Sunday, January 29, 2012

Featured: Pre-War Blues, etc.

Sleepy John Estes, I Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More
Double LP

"A retrospective of 24 songs recorded between 1929-1937 in Memphis, Chicago and NYC, when Tennessee native, Sleepy John Estes was at the height of his abilities. Despite the fact that Estes wasn't the fastest or most technical blues guitarists out there, his distinct and emotional vocals, and uniquely relaxed style more than compensates for this, making him one of the genre's true geniuses. Estes, in fact, perhaps because he wasn't a guitar virtuoso, usually preferred to play in a group setting, and on these recordings he is often accompanied by great players like 'Yank' Rachell on mandolin or Hammie Nixon on harmonica. He is also frequently accompanied by piano and sometimes second guitar. Estes is also well known for his lyrics which talked about places and people he knew. I Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More contains all of his best songs, including blues favorites like 'The Girl I Love, She Got Long Curly Hair' (covered by Led Zeppelin), 'Drop Down Mama', 'Milk Cow Blues' (covered by The Kinks), and 'Someday Baby Blues' (covered by Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan)."

Frank Stokes, Downtown Blues

"African American singer and guitar player who got his start playing on the streets of Memphis around the turn of the century. His enormous repertoire of early folk, blues, old time country and popular music, along with his influence on local musicians has made many point to him as the true father of Memphis blues. He began touring the South with a black face Medicine Show comedian in the 1910s where it is said he met and influenced Jimmie Rodgers, among others. He then moved to Tennessee where he began playing with musician Dan Sane with whom he made his first recordings as the 'Beale Street Sheiks' for Paramount in 1927. Throughout this period Stokes recorded a number of sides for Paramount and Victor until his old time style began to lose popularity with the record buying public."

Skip James, Jesus Is A Mighty Good Leader

"Born in Bentonia, Mississippi in 1902, Skip James began recording for Paramount in Grafton, WI, in the 1930s after showcasing his unmistakable talent in a series of auditions in Jackson, Mississippi. Particularly interesting was his three finger picking technique, his high pitched voice and the rural blues tales that he put in music for a sub genre of blues that was later called the 'Bentonia school.' This LP includes some of his rarest early tunes from those lost 78 RPMs from the Grafton period."

Charlie Poole, Husband And Wife Were Angry One Night

"Born in North Carolina in 1892, singer and banjo player Charlie Poole is often considered to be one of the grandfathers of bluegrass and modern country music. Poole recorded 60 songs during the 1920s for Columbia Records with his wildly popular North Carolina Ramblers, so this LP is a small sampling of some of his very best songs, many of which, like his first big hit for Columbia, 'Don't Let Your Deal Go Down Blues,' are blues standards. Although Poole died of an alcohol-induced heart failure at just 39 years old, he still had plenty of time to influence bluegrass greats like Bill Monroe, and more indirectly, Hank Williams and the folk singers of the 1960s. Although Poole wrote none of his own material, his genius lay in his unique ability to rework a song, by changing lyrics and tempo, to make it something entirely new. In fact, many fans bought his records just to see 'how Charlie did it.' His North Carolina Ramblers sold huge numbers of records for the time and Poole became one of the first country music stars."

Dock Boggs,When My Worldly Trials Are Over

"Pioneering singer / banjo player Dock Boggs (b. 1898) got his start playing (while working) in the coal mines all over the poverty-stricken Appalachian region. His earliest recordings, a blend Appalachian old-time music and early blues, come from 1927-1929. During this time Boggs was fairly popular and able to make a living with his music, much to the dismay of his wife who, like many others at the time, considered secular music a sin. By 1930, however, the Great Depression had forced Boggs to pawn his banjo and go back to selling moonshine and working in the coal mines. This would have been the end of Boggs' career had he thankfully not been rediscovered by folk revivalist Mike Seeger in the 1960s and subsequently recorded some great records for Smithsonian Folkways. This record is comprised of some extremely rare alternate takes (recorded between 1927-1929) of some of his greatest songs."

Charley Patton, Electrically Recorded: Jesus Is A Dying-Bed Maker

"12 tunes from Patton's 1929 recording sessions. Here the acknowledged 'King of the Delta blues' performs some of his finest spiritual blues, like the title track, and 'You're Gonna Need Somebody When You Die.' All tracks recorded in Grafton, WI, October 1929."
"Charley (a.k.a. Charlie) Patton was the most powerful blues recording artist of all time, considered by many to be the single most important figure in the history of traditional blues. He was a profound shaper and a giant figure in early Mississippi Delta music. The combined power of his vocal and guitar dynamics is unparalleled and he was the Delta's first blues celebrity."

These LPs and many more can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Tuesday: thru Saturday, 11am to 7pm
Sunday: 11am to 6pm
Closed Monday


Louise Otero said...

Are the long plays still available? Sleepy John's and Patton's? Would it be possible to buy through the net, posting it down south, to the tropics of capricorn?

Brickbat said...

The Patton($25) and the Estes ($35) are still available. We can ship down south. US Postal rates have gotten fairly baroque. Shipping charges would depend on the exact location. I can provide you with a total if you email me with your shipping information.