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.

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.

Thursday 21 February 2019

Rhythm Blues Party - Frank Ballard with Phillip Reynolds Band

Side One:
01. Is There Anbody Here
02. Do Wa Diddi
03. Just Leave It With Me Baby
04. After Hours
05. Drown In My Own Tears
06. Something In My Mind

Side 2:
01. Do You Really Love Me
02. I Just Can't Help It
03. If That's The Way It Is
04. Rollin' In
05. Trouble Down The Road
06. You Gotta Learn To Rock And Roll

Thanks to contributor Marv for sending in this reconstitution of a 1962 LP on the Phillips International label which was owned by Sam Phillips. The entire album was recorded in one session at the Sam Phillips Studio, Madison Avenue, Memphis on the 18th March 1962. Personnel: Frank Ballard (vocals); Phillip Reynolds (tenor sax); Frank Reed (trombone); Clarence Render (trumpet); James E. Matthews (guitar); Kurl McKinney (piano); Ike Price (bass); Chester N. Maxwell (drums).

We're a few years and a mile in style away from Sam Phillips' 1950s blues recordings made in his little Union Avenue studio. Launched in 1957, the Phillips International label was Sam's attempt at a more up market image and to back that up he opened a new suite of studios and offices at 639 Madison Avenue, a few blocks from his old premises, in 1960. This LP was part of a short lived attempt to move into the long player market with 8 albums being issued, including platters by Bill Justis, Carl Mann and Charlie Rich.

There was also an LP of Jimmy Reed influenced blues ,"Hey Boss Man!" by Frank Frost and The Nighthawks' which was closer in style to those great early 50s blues recordings that Sam had produced. However this album by Frank Ballard is a collection of contemporary early 60s R&B / proto-soul, probably aimed at the listening and dancing pleasure of a fairly youthful audience.

Frank Ballard and the Phillip Reynolds band were from Jackson, Tennessee where they seem to have been a popular local club act. There is some information on their background and recordings for Phillips International on the 706 Union Avenue Sessions website and also on the back cover of this LP. Interestingly, they recorded a further 24 tracks during 1962 for Phillips International which remained unissued.

 Frank Ballard and Phillip Reynolds onstage

The Phillips International label was wound up in 1963 after a legal dispute with the Dutch company Philips Electrical who had begun to move into the U.S. record market having bought Mercury. Their own Philips record label had been in existence since 1950 and they naturally contended that the newer Phillips International label would cause confusion.

The only blues LP released on Phillips International

Many thanks to Marv for this contribution.

Info from the 706 Union Avenue Sessions website and "Good Rockin' Tonight: Sun Records and the Birth of Rock 'n' Roll" by Colin Escott with Martin Hawkins.

Monday 18 February 2019

Mississippi Blues

Side 1:
01. All In My Dreams - Boyd Gilmore
02. Just An Army Boy - Boyd Gilmore
03. Superintendent Blues - Houston Boines
04. Monkey Motion - Houston Boines
05. Charlie's Boogie Woogie - Charlie Booker
06. Moonrise Blues - Charlie Booker

Side 2:
01. Take A Little Walk With Me - Boyd Gilmore
02. If That's Your Gal - Boyd Gilmore
03. Rabbit Blues - Charlie Booker
04. No Riding Blues - Charlie Booker
05. Going Home - Houston Boines
06. Relation Blues - Houston Boines

I've had a whole heap of fun reviving my decades-old copy of  "Mississippi Blues" from the late '70s Musidisc reprint of the Kent "Anthology Of The Blues" series which was originally issued around 1969 - 1970.

For a start I just had to re-read Ray Templeton's two part story of this series in "Blues & Rhythm" magazine  (numbers 309 and 310, May- June 2016). Then there was the problem of trying to make sense of the dates and personnel details of the tracks from my usual info sources for this sort of thing - mainly Bruyninckx and in this case the 706 Union Avenue Sessions website. Unfortunately the info didn't quite hang together.

I was getting a bit fed up with the whole thing, I mean it's the music that counts and do we really need to go into the minutiae of exactly who recorded what and where and when nearly 70 years ago? Then my enthusiasm was reawakened when I remembered that I had a copy of the CD in the series "A Proper Introduction To ..." and it was a CD which I didn't really enjoy when I bought it years ago - "Ike Turner / Jackie Brenston - Rocket 88." I've changed my mind, I now think it's a great collection.

This 29 tracker is centred on Ike Turner's role as musician and talent scout in Memphis and beyond in the early 1950s. It includes the Ike Turner's Kings Of Rhythm tracks which were recorded by Sam Phillips and then released on Chess under Jackie Brenston's name, which led to the rupture in the relationship between Phillips and the Bihari brothers, owners of the Modern / RPM labels, who reckoned that they had been stiffed by Sam.The Biharis recruited Ike as a talent scout, arranger and backing musician and were soon bypassing their former source of Memphis blues by recording their own sessions with Ike in charge alongside Joe Bihari and his portable Magnecord recording machine.

Starting in West Memphis in September 1951, they recorded Howlin' Wolf (who was simultaneously recording for Chess at Sam Phillips' studio) but soon took to the road for trips through Arkansas and Mississippi to record local blues musicians in makeshift studios set up in venues such as a music store, night clubs, and a Greyhound bus garage. This process is outlined in the excellent notes to the above CD which also includes a selection of recordings from these forays.

Artists featured on the CD include Drifting Slim, Baby Face Turner, and Sunny Blair from a March 1952 session in North Little Rock, Arkansas and also (and more relevant to the featured LP), Boyd Gilmore, Charlie Booker and Houston Boines who were recorded over two sessions which are the source of the tracks on this Anthology Of The Blues Collection.

These Mississippi sessions took place on the 23rd January 1952 at the Club Casablanca in Greenville and in late March 1952 at the Greyhound bus garage in Clarksdale.

All of the tracks on this LP (with one exception) were released on singles in 1952 on Modern, RPM and Blues & Rhythm. This last was a short lived label which the Biharis founded as an outlet for their blues recordings but only seven singles were ever released on it. Two further Bihari labels, Meteor and Flair carried more of their blues recordings.

It should be remembered that the purpose of these recording trips was to make records which would earn a buck. These weren't academic ethnological field trips. This stuff sold, as was noted in contemporary issues of Billboard. Electric amplification was transforming the formerly old fashioned guitar / harmonica blues and electric blues combos could now match the sax based jump bands both on stage and on the jukeboxes.

Blues Trax Fax

01. All In My Dreams - Boyd Gilmore - Late March, 1952, Clarksdale, Mississippi. Modern 872.
02. Just An Army Boy - Boyd Gilmore - January 23rd, 1952, Greenville, Mississippi. Modern 860.
03. Superintendent Blues - Houston Boines - Late March, 1952, Clarksdale, Mississippi. RPM 364.
04. Monkey Motion - Houston Boines - Late March, 1952, Clarksdale, Mississippi. RPM 364.
05. Charlie's Boogie Woogie - Charlie Booker - Late March, 1952, Clarksdale, Mississippi. Modern 878.
06. Moonrise Blues - Charlie Booker - January 23rd, 1952, Greenville, Mississippi. Modern 878.
07. Take A Little Walk With Me - Boyd Gilmore - Late March, 1952, Clarksdale, Mississippi. Modern 872.
08. If That's Your Gal - Boyd Gilmore - January 23rd, 1952, Greenville, Mississippi. Not released.
09. Rabbit Blues - Charlie Booker - January 23rd, 1952, Greenville, Mississippi. Blues & Rhythm 7003.
10. No Riding Blues - Charlie Booker - January 23rd, 1952, Greenville, Mississippi. Blues & Rhythm 7003.
11. Going Home - Houston Boines - January 23rd, 1952, Greenville, Mississippi. Blues & Rhythm 7001.
12. Relation Blues - Houston Boines - January 23rd, 1952, Greenville, Mississippi. Blues & Rhythm 7001.


January 23rd, 1952, Club Casablanca, Greenville, Mississippi:

Boyd Gilmore (vocal, guitar); Ike Turner (piano); James Scott Jr. (guitar); Jesse "Cleanhead" Love (drums): Just An Army Boy; If That's Your Gal.

Charlie Booker (vocal, guitar); Houston Boines (harmonica); Ike Turner (piano); Jesse "Cleanhead" Love (drums): Rabbit Blues; No Ridin' Blues; Moonrise Blues.

Houston Boines (vocal, harmonica); Charlie Booker (guitar); Ike Turner (piano); Jesse "Cleanhead" Love (drums): Going Home; Relation Blues.

Late March, 1952, Greyhound Bus Garage, Clarksdale, Mississippi:

Boyd Gilmore (vocal, guitar); Ike Turner (piano), Jesse "Cleanhead" Love (drums): All In My Dreams; Take a Little Walk With Me.

Note that All In My Dreams has intro and break by Elmore James from his Please Find My Baby spliced in.

Charlie Booker (vocal, guitar); Ike Turner (piano); Jesse "Cleanhead" Love (drums): Charlie's Boogie Woogie.

Houston Boines (vocal, harmonica); Charlie Booker (guitar); Ike Turner (piano); Jesse "Cleanhead" Love (drums): Monkey Motion; Superintendent Blues.


All sides were released on singles on Modern, RPM, and Blues & Rhythm on unknown dates in 1952, with the exception of  "If That's Your Gal" by Boyd Gilmore which remained unreleased until this collection.

Houston Boines - Going Home / Relation Blues - Blues & Rhythm 7001.
Houston Boines - Monkey Motion / Superintendent Blues - RPM 364.
Boyd Gilmore - Ramblin' On My Mind / Just An Army Boy. Modern 860.
Boyd Gilmore - All In My Dreams / Take a Little Walk With Me - Modern 872.
Charlie Booker - Rabbit Blues / No Ridin' Blues - Blues & Rhythm 7003.
Charlie Booker - Charlie's Boogie Woogie / Moonrise Blues - Modern 878.

Hold it! We ain't quite done yet. Having been fired up by listening to the Proper CD collection, I decided to delve deeper and there was only one way to do that - buy the first two volumes of the Ace series "The Modern Downhome Blues Sessions." It's the only way to get the full, fascinating story of these Mississippi and Arkansas recording trips and what a story it is.

We've already seen how the Memphis scene became a three way battleground between Sam Phillips, the Biharis, and the Chess brothers. Another blues war broke out as Joe Bihari encroached on territory which Lillian McMurry of Trumpet Records regarded as her own. The tales told in the detailed and entertaining notes to these CDs almost defy belief as the formidable McMurry fought off attempts to poach her contracted artists such as Elmore James, Willie Love and Sonny Boy Williamson.

It wasn't only the prospect of getting more background info which motivated me to buy the CDs. Having heard Drifting Slim on the Proper CD, I decided I had to get me some more of that! I wasn't disappointed. Both of these CDs are absolutely recommended:

The Blues roll on here on Be Bop Wino ... but there will be more jumpin' jive along soon!

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!

Thursday 7 February 2019

The Legendary Sun Performers: Howlin' Wolf

Side 1:
01. My Baby Walked Off
02. Smile At Me
03. Bluebird
04. Everybody's In The Mood
05. Chocolate Drop
06. Come Back Home
07. Dorothy Mae
08. Highway Man

Side 2:
01. Oh Red
02. My Last Affair
03. Howlin' For My Baby
04. Sweet Woman
05. C. V. Wine
06. Look-A-Here Baby
07. Decoration Day
08. Well That's All Right

The Legendary Sun Performers: Howlin' Wolf (Zippy)

At first glance the title of this LP seems something of a misnomer as no Howlin' Wolf sides were issued on Sun. Perhaps it would have been more accurate to head this album with "The Legendary Memphis Recording Service Performers" as these sides were recorded by Sam Phillips for sending on to Chess Records in Chicago. However, they are from masters which lay for a quarter of a century in the Sun vaults, many of them being previously unissued until this 1977 collection.

As with the other LP I posted from this series, a Rosco Gordon collection, we find ourselves in the middle of the tug of war between Modern / RPM in Los Angeles and Chess in Chicago for material being recorded by Sam Phillips in Memphis. This led to a situation in which Wolf recorded sides for Sam Phillips which were sent on to Chess, while at the same time he recorded sides in West Memphis under the supervision of Joe Bihari and Ike Turner for issue on Modern / RPM.

Howlin' Wolf had moved to West Memphis, Arkansas, in 1948, where he formed a dynamite electric blues band called the House Rockers. At 6 feet 3 inches tall, he was an imposing figure who "sang" intense blues in an unforgettable hoarse shout and could also play guitar and harmonica. The early lineups of his band included guitarists Matt Murphy and Willie Johnson, Junior Parker on harmonica, William "Destruction" or "'Struction" Johnson on piano and Willie Steele on drums. Other musicians who appeared with the band were Pat Hare (guitar), a very young James Cotton (harmonica), Oliver Sain (drums and saxophone) and Tot Randolph (saxophone).

In 1949 or 1950 Wolf and his band gained a regular spot on West Memphis radio station KWEM. Across the river in Memphis, Tennessee, young record producer Sam Phillips got a tip about the Wolf from a West Memphis DJ. Sam tuned in, was impressed by what he heard (cue famous "This is for me. This is where the soul of man never dies" quote) and duly set up a recording session at his studio on Union Avenue, Memphis.

West Memphis Days

Sometime in 1951 (probably May), Howlin' Wolf cut a demo of "Riding In The Moonlight" (aka "Baby Ride With Me") for Sam who sent the master to Modern Records in Los Angeles. On May 14th, 1951, Sam got Wolf into the studio for another cut of "Riding In The Moonlight" plus "How Many More Years" which he again sent to Modern, who didn't release them. In the meantime the Modern / Chess dispute was under way due to the success of Sam's recording of "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston on Chess, a record which the Biharis (owners of Modern and RPM) reckoned Sam should have sent to them.

West Memphis grocery store opening, early 1950s

Howlin' Wolf's next session for Sam was in July 1951 and the resulting masters "How Many More Years" and "Moanin' At Midnight" went to Chess who released the sides on Chess single 1479 in August. This record was a big seller in several locations and it eventually hit the national R&B Jukebox Chart at number 6 in March 1952.

Billboard 23rd February 1952

Now the Chess / Modern war really heated up. In September 1951 Wolf recorded a session for the Biharis at KWEM, West Memphis, which resulted in RPM 333 being released that same month - "Riding In The Moonlight" backed by "Morning at Midnight" which was a thinly disguised remake of the Chess side "Moanin' At Midnight." This session was supervised by Joe Bihari and Ike Turner who would go on to record further sides by Wolf for RPM at a private house in West Memphis over two sessions in October 1951 and January 1952. During this time Wolf also recorded sides with Sam Phillips in Memphis for release on Chess, these sessions taking place in December 1951, January 1952, April 1952 and October 1952.

The West Memphis session on October 2nd 1951 resulted in two releases - RPM 340 - "Passing By Blues" / "Crying At Daybreak" which was released in December 1951, and RPM 347 "My Baby Stole Off" / "I Want Your Picture", released in January 1952.

On December 18th, 1951, Wolf was back at Sam Phillips' studio where he cut "Howlin' Wolf Boogie" and "The Wolf Is At Your Door" which were released on Chess 1497 in January 1952. Another side from this session, "Worried All The Time", was released on Chess 1515 in July 1952.

On January 23rd 1952, a Sam Phillips session produced Chess 1510 - "Gettin' Old And Grey" / "Mr. Highway Man" which was released in April 1952.

The West Memphis session on February 12th, 1952, which was the Wolf's last for the Biharis, resulted in 7 sides being recorded, none of which were released on single. 3 of them, "House Rockin' Boogie," "Brown Skin Woman" and "Worried About My Baby" were eventually released on the Crown LP "Howling Wolf Sings The Blues" in 1962.

Later in February 1952, Chess and Modern came to an agreement. Howlin' Wolf became an exclusive Chess artist while Modern got exclusive rights to Rosco Gordon (or so they thought).

On April 17th, 1952, the Wolf returned to Sam's studio where among the sides he cut was "Saddle My Pony" which was released with "Worried All The Time" from the December 1951 session on Chess 1515 in July 1952.

The Wolf's next session wasn't until October 7th, 1952, when he cut four sides for Sam, two of which were released on Chess 1528 in November 1952 - "Oh Red!!" and "My Last Affair."

There is some doubt about a series of recordings by Howlin' Wolf which are often listed as Memphis recordings from an unknown date which were subsequently remastered at the Chess Studio in Chicago in September and October 1953. It is likely that these recordings were in fact made in Chicago in 1953. One single resulted from these recordings, Chess 1557 - "All Night Boogie" / "I Love My Baby," released in December 1953.

Howlin' Wolf moved to Chicago in 1952 or 1953 and his subsequent recordings were made at the Chess Studio, perhaps from September 1953 onwards (see above), but without doubt from March 1954 onwards.

Recording Dates of the Trax on "The Legendary Sun Performers" LP:

All tracks recorded at Memphis Recording Service, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis Tennessee.

01. My Baby Walked Off - January 23rd, 1952
02. Smile At Me - December 18th, 1951
03. Bluebird - April 17th, 1952
04. Everybody's In The Mood - April 17th, 1952
05. Chocolate Drop - January 23rd, 1952
06. Come Back Home - October 7th, 1952
07. Dorothy Mae - April 17th, 1952
08. Highway Man - January 23rd, 1952
09. Oh Red - October 7th, 1952
10. My Last Affair - October 7th, 1952
11. Howlin' For My Baby - December 18th, 1951
12. Sweet Woman - April 17th, 1952
13. C. V. Wine - October 7th, 1952
14. Look-A-Here Baby - December 18th, 1951
15. Decoration Day - April 17th, 1952
16. Well That's All Right - April 17th, 1952

Session Details for the above Trax:

December 18th, 1951 -

Personnel: Howlin' Wolf (vocal, harmonica) with: L.C.Hubert (piano); Willie Johnson (guitar); Wille Steele (drums); unknown bass and tenor sax.

Smile At Me
Howlin' For My Baby
Look-A-Here Baby

Howlin' For My Baby released as The Wolf Is At Your Door on Chess 1497 in June 1952. Rest of these sides unreleased.

Also recorded: Howlin' Wolf Boogie (Chess 1497), California Blues, California Boogie, Worried All The Time (Chess 1515).

January 23rd, 1952 -

Personnel: Howlin' Wolf (vocal, harmonica) with: L.C.Hubert (piano); Willie Johnson (guitar); Wille Steele (drums); unknown bass and saxes.

My Baby Walked Off
Mr. Highway Man
Chocolate Drop

Mr. Highway Man is an alternate take of Chess 1510 (April 1952). Rest of these sides unissued.

Also recorded: Gettin' Old And Grey (Chess 1510), My Troubles And Me.

April 17th, 1952 -

Personnel: Howlin' Wolf (vocal, harmonica) with: James Cotton (harmonica) on "Dorothy Mae"; William "Struction" Johnson (piano); Willie Johnson (guitar); Willie Steele (drums); unknown bass.

Everybody's In The Mood
Dorothy Mae
Sweet Woman
Well That's All Right
Decoration Day

All sides unissued.

Also recorded: Saddle My Pony (Chess 1515), Color And Kind.

October 7th, 1952 -

Personnel: Howlin' Wolf (vocal, harmonica) with: James Cotton (harmonica); Walter "Tang" Smith (trombone on Oh Red); Charles Taylor (tenor sax on Oh Red); L.C. Hubert (piano); Willie Johnson (guitar); Willie Steele (drums); unknown bass.

Oh Red
My Last Affair
C. V. Wine Blues
Come Back Home

"Oh Red"!! and "My Last Affair" released on Chess 1528 in November 1952. Rest of these sides unissued.

The Howlin' Wolf CDs in my collection are:

"Come Back Home" (SBLUECD017) is a budget priced compilation of 20 of the Memphis Recording Service tracks. Snapper, Complete Blues series, 2004.

"Howling Wolf Sings The Blues" is an augmented reissue of Crown LP 5240. The original LP had 10 Modern / RPM tracks, 2 of which were actually Joe Hill Louis instrumentals. For this issue Ace added 10 more tracks from the RPM vaults, including the early demos of "Ridin' In The Moonlight." This collection comprises just about everything recorded by The Wolf for the Biharis. Ace CDCHM 1013, released in 2004.

Also in my collection:

"Howlin' Wolf - The Genuine Article." - 25 track comp of Chess sides which includes "Moanin' At Midnight" and "How Many More Years" from the Sam Phillips sessions. Loads of later classics such as "Spoonful," "Smokestack Lightnin'," "Back Door Man,"  etc. MCA MCD 11073, 1997.


"Howlin' Wolf: His Best Vol. 2" - 20 more Chess sides such as "Down In The Bottom," "Rockin' Daddy," etc. Some duplication with "The Genuine Article." Includes "Howlin' Wolf Boogie" and "Mr. Highway Man" from the Sam Phillips sessions.Also "All Night Boogie" from the 1953 tracks which are sometimes attributed as Memphis recordings. Universal, 112 026-2, issued in 2000.

Recommended reading -

"Moanin' At Midnight: The Life and Times Of Howlin' Wolf", by James Segrest and Mark Hoffman, Pantheon Books, New York, 2004.

Information for this post was found in the above book, plus - liner notes by Dave Sax to Ace CD "Howling Wolf Sings The Blues," and the Bruyninckx discography. Online sources -,,, Billboard on Google Books.