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 8, 2016

Blues and Rhythm Show 220 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, March 8th (1:00 to 2:30pm)

This year, March 8th falls on a Tuesday. We try to devote a show to International Women’s Day each year. Up to this year, we’ve surveyed blues, R&B, gospel and soul on each of our IWD programs. This year, we thought to devote the entire show to women in R&B but we were diverted into starting the show with a survey of the late thirties, when there was a revival of the record companies’ interest in female performers and a bit of a surge in recording. These pre-war recordings are often treated as a footnote to the real history of the blues and we thought we’d present a sort of counter-argument by surveying these 1930s recordings before getting into the early figures in women’s R&B. As a result, straddling two eras, with World War II and the first American Federation of Musicians recording ban of 1942-1944 serving as dividers, our survey of women’s blues and R&B takes us only from 1935 to 1947.  As with male performers, not many of the singers in the pre-war group of recording artists made records in the R&B era but R&B wasn’t a completely different music. There were many continuities.  We see blues and classic R&B as one tradition and we treat them that way on the program week to week.

Dinah Washington - Salty Papa Blues / I Know How to Do It - album cover                                 Savoy-565-miss-rhapsody-before-judgement-day-sisters-under-the-skin-e-e_4105585                             ,Complete Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Vol. 1: 1938-1943

As to the content of the songs, we mostly let them speak for themselves. Is there a feminist thread to women’s blues and R&B? Sometimes there is.  Often there isn’t. Is the full range of women’s experience reflected in blues and R&B by female singers? Since the great majority of songs are about relationships, love and the absence of love, we’d have to say no, but other concerns aren’t absent altogether. In any case, IWD, gives us the opportunity to present the story within the story and correct for the imbalance in men’s and women’s recordings after the classic or vaudeville era of blues, if only one time a year.  The vast majority of records in blues and R&B after the classic era were made by men. The record industry was run by men and it was almost always men who decided who got to record and what songs they recorded. In addition, it was men who wrote most of the songs women recorded, even in the classic era.

On the Show:

Christine Chatman – Georgia White – The Yas Yas Girl (Merline Johnson) – Rosetta Crawford – Ida Cox – Dinah Washington – Miss Rhapsody – The Blues Woman – Ella Johnson – Gladys Bentley – Betty Hall Jones – 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 April 4th.

 Product Details                                          Product Details

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 15th)



Blog at WordPress.com.