October 13, 2019

Blues and Rhythm Show 260 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, October 8th (10:00 to 12:00 noon)

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Feature on this week’s program is a long one covering the Victor label’s blues and country catalogues in the early years. Victor did not enter the roots field when many other labels did but hire the leading figure in race and hillbilly music, Ralph Peer, when he left the OKeh label. Beginning in 1926, Victor quickly became one of the big three labels in the roots field. Early success included the famous Bristol Sessions of 1927 where the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers made their recording debuts on Victor. Aside from any commercial success, Peer and Victor arranged some historically famous sessions, including the Tommy Johnson-Ishman Bracey 1928 session in Memphis. As with everyone in the industry, the Depression and its effect on record sales put the program Peer ran into question but by 1934 Victor had established its budget Bluebird line and continued to record and sell blues and country records.

Our feature covers the years 1927 to 1935. To put together the feature we drew from three generations of RCA Victor reissues–the Vintage series of LPs issued between 1964 and 1972, the Bluebird CDs of the early 1990s and the excellent series of CDs When the Sun Goes Down produced by Colin Escott from the early 2000s. Obviously, what’s important is the quality of music contained by these albums and they were very good collections. It’s unlikely that we will see similar reissue programs today beyond special releases like the American Epic set but much of what we played this week is still obtainable.

Also on the program, a few recordings reflecting the growing awareness of Chicago blues from the Blues Revival era–from Storyville, Prestige and Vanguard–and a bit of Hi label Soul.

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On the Show:

Otis Spann –  Billy Boy Arnold – James Cotton – Elmore James – Big Sugar – Dinwiddie Colored Quartet – Jim & Andrew Baxter – Jim Jackson – Cannon’s Jug Stompers – Allen Brothers – Lone Star Cowboys – Daddy Stovepipe & Mississippi Sarah – Ann Peebles Johnson – Al Green – 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 December 2nd. CFMU podcasts now available for 8 weeks. Just go the website, bring up the playlist and stream or download the show.

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




May 10, 2014

Blues and Rhythm Show 129 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, April 29, 2014 (1:00-2:30 pm)

Our program from April 29th is still available to stream or download until May 26th. The show was a followup to out April 15th program devoted to what we called the prehistory of “The Blues Revival”. In the program we traced the evolution of mainstream interest in the blues from the so-called folk blues of the “rediscovered” artists of the twenties and thirties who suddenly found their music in demand from a new folk-oriented blues audience to the electric blues of the 1950s from performers who had already given up full-time music, like J.B. Hutto, and some who were grinding out a living playing for a diminishing black audience, For all the artists involved the new interest was very different from anything they had experienced before. When Hound Dog Taylor found himself in demand beyond the Chicago clubs he’d been playing, his peers warned him he would now have to subject himself to interviews, nothing he;d had to worry about before. The electric bands, who had to decide to what extent they accommodated or fended off requests from African-American audiences for contemporary soul numbers, now heard shouted requests every night for “Sweet Home Chicago” from their new audiences. 

Whatever the quality of the music the “revival” produced, the shift in the audience demographic changed the music so that even the corners of the commercial music industry that still catered to a hard-core African-American blues audience couldn’t completely escape the influence of the new blues market. On the other hand, the blues revival began a more-or-less systematic appraisal and rediscovery of every stream and tributary of blues history and schools of devotees dedicated to pre- or post-war blues, “classic” or “country”, “electric” or “down-home”, “rhythm & blues” and, eventually, “soul blues”. And in every school could be found a hard-core of purists. 

Of course, there was another aspect to the Blues Revival and that was the rise of mostly white blues players, who did not grow up in the tradition–those for whom blues was a stage in the development of their musical style and those who dedicated a career to a version of the blues. We only touched on this part of the story in this program and our earlier show of two weeks ago. And perhaps we should devote a program to that particular phenomenon, which may not be so well known in detail even if it is an essential part of the history of Rock.

On the Show:

Lightnin’ Hopkins – Mississippi John Hurt – Skip James – Mance Lipscomb – John Lee Hooker – Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Otis Spann – J.B. Hutto – Reverend Robert Wilkins – and 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 May 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 (May 6th)

We can say now that our May 6th program was a 90 minute feature devoted to early rhythm & blues sounds. 



April 6, 2013

Blues and Rhythm Hour 74 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Program for Tuesday, April 9, 2013 (1:00-2:30 pm)

We’ve had a couple of weeks heavy on rhythm & blues in the past two editions of the program. This coming Tuesday, we’re going to pick up some threads from the Gotham label special last week, showcase a few East Coast blues artists on Pete Lowry’s Trix label and sample some recordings made in Philadelphia and Chicago by Pete Welding for his Testament label. Along the way, we’ll be playing some great tracks.

On the show: 

Carolina Chocolate Crops – Bascomb Lamar Lunsford – Henry Johnson –  Willie Trice – Ironing Board Sam – Blind Connie Williams – Gospel Twins – Otis Spann – Eddie Taylor – Shakura S’Aida – and many 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 May 6th.




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