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Thursday, 24 October 2019

Ladies Sing The Blues (Roots Of Rock 'n' Roll Vol. 5)

Side One:
01) Blues In My Heart - Miss Rhapsody
02) Sugar - Miss Rhapsody
03) Downhearted Blues - Miss Rhapsody
04) Sweet Man - Miss Rhapsody
05) He May Be Your Man - Miss Rhapsody
06) The Night Before Judgement Day - Miss Rhapsody
07) I Fell For You - Miss Rhapsody

Side Two:
01) Salty Papa - Albinia Jones
02) Evil Gal Blues - Albinia Jones
03) Albinia's Blues - Albinia Jones
04) What's The Matter With Me* - Albinia Jones
05) Walkin' And Talkin' Blues - Linda Hopkins
06) Sad And Lonely - Linda Hopkins
07) Me And Dirty Blues - Linda Hopkins
08) Baby Please Come Home - Linda Hopkins

* - originally released as "Don't You Wear No Black"

Side Three:
01) Longing In My Heart - Little Esther
02) You Can Bet Your Life I Do - Little Esther
03) T'ain't What You Say - Little Esther
04) If It's News To You - Little Esther
05) It's So Good - Little Esther
06) Do You Ever Think Of Me - Little Esther
07) Oo Papa Do - Little Esther

Side Four:
01) Pitiful - Big Maybelle
02) There I Said It Again - Big Maybelle
03) So Long - Big Maybelle
04) Tell Me Who - Big Maybelle
05) Ramblin' Blues - Big Maybelle
06) A Little Bird - Big Maybelle
07) Blues Early Early - Big Maybelle
08) A Good Man Is Hard To Find - Big Maybelle

* Note - the first upload links had "Salty Papa" and "Evil Gal Blues" by Albinia Jones wrongly tagged (see Daddy Cool's comment). I have corrected the tagging, and re-upped the whole 2LP set. There are now new links above with which you can download "Ladies Sing The Blues (Version 2)" with the correct tagging. - BW

** Further update - we're now on Version 3 as I have adjusted the filenames of the two tracks slightly! And that's enough of that ... :D

The 15 volume Savoy Roots of Rock'n'Roll series has been collected on several other blogs, specifically on "Don't Ask Me I Don't Know" and on "Blues, Blues, Blues." Quite a few of the volumes were uploaded to Be Bop Wino many years ago but the posts disappeared in various takedowns plus my cover scans were so poor that I didn't repost!

Reassembling the 15 volumes has been a collaborative effort among various bloggers and commenters with the last major "hole" being filled by "Blues, Blues, Blues" - the 2 volumes of "Ladies Sing The Blues" available as Flac downloads.

While that was happening a generous donor sent in both sets to Be Bop Wino in the form of 4 CD-Rs which arrived through the post! And thereby hangs a tale.

Our kind donor is Steve Barrow who transferred both LP sets to digital format using an audio CD burner and then sent the resulting CD-Rs, plus a CD of sleeve photos through the post to myself. The cover photos aren't scans but digital photographs. Covers include front, back and gatefold insides. I've ripped mp3s @ 320 kbps from the CD-Rs and the results are posted here after a few weeks' work (and delay).

As for the music, both albums are excellent listening and how I wish I'd bought them back when they were much easier to find. And so to "Ladies Sing The Blues (Roots of Rock 'n' Roll Vol.5) -

I'm not going into an in-depth examination of each of the featured artists as their careers are covered in the sleevenotes by Sheldon Harris as are the recording details. However I've done my usual digging around to add the original release details of the tracks on this album. The music ranges from the "classic blues" influenced Miss Rhapsody (Viola Wells) and the similar Albinia Jones to the mid-to-late-1950s rockin' R&B of Little Esther and Big Maybelle.

The second disc with the sides by the latter two artists is outstanding. This is the first time I've heard the later Savoy sides by Little Esther and I'm pretty much blown away. Of course we've already featured Little Esther on Be Bop Wino, from her recording debut with Johnny Otis for Modern Records, through her big hits around 1950-51 on Savoy, again as part of the Johnny Otis Show, and on to her fine recordings for Federal from 1951 to 1953.

Many of the Federal recordings were also with the Johnny Otis band going under other names (e.g. Earle Warren, Preston Love) as they were contracted to Mercury then Peacock. On Esther's return to Savoy in 1956 she was backed by such notable musicians as Hal Singer, Warren Lucky and Mickey "Guitar" Baker. Her second and final session for Savoy came in 1959 and backing probably included Sam "The Man" Taylor and Mickey Baker.

It seems pretty certain that the gap between recording sessions was due to Esther's drug problem. Marvin Goldberg has written an article on the "Little Esther" phase of her career before she re-emerged as Esther Phillips. You can find it here (and it is well worth the read) -

As for the other artists - Big Maybelle was already an established hitmaker with OKeh / Columbia when she arrived at Savoy. Her biggest hit for her new label was "Candy" which isn't on either volume of "Ladies Sing The Blues" but can be found on the first album of the series - "The Roots of Rock'N Roll." On this collection Big Maybelle (who had her own drug issues) is in fine bawlin' and squallin' form. "Ramblin' Blues" and "Blues, Early Early" (originally a two parter but here presented as one continuous track) are knock 'em dead blues performances.

As for the earlier wartime tracks of Miss Rhapsody and Albinia Jones (for National), it's all good! And the Linda Hopkins tracks from the early 50s fill in the chronological gap. There's more Albinia Jones and Big Maybelle in Volume 2 which will be coming up real soon. Hang on in there, blues fans!

Original Issues:

Miss Rhapsody: 
Sweet Man / Downhearted Blues - Miss Rhapsody with Reuben Cole's Orchestra - Savoy 534 - released in April 1945.

Blues In My Heart / Sugar - Miss Rhapsody with Reuben Cole's Orchestra - Savoy 536 - released in April 1945.

Night Before Judgement Day / We're Sisters Under The Skin - Miss Rhapsody and Orchestra (tenor sax solo Eddie Davis) - Savoy 565 - released 1945?

He May Be Your Man / I Fell For You - Viola Wells - Savoy 5532 - released in January 1947.

 Billboard 5th April 1947

Albinia Jones:

Evil Gal Blues / Don't You Wear No Black - Albinia Jones with Don Byas' Swing Seven - National 9012 - released in May 1945.

Salty Papa Blues / Albinia's Blues - Albinia Jones with Don Byas' Swing Seven - National 9013 - released in May 1945.

 Billboard 19th May 1945

Linda Hopkins:

Walkin' And Talkin' Blues / Sad And Lonely - Linda Hopkins - Savoy 834 - released in February 1952.

Me And Dirty Blues / Baby Please Come Home - first released on this LP, Savoy SJL 2233.

Little Esther:

T'Ain't Watcha Say It's Watcha Do / You Can Bet Your Life - Little Esther - Savoy 1193 - released in May 1956.

Longing In My Heart / If It's News To You - Little Esther - Savoy 1516 - released in July 1957.

It's So Good / Do You Ever Think Of Me - Little Esther - Savoy 1563 - released in March 1959.

Oo Papa Do - first released on this LP.

 Billboard 16th June 1956

Big Maybelle:

Mean To Me / Tell Me Who - Big Maybelle - Savoy 1500 - released in September 1956.

So Long / Ring Dang Dilly - Big Maybelle - Savoy 1527 - released in December 1957.

Blues, Early Early (Part 1) / Blues, Early Early (Part 2) - Big Maybelle - Savoy 1536 - released in May 1958.

A Good Man Is Hard To Find / Pitiful - Big Maybelle - Savoy 1572 - released in July 1959.

Ramblin' Blues; There I've Said It Again - first released on Savoy LP MG 14011: Blues, Candy And Big Maybelle, in 1958.

A Little Bird Told Me - first released on this LP.

 Billboard 10th November, 1956

With many thanks to Steve Barrow.


Daddy Cool said...

Thanks to Steve Barrow and yourself for this gem – fills a gap nicely – I hope Vol. 2 follows.

One hiccup: on disc 1, tracks 8 and 9 need the tagging (inc track numbers -8 & 9) swapping over. Not your fault; original owner obviously noticed the fault and they renumbered 1 & 2 on the back cover.

Thanks again.

boogiewoody said...

You're right! How did that slip by me? OK, I'm on it - retagging and re-upping!


boogiewoody said...

OK Daddy Cool - I think that's it - both tracks retagged correctly and new upload links put in. Thanks for pointing this out, and yes, Volume 2 will be up either tomorrow or the next day. Cheers BW

Daddy Cool said...

Just checking back after watching a TV programme before swapping mine over and you done done it - is this a record?
I'll look forward to Vol.2. Thanks

Bob Mac said...

Thanks for this BW. I got a couple of different copies of this but looks like your one here is the best getting around at the moment. Looking forward to Vol 2.

Steve Barrow said...

Yes boogiewoody it was me who changed the track numbers around - and I am very sorry I forgot to tell you. I'm happy that you were able to use what I sent - it was a pleasure doing the recordings. A couple more burns will be on their way to you next week. Loving the site for a good few years now - keep up the excellent work / Steve Barrow

boogiewoody said...

Thanks Steve. I think Version 3 is finally "it." Many thanks for what is an excellent set (and Volume 2 pending) and really glad and encouraged that you like this site!



Manhatan said...


I bought the 2x2 LP "Ladies..." in Germany but I, unfortunately, lent my good Turntable to an "ex" friend and couldn't get it back so I bought a very cheap turntable with an awful sound and I was ashame of what I shared ! As soon as I get a decent one, I'll share it again with a perfect sound !! (With tracks this time not only sides !!)

All the best

BlueBluesBlues Admin

boogiewoody said...

Cheers Chris

That's a sad story indeed. A person's turntable should be sacrosanct. Hope you get a decent one soon.


george said...

Many thanks, boogiewoody !

Zesty said...

Thanks for this wonderful record!

Rockin' Daddy said...

Thanks so much, Great Album

Apesville said...

"A Little Bird Told Me - first released on this LP." Not correct. see (1958) Savoy (NJ) LP - 14011 "Blues, Candy & Big Maybelle" It is side B track 1 Listed as "Blues , Early Bird" Which is not on this LP. read comments at


Apesville said...

should have said "Blues, Early Early" sorry.

tsi&hrjs said...

Thanx, these are great!