This LP was originally released as King LP 395-506 in 1956:
The LP was re-released in 1960 as "Modern Jazz by Eddie Davis" with a new front cover similar to that used on this 1988 Sing issue.
Original issue on singles of the tracks from "Modern Jazz Expressions":
Bean-O / This Is Always (King 4801) - Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Trio - May 1955
Punch / It's The Talk Of The Town (King 4813) - Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Trio - July 1955
Together / Foggy Day (King 4863) - Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Trio - December 1955
Scatter / The Way You Look Tonight (King 4904) - Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Trio - March 1956
Tenderly / Dizzy Atmosphere (King 4928) - Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Trio - June 1956
"Leaping On Lenox," "I'll Remember April," "Moonlight In Vermont," "You Go To My Head" and "Johnny Come Lately" first issued on "Modern Jazz Expressions."
Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (the nickname came from the way he blew his sax) was born in New York City in 1921. His sax style was what was known as "mainstream", i.e. rooted in the big band swing era yet he played in varied settings, starting with big bands in the early to mid 1940s, especially with Cootie Williams and also in brief stints with Lucky Millinder and Andy Kirk. His first recordings with his own small group were made in May 1946 for Haven. In December 1946 his group recorded with bopper Fats Navarro for Savoy.
Further Eddie Davis small group recordings were made for Apollo in April 1947 and Lenox sometime in 1947 / 48. Somewhat surrealistically some of Eddie's Lenox sides turned up years later under the pseudonym Hen Gates on "rock and roll" compilations issued by the budget Plymouth label.
In 1948 (possibly during the AFM recording ban) Eddie cut four sides for Bob Shad's "Sittin' In With" label. In 1949 Eddie was involved in several R&B leaning sessions: with blues shouter Carl "King Karl" Davis for National; with Jesse Stone ("Cole Slaw") for Victor; with Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson for King; and under his own name ("Mountain Oysters") with Bill Doggett also for King.
Eddie's next few recording sessions in 1950-51 were more on the jazz side with live sessions at Birdland being recorded with Gene Parrish, Miles Davis and Slim Gaillard. In October 1951 he was on a session with trombonist Benny Green for Prestige and both artists featured shortly afterwards on a live recording by a group led by Sonny Criss at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
In 1952 Eddie joined the reformed Count Basie big band. A 78 rpm single release of "Paradise Squat" (Mercury 89104) featuring hot soloing by Eddie became a big hit for the Count whose use of the organ rather than the piano pointed the way for future Lockjaw releases.
Eddie's stay with Basie lasted into early 1953 (he would return in 1957) but even before splitting from the Basie outfit Lockjaw started recording with small groups which featured the organ - with Bill Doggett and then with Billy Taylor, both for Roost. Further sessions for Roost in 1953 and 1954 featured Eddie Bonnemere on piano and Charlie Rice on drums with some very tasty sax by Eddie.
In 1954 the Eddie Davis Trio lineup of Eddie on sax, Doc Bagby on organ and Charlie Rice on drums came together, recording "Just Too Marvelous" / "Heartaches" for Roost and sometime in the spring of 1954 the trio plus Sonny Stitt were recorded live at Birdland. Sessions for King commenced on April 11th 1955, with further sessions on April 19th and April 20th. Further King sessions were held in August 1955 and February 1956.
As can be seen from the release details above, these sessions resulted in a string of singles as well as this LP. The singles were reviewed in the R&B section of Billboard, so despite the album title "Modern Jazz Expressions" it is obvious that these sides were aimed at the jukebox crowd who liked to hear some good hot blowing (with the occasional ballad) on mostly easily recognizable standards.
When the next King session was held in July 1956 there was a change in personnel with Shirley Scott replacing Doc Bagby on organ. This was the start of a fruitful collaboration which would last until 1960, but that is a tale for our next post on Be Bop Wino.
Re-upped by request. I provided some additional info on each track in the original post, so here is an updated version of that info:
1. The Bo-Do Rock - Earl Bostic
recorded in Los Angeles, April 19, 1956 for King Records. Released on King 4930 in June 1956, credited to Earl Bostic and Bill Doggett.
2. Lavender Coffin - Joe Thomas
recorded for King Records, Linden NJ, May 21, 1949 and released on King 4296 in June 1949. Joe Thomas spent 15 years as tenor sax player and vocalist with the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. Started his own small band and recorded for King 1949 – 1951.
3. Typhoon - Cootie Williams
recorded for Mercury, December 1947 and released on Mercury 8083 in May 1948. Cootie Williams was for many years trumpeter in the Duke Ellington Orchestra. In the early 1940s he formed his own big band which had Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson”, Sam “The Man” Taylor and Bud Powell in the line up. By the time this side was recorded all of these musicians had left and the band had slimmed down to 9 or 10 pieces. The following year Willis Jackson joined and the band had a hit with the two-parter which gave Jackson his nickname – “Gator Tail”.
4. Serenade To Twins - Johnny Sparrow
recorded for National Records in NYC in March 1950 and released on National 9121 in October 1950. Tenor sax man Johnny Sparrow played in Jay McShann’s band (alongside Paul Quinichette) then in Louis Armstrong’s big band. He replaced Johnny Griffin in Lionel Hampton’s band, playing alongside Morris Lane. In 1949 he left the Hampton outfit to form his own small band known as “Johnny Sparrow and his Bows and Arrows”. He recorded some sides for Melford, including the hit “Sparrow’s Flight”, then signed for National in 1950 and moved on to Gotham in 1952.
5. Shuffle Express - Eddie Wilcox
recorded for Derby Records, New York, June 1951 and released on Derby 766 in August 1951. Another alumnus of the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra, pianist Eddie Wilcox led small bands which recorded for New York based labels Abbey and Victor in 1949-50. In 1951 he signed for Derby Records, acting as an arranger, producer, A&R man and band leader for the label. “Shuffle Express” was originally released as the B-side of Betty McLaurin’s “The Masquerade Is Over”. On this session the band included tenor sax men Freddie Mitchell and Lucky Thompson.
6. Blow Mr Low - Joe Williams
recorded in Chicago, September 1953 with the Red Saunders band. Released on Savoy 1165 in July 1955. Joe Williams was a blues shouter who had spells with the Coleman Hawkins and Lionel Hampton bands and is best remembered for his tenure in the Count Basie band in the 1950s. His biggest hit was “Every Day I Have The Blues.”
7. Charmaine - Burnie Peacock
recorded for King in New York, November 1951, and released on King 4506 in December 1951. Burnie Peacock was a clarinet and alto sax player who played in the big bands of Lucky Millinder, Jimmie Lunceford, Cab Calloway, Lionel Hampton and Count Basie, all in the space of three years from 1945 - 48. He stood in for Earl Bostic when the latter was recovering from a car crash.
8. Just Fall In Love - Dan Grissom
recorded for Million, Los Angeles 1955, released on Million 2011 in May 1955. The vocal group on the record is The Ebb Tones. This was the B-side of “Recess in Heaven”. Dan Grissom was a vocalist and alto sax player with the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. He was rather uncharitably nicknamed “Dan Gruesome” by jazz fans who were less than enamoured by his song stylings. From 1945 onwards he made records as a vocalist for various small labels in Los Angeles.
9. Dungaree Hop - Plas Johnson
recorded for the Tampa label in Los Angeles in 1956 and released on Tampa TP-116 in August 1956. Tenor sax man active in R&B and the poppier side of rock and roll in the mid to late 50’s, recording LPs for Capitol and Score. Also active in session work and in the jazz field. That’s his sax work on Henry Mancini’s “Pink Panther Theme.” See plasjohnson.com for much more info on this prolific musician.
10. Honkin' - Jimmy Jackson All Stars
released as RPM 349 in 1952. Evidence from the matrix numbers points towards this recording actually originating from a session by Benny Carter recorded for Modern in 1949 with Ben Webster on tenor sax. Moreover, like “Honkin’”, Carter’s “Cottontail” / “Time Out For The Blues” (released on Modern 858) also has dubbed on crowd noises. If you would like to investigate further then please buy the wonderful Ace (UK) compilation “Let’s Jump! Swingin’ Humdingers From Modern Records” (CD CHD 809). This Billy Vera compiled CD has Benny Carter’s “Cottontail” / “Time Out For The Blues” plus “Deep Purple” which is credited to the Jimmy Jackson All-Stars.
The Jazz West Coast Research blog has a post on the renaming of jazz tracks on the Modern/RPM/Crown labels, including the Benny Carter / Jimmy Jackson tracks. Discographies do list a Jimmy Jackson session in 1952 with musicians such as Billy Hadnott and Devonia Williams taking part,but the master numbers seem to show that the tracks originate from the Carter session of 1949.
11. Goodnight, Irene - Mighty Man Maxwell
recorded for Discovery in Los Angeles on August 9th, 1950. Released on Discovery 524 in September 1950. Billboard announced the recording artist as "Mad Man Maxwell."Discovery was a small jazz label which was taken over by Savoy.
12. Gin And Coconut Milk - Wilburt Harrison
recorded for DeLuxe in Miami, November 1953. B-Side of “Nobody Knows The Trouble” (DeLuxe 6031). Yes, it’s Wilbert Harrison who had the massive hit “Kansas City” for Fury in 1959, and who also recorded “Let’s Stick Together” which was covered by Canned Heat and later by Bryan Ferry.
13. Aviator Papa - Lolly Pop Jones And Ethel Morris
recorded for DeLuxe in New Orleans in 1948. Lollypop Jones “starred” in 3 films in 1946 – two musical shorts, “Chicago After Dark” and “Lucky Gamblers”, and a grade Z all-black horror movie “Midnight Menace” in which he got to sing “Honeysuckle Rose” and “Don’t Sell My Monkey Baby”.
14. Rain - Oscar McLollie
Recorded for Class, Los Angeles, 1953, released on Class 503 in March 1953. Oscar McLollie recorded two singles for Leon Rene’s Class label in 1952/53, his first release being “The Honey Jump”. During 1953 he transferred to Modern Records and recut “The Honey Jump” with his group now called The Honeyjumpers. After a series of good records such as “All That Oil In Texas” and “Lolly Pop”, he recorded briefly for Mercury in 1956. In 1957 he was back recording for Class, including several duets with Jeanette Baker. One of their numbers “Hey Girl - Hey Boy” was covered by Louis Prima and Keely Smith in the film of the same name.
15. Pachuco Bop - Mad Mel Sebastian
recorded for M & S in 1952, probably in Los Angeles. B Side of "Raven Hop." “Mad Mel Sebastian” is a pseudonym for …? Is it Chuck Higgins? Or someone cashing in on Chuck’s “Pachuco Hop”? Does anyone know anything about Mad Mel? A comment on the original post says that he had a disc on the small "R&B" label called "Walkin' On The Ceiling."
16. Cherry - Clarence Palmer & The Jive Bombers
recorded for Savoy (Savoy 1515) in New York in May 1957, released in June 1957. Very similar sound to their 1956 Savoy hit “Bad Boy.” The Jive Bombers were a group whose origins lie back in the 1930s as does “Bad Boy” which descends from Lil Armstrong’s “Brown Gal.” Now that would be worth a post on its own!
A 1986 Italian re-release of Chess LP 1469 "Howlin' Wolf" which was originally released in January 1962. See below for original front cover:
Also known as "The Rockin' Chair Album."
One of the earliest LPs I ever bought was "The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions" which came out in 1971. Or to be more accurate my mum bought it for my birthday in the original Glasgow Virgin Record Shop in Argyle Street back in the summer of 1971. She also bought me Ten Years After's "Cricklewood Green." To be completely and absolutely accurate she stood in the middle of the hippy hangout shop, purse in hand, while I wandered from record bin to record bin agonizing over which two LPs to choose. Happily my choices proved to be spot on and both LPs provided many years of listening pleasure.
Over the years I bought a few more Wolf LPs and then CDs but the LP I've posted here is a comparatively recent purchase bought second hand somewhere in Glasgow within the last few years. It's a 1980s reissue and some of these reissued Chess albums weren't always in the best sound quality as is occasionally evident on the mp3s I've ripped.
The LP is a compilation of Wolf's early 1960s singles. Recording and release details are given below.
Single releases of the tracks from "Howlin' Wolf" / "Off The Record":
Chess 1750 - Tell Me / Who's Been Talking? - February 1960
Chess 1762 - Spoonful / Howlin' For My Darling - July 1960 re-titled "Howlin' For My Baby" on LP.
Chess 1777 - Wang-Dang-Doodle / Back Door Man - January 1961
Chess 1793 - Down In The Bottom / Little Baby - June 1961
Chess 1804 - The Red Rooster / Shake For Me - October 1961
Chess 1813 - You'll Be Mine / Going Down Slow - February 1962
"Who's Been Talking?" and "Tell Me" -
recorded in Chicago on June 24th 1957. Personnel: Howlin' Wolf (vocal, harmonica); Adolph "Billy" Duncan (tenor sax); Hosea Lee Kennard (piano); Willie Johnson, Otis "Big Smokey"
Smothers (guitars); Alfred Elkins (bass); Earl Phillips (drums)
"Howlin' For My Darling" aka "Howlin' For My Baby" -
recorded in Chicago in July 1959. Personnel: Howlin' Wolf (vocal, harmonica); Abb Locke (tenor sax); Hosea Lee Kennard (piano); Hubert Sumlin, Abraham "Abe" Smothers (guitars); S.P. Leary (drums)
"Back Door Man," "Wang-Dang-Doodle" and "Spoonful" -
recorded in Chicago in June 1960. Personnel: Howlin' Wolf (vocal, harmonica); Otis Spann (piano); Hubert Sumlin (guitar); Willie Dixon (bass); Fred Below (drums)
"Little Baby" and "Down In The Bottom" -
recorded in Chicago in May 1961. Personnel: Howlin' Wolf (vocal, guitar); Johnny Jones (piano); Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Rogers (guitars); Willie Dixon (bass); Sam Lay (drums)
"Shake For Me" and "The Red Rooster" -
recorded in Chicago in May 1961. Personnel: Howlin' Wolf (vocal, harmonica, guitar); Johnny Jones (piano); Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Rogers (guitars); Willie Dixon (bass); Sam Lay (drums)
"You'll Be Mine" and "Going Down Slow" -
recorded in Chicago in December 1961. Personnel: Howlin' Wolf (vocal, guitar); Henry Gray (piano); Hubert Sumlin (guitar); Jimmy Rogers (bass guitar); Willie Dixon (bass, spoken vocal on Going Down Slow); Sam Lay (drums).
Some recommended Howlin' Wolf CDs:
Howling Wolf Sings The Blues (Ace CD CDCHM 1013) - is an extended version of the Crown LP "Sings The Blues." A collection of Modern / RPM Wolf sides recorded in Memphis and West Memphis between 1951 and 1953. The Wolf was caught up in the complicated battle between Chess and Modern / RPM both of whom released sides recorded at Sam Phillips Memphis Recording service. The booklet contains an essay by Dave Sax which explains the twists and turns in the early recording history of The Wolf.
Come Back Home (SBLUECD017) - a budget Snapper Music collection of unreleased takes recorded at Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service on Union Avenue between May 1951 and October 1952. Rough, raw, ragged, but right!
The Genuine Article (MCD 11073) - the starting point for any Howlin' Wolf collection. All the biggies released on Chess, ranging from 1951 sides recorded by Sam Phillips to a version of The Red Rooster from the London Howlin' Wolf sessions recorded in 1970. Excellent sound quality on 25 tracks.
His Best Vol. 2 (Chess 112 026-2) - a good companion volume to "The Genuine Article." 20 tracks from Memphis 1951 to London 1970. Not much duplication between the 2 CDs. Any disc on the Chess The Legendary Masters Series will be in exemplary sound quality.
Moanin' At Midnight: The Life and Times of Howlin' Wolf by James Segrest and Mark Hoffman. Pantheon Books, New York, 2004. A revised paperback edition (2005) published by Da Capo Press can be bought for a very reasonable price.
On with the Savoy homemade comp series. With this collection we step back to 1944 which is the year when the Savoy recording operation really started to take off, with Buck Ram producing sessions by jazz musicians from the clubs of 52nd Street and Harlem. Among the artists recorded that year were Tiny Grimes, Lester Young, Pete Brown, Ben Webster, Helen Humes, Viola Wells (Miss Rhapsody), The Five Red Caps (in disguise as The Toppers), Don Byas, Clyde Hart and Earl Warren (really the Count Basie Band minus Basie).
Texas born trumpeter and singer Oran "Hot Lips" Page started his professional music career in the 1920s with Ma Rainey's band, gaining a deep grounding in blues and jazz not only accompanying Rainey but also touring with Ida Cox and Bessie Smith. He was in Walter Page's Blue Devils, a band which originated in Oklahoma but which gravitated towards the wide open scene of Kansas City at the start of the 1930s. Following in the footsteps of Count Basie, Hot Lips Page and Jimmy Rushing left The Blue Devils for another KC band, that of Bennie Moten. When Moten died in 1935 Basie took over as band leader. In 1936 Lips went solo, leaving the Basie band just as it was about to achieve national fame.
Somehow despite his abilities both as a trumpet player and blues singer Hot Lips Page never quite reached the heights that seemed to be his for the asking. He moved to New York, played an important part in the live jazz scene and recorded sides for Decca and Bluebird with small group and big band backing. In the early forties he was with the Artie Shaw band and by 1944 his live club work led to recording sessions for Commodore and Savoy.
The first Savoy session in June 1944 was with a small group which included Harlem and 52nd Street regulars like Don Byas and Big Sid Catlett. For the second Savoy session in September 1944 the backing band was expanded with the addition of such notables as Ike Quebec, Earl Bostic and Tiny Grimes. The eight tracks are good examples of what came to be known retrospectively as "Harlem Jump" i.e. an immediate predecessor of jump blues and R&B which retained a heavy swing influence.
A few years further down the line and we find Lips' bands playing in a more R&B style, especially in the December 1947 sessions for King which included backing Wynonie Harris on numbers like "Blow Your Brains Out," "Good Rockin' Tonight" and "Lollipop Mama." A 2009 CD on El Toro collects sides from various labels including King, Apollo, RCA Victor and Columbia. Entitled "Roll Roll Roll (The R&B Years)", it's worth a punt if you can find a reasonably priced copy.The opening track "Last Call For Alcohol" is perhaps one of the most frantic sides I've ever heard. It's a sort of supercharged amalgam of swing, R&B and even 1920s hot jazz.
Background info on the tracks on "Lip's Blues":
"Dance Of The Tambourine," "Uncle Sam Blues," "Pagin' Mr Page" and "I Keep Rollin' On" recorded in NYC on June 14th, 1944. Personnel: Hot Lips Page (trumpet, vocals); Floyd "Horsecollar" Williams (alto, tenor sax); Don Byas, George Johnson (tenor saxes); Clyde Hart (piano); John Simmons (bass); Sidney Catlett (drums).
Uncle Sam Blues / Paging Mr. Page released on Savoy 520 in August 1944.
Dance Of The Tambourine / I Keep Rollin' On released on Savoy 521 in November 1944.
The above singles by Hot Lips Page's Swing Seven.
"I Got What It Takes," "Good For Stompin'," "Lip's Blues" and "Blooey" recorded in NYC on September 12th, 1944. Personnel: Jesse Brown, Joe Keyes (trumpets); Hot Lips Page (trumpet, vocals); Vic Dickenson (trombone); Earl Bostic, Floyd "Horsecollar" Williams (alto saxes); Don Byas, Ike Quebec (tenor saxes); Clyde Hart (piano, celeste); Tiny Grimes (guitar); Al Lucas (bass); Jack Parker (drums).
Lip's Blues / I Got What It Takes released on Savoy 529 in December 1944. This single was re-released on Savoy 700 as Double Trouble Blues / I Got What It Takes in August 1949.
"Good For Stompin'" and "Blooey" were unreleased until Savoy LP "The Changing Face Of Harlem" (SJL 2208) in 1976.
Hot Lips Page died in New York in 1954 aged 46, following a heart attack.
If you like your R&B stripped down to the basics, if you dig a late night smoky club atmosphere with a small group groovin' on lowdown blues and boogie, if Sonny Thompson's "Long Gone" is your bag, then this is the stuff for you.
"The Beale Street Gang" (occasionally "The Beale Street Boys") was the moniker of several small groups led by pianist Milt Buckner which recorded for Savoy in 1946-48 and again in 1951. While recording these sessions Milt's main musical activity was with the Lionel Hampton big band of which he was an original member, having joined as pianist and arranger in 1941. In 1949 and early 1950 Milt recorded for MGM with his own short lived big band (the sides had a similar sound to that of Hamp), but by October 1950 Milt was back with the Hampton outfit.
The sides on this little comp could therefore be regarded as very much a "side project" and they certainly have a spontaneous feel about them as they consist mainly of basic blues riffing and boogies. It's R&B the way I like it!
In 1952 Milt changed over from piano to the Hammond organ and embarked on a long career playing small group jazz. In the 1950s into the early 1960s he cut material for Capitol, Argo and Bethlehem. From 1966 until his death in 1977 he recorded many LPs for European labels, especially the French label Black & Blue.
The Beale Street Gang sides represent a brief outbreak of raw R&B in between Milt's more well known stints as big band arranger / pianist and organ combo leader. Here's the details, groovers:
"Lights Out" and "Raising The Roof" were recorded in NYC on October 28th, 1946. Personnel: Milt Buckner (piano) with: Pazzuza Simon (tenor sax); Curly Russell (bass); Arthur Herbert (drums).
Lights Out / Raising The Roof was issued on Savoy 653 in July 1947. Credited to The Beale St. Boys then on later issues to The Beale Street Gang.
"Jelly Roll Jan," "Raisin' The Roof" and "Teddy Bear" were recorded in NYC on December 8th, 1947. Personnel: Milt Buckner (piano) with: unknown (trumpet); Ray Abrams (tenor sax); possibly Curly Russell (bass) and possibly Arthur Herbert (drums).
Jelly Roll Jan / Jumpin' In Jack's House was issued on Savoy 669 in August 1948.
"Teddy Bear" was issued as the B Side of Regent 129, probably in October 1948, credited to The Beale Street Gang. The A Side was "Killer Diller" by Gene Coy And His Killer Dillers. This disc was very popular in Jamaica where it was released on Savoy 5555 and later as a 45 on Top Rank.
"Fatstuff Boogie," "Lazy Joe" and "Back Alley Blues" were recorded in NYC on July 11th 1948. Personnel: Milt Buckner (piano) with unknown trumpet, tenor sax, bass and drums.
Fatstuff Boogie / Lazy Joe was issued on Savoy 693 in May 1949.
"Back Alley Blues" was issued as the B Side of "Double Crossin' Blues" by the Johnny Otis Quintette on Savoy 731 in February / March 1950. The original review issue of this disc had "Ain't Nothin' Shakin'" by Leon Sims coupled with the Johnny Otis side, but this seems to have been quickly replaced by The Beale Streeters' opus.
"Double Crossin' Blues" which featured Little Esther and The Robins was a number 1 R&B hit in March and April 1950. In May 1950 it was replaced at the top of the R&B charts by another Johnny Otis disc - "Mistrustin' Blues" which featured Little Esther and Mel Walker.
"Red, Red Wine" and "Boogie Grunt" were recorded in NYC on April 5th, 1951. Personnel: Milt Buckner (piano, vocal) with: Tyree Glenn (trombone); Harold Clark (tenor sax); Reuben Phillips (baritone sax); Aaron Bell (bass); Tim Kennedy (drums).
Red, Red Wine / Boogie Grunt was issued on Savoy 785 in May 1951. Credited to Milton Buckner And His Beale Street Gang.
I first came across The Beale Street Gang when I was reading up on the background to the Savoy LP "Rhythm and Blues Volume 1" which had "Lights Out" credited to Milton Buckner. Read that post for details of how "Lights Out" reappeared in 1954 as "Blue Nights" credited to The Hot Shots.
For an in depth look at this phase of Milt Buckner's career see this website:
This was one of the first LPs I digitized in the early days of the blog nearly 10 years ago. This upload contains improved versions of the original mp3s plus new cover and label scans. The back cover scan looks as though it was made while I was drunk, but I can assure you that the actual LP cover really is that squint! I've run the mp3s through Magix Audio Cleaning Lab again in order to get rid of the numerous clicks from what was a pretty scratched LP, although a few pops remain. The sound quality on the LP wasn't all that good but I have managed to remove the electronic hum that was present throughout "I Don't Know."
The download package includes a folder of label scans from Willie's Chess singles, courtesy of Joan K.
This LP was issued in the UK in 1984 as part of the PRT "Chess Masters" series. but it had already appeared in Italy and Germany with the title "I'm A Heart Regulator" as part of the Chess "Blues Roots" series and it was under the "I'm A Heart Regulator" title that this collection was issued in the USA (Chess CH 9189) in 1984. Of the 14 tracks on the collection, no less than 8 were previously unissued. A few hits were included, such as "I Don't Know," "Poison Ivy," "Knock On Wood" and "Seventh Son."
I've added one of Willie Mabon's best sides, "I'm Mad" partly because I fell in love with it when I came across it on late night TV many years ago in the strange Marv Newland cartoon "Sing Beast Sing."
Willie Mabon was born in Memphis Tennessee in 1925 and moved to Chicago in 1942. His first recording was for Apollo in 1949 but his career didn't really take off until his recording of "I Don't Know" for Parrot in late 1952. The record was quickly picked up by Chess (see below for further details) and it became the fourth best selling R&B single of 1953 and along with the follow up "I'm Mad" which was another number 1 hit, helped to make Willie (billed as "The I Don't Know Man") the third top selling R&B artist of that year.
Although Willie Mabon took the writer credit for "I Don't Know," it was in fact an "adaptation" of a song of the same name recorded by Cripple Clarence Lofton in the 1930s. Willie had one more national R&B hit with "Poison Ivy" in late 1954 although "The Seventh Son" and "Knock On Wood" were local hits in 1955/56. Willie's career gradually lost momentum and he went through an extended period of label hopping throughout the 1960s without ever looking like having another hit.
In the early 1970s he moved to Europe where he recorded for labels like Big Bear and Black & Blue and led the busy life of the American bluesman in exile, including an appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival. He passed away in Paris in 1985 at the age of 59.
The story behind the tracks on "Willie Mabon - Chess Masters":
"I Don't Know" was recorded in Chicago, circa mid 1952. Personnel: Willie Mabon (piano, vocal); Ernest Cotton (tenor sax); Bill Evans (bass); Bill Stepney (drums)
"I Don't Know" / "Worry Blues" was released on Parrot in November 1952 (the first release on that label) then later in the same month on Checker 1050 and shortly afterwards on Chess 1531. Parrot label owner Al Benson had a previously existing agreement with the Chess brothers for dual release of his masters, hence the almost simultaneous Parrot / Checker releases. As "I Don't Know" became a phenomenal R&B hit, it was shifted to the parent Chess label, becoming a number one seller and spending 15 weeks in the charts.
"I'm Mad" and "Beggar Or Bandit" were recorded in Chicago on February 5th, 1953. Personnel: Willie Mabon (piano, vocal); Fred Clark (tenor sax); Joseph "Cool Breeze" Bell (bass); Steve Boswell (drums)
"I'm Mad" / "Night Latch" was released on Chess 1538 in April 1953. "Beggar Or Bandit" was unissued until this collection.
"You're A Fool" and "Monday Woman" were recorded in New York City in June 1953. Personnel:
"You're A Fool" / "Monday Woman" released on Chess 1548 in August 1953.
"I'm Tired" was recorded in Chicago probably in February 1954. Personnel: Willie Mabon (piano, vocal) with: Bill Martin or Paul King (trumpet) Harold Ashby, Herbert Robinson (tenor sax,poss alto sax); Bill Anderson (bass); Oliver Coleman (drums)
"I'm Tired" was not issued until this collection.
"Lonely Blues" and "Willie's Blues" were recorded in Chicago in August 1954. Personnel as in February 1954 session above. Both tracks unissued until this collection
"Poison Ivy" was recorded in Chicago in October 1954. Personnel: Willie Mabon (piano, vocal) with: Paul King (trumpet); Coon Gardner (alto and baritone sax); Herbert Robinson (tenor sax); Bill Anderson (bass); Oliver Coleman or Odie Payne (drums)
"Poison Ivy" / "Say Man" released on Chess 1580 in October 1954.
"Someday You Gotta Pay," "He Lied" and "Seventh Son" were recorded in Chicago in July 1955.Personnel as above except Willie Dixon replaces Bill Anderson on bass.
"The Seventh Son" / "Lucinda" released on Chess 1608 in October 1955.
"Someday You Gotta Pay" and "He Lied" were not issued until this collection.
"Knock On Wood" was recorded in Chicago on May 24th, 1956. Personnel: Willie Mabon (piano, vocals) with: Hubert Robinson (tenor sax); Bill Anderson (bass); Oliver Coleman (drums)
"Knock On Wood" / "Got To Let You Go" released on Chess 1627 in July 1956.
"I'm Mad At You" and "Why Did It Happen To Me" were recorded in Chicago in September 1960. Personnel: Willie Mabon (piano, vocal) with unknown saxes, guitar, bass, drums. Both tracks unissued until this collection.
Thanks to Joan for providing the Chess singles label scans.
Be Bop Wino will be taking a break for the next week or so as I shall be attending a family wedding in the deep south of England. I'll be back rockin' in Scotland sometime soon!
Let's mark the recent passing of Chuck Berry with this 1980s reissue of his 1960 LP "Rockin' At The Hops." His own compositions "Let It Rock," "I Got To Find My Baby," and "Bye Bye Johnny" are classics but what I especially like about this album are the revivals of older 1940s blues and boogie material which demonstrate where Chuck's personal tastes lay. So enjoy Big Maceo's "Worried Life Blues," The Will Bradley Trio's "Down The Road A Piece," Johnny Moore and the Three Blazers' "Driftin' Blues," and Jay McShann and Walter Brown's "Confessin' The Blues." Cool renditions from the Chuckster.
Too Pooped To Pop, Betty Jean, Childhood Sweetheart, Broken Arrow, Let It Rock were recorded in Chicago on July 29th, 1959. Personnel: Chuck Berry (vocal, guitar) with L.C. Davis (tenor sax); Johnny Johnson (piano); Willie Dixon (bass); Fred Below (drums); The Ecuadors (vocal group)
Bye Bye Johnny, Worried Life Blues, I Got To Find My Baby, Driftin' Blues were recorded in Chicago on February 12th, 1960. Personnel: Chuck Berry (vocal, guitar); L.C. Davis (tenor sax); unknown other saxes; Johnny Johnson (piano); Matt Murphy (guitar); Willie Dixon (bass); Eddie Hardy (drums); unknown vocal group
Down The Road A Piece, Confessin' The Blues, Mad Lad were recorded in Chicago on April 12th, 1960. Personnel same as on February 12th 1960 session.
This LP was originally released as Chess LP 1448 in July 1960.
Single releases of tracks:
Childhood Sweetheart / Broken Arrow, Chess 1737, September 1959
Let It Rock / Too Pooped To Pop ("Casey"), Chess 1747, January 1960
Bye Bye Johnny / Worried Life Blues, Chess 1754, May 1960
I Got To Find My Baby / Mad Lad, Chess 1763, August 1960
A collection of Memphis Slim tracks recorded for Vee-Jay in 1958-59. Twelve of the sixteen tracks were originally released on the 1959 Vee-Jay LP "Memphis Slim At The Gate Of Horn" which despite its title, is not a live album but consists entirely of studio tracks recorded with a hard rocking combo featuring the great Matt Murphy on guitar and a sock-it-to-'em sax section.
The Gate Of Horn was a Chicago folk club and one is inevitably led to the conclusion that Vee-Jay were hoping to sell the album to the growing "folk blues" market rather than the R&B crowd. Yet the music contained therein couldn't have been further from the idea of "authentic" folk blues, being in fact thoroughly modern rockin' rhythm and blues, just like the two Vee-Jay singles Memphis Slim released in 1958, which are also featured on this Charly LP.
The sixteen sides on this LP probably represent the last R&B recordings of Memphis Slim as he decided to follow the the best road to a long and happy career for a veteran bluesman - record for labels like "Folkways", play venues and festivals aimed at the student / folkie crowd, move to Europe, tour and record for decades more and finally get seen by Boogie Woody at a blues festival in Dundee in the mid 1980s where he was nothing short of brilliant. What's more he was apparently accompanied by a statuesque blonde lady who became the subject of speculation in the comments on my previous Memphis Slim post.
The story behind the tracks -
"Stroll On Little Girl," "Guitar Cha Cha," "What's The Matter" and "This Time I'm Through" were recorded in Chicago on the 8th January 1958. Personnel on these tracks was: Memphis Slim (piano, vocal); John Calvin (alto sax); Matt Murphy (guitar); Sam Chatman (bass); Billie Stepney (drums)
The sides were released on two Vee-Jay singles as follows:
Stroll On Little Girl / Guitar Cha Cha Cha, by Memphis Slim and His House Rockers on Vee-Jay 271, released probably February (?) 1958. Yes, that's three "Cha's."
What's The Matter / This Time I'm Through by Memphis Slim & His House Rockers on Vee-Jay 294, released probably November (?) 1958.
All other sides on this LP were recorded in Chicago on the 18th August 1959 and released on the Vee-Jay LP "Memphis Slim At The Gate Of Horn" (VJLP 1012) in October 1959.
Personnel on VJLP 1012: Memphis Slim (piano, vocal); Alex Atkins (alto sax); John Calvin, Ernest Cotton (tenor saxes); Matt Murphy (guitar); Sam Chatman (bass); Billie Stepney (drums)
The original track order on "Memphis Slim At The Gate Of Horn" was:
1. The Come Back
2. Steppin' Out
3. Blue And Lonesome
4. Rockin' The Blues
5. Slim's Blues
6. Gotta Find My Baby
1. Messin' Around
2. Wish Me Well
3. My Gal Keeps Me Crying
4. Lend Me Your Love
5. Sassy Mae
6. Mother Earth
Elsewhere on the blog:
Messin' Around With The Blues (Volume 1) - 12 sides recorded for Miracle and Hy-Tone in 1946-47 and subsequently bought in by King Records. Post is here:
Look out for this CD in the second hand browser of your local music emporium:
The exact same collection as the "Rockin' The Blues" LP only in much better sound quality compared to the rather dodgy mp3s I ripped from my vinyl. These Charly Blues Masterworks CDs often turn up in "used Blues CDs" bins or in charity shops - this one is well worth purchasing.
One scratched LP bought second hand many years ago, probably from the sadly-no-more "Lost In Music" emporium in Glasgow's West End. I never listened to it all that much but lately I've been listening to little else. Digitizing this album has got me right back into the music of Ray Charles, specifically the sides he recorded for Atlantic between 1952 and 1959, sides which revolutionized the sound of R&B and paved the way for soul music.
Ray's earliest sides, recorded for Swing Time and Down Beat, were heavily influenced by Nat "King" Cole and Charles Brown. The move to Atlantic gave him the opportunity to really come into his own. At first, recording under the supervision of Jesse Stone and accompanied by top NYC session men such as Freddie Mitchell, Lloyd Trotman and Mickey Baker, his sides were still well within the R&B mainstream of the time, albeit with a much improved sound.
Ray had ideas of his own ( he detested the Willie Mabon influenced "It Should've Been Me") and in Atlanta, Georgia, in November 1954, he unveiled a new sound to Atlantic honchos Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler when he and his new hard boppin' band played the gospel influenced "I Got A Woman." The shadow of gospel music loomed over most of the R&B that Ray subsequently recorded for Atlantic, whether the source material was original gospel songs, or blues or just songs that sounded as though they were rooted in the church.
All of it was performed with sanctified intensity in a fusion of holy roller vocals from Ray, passionate call and response backing vocals from The Cookies and of course that band featuring horn men like Don Wilkerson and Dave "Fathead" Newman. The selection of tracks on this LP is an excellent illustration of how R&B music was taken in a new direction by Ray Charles and his musicians. The detailed sleeve notes by Cliff White are well worth perusing.
The story behind the tracks, mac!
"Mess Around," "It Should've Been Me," and "Losing Hand" were recorded in New York City on May 17th, 1953.
Personnel: Ray Charles (vocal, piano) with: Pinky Williams and Freddie Mitchell (tenor saxes); Dave McRae (baritone sax); Mickey Baker (guitar); Lloyd Trotman (bass); Connie Kay (drums);
Mess Around / Funny (But I Still Love You), Atlantic 999, June 1953
It Should've Been Me / Sinner's Prayer, Atlantic 1021, February 1954
Losing Hand / Don't You Know, Atlantic 1037, July 1954
"Greenbacks" and "I've Got A Woman" were recorded in Atlanta on November 18th, 1954.
Personnel: Ray Charles (vocal, piano) with: Joe Bridgewater and Charles Whitley (trumpets); Don Wilkerson (tenor sax); Dave Newman (baritone sax); Wesley Jackson (guitar); Jimmy Bell (bass); Glenn Brooks (drums)
I've Got A Woman / Come Back, Atlantic 1050, December 1954
Blackjack / Greenbacks, Atlantic 1076, October 1955
"This Little Girl Of Mine" was recorded in Miami on April 23rd, 1955.
Personnel: Ray Charles (vocal, piano) with: Joe Bridgewater and Riley Webb (trumpets); Dave Newman (alto sax, baritone sax); Don Wilkerson (tenor sax); Roosevelt Sheffield (bass); William Peeples (drums)
A Fool For You / This Little Girl Of Mine, Atlantic 1063, June 1955
"Hallelujah I Love Her So" and "Drown In My Own Tears" were recorded in New York City on November 30th, 1955.
Personnel: Ray Charles (vocal, piano) with Joe Bridgewater and Joshua Willis (trumpets); Don Wilkerson (tenor sax); Cecil Payne (baritone sax); Paul West (bass); Panama Francis (drums) with The Cookies (vocal group) on "Drown In My Own Tears"
Drown In My Own Tears / Mary Ann, Atlantic 1085, February 1956
Hallelujah I Love Her So / What Would I Do Without You, Atlantic 1096, May 1956
"Leave My Woman Alone" and "Lonely Avenue" were recorded in New York City on May 16th, 1956.
Personnel: Ray Charles (vocal, piano) with Joe Bridgewater and John Hunt (trumpets); Dave Newman (alto sax and tenor sax); Emmett Dennis (baritone sax;) Roosevelt Sheffield (bass); William Peeples (drums); The Cookies (vocal group)
Lonely Avenue / Leave My Woman Alone, Atlantic 1108, September 1956
"That's Enough" and "Talkin' 'Bout You" were recorded in New York City on May 26th and May 28th 1957 respectively.
Personnel: Ray Charles (vocal, piano) with: Joe Bridgewater and Ricky Harper (trumpets); Dave Newman (alto sax and tenor sax); Emmett Dennis (baritone sax); Edgar Willis (b) William Peeples (d) with The Raelettes aka The Raylettes aka The Cookies (vocal group)
That's Enough / Tell Me How Do You Feel, Atlantic 2022, March 1959
Talkin' 'Bout You / What Kind Of Man Are You, Atlantic 1172, January 1958
"You Be My Baby" was recorded in New York City on February 20th, 1958.
Personnel: Ray Charles (vocal, piano) with: Marcus Belgrave and Lee Harper (trumpets) Dave Newman (alto sax and tenor sax); Emmett Dennis (baritone sax); Edgar Willis (bass); Richie Goldberg (drums) with The Raelets (The Cookies) (vocal group)
My Bonnie / You Be My Baby, Atlantic 1196, August 1958
"(Night Time Is) The Right Time" was recorded in New York City on October 28th, 1958.
Personnel: Ray Charles (vocal, piano) with: Marcus Belgrave and Lee Harper (trumpets); Dave Newman (alto sax and tenor sax); Hank "Bennie" Crawford (baritone sax); Edgar Willis (bass); Richie Goldberg (drums); The Raylettes (vocal group) feat. Marjorie Hendricks (vocal)
(Night Time Is) The Right Time / Tell All The World About You, Atlantic 2010, December 1958
"Tell The Truth" was recorded live in Atlanta on May 28th, 1959.
Personnel: Ray Charles (vocal, piano) with: Marcus Belgrave and John Hunt (trumpets); Dave Newman (alto sax and tenor sax); Hank Crawford (baritone sax); Edgar Willis (bass); Teagle Fleming (drums); The Raelettes (vocal group)
"Tell The Truth" released on Atlantic LP 8039 "Ray Charles In Person" in May 1960. Also on single Atlantic 2068 Tell The Truth / Sweet Sixteen Bars, July 1960.
"What'd I Say" was recorded in New York City on February 18th, 1959.
Personnel: Ray Charles (vocal, piano) with: Marcus Belgrave and John Hunt (trumpets); Dave Newman (alto sax, tenor sax); Bennie "Hank" Crawford (baritone sax); Edgar Willis (bass); Milt Turner (drums); The Raelettes (vocal group)
What'd I Say (part 1) / What'd I Say (part 2), Atlantic 2031, June 1959.
Some recommended CDs:
I bought all of the above for £5 each in Fopp over the last few years. Ray's Atlantic output should still be easy to find at budget prices.
Ray Charles: Man and Music by Michael Lydon. This is the cover from the original 1998 hardback edition (yep, bought in Fopp for £5!). An updated paperback edition from 2004 is available from the marketplace dealers of a certain mega gigantic online shopping website. Yeah, Amazon.
If you own the copyright of any music posted here and wish to have it removed from the blog, please contact me at the above email address and it will be removed forthwith.
Dedicated to REAL R&B, Rock'n'Roll, Blues and Jazz
This is a site dedicated to rockin' 1940s and 1950s music, ripped from vinyl. Some cuts are a bit on the rough side. If you're looking for audio perfection you're on the wrong site baby! If you like what you hear on this site please buy this kind of music. There are many reasonably priced reissues available from web dealers or perhaps from your local record shop, if it still exists. These reissues will be in far better sound quality than the vinyl rips on this site and they will usually have more up to date liner notes and info, so go out and splash a little cash now and again. Help keep those reissue labels going in these difficult times.
No in-print CDs will be posted here. In fact no CDs will be posted here. I will occasionally list recommended purchases to help you hear more from artists featured on the blog.
"The night is the corridor of history, not the history of famous people or great events, but that of the marginal, the ignored, the supressed, the unacknowledged; the history of vice, of error, of confusion, of fear, of want; the history of intoxication, of vainglory, of delusion, of dissipation, of delirium." Luc Sante - Low Life