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The Traditional Delta and Country Blues

Memphis Blues, Volume 2, 1927-1938

Label: Document Records
Release Date: August 15, 1993
Releases: June 2, 1994, 2000, 2005
Recording Time: 75 minutes
Recording Date: February 28, 1927 - September 8, 1938

Memphis Blues / Regional Blues / Country Blues / Country Blues Guitar / Country Blues Piano

Featured Artists: Pearl Dickson, Hattie Hart, Madelyn James, John Henry Barbee, Charlie 'Bozo' Nickerson, Walter Rhodes, Ollie Rupert, George Torey, Sam Townsend.

Personnel: Ollie Rupert, vocal, accompanied by possibly Will Weldon, guitar and possibly Will Shade, guitar. Walter Rhodes, vocal, accordion accompanied by “Pet” and “Can”, guitar duet. Pearl Dickson, vocal, accompanied by “Pet” and “Can”, guitar duet. Madelyn James, vocal accompanied by Judson Brown, piano; And others… Charlie “Bozo” Nickerson, vocal, piano Sam Townsend, vocal, guitar Hattie Hart, vocal, accompanied by Allen Shaw, vocal guitar; Willie Borum, vocal guitar. George Torey, vocal guitar. John Henry Barbee, vocal, guitar, accompanied by Willie Bee James; Unknown, stand-up bass.

Informative booklet notes by Kip Lornell.

Credits: Gary Atkinson - executive-producer, design (album cover); Pearl Dickson - vocals (tracks: 5, 6); Hattie Hart - vocals (tracks: 15 to 18); Madelyn James - vocals (tracks: 7, 8); Kip Lornell – liner notes; Charlie "Bozo" Nickerson - vocals, piano (tracks: 9, 10), vocals (tracks: 11, 12); Johnny Parth - compiled, producer; Walter Rhodes - vocals, accordion (tracks: 3, 4); Ollie Rupert - vocals (tracks: 1, 2); Allen Shaw – guitar, vocals (tracks: 17); George Torey – guitar, vocals (tracks: 19, 20); Sam Townsend - vocals, guitar (tracks: 13, 14); Gerhard Wessely - remastered.

Tracks:1) I raised my window and looked at the risin' sun - Ollie Rupert; 2) Ain`t goin' to be your low down dog - Ollie Rupert; 3) The crowing rooster - Walter Rhodes; 4) Leaving home blues - Walter Rhodes; 5) Twelve pound daddy - Pearl Dickson; 6) Little rock blues - Pearl Dickson; 7) Stinging snake blues - Madelyn James; 8) Long time blues - Madelyn James; 9) What's the matter now? (part 1) - Charlie 'Bozo' Nickerson; 10) What`s the matter now? (part 2) - Charlie 'Bozo' Nickerson; 11) Bozo`s blues (part 1) - Charlie 'Bozo' Nickerson; 12) Bozo's blues (part 2) - Charlie 'Bozo' Nickerson; 13) I`m missing that - Sam Townsend; 14) Lily Kimball blues - Sam Townsend; 15) I`m missing that thing - Hattie Hart; 16) I let my daddy do that - Hattie Hart; 17) Coldest stuff in town - Hattie Hart (duet w. Allen Shaw); 18) Happy-go-lucky blues - Hattie Hart; 19) Married woman blues - George Torey; 20) Lonesome man blues - George Torey; 21) Six weeks old blues (take 1) - John Henry Barbee; 22) Six weeks old blues (take 2) - John Henry Barbee; 23) God knows I can`t help it - John Henry Barbee; 24) You`ll work down to me someday - John Henry Barbee; 25) Against my will - John Henry Barbee.
by Document Records
The city of Memphis has been linked with the blues since W.C. Handy updated 'Boss' Crump's political campaign song of 1909 and published it as 'The Memphis Blues' in 1912. This was, of course, a formal composition but when 'race' recordings really took off in the 1920's a whole underworld of blues activity was discovered to be in existence in the city, centred on the 'black' thoroughfare of Beale Street. Beale was rough; joints such as Pee Wee's, The Hole In The Wall and Jim Kanane's revelling in a reputation for having a man for breakfast' everyday - even though 'you never find a dead Nigger on Beale'; the implication being that bodies were quickly hauled out and dumped elsewhere. But there was another side to the Memphis Blues. It was born from the Country Blues, predominantly from the south, Tennessee and north Mississippi areas, which were drawn in by Afro-Americans from outlying rural areas looking for work and bringing their music with them. Memphis was evidently a lively town and that reflected in the music that could be found there, particularly in blues and jazz that could be found in the Beale Street area. The second of two powerful volumes (see also Document DOCD-5014), this CD presents another twenty five tracks of superb country blues from the “pre-war” period. In addition to the standard of performances featured, the collection is interesting because of its array of lead instruments. It is hardly surprising that Memphis was the home of the jug bands and arguably the birth place of Skiffle. Ollie Rupert’s brilliant guitar accompaniment, provided by Will Shade, is joined by a jaunty Jew’s Harp. Walter Rhodes uses an accordion to move things along. On The Crowing Rooster he tells us that he’s going to buy a rooster, presumably to “crow fo’ day”. Yet his farmyard vocal effects tells us that he needn’t waste his money. Barrelhouse piano playing is provided to good effect by Judson Brown on the Charlie “Bozo” Nickerson sides. George Torey fires off some ringing guitar accompaniments on his National steel bodied guitar and country blues guitar fans won’t be disappointed by the strong performances given by Sam Townsend and John Henry Barbee. Elsewhere, there are many first rate guitar accompaniments care of Will Weldon, “Pet” and “Can” (Maylon and Richard Harney), Allen Shaw (see also Document DOCD-5015) and Willie Borum. Unlike many album collections featuring country blues, Memphis Blues Volume 2 has a reasonable percentage of women blues singers, revealing that Memphis Minnie, though not having to worry about the competition too much would have done well not to underestimate the strong performances put in by Hattie Hart and Pearl Dickson, Madelyn James and Ollie Rupert.
Recording Information: 
  1. Memphis, Tennessee, February 28, 1927 (37963-2, Victor 20577) 
  2. Memphis, Tennessee, February 28, 1927 (37964-2, Victor 20577) 
  3. Memphis, Tennessee, December 10, 1927 (145358-2, Columbia 14289) 
  4. Memphis, Tennessee, December 10, 1927 (145359-2, Columbia 14289) 
  5. Memphis, Tennessee, December 12, 1927 (145370-2, Columbia 14286) 
  6. Memphis, Tennessee, December 12, 1927 (145371-2, Columbia 14286) 
  7. Memphis, Tennessee, c. February 21, 1930 (MEM-792, Brunswick 7155) 
  8. Memphis, Tennessee, c. February 21, 1930 (MEM-793, Brunswick 7155) 
  9. Memphis, Tennessee, c. mid-February, 1930 (MEM-761, Vocalion 1487) 
  10. Memphis, Tennessee, c. mid-February, 1930 (MEM-771, Vocalion 1487) 
  11. Chicago, c. April 17, 1930 (C-5596, Vocalion 1525) 
  12. Chicago, c. April 17, 1930 (C-5597, Vocalion 1525) 
  13. Atlanta, Georgia, c. April 17, 1930 (150259-2, Columbia 14571) 
  14. Atlanta, Georgia, c. April 17, 1930 (150260-2, Columbia 14571) 
  15. New York City, September 13, 1934 (15898-1, Vocalion 02855) 
  16. New York City, September 13, 1934 (15899-2, Vocalion 02855) 
  17. New York City, September 13, 1934 (15952-1, Vocalion 02821) 
  18. New York City, September 17, 1934 (15970-1, Vocalion 02821) 
  19. Birmingham, Alabama, April 2, 1937 (B-64-2, ARC 7-08-57) 
  20. Birmingham, Alabama, April 2, 1937 (B-65-1, ARC 7-08-57) 
  21. Chicago, September 8, 1938 (C-2304-1, Vocalion 04417) 
  22. Chicago, September 8, 1938 (C-2304-2, Vocalion unissued) 
  23. Chicago, September 8, 1938 (C-2305-1, Vocalion 04417) 
  24. Chicago, September 8, 1938 (C-2306-1, Vocalion unissued) 
  25. Chicago, September 8, 1938 (C-2307-1, Vocalion unissued)