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Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1927-1928) by Barbecue Bob

Label: Document Records.
Release Date: 1991.
Releases: 1994, 2005.
Recording Time: 71 minutes.
Recording Date: March 25, 1927 - April 13, 1928.

Release Info: Compilation Studio Recording.

Styles: Country Blues, Pre-War Country Blues, Acoustic Blues, Pre-War Blues.

Featured Artists: Barbecue Bob (Robert Hicks), Charley Lincoln.

Robert Hicks "Barbecue Bob", vocal, twelve-string guitar.
Informative booklet notes by Chris Smith.

"Barbecue Bob," who was born Robert Hicks, gained his nickname because he worked as a chef at a barbecue place. A warm singer and extroverted guitarist, Barbecue Bob has had his entire output (recorded during 1927-1930) reissued on three Document CDs. Vol. 1 has 21 unaccompanied performances (all of the sessions except two from New York were recorded in Atlanta) plus the two-part "It Won't Be Long Now," which teams Hicks with hs brother, guitarist/vocalist "Laughing Charley" Hicks. Other highlights include "Barbecue Blues," "Mississippi Heavy Water Blues," "Poor Boy a Long Ways From Home," "Brown-Skin Gal," an early version of "When the Saints Go Marching In" (from 1927), "Fo Day Creep," and "Chocolate to the Bone."
by Scott Yanow

Document Records:
Robert Hicks was an extrovert young man of 24 when Columbia's Dan Hornsby arranged his first recording session in March 1927, and had only moved into Atlanta from the countryside a few years before. When he recorded He had learned guitar, along with their friend Curley Weaver, from Curley's mother; all three played in a similar style, favouring the big, booming sound of the 12-string guitar, and relishing the contrast of pulsing bass riffs with the whine of a bottleneck on the treble strings. Barbecue Blues was a good seller, but it was at his second session, in New York in June 1927, that Bob firmly established himself with black record buyers, and thus with Columbia; Mississippi Heavy Water Blues, inspired by the catastrophic floods that had occurred that very month, was a considerable seller, and as a result Robert became Atlanta's most-recorded blues singer of the 20s. It was probably his success that persuaded Columbia to record both his brother Charlie and, in 1928, Curley Weaver.

From the first, Barbecue Bob's music was instantly recognisable, both for the characteristic guitar style and for his warm, nasal singing voice. He could sound fiercely involved with his material, as on Barbecue Blues, ironically detached, as he did when performing Mama You Don't Suit Me!, or crushed by rejection, alike on Crooked Woman Blues and the traditionally based How Long Pretty Mama. The two-part It Won't Be Long Now, in crosstalk and duet with Charlie, is probably an example of the kind of material Robert performed on the medicine show with which he is known to have visited the small town of Waycross, in southwest Georgia, about which he made up a blues.

Barbecue Bob's lyrics are remarkable for their blending of traditional formulae with a wry originality that is all his own. He was well acquainted with traditional songs; the content of Barbecue Blues and Motherless Chile Blues is almost proverbial, and the session where he cut versions of two well-known gospel songs also produced Easy Rider Don't You Deny My Name and a stunning account of Poor Boy A Long Ways From Home. Barbecue Bob rapidly impressed himself on his fans' minds as sharp, clever and original.

Credits: Barbecue Bob - composer, guitar, guitar (rhythm), primary artist, vocals; Nellie Florence - vocals; Charlie (Lincoln) Hicks - guitar, vocals; Robert Hicks - composer, guitar, vocals; Charley Lincoln - guitar, vocals; Buddy Moss - harmonica; Johnny Parth - compilation producer, producer; Chris Smith - liner notes; Traditional - composer; Curley Weaver - guitar, vocals.

Tracks: 1) Barbecue blues; 2) Cloudy sky blues; 3) Mississippi heavy water blues; 4) Mamma you don`t suit me; 5) Brown-skin gal; 6) Honey you don`t know my mind; 7) Poor boy a long ways from home; 8) When the saints go marching in; 9) Jesus` blood can make me whole; 10) Easy rider don`t you deny my name; 11) Thinkin` funny blues; 12) My mistake blues; 13) Motherless chile blues; 14) How long pretty mama; 15) It won`t be long now, part 1; 16) It won`t be long now, part 2; 17) Crooked woman blues; 18) `fo day creep; 19) Blind pig blues; 20) Waycross Georgia blues; 21) Going up the country; 22) Chocolate to the bone; 23) Hurry and bring it back home.