sweartotellthetruth

June 28, 2016

Blues and Rhythm Show 233 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, June 28th (1:00 to 2:30pm)

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In the late 1990s the Charly label issued three CDs devoted to “Rare Soul” on the One-derful!, M-Pac and Mar-V-Lus labels. These CD compilations made available much of the catalogues of an important African-American owned and operated company in Chicago between 1962 and 1967 on well-researched and documented compilations. More recently, in 2012, Charly distilled the three compilations, which had gone out of print, into one double-CD set with 30-odd fewer tracks and a few additions. We made use of the Charly collections and other scattered resources to play music  from One-derful!, M-Pac and Mar-V-Lus on the air. One could hope that another company might dig further into the label’s history and its tape archives to fill out the picture but it seemed unlikely that would happen in the current state of the record industry.

In fact, that is just what happened as the Secret Stash label of Minneapolis embarked on a reissue program documenting not just the three labels in the Charly series but the other labels operated by the Leaners–the Halo gospel label and the Midas and Toddlin’ Town labels, as well.  What distinguishes the new series, called the One-derful! Collection, is the depth of research and extensive liner notes, on the lines of the Stax singles boxes and Numero’s Syl Johnson box. The cooperation of the Leaner family and many of the musicians and singers associated with the company made it possible to fill out the details of the labels’ histories. It was known that there were unissued recordings in the vaults but access to the United Record Distribution warehouse and tape archives turned up previously unknown and undocumented recordings by the Leaners’ artists.

George and Ernie Leaner’s company specialized in the Chicago equivalent of Southern deep Soul but didn’t feature that style exclusively. Like other great independent labels, the company’s offices and studios provided a laboratory for experimentation and rehearsal and somewhere that some of the musicians chose to be day after day. It seems that the record company was well-funded. Ernie and George Leaner operated United Record Distribution for a decade before they ventured into record making. Producers had a relatively free hand to try out artists and musical ideas but George Leaner is supposed to have had a strong interest in blues and he received his own training in the business from Chicago’s blues record boss, Lester Melrose.

Our feature will  be based upon the One-derful!, M-Pac and Mar-V-Lus catalogues, including several of the previously unknown tracks turned up in the Secret Stash researches. Also on the program, contemporary, ’60s, blues and gospel.

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On the Show:

Lonnie Brooks – Sonny Boy Williamson II– Willie Mabon – Johnny Sayles – Cicero Blake – Ringleaders – Liz Lands – Josephine Taylor – Donald “Preacher” Gay – Otis Clay

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 download until July 26th.

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 5th)

Next week, we are off. The station will air a repeat.

cmc.

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December 15, 2015

Blues and Rhythm Show 208 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, December 15th, (1:00 to 2:30pm)

This week’s program a year-end grab-bag of a few new releases, things we’ve had around with a mind to play for a while and a few seasonal tracks.      

 DEEP DOWN R&B 'The Origins of Deep Soul, Volume #2' - 24 VA Tracks                        Blast Off / Rickety Tick                           Product Details                                                                   

Also on the program, a few tracks from the era just before 1920. This was still the era of vaudeville song and ragtime’s influence could be felt but blues had been popular in the south for a few years and the influence of blues was beginning to appear in popular records. Of course, the record industry did not, or preferred not to, believe in the existence of an African-American market with customers possessing the means to buy records so what records were made by African Americans were made with a general audience in mind and not a specifically African-American audience. In fact, while opportunities were limited, African-American performers had been recorded since the 1890s, just not making records directed at their own people. All would change once Perry Bradford secured a recording date for Mamie Smith at OKeh Records. Still, what records were made in the years prior to 1920 couldn’t but influence black recording artists who did make records from 1920 onward. We have  a few records from the 1917 to 1919 period to play this week, by both black and white performers. 

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 On the Show:

Drink Small – Marion Harris –  Wilbur Sweatman – McGee Brothers & Todd – Hollywood Fats – Vance Kelly – Cicero Blake – Gospel Starlets – and others

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 January 11th

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.

Errors and Omissions

On last week’s show, we stated that Sonny Boy Williamson (II) was 53 years old when he joined Chess-Checker and not 63 when he died. He seemed that old but we were wrong. He was 43 when he joined the label and only 53 when he died. We might have overlooked this mistake but we had an unrelated conversation with CFMU’s program director in which the question of age and musical creativity was a subject. We also played Lowell Fulson on the program and we could have explained that Lowell began playing blues, sometimes solo or with with his brother accompanying him on second guitar. We consider the records he made at Swing Time to fit under the category of rhythm & blues and his Checker recordings and those that followed put him back in the realm of blues, in our judgement. Finally, we seem to have confused a Chicago drummer with a Nashville singer.

Next week (December 15th)

Our 2015 Christmas special

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September 19, 2015

Blues and Rhythm Show 193 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, August 18th, (1:00-2:30 pm).

We haven’t maintained our blogsite for the past month. This program began with some Texas blues, including a never issued instrumental by Long John Hunter. We featured Deak Harp on the show for the first time and then several Chicago blues tracks. We revisited a couple of white vaudeville blues recordings from the early 1920s and then looked at late twenties recordings by Clara and Bessie Smith, leading into a couple of quartet recordings from the Birmingham-Bessemer area of Alabama. Last in the show, some soul and soul-blues, including Cicero Blake.

On the Show:

Long John Hunter – Deak Harp – James Cotton – Aileen Stanley & Billy Murray – Clara Smith – Bessie Smith – Bessemer Sunset Four – Denise LaSalle – Cicero Blake – a.o.

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 September 14th.

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 (August 25th)

Mercury R&B story – 90 minute special

cmc

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