sweartotellthetruth

September 28, 2019

Blues and Rhythm Show 258 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, September 24th (10:00 to 12:00 noon)

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We wanted to do a show on pre-war blues from Columbia Records’s extensive catalogue. In our preparation we did some research on the evolution of the Columbia label and its various subsidiary labels and how Columbia represented blues in its catalogue. What we discovered is that we had not appreciated at all how complicated that history was.

To make things easier, we decided to rely upon Columbia Legacy reissues in putting this feature together but we were distracted throughout our preparation by the recognition that many of the records we chose to play were bot recorded by Columbia but by companies Columbia acquired.

Columbia recorded some of the early stars of blues, including Bessie Smith and Clara Smith. It then ran into financial difficulty in the middle of the twenties, difficulties that could have prevented the label from purchasing the new electrical recording system developed by Bell Laboratories. It’s been argued suggested that it was Bessie Smith’s recordings that kept the company going.  Columbia’s English branch came to the rescue by taking over the American company in order to obtain the new system which it could not purchase on its own as a foreign-based company. An immediate benefit for Columbia was that the owners of Okeh Records, the pioneering race and hillbilly label, determined that theycould not afford to buy Bell’s technology and the label and its catalogue were sold to Columbia.

We won’t detail all the transactions that took place as Columbia established itself as an industry leader. Suffice it to say that Columbia took a serious hit in the early Depression years and was acquired by the Brunswick Record Company in 1934. That company thereby strengthened its own position having already been merged with the American Record Company but in 1938 Columbia Broadcasting took a major position in the industry buying out the Brunswick-ARC conglomerate from Consolidated Film Industries.

Columbia has done a great job representing the catalogue it assumed after 1938 and added to since but it remains the case that much of what the label has represented as Columbia product, including Leroy Carr, Peetie Wheatstraw, Robert Johnson and much more was recorded by companies Columbia bought out rather than by Columbia itself.

Our feature includes recordings made between 1927 and 1941. Also on the program, a couple of samples from newly resissued compilations from the Swingtime label, newly released Bobby Radcliff and a new album from Third Man documenting the 1969 Ann Arbor Blues Festival.

On the Show:

Earl Brown & His Band – J.B. Hutto & the Hawks – Helen Humes – Buddy Moss – Lucille Bogan – Peetie Wheatstraw – Buddy Woods & His Wampus Cats – Big Bill – Champion Jack Dupree – Carolina Buddies – Jack de Keyzer – Bobby Radcliff – Lavelle White – and others

Listen to the program each week at FM 93.3 in Hamilton, live on Cogeco Cable 288 or on CFMU online at the CFMU website. The program will be available to stream or download until November 19th. CFMU podcasts now available for 8 weeks. Just go the website, bring up the playlist and stream or download the show.

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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

Stars of classic R&B

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September 3, 2019

Blues and Rhythm Show 255 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, September 3rd (10:00 to 12:00 noon)

After four out of five weeks absence from the studio we’re back with a new show. 

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We have a program devoted mostly to music from Chicago or influenced by Chicago blues. Main feature is a segment devoted to Chicago Blues from the years 1947 to 1960, with recordings made for small Chicago indie labels but also for Columbia and Chess. We can draw from recent box sets devoted to Chicago blues from Boulevard Varese and Wienerworld. 

Commentators have always wrestled with how to describe post-war blues style as distinguished from rhythm & blues since writers for Billboard and Cashbox developed their own shorthand in the 1940s for capsule reviews of new releases. Reissuers today appear to have settled upon the term “Down Home”. We don’t think it’s an exact fit but it emphasizes the continuity in style and themes between pre- and post-war blues as opposed to R&B. Blues in the large and mid-size cities of the midwest and west coast reflected an experience that was different from what performers and their migrant audience had lived in the south but singers didn’t abandon the older themes and their songs were still partly addressed to a southern audience. Singers in Chicago sang about life in Chicago but were still singing about Mississippi and Arkansas to former and present southerners.

On the show, we also have some later performances of Chicago blues standards on the bill and a few gospel sides from Chicago. Along the way, we also have a couple of sides from the country corner and a brief look at the music the Ace/Kent Record labels of England are selling as New Breed R&B and blues.

On the Show:

Hound Dog Taylor – Howell/Devine – Dirty Red – Memphis Minnie – Homesick James – Chuck Berry – Eddie Boyd  – Earl Wright – Stephen Berry Band – Harpdog Brown – Bobby Radcliff – Cool Papa Jarvis – Mary Love – Staple Singers – Norfleet Brothers – and others

Listen to the program each week at FM 93.3 in Hamilton, live on Cogeco Cable 288 or on CFMU online at the CFMU website. The program will be available to stream or download until October 29th. CFMU podcasts now available for 8 weeks. Just go the website, bring up the playlist and stream or download the show.

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

Detroit Special

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May 19, 2013

Blues and Rhythm Show 80 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, May 21, 2013 (1:00-2:30 pm)

Haven’t played any zydeco on the air for a while. Count on hearing some this week and a couple of sides from Louisiana blues artists. Also on the program, some scarce R&B recorded between 1946 and 1954.

On the show: 

Boozoo Chavis – Carrière Brothers – Raful Neal –  Bobby Radcliff – Jimmy Dawkins – Red Mack – Charles Gray – Geechie Smith – Amos Garrett – Nina Simone – and others

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 June 18th.

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 (May 28th)

We’ve altered our schedule for May 28th. We were tentatively committed to a 90 minute special on Alan Lomax’ Southern Journey recordings but we want to highlight some of the artists appearing at the Westdale Blues & Roots Festival, in Hamilton scheduled for June 1st. It’s planned to be an all day affair. Acts include Harrison Kennedy, Steve Strongman, Alvin Smith, Trickbag and Paul Deslauriers.

We’ll postpone the Lomax special to either June 4th or June 11th.

cmc

 

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