July 22, 2014

Blues and Rhythm Show 139 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, July 22nd (1:00-2:30 pm)

This week’s program started as something else but we wound up with a program devoted to blues from the West Coast, including records from Oakland, Los Angeles, and one from Fresno. These recordings from the post-World War 2 era, beginning in 1945 and extending well into the album era, to 1989. The Coast, and L.A. in particular, was the source of much of the R&B that filled jukeboxes and radio airwaves in the forties and fifties but migration from all over the south produced a demand for downhome versions of blues.

On the Show:

HowellDevine – Lowell Fulson – Mercy Dee Walton – Lafayette Thomas – Don “Sugarcane” Harris – Ace Holder – Al King – Big Mama Thornton – Sonny Rhodes – Tony Mathews – King Louis Narcisse

Listen to the program at FM 93.3 in Hamilton or on CFMU online at cfmu.mcmaster.ca. The program will be available to stream or as a podcast until August 17th.

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 (July 29th)

B.B. King special is planned.


October 21, 2013

Blues and Rhythm Show 102 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 (1:00-2:30 pm)

This week, we have a feature devoted to piano blues of the 1930s, 1929-1941, to be precise. The end of the 1920s saw a recording trend towards piano-guitar duos but, by the end of the thirties, larger combos prevailed and, though several of the leading figures on records were piano players, the piano may seem to have been less important as a lead or solo instrument in blues than at the beginning of the decade.  At the same time, the piano was prominent as part of an ensemble of  accompanying instruments on records by Big Bill, Memphis Minnie, Bumble Bee Slim, Tampa Red and many others in the second half of the 1930s.

Most blues recording in this era was controlled by a handful of individuals employed by or contracted to record companies, who among themselves determined who made blues records and what combination of instruments would be used on recordings. Lester Melrose controlled blues recording at both at Victor-Bluebird and at Columbia’s various subsidiaries. We don’t know to what extent the combos who made records reflected the way music was heard live. We do know that the Harlem Hamfats are said to have been a studio group who performed together rarely, if ever, live. In twenty years, the phenomenon of live music recreating recordings would be well under way. That development was in its infancy in the 1930s but the men controlling the studios for the three big companies were already utilizing certain performers, including piano players,  over and over, as studio musicians. This practice produced a certain sameness and predictability to recording sessions but the system was overturned after the war by the rise of the many independent labels recording blues and R&B–even though some of these companies would adopt a similar approach to the majors.

Our feature will look at some of the piano players who appeared most often as solo artists or leaders as well as at some players who were usually employed as accompanists to other artists.

We’ll also play a couple of numbers by preachers who made records, some West Coast bluesmen who are not household names, and a few minutes of soul out of Memphis.

On the Show:

Elder Solomon Lightfoot Michaux – King Solomon –  Al King – Lee Green – Lucille Bogan – Lil Johnson – Curtis Jones – Barbara and the Browns – Rita Chiarelli

Listen to the program at FM 93.3 in Hamilton or on CFMU online at cfmu.mcmaster.ca. The program will be available to stream or as a podcast until November 19th.

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 (October 29th)

Undetermined as of today. We’ll update.


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