Memphis Blues, Volume 1, 1928-1935

Label: Document Records
Release Date: May 27, 1994
Releases: 1995 (BMG), 2003, 2005
Recording Time: 70 minutes
Recording Date: 1928 - 1935

Acoustic Memphis Blues / Country Blues / Memphis Blues / Pre-War Country Blues / Regional Blues

Document's Memphis Blues 1928-1935 contains the 14 Robert Wilkins sides that are currently in circulation, augmented with cuts by a pair of country bluesmen, Tom Dickinson and Allen Shaw. Since Wilkins' recordings are also available on Yazoo's Original Rolling Stone, which is easier to find than this disc, Memphis Blues 1928-1935 isn't a necessary purchase for Wilkins fans, unless they're serious country-blues fans who want the cuts by Dickinson and Shaw, as well.
by Thom Owens

Personnel: Robert Wilkins - vocals, guitar; Tim Dickson - vocals, guitar; Allen Shaw - vocals, guitar.
Liner notes by Alan Balfour.

Credits: Alan Balfour - liner notes; Willie Borum - guitar; Tom Dickson - composer, guitar, performer, primary artist, vocals; Jazz Gillum - composer; Kid Spoons - spoons; Little Son Joe - guitar; Johnny Parth - compilation producer; Allen Shaw - composer, guitar, performer, primary artist, vocals; Traditional - composer; Bukka White - composer; Robert Wilkins - composer, guitar, primary artist, vocals; Hank Williams - composer.

Tracks: 1) Rolling stone, part 1 - Robert Wilkins; 2) Rolling stone, part 2 - Robert Wilkins; 3) Jail house blues - Robert Wilkins; 4) I do blues - Robert Wilkins; 5) That's no way to get along - Robert Wilkins; 6) Alabama blues - Robert Wilkins; 7) Long train blues - Robert Wilkins; 8) Falling down blues - Robert Wilkins; 9) Nashville stonewall blues - Robert Wilkins; 10) Police sergeant blues - Robert Wilkins; 11) Get away blues - Robert Wilkins; 12) I'll go with her blues - Robert Wilkins; 13) Dirty deal blues - Robert Wilkins; 14) Black rat blues - Robert Wilkins; 15) New stock yard blues - Robert Wilkins; 16) Old Jim Canan's - Robert Wilkins; 17) Losin' out blue - Robert Wilkins; 18) Death bell blues - Tom Dickson; 19) Worry blues - Tom Dickson; 20) Happy blues - Tom Dickson; 21) Labor blues - Tom Dickson; 22) I couldn't help it - Allen Shaw; 23) Moanin' the blues - Allen Shaw.
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 Canan'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” that were drawn in by Afro-Americans from outlying rural areas looking for work and bringing their music with them.