March 2, 2021

Blues and Rhythm Show 309 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, March 2, 2021 (10:00 to 12:00 noon) – International Women’s Day Program

On this year’s International Women’s Day program, we feature women’s Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Gospel and a bit of Soul. Our playlists week by week are dominated by recordings by men, of songs written by men, produced by men, and issued by companies run by men. The themes of the songs we play reflect men’s point of view most of the time. We try to maintain a balance but ot is difficult given the legacy of recording we work from. Blues as a genre were pretty conservative over the years and the same verses and themes keep manifesting from one generation of songs to the next. Ironically, a lot of the songs that have become associated with male singers were passed on from the classic era of the twenties, the years dominated by women’s recordings, which lasted until 1926 or 1927. Most people recognize the male versions of the songs without recognizing the verses that come from songs by Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter or other classic singers but it’s men’s voices that have been dominant in Blues, R&B and Soul. So, we do this show to in a small way redress the balance.

On the Show:

Cleo Brown – International Sweethearts of Rhythm – Gladys Bentley – Ella Johnson – Alberta Hunter – Louise Johnson – Rita Chiarelli – Mary Lou Williams – Big Mama Thornton – Arizona Dranes – Inez Andrews – Molly Johnson – Jackie Richardson – Big Maybelle – and others.

Listen to the program each week at FM 93.3 in Hamilton or on CFMU online at cfmu.ca. The program will be available to stream or download until for eight weeks until April 27h as a podcast. Just go the website, scroll through 40 shows to Tuesday 10:00 am bring up the right playlist and stream or download the show

Next Week:

Fundraising. Please support CFMU.


March 10, 2015

Blues and Rhythm Show 171 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, March 10th, (1:00-2:30 pm)

Women’s music is underrepresented in the blues, R&B and soul catalogues of the record companies except for the decade of the 1920s, which was devoted almost exclusively to female classic-vaudeville blues artists for five years while that style remained well-represented by the record companies until 1930 and a bit after. We try to present women’s music in every show although we very occasionally fail, as on our Mardi Gras special of two weeks ago, but we also make sure to present an International Women’s Day special each year. Some years our IWD show has been issue-oriented. This year’s is not issue-oriented for the most part. We have done a number of features on women’s blues and gospel but we think it’s important to devote one show a year entirely to women’s expression, especially when the weight of the commercial labels’ catalogues are so heavily weighted to music by men, who also have dominated in label ownership, production and A&R, as well as in record distribution and  radio. Even in the sixties, one encounters stories to the effect that a certain female artist’s records failed to get effective promotion and distribution because records by Aretha Franklin had been given precedence. Based upon prejudice or real experience, the distributors and radio programmers appear to have imposed a quota on female artists, even if the record labels had not.

On the Show:

Cleo Brown – Ida Cox – Lucille Bogan – Precious Bryant – Marilyn Scott – Eunice Davis – Famous Davis Sisters – The Georgia Peach – Irma Thomas – Betty Harris – and others

Listen to the program at FM 93.3 in Hamilton or on CFMU online at cfmu.msu.mcmaster.ca. The program will be available to stream or as a podcast until April 6th.

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 (March 17th)

We don’t have a plan yet for the show. We do promise nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day.


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