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Sunday, 29 March 2020

Elmore James and the Broom Dusters - Blues After Hours (Crown CLP 5168)

Side 1:
01) Dust My Blues
02) Sunnyland
03) Mean And Evil
04) Dark And Dreary
05) Standing At The Crossroads

Side 2:
01) Happy Home
02) No Love In My Heart
03) Blues Before Sunrise
04) I Was A Fool
05) Goodbye Baby

You know, there are often hidden treasures to be found in the virtual bargain basement of the virtual Be Bop Wino record store for there is much musical delight to be found in the unlikeliest looking of albums. And then there's this. Cheapo budget label? Check. Magnificently sleazy cover? Take another look! Now tear your eyes away from the gal at the bar and check out the tracks on the back. Only ten, and they were all five or six years old when this platter was issued.

It's 1960, you see, and Elmore James is currently recording for Bobby Robinson's Fire label in New York. In the last couple of years he's had sides out on Chief and Vee-Jay which were recorded in Chicago, but the tracks on this LP date back a few years to when Elmore was being recorded by the Bihari brothers and these sides were being issued on the Flair label. And now they've made it to the Biharis' budget priced Crown label, complete with lurid cover and thick cardboard sleeve.

But hey, you can't judge a book by its cover (clue to upcoming post) and when you get this sucker back home and pop it on the Dansette, you immediately realise that you are in the presence of genius. This is one hell of an album and although there are only 10 tracks, every one is a winner. And then some, for the final two tracks are gobsmackingly brilliant.

And it's thanks to Marv for reconstructing and sending this album in. I've been working on another LP project over the last couple of days, but as soon as I listened to these tracks (just yesterday afternoon) I dropped everything and started on this post instead. While I've been cobbling together the information for these words of wisdom I've been repeatedly playing the album and am now a hopeless Elmore James addict. It's time for you to surrender to the impassioned vocals and slide guitar of one of the great blues performers, so grab this, pump up the volume, and have a Sunday blues blast.

Recording And Original Release Details:

Dark And Dreary - recorded in Chicago, August 1953. Personnel: Elmore James (vocals, guitar); Boyd Atkins (baritone sax); J.T. Brown (tenor sax); Johnny Jones (piano); Ransom Knowling (bass); Odie Payne (drums).

Rock My Baby Right / Dark And Dreary - Elmore James and His Broomdusters - Flair 1048 - 1954

Sunnyland, Standing At The Crossroads, Mean And Evil, Happy Home, No Love In My Heart - recorded in Culver City, California, in August / September 1954. Personnel: Elmore James (vocals, guitar) with the Maxwell Davis Band: James Parr (trumpet); Maxwell Davis (tenor sax); Jewell Grant (baritone sax); Willard McDaniel (piano); Ralph "Chuck" Hamilton (bass); Jesse Sailes (drums).

Sunny Land / Standing At The Crossroads - Elmore James and His "Broomdusters" - Flair 1057 - October 1954

Late Hours At Midnight / The Way You Treat Me (aka "Mean And Evil" on this LP) - Flair 1062 - March (?) 1955

Happy Home / No Love In My Heart - Elmore James and His "Broomdusters" - Flair 1069 - May 1955

Dust My Blues, Blues Before Sunrise, I Was A Fool, Goodbye Baby - recorded in New Orleans, summer 1955. Personnel: Elmore James (vocals, guitar) with Edward Frank (piano); Frank Fields (bass); Earl Palmer (drums). Vocal Group - The Don Ralke singers dubbed onto "Goodbye Baby" in Los Angeles.
Dust My Blues / I Was A Fool - Elmore James and His "Broomdusters" - Flair 1074 - August 1955

Blues Before Sunrise / Good Bye (aka "Goodbye Baby" on this LP) - Elmore James and His "Broom Dusters" - Flair 1079 - November 1955

Elsewhere On The Blog:

Two collections of Meteor and Flair sides including alternate takes. You'll find "Rock My Baby Right" and "Late Hours At Midnight" on these LPs. Both posts have new download links.

Recommended Purchases:

Ace CDCHM 1043

Mid-price extended edition of "Blues After Hours" with 8 bonus tracks and notes by Dave Sax.

Ace CDCHD 583

28 track compilation of Meteor / Flair / Modern sides plus the Trumpet issue of "Dust My Broom" - a terrific compilation. I've had this one for many years and it remains one of my favourite Ace compilations.

Thanks to Joan K for the scans of the Flair singles. Thanks to the original uploaders of the artwork on this reconstructed LP. Many thanks to Marv for "Blues After Hours."

1 comment:

Chi-Town said...

Thanks BW and everyone involved on this one. As usual, this is a superb post.