. I Wanna Ramble - Little Junior Parker
05. Farther Up The Road - Bobby Bland
06. Keep On Doggin' - Rosco Gordon
07. To The End - The Sensational Nightingales

Side 2:
01. Texas Flood - Larry Davis
02. Okie Dokie Stomp - Gatemouth Brown
03. Taxi Blues - Little Frankie Lee
04. Spunky Onions - Billy Davis & The Legends
05. Blue Monday - James Davis
06. Funny How Time Slips Away - Joe Hinton
07. Treat Her Right - Roy Head

Nice little Ace comp of sides recorded and issued on Don Robey's labels - both his original Houston-based Peacock label and the Memphis founded Duke label which he acquired under, er, forceful circumstances and subsequently relocated to Houston. See the recent Johnny Ace post for more about this tale of robust business practices and alleged use of firearms as an aid to bringing negotiations to a successful conclusion.

David Mattis, the founder of Duke Records, was far from being the only victim of Robey's methods. Little Richard was assaulted by Robey when the two met to discuss the lack of success of the Georgia Peach's recordings for Peacock. "He jumped on me, knocked me down, and kicked me in the stomach. It gave me a hernia that was painful for years. I had to have an operation. Right there in the office he beat me up." (The Life and Times of Little Richard - Charles White)

Little Richard's final session for Peacock was on October 5th, 1953 in Houston when he cut four tracks backed by the Johnny Otis Orchestra. None of the tracks were released at the time, but when he started getting multi million selling hits on the Specialty label in 1955-56, Robey dug out the discarded tracks and released them on two singles one of which featured the track included on this collection - "I Love My Baby."

As for the rest of the music on this collection - it's a nice mix of R&B, Blues, Soul, Rock 'n' Roll and Gospel. Included are two number one R&B hits, "Hound Dog" by Big Mama Thornton and "Pledging My Love" by Johnny Ace. Both acts were featured together on a regular touring show arranged by another Robey enterprise, the Buffalo Booking Agency. Until that fateful Christmas Night of 1954 at the Houston City Auditorium ...

Monday, 6 May 2019

John Lee Hooker - The Blues (Crown LP 5157)

Side 1:
01. Boogie Chillen
02. I'm In The Mood
03. Crawling King Snake
04. Queen Bee
05. Hobo Blues
06. Weeping Willow

Side 2:
01. Cold Chills
02. Hoogie Boogie
03. Whistling And Moaning
04. Sally Mae
05. House Rent Boogie
06. Anybody Seen My Baby

John Lee Hooker - The Blues (Zippy)

Thanks to regular contributor Marv for this reconstitution of a John Lee Hooker LP which was originally released in 1960. The sides on this collection are a good selection of Hooker's late 1940s / early 1950s releases on Modern, some of which were very big R&B hits. "Boogie Chillen" was number 1 in the R&B charts in January 1949. "Hobo Blues," "Crawling King Snake" and "I'm In The Mood" were also hits in 1950/51. During this period Hooker sides were also released on a multiplicity of labels, including Specialty, King, Chess, and Gotham, sometimes pseudonymously.

A native of Clarksdale, Mississippi, Hooker's footstomping, one man and his guitar delta blues style stood in stark contrast to the jump band and blues combo styles which dominated the R&B charts of the time. When he signed for Vee Jay records in the autumn of 1955, his vocals and guitar work were accompanied by small combos which usually featured labelmate Jimmy Reed's collaborator Eddie Taylor. He re-recorded many of his Modern tracks for Vee Jay and also had success with new R&B material such as "Dimples" and "Boom Boom."

This particular LP was issued at a time when Hooker was making a successful move into the "folk blues" market, having recorded two accoustic albums for the jazz label Riverside aimed at the mainly white college crowd. The Bihari Brothers' budget LP outlet Crown wasn't the only label to cash in on the folk blues craze as more early 1950s Hooker material was recycled on LPs by the King and Chess labels in 1960.

On June 25th, 1960, Hooker appeared at the Newport Folk Festival on the same bill as Joan Baez, Flatt & Scruggs, and The Weavers. On July 3rd he appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival. His Riverside LP, "That's My Story" was released around this time. In August 1960 Vee Jay had an ad in the trade papers announcing that the LP "Travelin'" was a winner in the Downbeat International Critics Poll in both jazz and folk categories. In October a Vee Jay advert advised dealers of the issue of "John Lee Hooker's New Folk Single" - "Tupelo" which was a live recording from one of the Newport festivals.

The cover of this Crown LP uses one of the favourite themes of "folk blues" LP covers - empty chair(s) and a guitar lying ready for the folk artist to take to the stage to perform a set of songs relating tales of hard times on the Delta. Mind you this cover is a model of restraint when you compare it with that of another 1960 LP of Hooker sides - Chess LP 1438 "House Of The Blues" which had a photograph of a shot-to-hell country shack.

It should be borne in mind that John Lee Hooker, like fellow Vee Jay bluesman Jimmy Reed, was still recording rockin' R&B records while doing the folk blues rounds. In 1962 his "Boom Boom" reached number 16 in the R&B chart  and even crossed into the lower reaches of the pop charts.

The Track Details:

01. Boogie Chillen - Recorded in Detroit, circa September, 1948. Personnel: John Lee Hooker (vocal, guitar). Released on Modern 20-627.

02. I'm In The Mood - Recorded in Detroit, August 7th, 1951. Personnel: John Lee Hooker (vocal, guitar); Eddie Kirkland (vocal, guitar). Released on Modern 835.

03. Crawling King Snake - Recorded in Detroit, February 18th, 1949. Personnel: John Lee Hooker (vocal, guitar). Released on Modern 20-714.

04. Queen Bee - Recorded in Detroit, November 16th, 1950. Personnel: John Lee Hooker (vocal, guitar). Released on Modern 20-814.

05. Hobo Blues - Recorded in Detroit, February 18th, 1949. Personnel: John Lee Hooker (vocal, guitar). Released on Modern 20-663.

06. Weeping Willow - Recorded in Detroit, ? 1949. Personnel: John Lee Hooker (vocal, guitar). Released on Modern 20-688.

07. Cold Chills - Recorded in Detroit, early 1952. Personnel: John Lee Hooker (vocal, guitar); Bernie Besman (organ). Released on Modern 862.

08. Hoogie Boogie - Recorded in Detroit, ? February 1949. Personnel: John Lee Hooker (vocal, guitar). Released on Modern 20-663.

09. Whistling And Moaning - Recorded in Detroit, ? 1949. Personnel: John Lee Hooker (vocal, guitar, whistling). Released on Modern 20-688.

10. Sally Mae - Recorded in Detroit, circa September, 1948. Personnel: John Lee Hooker (vocal, guitar). This is an alternate take of the side released on Modern 20-627.

11. House Rent Boogie - Recorded in Detroit, November 16th, 1950. Personnel: John Lee Hooker (vocal, guitar). Released on Modern 20-814.

12. Anybody Seen My Baby - Recorded in Detroit, August 7th, 1951. Personnel: John Lee Hooker (vocal, guitar); Eddie Kirkland (guitar). Released on Modern 847.

Original Single Releases of Tracks:

Modern 20-627 - Sally May / Boogie Chillen' - John Lee Hooker & His Guitar - released November 1948. Re-released as Modern 627 in 1951.

Modern 20-663 - Hoogie Boogie / Hobo Blues - John Lee Hooker & His Guitar - released March 1949.

Modern 20-688 - Whistlin' and Moanin' Blues / Weeping Willow Boogie - John Lee Hooker - released June (?) 1949.

Modern 20-714 - Crawlin' King Snake / Drifting From Door To Door - John Lee Hooker and his Guitar - released October 1949.

Modern 20-814 - John L's House Rent Boogie / Queen Bee - John Lee Hooker - released May 1951.

Modern 835 - I'm In The Mood / How Can You Do It - John Lee Hooker - released October 1951.

Modern 847 - Turn Over A New Leaf  / Anybody Seen My Baby - John L. Hooker - released ?early 1952?

Modern 862 - Rock Me Mama / Cold Chills All Over Me - John Lee Hooker - released circa April 1952.

Elsewhere on the blog: "This Is Hip" - a collection of Vee Jay sides including "Dimples" and "Boom Boom."

Click on the link - "John Lee Hooker - This Is Hip"
The original Zippyshare link is still active and I have added a new Mega link.

Many thanks to Marv and a tip of the chapeau to for cover art.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Memorial Album For Johnny Ace

Side 1:
01. Pledging My Love
02. Ace's Wild
03. Anymore
04. Yes Baby
05. My Song
06. Never Let Me Go
07. Don't You Know

Side 2:
01. The Clock
02. No Money
03. Angel
04. Follow The Rule
05. Burley Cutie
06. Please Forgive Me
07. You've Been Gone So Long

A follow up to the previous post of "Joan's 78s - Johnny Has Gone." This is a 1982 Ace UK reissue of Duke LP 71 with two additional tracks. Duke LP 71 was issued in 1957 and was an extended version of the 1955 Duke LP 70, the original 10 inch issue of "Memorial Album For Johnny Ace" which had eight tracks.

Johnny Ace was an unlikely R&B superstar who perhaps got lucky and somehow surfed the early 50's Zeitgeist with a series of big selling tear-stained ballads between mid 1952 and the end of 1954 when it all came to a brutal and extraordinary end. Well, the end certainly did arrive for Johnny, but his recordings went on selling after his untimely death especially "Pledging My Love" which not only stayed at number one in the R&B chart for ten weeks in 1955, but also crossed over into the pop chart. It's a cliche to say that death can sometimes be a great career move for a music star, but in this case it was certainly true for a while at least, as Don Robey the owner of Duke Records continued to shift huge amounts of records by his recently deceased star.

"Pledging My Love" was followed by another posthumous hit in the second half of 1955, "Anymore", and also the first issue of the "Memorial Album For Johnny Ace" which was also available as 2 EPs. In addition to actual Johnny Ace records, there were "tribute" discs as record companies scrambled to climb aboard the grief bandwagon, such was the potential of Johnny's considerable fanbase.

It didn't last though, as Johnny's final two posthumous discs on Duke failed to chart in 1956. His entire oeuvre consisted of only ten singles on Duke plus one early side released by Flair as a cash-in after he had become a star, so there was nothing for it but to repackage what there was with diminishing returns. A reissue of "Pledging My Love" with dubbed vocal chorus by The Jordanaires didn't do much business in 1958 and a third issue of "Memorial Album" in 1961 with new artwork didn't exactly have Ace fans storming the record stores.

Yet the legend persisted for the Johnny Ace story was an exemplary cautionary tale of the American dream gone wrong, with fast cars, fast dames and gunplay winning out over home, family and religion.

He was a native of Memphis, born in that city on June 9th, 1929 into a large family who were devout Christians. John Marshall Alexander Jr, to give him his full name, proved to be the wayward son, although not the prodigal as he singularly failed to make it back home to the bosom of his family in order to repent of his wicked ways. He was a dropout from school, he was dishonourably discharged from the Navy and he even served a short custodial sentence having been involved (perhaps unknowingly) in the transportation of stolen goods.

What he did have going for him however was a natural ability on the piano, that and a fascination with the music scene on Beale Street. Abandoning his young wife and child to the care of his family, he took to living on Beale where he became part of a group of musicians which started out as a backing band for B.B. King's local appearances and radio spots on WDIA. Besides John and B.B., the group consisted of Earl Forrest on drums, Adolph "Billy" Duncan on tenor sax and Bobby "Blue" Bland on vocals.

John's earliest recordings were for the Biharis, owners of Modern / RPM, who were mining the motherlode of Memphis based blues musicians initially via Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service and then after a dispute with Sam (see previous posts), by holding their own recording sessions in West Memphis, usually under the supervision of Ike Turner. The future Johnny Ace was therefore on early recordings by B.B. King and Bobby Bland made in late 1951 and early 1952.

In the spring of 1952 the Memphis recording scene changed with the launch of two locally based record labels - Sam Phillips' Sun Records and Duke Records, founded by WDIA programme director David James Mattis. The first record issued on Duke was a gospel disc, the second was an R&B release by Rosco Gordon, and the third which started selling very heavily was "My Song" sung by a new name - Johnny Ace who was none other than a rechristened John Marshall Alexander Jr.

Mattis had turned to The Beale Streeters, left behind in Memphis by B.B. King who had broken big on RPM with "Three O' Clock Blues." Early Duke sessions generated discs by Earl Forrest, Bobby Bland and, if the stories are to be believed, an accidental superstar in Johnny Ace. Accidental because he was playing piano on a Bobby Bland session when he started fooling around with "So Long" which had been a hit for Ruth Brown a couple of years back. Mattis liked what he heard and "So Long" was transformed into "My Song" for a release in May 1952.

It sold fast which should have been good news for the new label, but the opposite was the case. Mattis hit a potentially fatal cash flow problem. With all his capital already tied up in Duke, he had to pay the record manufacturers in order to satisfy demand for the disc, while the record distributors weren't coming back to him with their payments. He was introduced to Houston night club owner and honcho of Peacock Records, Don Robey, and embarked on what he thought was a partnership but was really a takeover. There is a story of Mattis going down to Houston to remind Robey of their partnership only to find himself facing a revolver. Perhaps exaggerated, but whatever happened Mattis found himself ousted from Duke before 1952 was out.

Good news for Johnny Ace, though. Robey had superior recording facilities in Houston, professional arrangers and bandleaders in Johnny Board (ex Lionel Hampton sax man) and Johnny Otis, and experience in promoting records. With Robey's backing "My Song" spent nine weeks at the top of the R&B charts and a series of big ballad hits ensued - "Cross My Heart," "The Clock," "Saving My Love For You" and "Please Forgive Me" were all top ten R&B hits with "The Clock" (which borrowed its melody from the old 1930s Josephine Baker hit "J'ai Deux Amours") spending five weeks at number one.

Tours were arranged through another Robey enterprise, The Buffalo Booking Agency, with Johnny being accompanied by a band led by Johnny Board and as support, a fellow Robey act, Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton whose "Hound Dog" on Peacock Records was a number one hit in 1953.

And so to the Houston City Auditorium on that fateful Christmas night in 1954. There had already been signs that the Johnny Ace bandwagon had been slowing down. His last release, "Never Let Me Go," had failed to make the top ten R&B sales chart although it did reach number nine in the Jukebox Plays chart. Johnny's behaviour which had always been "ebullient" seems to have been becoming more and more erratic, especially with his latest enthusiasm - a seven shot .22 revolver which he would use to shoot out road signs and which he would also point at people around him and occasionally pull the trigger.

However there was hope that his career would soon be back on track as his latest release, a heart stopping ballad called "Pledging My Love" on which he was backed by the Johnny Otis Orchestra, was already shipping to stores in anticipation of heavy sales in the New Year.

Billboard 25th December 1954

The Ace / Thornton roadshow rolled into Houston on Christmas Day. In the afternoon Johnny and some band members had Christmas lunch at the flat of Johnny's girlfriend, Olivia Gibbs. According to witnesses Johnny was up to his usual tricks with his revolver, pointing it at his fellow diners and pulling the trigger with, presumably, all seven chambers empty. On arrival at the Auditorium in the evening, Johnny seemed in good mood and signed autographs at the ticket office.

The show got underway with a couple of numbers from the band, then Big Mama Thornton came on for a set. Johnny came on next for his first set, then Big Mama joined him on stage for their rockin' duet "Yes Baby." Both artists left the stage as the band closed the first half of the show with a couple more numbers.

Backstage, things were getting a little fraught in Johnny's dressing room. Olivia Gibbs was present as was Big Mama Thornton. There was also a couple who were friends of Miss Gibbs, Mary Carter and Joe Hamilton. There may have been others present and a pint of vodka was being passed around. Just the occasion for more festive firearm frolics and so Johnny, the perfect host, began pointing his gun around the room and pulling the trigger. As people seemed to be getting a little upset he decided to show them that there was no risk at all and pointing the gun at his own head, squeezed the trigger. Lights out for Johnny. If the revolver had been of a heavier calibre it would have been lights out for Olivia too as she was sitting on his knee when he blew himself into oblivion.

The R&B heartthrob may have been dead, but there was still money to be made. "Pledging My Love" raced to number one in the R&B charts and then crossed into the pop charts as myth took hold and Don Robey milked it for as long as he could. That's showbusiness. Goodnight sweet prince, and thanks for all the bucks.

 Billboard January 22nd, 1955.

The law of diminishing returns - Billboard January 1956 - not a hit.

The Tracks:

01. Pledging My Love - Duke 136
02. Ace's Wild - Duke 112
03. Anymore - Duke 144
04. Yes Baby - Duke 118
05. My Song - Duke 102
06. Never Let Me Go - Duke 132
07. Don't You Know - Duke 154
08. The Clock - Duke 112
09. No Money - Duke 136
10. Angel - Duke 107
11. Follow The Rule - Duke 102
12. Burley Cutie - Duke 132
13. Please Forgive Me - Duke 128
14. You've Been Gone So Long - Duke 128

Johnny Ace Singles On Duke:

Duke 102 - My Song / Follow The Rule - released May 1952. Number one in Billboard R&B chart for 9 weeks.

Duke 107 - Cross My Heart / Angel - released December 1952. Number three in Billboard R&B chart.

Duke 112 - The Clock / Ace's Wild - released May 1953. Number one in Billboard R&B chart for five weeks.

Duke 118 - Saving My Love For You / Yes Baby - released December 1953. Number two in Billboard R&B chart.

Duke 128 - Please Forgive Me / You've Been Gone So Long - released April 1954. Number six in Billboard R&B chart.

Duke 132 - Never Let Me Go / Burley Cutie - released September 1954. Number nine on Billboard R&B Juke Box Play chart.

Duke 136 - Pledging My Love / No Money - released December 1954 / January 1955. Number one in Billboard R&B chart for ten weeks. Number seventeen, Billboard pop chart.

Duke 144 - Anymore / How Can You Be So Mean - released June 1955. Number eight in Billboard R&B chart.

Duke 148 - I'm Crazy, Baby / So Lonely - released January 1956. Did not chart.

Duke 154 - Still Love You So / Don't You Know - released July 1956. Did not chart.

"Pledging My Love" and "Anymore" were remastered with backing vocals by The Jordanaires and re-released on Duke 136 (original issue number of "Pledging My Love") in December 1958.

In September 1953 Flair released a 1951 recording by Johnny Ace, "Midnight Hours Journey" b/w "Trouble And Me" by Earl Forest (Flair 1015). Did not chart.

Sources - discographic information from the usual websites -,, Billboard on google books. Also the following books - Unsung Heroes Of Rock 'n' Roll by Nick Tosches and The Late Great Johnny Ace by James M. Salem.

Recommended book - I've recommended "Unsung Heroes Of Rock 'n' Roll" by Nick Tosches numerous times. It has a chapter, "Number One With A Bullet" on Johnny Ace which amuses and appalls at the same time.

The definitive book on Johnny Ace is by James M. Salem - "The Late Great Johnny Ace and the transition from r&b to rock'n'roll." University of Illinois Press, 2001.

Much of what I've written above has been adapted from this book which I highly recommend.

Recommended listening purchase -

I don't have this - but it looks like the best buy if you really want to immerse yourself in Johnny Ace. A 2 CD set from Fantastic Voyage with 55 tracks. Includes all his released singles plus session work plus "tribute records" by other artists. Probably out of print but worth keeping a lookout for this one.

Elsewhere on the blog -

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Joan's 78s Volume 3 - Johnny Has Gone

     Record 1 - Savoy 1153A
01. Johnny Has Gone - Varetta Dillard

      Record 2 - OKeh 6910A
02. My Song - Hadda Brooks

Record 3 - Duke 107
03. Cross My Heart - Johnny Ace
04. Angel - Johnny Ace

Record 4 - Duke 118
05. Saving My Love For You - Johnny Ace
06. Yes, Baby - Johnny Ace (with Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton)

Record 5 - Duke 144
07. How Can You Be So Mean - Johnny Ace
08. Anymore - Johnny Ace

Record 6 - Duke 148
09. So Lonely - Johnny Ace
10. I'm Crazy Baby - Johnny Ace

Record 7 - Hollywood 1031
11. Why Johnny Why? - Linda Hayes (with Johnny Moore's Blazers)
12. Johnny Ace's Last Letter - Johnny Moore's Blazers with Frankie Ervin

Joan's 78s Volume 3 (Zippy)

A Johnny Ace Special Edition of "Joan's 78s." I couldn't resist doing this when I found not only rips of 4 Johnny Ace singles in Joan's files, but also a couple of "tribute" discs which were issued in the wake of Johnny's unfortunate demise as a result of accidentally shooting himself through the head backstage at the Houston City Auditorium during the interval of a Christmas Day concert / dance in 1954. And accident it was. It wasn't an organised crime hit or a jealous husband or suicide, but simply an act of monumental stupidity. I actually get angry whenever I re-read accounts of the incident for never was so much thrown away for so little.

Johnny's greatest and mostly posthumous hit "Pledging My Love" isn't here and neither is the hit which launched his career, "My Song", but Joan has provided an excellent cover version of the latter by Hadda Brooks.

Two of the rips, "So Lonely" / "I'm Crazy Baby", were pretty rough with volume fading out and in and although I tried several times to coax decent sound from the files, the results are noticeably inferior to the other cuts on this collection. I like to think that they are still listenable and therefore decided to include them.

Shellac Lowdown

Savoy 1153 - Varetta Dillard - Johnny Has Gone / So Many Ways - released February 1955.

OKeh 6190 - Hadda Brooks - I Went To Your Wedding / My Song - released September 1952.

Duke 107 - Johnny Ace - Cross My Heart / Angel - released January 1953.

Duke 118 - Johnny Ace - Saving My Love For You / Yes, Baby - released December 1953.

Duke 144 - Johnny Ace - Anymore / How Can You Be So Mean - released July 1955.

Duke 148 - Johnny Ace - I'm Crazy Baby / So Lonely - released January 1956.

Hollywood 1031 - Johnny Moore's Blazers - Why Johnny Why (vocal - Linda Hayes) / Johnny Ace's Last Letter (vocal - Frankie Ervin) - released February 1955.

Label scans from,, YouTube and the Johnny Ace Webpage on the Vocal Group Harmony site.

Thanks again to Joan for providing the sounds. Stay tuned and hear more of the late, great Johnny Ace in Be Bop Wino's next post.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Kenny Clarke Meets The Detroit Jazzmen

Side One:
01. You Turned The Tables On Me
02. Your Host
03. Cottontail
04. Apothegh

Side Two:
01. Tricotism
02. Afternoon In Paris
03. Tom's Thumb

Cool jazz for a quiet Sunday. I'm a sucker for anything on the Savoy label, whether jazz or R&B or somewhere in between. These sides were recorded in April - May 1956 in Hackensack NJ and bring together swing and bebop veteran drummer Kenny Clarke with a group of younger musicians. Outstanding stuff, especially from guitarist Kenny Burrell and baritone sax man Pepper Adams, but the whole group swings along with vim and verve.

The original version of this LP was issued in 1956 as "Jazzmen Detroit" (Savoy MG-12083). The tracklist was - Side A: Afternoon In Paris; You Turned The Tables On Me; Apothegh. Side B: Your Host; Cottontail; Tom's Thumb.

You can find details of the '56 LP on the discogs website.


Pepper Adams (baritone sax); Kenny Burrell (guitar); Tommy Flanagan (piano); Paul Chambers (bass); Kenny Clarke (drums).

Recorded on April 30th, 1956:
Cottontail; Your Host; Tricotism; Tom's Thumb.

Recorded on May 9th, 1956:
You Turned The Tables On Me; Afternoon In Paris; Apothegh.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Joan's 78s Volume 2 - I Got Loaded

Record 1 - Apollo 443
01. Baby, Don't Do It - The 5 Royales
02. Take All Of Me - The 5 Royales

Record 2 - King 4415
03. Put It Back - Wynonie Harris
04. Triflin' Woman - Wynonie Harris

Record 3 - Ultra 101
05. Groove Juice - Preston Love And His Orchestra
06. If You Ever Get Lonesome - Preston Love And His Orchestra

Record 4 - Atlantic 972
07. She Rocks - The Cardinals
08. The Bump - The Cardinals

Record 5 - Meteor 5016
09. Dumb Woman Blues - J.T. (Big Boy) Brown
10. Sax-Ony Boogie - Sax Man Brown

Record 6 - Trumpet 187
11. Strange Kind Of Feeling - Tiny Kennedy
12. Early In The Morning, Baby - Tiny Kennedy

Record 7 - Modern 1000
13. Dancin' Dan - The Cadets
14. I Got Loaded - The Cadets

OK rhythm fans, you got it. Back by popular demand, more shellac shenanigans, more lo-fi high jinks, yes, the return of Joan's 78s. Another 7 discs carefully selected from Joan's old low bitrate transfers from 78 rpm records and run through Magix Audio Cleaning Lab by myself in an effort to boost volume, suppress hiss and eliminate clicks and crackling. All while trying to avoid distortion. I'll get the hang of it someday.

So download and enjoy the gospel style vocal group hollering of The "5" Royales, a Wynonie Harris disc that hasn't turned up on all that many compilations, a Preston Love offering that doesn't have Preston Love on it, fantastic and occasionally chaotic bumping, rocking and rolling from The Cardinals, sax stylings from J.T. Brown backed by the Elmore James band, Tiny Kennedy's original Trumpet version of "Strange Kind Of Feeling" recorded at Sam Phillips' Memphis studio, and a couple of "covers" by The Cadets - a cleaned up version of "Sixty Minute Man" and a rather good version of Peppermint Harris's "I Got Loaded."

The story of Preston Love's "Groove Juice" is told by Tony Collins in his notes to the Ace CD "Creepin' With The Cats - The Legendary Dig Masters Volume One." This track and other "Preston Love" sides on Ultra and Dig were recorded in L.A. by the Johnny Otis band without Preston who was in Omaha at the time. Ultra was owned by the Mesner Brothers and Johnny Otis but after 5 releases it became Dig.

Anyway enough from me. Open up this latest 78 rpm album, crank up the turntable, and put the needle onto these big ten inchers. By the way Joan approves of this selection.

Big Ten Inch Fax

Apollo 443 - The "5" Royales with Charlie Ferguson, His Tenor and Orchestra - Baby Don't Do It / Take All Of Me - released December 1952.

King 4415 - Wynonie Harris - Triflin' Woman / Put It Back - released January 1951.

Ultra 101 - Preston Love and His Orchestra - Groove Juice / If You Ever Get Lonesome (vocal - Roy "Happy" Easter) - released February 1956.

Atlantic 972 - The Cardinals - She Rocks / The Bump - released August 1952.

Meteor 5016 - Sax Man Brown, Elmo James Broom Dusters - Sax-Ony Boogie / Dumb Woman Blues (as J.T. (Big Boy) Brown on Dumb Woman Blues) - released September 1954.

Trumpet 187 - Tiny Kennedy - Strange Kind Of Feeling / Early In The Morning, Baby - released December 1952.

Modern 1000 - The Cadets - Dancin' Dan / I Got Loaded - released September 1956.

Issue information from,, Billboard, and The Cash Box. Label pics from and various record sales sites.

On the front cover, from left to right: Tiny Kennedy, Wynonie Harris, The "5" Royales.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

West Coast Blues

Side 1:
01. Stubborn Woman - Mercy Dee
02. Have You Ever - Mercy Dee
03. T-99 Blues - Jimmy Nelson
04. Blues After Hours - Pee Wee Crayton
05. Texas Hop - Pee Wee Crayton
06. S.K. Blues (Part 1) - Saunders King

Side 2:
01. Sitting Here Wondering - J.W. Walker
02. J.W.'s Blues - J.W. Walker
03. Dr. Brown - James Reed
04. You Better Hold Me - James Reed
05. Strange Land - Roy Hawkins
06. S.K. Blues (Part 2) - Saunders King

This is the last of the Musidisc re-releases of the Kent Anthology of the Blues series that I have. West Coast Blues was number 12 and the last in this series which explored the blues sides in the vaults of the Bihari brothers' Modern / RPM labels. This collection differs from the others that I have posted as it includes some really big R&B hits. Pee Wee Crayton's "Blues after Hours" and "Texas Hop" were big sellers, making the higher reaches of the national R&B chart, as did Jimmy Nelson's "T 99 Blues."

The J.W. Walker ("Big Moose" Walker or "Moose John Walker") recorded for Trumpet Records in Jackson, Mississippi. The sides on this comp were recorded in St. Louis with backing provided by Ike Turner and therefore have no connection with the West Coast!

One circumstance common to all the other artists on this record is that they had a Bay Area connection. Pee Wee Crayton, for example, started his professional music career playing with Ivory Joe Hunter's band in San Francisco. Saunders King and Jimmy Nelson both lived in San Francisco and worked the local clubs there. Roy Hawkins was discovered by Bay Area record man Bob Geddins playing in a club in Oakland. James Reed also recorded for Geddins, in fact it was the latter who sent the sides featured on this comp to the Biharis. Mercy Dee Walton cut his first record in Fresno (admitedly well south of The Bay) for the Spire label.

All started their playing and recording careers away from LA, usually recording their earliest sides for Bob Geddins who then brought them to the attention of the Biharis. As with the LPs in the Anthology of the Blues series, there is now an expanded and carefully researched CD equivalent available on the Ace UK label:

Here is the complete list of the Anthology of the Blues series:

1. The Legend Of Elmore James
2. Memphis Blues
3. California Blues
4. Deep South Blues
5. Texas Blues
6. Detroit Blues
7. Arkansas Blues
8. Lightnin' Hopkins: A Legend In His Own Time
9. Mississippi Blues
10. The Resurrection Of Elmore James
11. B.B. King 1949-1950
12. West Coast Blues

West Coast Blues - The Who, The Where and The When (Perhaps)

Mercy Dee - "Stubborn Woman" and "Have You Ever" recorded in Los Angeles in 1955. Released on Flair 1078 in November 1955. "Have You Ever" on this LP is probably an alternate take to the version on the Flair single.

Jimmy Nelson - "T 99 Blues" recorded at the Clef Club, Richmond, California, in June or July 1951. Jimmy Nelson with the Peter Rabbit Trio. Released on RPM 325 in June / July 1951.

Pee Wee Crayton - "Blues After Hours" recorded in Los Angeles in September 1948. Released on Modern 624 in October 1948. "Texas Hop" recorded in Los Angeles in 1948, released on Modern 643, late 1948.

Saunders King - original version of "S.K. Blues" recorded in San Francisco, June 1942 and released on Rhythm 3. New version recorded in San Francisco in 1948 or 49 and released on Rhythm 302 as "Saunders Blues, Pts 1 and 2" in 1949. Reissued on RPM 375 as "New S.K. Blues Parts 1 and 2" in December 1952. Also reissued on RPM 497 as "S.K. Blues, Pts 1 and 2" in 1957. As to which version is on this LP, I'm not sure!

J.W. Walker - "Sitting Here Wondering" and "J.W.'s Blues" recorded in St. Louis, November 11th, 1955, with the Ike Turner band. First released on this compilation.

James Reed - "You Better Hold Me" and "Dr. Brown" recorded in Oakland in March 1954. With the Que Martyn Orchestra. Both sides released on Flair 1042 in July 1954. The version of "You Better Hold Me" released on Big Town 117 in 1955 is a different recording.

Roy Hawkins - "Strange Land" was recorded in San Francisco circa 1948. Released on Down Town 2025 in April 1949. Remastered and reissued on Modern 693 in September 1949.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Danny "Run Joe" Taylor

Side 1:
01. Drinkin' Little Woman
02. Coffee Daddy Blues
03. Come On Home Baby
04. Blues Got Me Rockin'
05. I've Been Doin' It Too
06. Sweet Lovin' Daddy
07. Gator Tail
08. You Look Bad

Side 2:
01. Love to Spare
02. Leavin' Tonight
03. Makeena
04. Ain't Nothin' Wrong With This World
05. Shoemaker Man
06. Will Ya Please?
07. Two More Days
08. Mind On Loving

Every now and again fellow blues 'n' rhythm fans get in touch asking if I know anything more about such-and-such an artist who has appeared on the blog and very occasionally this leads to me coming up with a home made comp such as this one. Four of Danny "Run Joe" Taylor's sides recorded for Joe Davis turned up on the "Listen To Dr. Jive" post from May last year and this led to an enquiry which in turn led to me trawling through my gramophone records, CDs and mp3s to come up with everything that I had on this undeservedly obscure blues shouter and song writer.

I'm afraid I've only managed to find minimal information on Danny. According to the sleevenotes to the CD "Stompin' 12," he was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1931. His discography shows that he had a fairly steady recording career in New York City, although there was much label hopping. According to the Bruyninckx discography his first recording session was in August 1949 for the Parody label, the result being one single, "Butter Beans And Rice" / "Come Back Connie" (Parody 1002/3)

This comp starts circa September 1951 when under the name of "Little Boy Blues" Danny recorded a vocal for the Champion Jack Dupree band on "Drinkin' Little Woman" (Derby 770). The other side of the disc had a vocal by Bobby Harris. In February 1952 Danny recorded sides for the Wheeler label which was owned by bandleader Doc Wheeler. He was backed by a band led by former Doc Wheeler guitarist Leroy Kirkland. One single from the session was released - "Coffee Daddy Blues" / "Come On Home Baby" (Wheeler 105). Unissued Wheeler sides were - "Blues Got Me Rockin'" and "Moanin' And Groanin' For You."

The label was short lived and its masters were bought by Coral who re-released the single on Coral 65082. In June 1952 Danny and the Leroy Kirkland Orchestra recorded sides for Coral with two singles being released - "Sittin' Here Thinkin'" / I've Been Doin' It Too" (Coral 65097) and "Walkin' In My Sleep" / "Sweet Lovin' Daddy" (Coral 65101). One Coral side was not released - "Three Little Words."

In 1953 he recorded an excellent single for Victor - "Gator Tail" / "You Look Bad" (Victor 47-5558) which was released in December of that year. The backing band included Budd Johnson and Buddy Tate on saxes. In October 1953 he was the vocalist on a Jesse Powell session for Federal. His two sides, "Love To Spare" and "Leavin' Tonite" were released on Federal 12159 and 12171 respectively with the other sides of the discs being instrumentals.

In 1954 he recorded an answer record to The Midnighter's "Annie Had A Baby" - "I'm The Father Of Annie's Baby" / "Bad, Bad, Draws" appeared on Bruce 118. Danny was backed by The Shytans on both sides.

In 1955 he released a single on Saxony backed by the Louis Payne Orchestra - "You Ain't Crazy" / "I Know What I Want" (Saxony 101).

In 1956 he recorded a session for Joe Davis backed by a band which included Haywood Henry and Sam "The Man" Taylor. The released single was "Makeena" / "Ain't Nothin' Wrong With This World" (Davis 454). Two other sides, "Shoemaker Man" and "Will Ya Please?" were not released.

Two sides recorded for Chess in 1959, "Believe These Words" and "Mom And Pop" were also not released.

In September 1959 he recorded some sides for Memo backed by Buddy Lucas. For some unknown reason he was going under the name of "Little Eddie Mint." In November 1959 "Bring Yourself Back Here" / "Two More Days" was released on Memo 17921. A third track was recorded - "Don't Fall In Love With Me." According to Bruyninckx this was released on Memo 17911 with "Bring Yourself Back Here" but I haven't come across any other reference to it.

In 1960 he was back to being Danny (Run Joe) Taylor again for a single on Jo-Par - "Things Are Tough"/ No One But You (Jo-Par 518). Also in 1960 he recorded a session as "Little Danny" for Sharp. "Your Precious Love" / "Mind On Loving" (Sharp 112) was released in November 1960. The latter was a soul style pleader with Danny, backed by Wild Jimmy Spruill on guitar, in very good voice indeed. Three other sides from the session were not released - "Stop Cheating On Me," "Tell It" and "Can't Help It."

And that is where the trail runs cold. Bruyninckx says that he also recorded for Rim but has no more details. As for the ultimate fate of Danny "Run Joe" Taylor, I'm afraid I know nothing. In fact I don't even know where the nickname "Run Joe" comes from. Perhaps these mysteries will be solved by readers of this blog?

I was pretty impressed by many of Danny's sides and I hope that someday a reissue company will bring out a comprehensive collection of this fine singer's music.

Danny "Run Joe" Taylor Trax Fax

All dates are recording dates except where otherwise noted

01. Drinkin' Little Woman - Jack Dupree Orchestra - vocal by Little Boy Blues: Derby 770 – September 1951

02. Coffee Daddy Blues - Danny "Run Joe" Taylor And Leroy "Ike" Kirkland And His Orchestra: Wheeler 105, Coral 65082 – February 1952

03. Come On Home Baby - Danny "Run Joe" Taylor And Leroy "Ike" Kirkland And His Orchestra: Wheeler 105, Coral 65082 – February 1952

04. Blues Got Me Rockin' - Danny "Run Joe" Taylor And Leroy "Ike" Kirkland And His Orchestra: Wheeler / Coral unissued – February 1952

05. I've Been Doin' It Too - Danny "Run Joe" Taylor And Leroy "Ike" Kirkland And His Orchestra: Coral 65097 – June 1952

06. Sweet Lovin' Daddy - Danny "Run Joe" Taylor And Leroy "Ike" Kirkland And His Orchestra: Coral 65101 – June 1952

07. Gator Tail - Danny "Run Joe" Taylor: Victor 47-5558 – released December 1953

08. You Look Bad - Danny "Run Joe" Taylor: Victor 47-5558 – released December 1953

09. Love to Spare - Jesse Powell Orchestra vocal by Dan Taylor: Federal 12159 – October 1953

10. Leavin' Tonight - Jesse Powell Orchestra vocal by Dan Taylor: Federal 12171 – October 1953

11. Makeena - Danny "Run Joe" Taylor: Davis 454 – August 1956

12. Ain’t Nothin' Wrong With This World - Danny "Run Joe" Taylor: Davis 454 – August 1956

13. Shoemaker Man - Danny "Run Joe" Taylor: Davis unissued – August 1956

14. Will Ya Please? - Danny "Run Joe" Taylor: Davis unissued – August 1956

15. Two More Days - Little Eddie Mint: Memo 17921 – September 1959

16. Mind On Loving - Little Danny: Sharp 112 – September 1960

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Joan's 78s Volume 1 - Stop Rockin' That Train

Record 1 - King 4443
01. Stop Rockin' That Train - Ivory Joe Hunter
02. She's Gone Blues - Ivory Joe Hunter

Record 2 - Savoy 750
03. Just Can't Get Free - Little Esther
04. Cupid's Boogie - Little Esther

Record 3 - Rainbow 184
05. Who Can Be True - The Five Crowns
06. $19.50 Bus - The Five Crowns

Record 4 - Aladdin 3178
07. Broken Hearted - Lynn Hope
08. Morocco - Lynn Hope

Record 5 - United 129
09. Security Blues - Roosevelt Sykes
10. Walkin' This Boogie - Roosevelt Sykes

Record 6 - Aladdin 3214
11. My Saddest Hour - The Five Keys
12. Oh! Babe! - The Five Keys

Record 7 - Savoy 859
13. Them There Eyes - Varetta Dillard
14. You Are Gone - Varetta Dillard

Perhaps the first of a new series? Back in the 1970s Joan came across a massive stash of unplayed 78 rpm records in the back room of a music shop in Hudson NY. For sale at one penny US each. Like something out of "American Pickers." Car filled and then a return visit for a second load. Third visit - some NYC collector had been in and emptied the joint. Never mind, loads of 1950s R&B, vocal groups, blues and country platters already in the hands of Joan. Fast forward to California in the 1980s and Joan archives the records on CD. Fast forward again and the music is transferred to digital files on computer, in low bitrates for this is in the days before you could buy 4Tb external hard discs.

The collection was subsequently sold and all that remains is a bunch of low bitrate (128 kbps or less) M4A and MP3 files. A few weeks ago Joan asked if I would be interested in hearing these files. "Och aye," I replied and received 20 folders of 'em. Going on for 550 tracks. The M4As were pretty low volume while the MP3s were considerably louder with a bit of "presence" about them. All the files featured pretty heavy hiss and some crackling, but I was knocked out by the sheer accumulation of music. I found myself listening to some familiar sides, but there were dozens and dozens I'd never heard before.

I've started putting them through the Magix Audio Cleaner software I use to rip vinyl and I think I've come up with a listenable selection. Please bear in mind these were all MP3s of around 128 kbps. After putting them through Audio Cleaner to get rid of the hiss I re-ripped at 320 kbps, but that doesn't improve the sound quality.

The files are presented as a 78 rpm album from before the days of LPs. These were "albums" in the sense that they had thick card or board outer covers and inside, contained in individual sleeves, were 78 rpm singles. I've cheated slightly, as from what I've read most such albums contained only 4 or 5 discs.

So here we go. Let the virtual needle fall on the virtual shellac, sit back and enjoy a lo-fi selection, courtesy of Joan.

Big Ten Inch Facts:

King 4443 - Ivory Joe Hunter - Stop Rockin' That Train / She's Gone Blues: released April 1951.

Savoy 750 - Little Esther - Just Can't Get Free / Cupid's Boogie: released June 1950.

Rainbow 184 - The Five Crowns - Who Can Be True / $19.50 Bus: released November 1952.

Aladdin 3178 - Lynn Hope - Broken Hearted / Morocco: released April 1953.

United 129 - Roosevelt Sykes - Walkin' This Boogie / Security Blues: released October 1952.

Aladdin 3214 - The Five Keys - My Saddest Hour / Oh! Babe!: released December 1953.

Savoy 859 - Varetta Dillard - Them There Eyes / You Are Gone: released July 1952.

On the front cover: Varetta Dillard, Ivory Joe Hunter, Lynn Hope.

Labels adapted from and various record sales websites.