sweartotellthetruth

October 27, 2015

Blues and Rhythm Show 202 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, October 27th, (1:00-2:30 pm).

We were looking for an angle for this week’s program when we realized we’d never done a program examining the blues of the 1950s as we had earlier decades. The fifties are often viewed as a golden age of blues, especially in Chicago, but blues were one strain of a broader musical category of rhythm & blues, which in the fifties also encompassed African-American rock and roll, doo wop and more gospel-derived vocal group music as well, as the jazz-influenced R&B that emerged from the 1940s. We thought it would be interesting to separate straight blues–traditional and down-home styles–from the rest of the larger R&B scene. Our idea was to extract the straight blues hits from R&B hits as they appeared in Billboard Magazine rankings and to do this we used Big Al Pavlov’s The R&B Book: A Disc History of Rhythm & Blues, a book that ranks the top Billboard R&B hits each year up to 1959 and includes an additional list of recordings that were regional hits and/or jukebox hits in each year.

Even in the twenties and thirties blues was the music of a minority of the minority but we found that there were fewer blues records among the hits on the R&B charts for the fifties than we might have guessed. A great many blues records were issued, however, so long as there was a stable and reliable customer base. It’s simply that the great majority of records  and most blues artists, including many who are famous today, didn’t sell well enough to appear in the R&B charts. Many of the blues artists who did reach the charts are the biggest names of post-war blues while there were some whose names are much less well-recognized today.

Our survey will spread over two programs. This week we cover the years 1950 to 1954. We’ve tried to maintain a representative balance of blues styles, geographical locations and labels, as far as possible and we’ve organized the material, so far as possible in the sequence it was released. For reasons of space, we had to leave some important figures out but many other names are missing because the artists never reached the charts during the years 1950-1954.

Product Details                        Product Details

At some point we may come back and survey the entire field of recorded blues singles from the 1950s but we thought it would be interesting to concentrate on the national and subnational hits for this particular series of programs. After we have covered the fifties, we may at some point go back in time to the forties and look at the blues hits within the R&B charts for the immediate post-war years.

Product Details              \Elmore James.gif

No women on this week’s program. The only female blues artist to have even a regional market hit between 1950 and 1954 was Memphis Minnie and that particular record wasn’t judged as meriting airplay on this program, nor as good as several non-hits by Minnie from the same period. We don’t quarrel with the popular taste of past a era but we don’t regard it as infallible either.

On the Show:

Lowell Fulson – Smokey Hogg – Stick McGhee & His Buddies – Jimmy Rogers – Memphis Slim – Elmore James – Lightnin’ Hopkins – Little Walter – Willie Mabon – Mercy Dee – Guitar Slim

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 November 23rd.

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 (November 3rd)

TBA

cmc

June 2, 2015

Blues and Rhythm Show 182 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

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

We follow a few different themes on this week’s program. Prompted by the first interview in Steve Cushing’s recent book, Pioneers of the Blues Revival, we decided to devote some space to interviews of bluesmen and blueswomen conducted by Paul Oliver in 1960. Oliver wrote the first real study of blues, published as Blues Fell This Morning, in 1959. The two months he spent in July and August of 1960 might be considered to be the first systematic primary research project devoted to blues, although Alan Lomax’ song hunting for the Library of Congress and his privately funded Southern Journey of 1959-60 captured many blues performances along with old time country and bluegrass.

Also on the program, Los Angeles R&B from John Dolphin’s record labels. Elmore James, acoustic blues and North Carolina fiddler Joe Thompson

On the Show:

Elmore James – Linda Hayes – Peppermint Harris – Brother John Sellers – Stump Johnson – The Vaudevillian – Precious Bryant – Ruby Andrews – Frazey Ford

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 Jun 30th.

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 (June 9th)

TBA

cmc

January 1, 2014

Blues and Rhythm Show 112 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, December 31st, 2013 (1:00-2:30 pm)

Our New Year’s Eve program is already in the books, to coin a phrase. We failed to have a description of the program in advance this week. If you go to the CFMU website the program you will find is a mixture of mostly up-tempo blues and R&B, with a few soul tracks along the way. A lot of music from Chicago, a bit of post T-Bone Texas blues, a few East Coast tracks and some current and some older local recordings. 

On the Show:

Elmore James – Red Prysock – live Hound Dog Taylor – Kendall Wall Blues Band – Lester Williams – Guitar Nubbit – Lula Reed – live Magic Sam – Lou Pride – King Biscuit Boy – and many 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 January 27th.

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 (January 6th)

No 2013 year end review but we will feature the most useful reissue album we encountered in the past year.

cmc

Blog at WordPress.com.