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The Traditional Delta and Country Blues

The Back Porch Boys by Alec "Guitar Slim" Seward & Louis "Jelly Belly" Hayes

Label: Delmark Records.
Release Date: April 23, 2002.
Recording Time: 62 minutes.
Recording Date: 1947 - 1950.
Release Info: Compilation Studio Recording.

Styles: Acoustic Blues, Country Blues.

The name Guitar Slim has been used several times in the blues world. The most famous Guitar Slim was Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones; others have included James "Guitar Slim" Stephenson, Norman "Guitar Slim" Green, and Rodney "Guitar Slim Jr." Armstrong (who is Eddie Jones' son). But the Guitar Slim who is heard on this CD is Alec "Guitar Slim" Seward, a Virginia native who was born on March 16, 1901, and died in New York (his adopted home) on May 11, 1972. When Seward formed a duo with the obscure Louis "Jelly Belly" Hayes (not to be confused with jazz drummer Louis Hayes) in the late '40s and early '50s, they were billed as the Back Porch Boys (or in some cases, the Blues Boys). Seward and Hayes had a lot in common -- both were country blues singers who played acoustic guitar, and both were natives of the South who had moved to the Big Apple. Seward and Hayes' 1947 duets for Apollo are the main focus of this CD, and one can see why they called themselves the Back Porch Boys -- their rugged, unapologetically raw recordings make one think of Southern bluesmen playing their acoustic guitars on the back porch. Not all of the songs on this collection are by the Back Porch Boys; drawing on the Apollo catalog, Delmark also provides enjoyable late-'40s or early-'50s material by singer/pianist Champion Jack Dupree (the CD's most urban performer), an obscure country bluesman named Dennis McMillon, and the well-known Blind Willie McTell (who favors an interesting blues/gospel blend instead of the secular lyrics he was best known for). This CD isn't recommended to those who have only a casual interest in country blues, but serious blues collectors will find it to be enjoyable and generally rewarding. Review - by Alex Henderson.

Notes: Tracks 9 to 12 are attributed to Champion Jack Dupree (Duke Bayou & His Mystic Six). According to Wikipedia, Duke Bayou & His Mystic Six was an alias for Dupree, possibly working with other musicians such as Alec Seward and Brownie McGhee.

Credits: Al Brandtner - design; Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey - composer; Champion Jack Dupree - composer, piano, primary artist; Christopher Franke - composer; Louis "Jelly Belly" Hayes - primary artist, composer, guitar; Robert G. Koester - producer; Kip Lornell - liner notes; Brownie McGhee - drums, guitar, jug, washboard; Dennis McMillon - composer, guitar, primary artist; Blind Willie McTell - composer, guitar, primary artist; Dan Morgenstern - photography; Richard Reicheg - photography; Duncan P. Schiedt - photography; Alec "Guitar Slim" Seward - composer, primary artist; Sonny Terry - composer; Jack Towers - transfers; Traditional - composer; Steve Wagner - producer.

Tracks: 1) Big Hip Mamma - Seward & Hayes; 2) Good Boy, Long Way From Home - Seward & Hayes; 3) King Kong Blues - Seward & Hayes; 4) Sweet Woman Blues - Seward & Hayes; 5) Friday The Thirteenth Blues - Seward & Hayes; 6) Sorry Woman Blues - Seward & Hayes; 7) Be Kind Blues - Seward & Hayes; 8) Water Trough Blues - Seward & Hayes; 9) That's All Right With Me - Champion Jack Dupree; 10) She Can Shake It - Champion Jack Dupree; 11) Doomed - Champion Jack Dupree; 12) Rub A Little Boogie - Champion Jack Dupree; 13) Goin' Back Home (Alternate Take) - Dennis McMillon; 14) Big Hip Mamma (Alternate Take) - Seward & Hayes; 15) Sorry Woman Blues (Alternate Take) - Seward & Hayes; 16) Be Kind Blues (Alternate Take) - Seward & Hayes; 17) Goin' Back Home - Dennis McMillon; 18) It's My Desire (Alternate Take) - Blind Willie McTell; 19) River Jordan - Blind Willie McTell; 20) How About You - Blind Willie McTell; 21) It's My Desire - Blind Willie McTell; 22) Hide Me In Thy Bosom - Blind Willie McTell.