January 5, 2016

Blues and Rhythm Show 211 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

 to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, January 5th (1:00 to 2:30pm)

We outlined a plan for this week’s program but decided to play some older music than what we had tentatively planned.  Instead, we’re going to take a brief look at the Johnny Otis show of the 1970 era and at some slightly later Johnny Otis productions and we’re going to feature some recordings collected by Alan Lomax at Parchman Farm Penitentiary.

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We all understand the romance of so-called country blues and excitement of electric blues from Chicago but it’s still hard for us to understand the general lack of interest blues enthusiasts in the 1960s in the R&B of the forties and early fifties, when the artists were still close to their prime.  Paul Oliver, the doyen of early blues researchers, barely mentioned R&B in his writings  There were hints of interest but not many. Columbia issued two records of King R&B classics, perhaps because the names of James Brown and Hank Ballard were still current. The first, from 1967,  was called 18 King Size Rhythm & Blues Hits. Polydor, in Great Britain issued a 1968 album called Kings of Rhythm & Blues, one side devoted to Wynonie Harris, the other to Tiny Bradshaw. Specialty Records issued volume 1 of This Is How it All Began in 1969, with tracks by Roy Milton, Joe Liggins, Jimmy Liggins and Percy Mayfield. Volume 2 followed the next year. These five albums were how it all began for us but it would be a while before a flood of research and reissues filled out the picture. As so often, the Europeans would be ahead in this game. Meanwhile, in 1970, Johnny Otis began presenting the stars of R&B playing and singing something like their original style. He also produced a series of albums showcasing a number of the biggest stars of the music. These were recorded in 1974. We’re going to play a bit of this music on the program.

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Also, on the program a brief look at recordings made at Parchman Farm, represented on the 2014 Parchman Farm album-book combination on Dust-to-Digital. At this point the Dust to Digital set is easier to obtain than the two Rounder CDs of Alan Lomax’ field collection from 1947 and 1948. As well as tracks from those 1947-48 field sessions there are recordings from the Southern Journey field trip of 1959 but beyond the selection of tracks from what had already been issued from the 1947-48 and 1959 sessions, there is material that had not previously been available to the public before.  

Also on the program, two Western Canadian blues guitarists and early Soul or proto-Soul recordings.                                                                                                                            

On the Show:

Ted Taylor – Esther Phillips – Charles Brown – Lead Belly – Tangle Eye– Clarence Alexander –Ervin Webb & group – Marshall Lawrence – Big Dave McLean – Joe Medwick – Mavis Staples

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Listen to the program at FM 93.3 in Hamilton or on CFMU online at cfmu.msumcmaster.ca. The program will be available to stream or as a podcast until February 1st.

Contact Us:

To reach us with comments or queries, write us at sweartotellthetruth@gmail.com.

You can also follow the program at sweartotellthetruth@nosignifying on Twitter.

Next week (January 12th)


Errors and Omissions

Song we played by Good Rockin’ Charles Edwards was, as first announced, “Five Years in Prison”. The title comes from an original verse Charles introduced to what was essentially a cover of  the song “Broke and Hungry, Ragged and Dirty Too”. We questioned on air whether we had played the right song. We also called the Five Keys “Hucklebuck With Jimmy” a cover but the original had a different title. It was Jimmy Preston’s “Hucklebuck Daddy”.


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