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

cmc

September 27, 2016

Blues and Rhythm Show 242 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

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

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This is the last edition of the Blues & Rhythm Show after 59 months on the air. Our last show features Blues, R&B, Louisiana French music, Gospel and Soul.

On the Show:

Earl Hooker & His Roadmasters – Jimmy McCracklin – Monarch Jazz Quartet – Tommy Johnson – Lucille Bogan – Buckwheat Zydeco Ils Sont Partis Band – Harrison Kennedy – Dan Pickett – Etta James – Nappy Brown – James Brown & the Famous Flames – and others

Listen to the program at FM 93.3 in Hamilton, live on Cogeco Cable 288 or on CFMU online at cfmu.msumcmaster.ca. The program will be available to stream or download until October 25th.

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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.

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Next week

Tune in for Put a Record On with Alysha

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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.

cmc

October 21, 2013

Blues and Rhythm Show 102 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 (1:00-2:30 pm)

This week, we have a feature devoted to piano blues of the 1930s, 1929-1941, to be precise. The end of the 1920s saw a recording trend towards piano-guitar duos but, by the end of the thirties, larger combos prevailed and, though several of the leading figures on records were piano players, the piano may seem to have been less important as a lead or solo instrument in blues than at the beginning of the decade.  At the same time, the piano was prominent as part of an ensemble of  accompanying instruments on records by Big Bill, Memphis Minnie, Bumble Bee Slim, Tampa Red and many others in the second half of the 1930s.

Most blues recording in this era was controlled by a handful of individuals employed by or contracted to record companies, who among themselves determined who made blues records and what combination of instruments would be used on recordings. Lester Melrose controlled blues recording at both at Victor-Bluebird and at Columbia’s various subsidiaries. We don’t know to what extent the combos who made records reflected the way music was heard live. We do know that the Harlem Hamfats are said to have been a studio group who performed together rarely, if ever, live. In twenty years, the phenomenon of live music recreating recordings would be well under way. That development was in its infancy in the 1930s but the men controlling the studios for the three big companies were already utilizing certain performers, including piano players,  over and over, as studio musicians. This practice produced a certain sameness and predictability to recording sessions but the system was overturned after the war by the rise of the many independent labels recording blues and R&B–even though some of these companies would adopt a similar approach to the majors.

Our feature will look at some of the piano players who appeared most often as solo artists or leaders as well as at some players who were usually employed as accompanists to other artists.

We’ll also play a couple of numbers by preachers who made records, some West Coast bluesmen who are not household names, and a few minutes of soul out of Memphis.

On the Show:

Elder Solomon Lightfoot Michaux – King Solomon –  Al King – Lee Green – Lucille Bogan – Lil Johnson – Curtis Jones – Barbara and the Browns – Rita Chiarelli

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 November 19th.

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 (October 29th)

Undetermined as of today. We’ll update.

 cmc

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