sweartotellthetruth

June 21, 2016

Blues and Rhythm Show 232 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, June 21st (1:00 to 2:30pm)

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This week’s program follows some threads established in shows we’ve done recently. We have something from the newly issued Mel Brown album recorded twenty five years ago at Pop the Gator; Document Blues (going all-digital); spotlight on Tampa Red; West Coast gospel quartets; and more.

On the Show:

Lil Joe Washington – Josephine Baker– B.B. King– Tampa Red – Robert Nighthawk – King Biscuit Boy – Harrison Kennedy– Pilgrim Travelers – Wings of Jordan Choir – 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 download until July 19th.

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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 (June 28th)

TBA

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May 17, 2016

Blues and Rhythm Show 226 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

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

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Were the Soul Stirrers the greatest gospel quartet of all? We try to avoid superlatives on this program but many commentators treat the Soul Stirrers as though they were just that–the greatest gospel quartet of all. Certainly, the Stirrers, as much as any group, ushered in the era of modern hard gospel quartet, the style that dominated gospel’s “golden era” and R.H. Harris is hailed as the prototypical modern gospel lead and the innovator who introduced the practice of dual or multiple leads in quartet performance. What can’t be discounted is the estimation in which they were held in the gospel community but there seems to be some contrast in how the two great lead singers, R.H. Harris and Sam Cooke have been evaluated by their peers.

There has been much fascination with Sam Cooke’s place in popular music history because he successfully made the leap from gospel to pop and R&B and too briefly occupied a space at the apex of pop stardom. His pop stardom and importance as an R&B singer and producer at the moment that soul music was emergent only magnifies the importance of his role as lead singer of the Soul Stirrers and gospel innovator.

No one disputes that Sam Cooke fronting the Soul Stirrers changed the composition of the audience for the gospel programs but it’s also true that Stirrers were not the best-selling recording gospel quartet  of the era, or even the best selling quartet on their own label, Specialty.

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On the Show:

Julian Dash & His Orchestra – Famous Blue Jay Singers – Soul Stirrers – Pilgrim Travelers – Five Blind Boys of Alabama – Highway QCs –  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 download until June 7th.

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 17th)

TBA.

cmc

February 16, 2016

Blues and Rhythm Show 217 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, February 16th (1:00 to 2:30pm)

As of last Wednesday we had some ideas but nothing like a plan for this week’s program but we received an inquiry about a program we did two years ago and we found that we couldn’t furnish a copy of the show to the individual who contacted us.  So, we decided to rework and revise that original show and present the revised program on the air this week.

 Subject of that program was the Oakland record man, label owner, producer, songwriter, Bob Geddins. Bob Geddins was an African American from Marlin, Texas. He developed an early interest in blues and learned to play piano and some chords on guitar but didn’t pursue a career as a musician. Geddins hopped a freight with a friend, found his way went to L.A. in 1933 and later moved to Oakland where, alongside various other jobs  he operated a radio repair shop and a record store. He saw that there was a lot of African-American musical talent and activity in the Bay Area and the surrounding communities but no record companies or studios. Beginnng in 1945 and for twenty years or so, Bob Geddins produced, engineered recordings by local gozpel, blues and R&B acts. He even for a time pressed records himself on steam-driven equipment he designed.  Many of the records he produced appeared on a series of labels he owned and operated. Still more were leased or sold to larger independent labels, like Modern and Aladdin. In 1970, his enormous contribution to blues recording began to be recognized when Chris Strachwitz issued the album Oakland Blues on his Arhoolie label.  Earlier, when he was establishing the Arhoolie label, Strachwitz had sought out Bob Geddins for advice about the process of making records. 

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Cava-tone, Downtown, Big Town, Irma, Veltone, Bay-Tone, Art-Tone, Carter and Wax are the names of labels operated by Bob Geddins over the years. Hw would shut down one label and start another when relationships with suppliers, distributors and lother labels became problematic. Other records produced by Bob Geddins were leased or sold to bigger labels. He produced a great many records, a and range of music much larger than what we can present in a 90 minute program. There are some recordeings that were never issued, as well, but it appears that he lost track of them after he wound down the business for the most part in the mid 1960s. 

It’s hard to imagine what blues on record from Caifornia, and the Bay area, in particular, would look like without Bob Geddins. So many artists began their recording career or advanced it because of his efforts in the business. At the same time, operating a record company and staying in business was a constant struggle for Geddins who never managed to adequately capitalize his successive ventures in the record industry and was taken advantage of on more than one occasion. His successes in the record business were undermined by the deals he made and he was forced to make deals to get successful recordings he’d produced pressed and distributed. 

Detailed information isn’t easy to come by. The discographical information is fairly complete although details are missing for many sessions and recording dates and release dates appear to be jumbled because records are missing. Not too much has been written about Geddins. We went back to  Tom Mazzolini’s Living Blues interview with geddins from 1977 and the section about Oakland Blues in the book California Soul, but the best source of information is a fairly detailed article about Bob Geddins from 1997 by Opal Louis Nations. (Look for it in the website under his name holding his articles about secular music..)

As well as reworking our notes for the show, we’ve added some tracks, including a couple more of the hits Bob Geddins produced, and subtracted others 

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On the Show

King Solomon – Pilgrim Travelers – Lowell Fulson – Bob Geddins’ Cavaliers – Jimmy McCracklin – Roy Hawkins – Jimmy Wilson – Willie B. Huff – Big Mama Thornton – Sugar Pie De Santo – Tiny Powell

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 March 14th.

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 (February 23rd)

TBA.

CFMU’s Fundraising Week is coming up! Our fundraising program will be February 1st.

 

cmc

May 12, 2015

Blues and Rhythm Show 179 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, May 12th, (1:00-2:30 pm)

At the heart of today’s program. a feature on the Specialty label’s gospel catalogue. The first major gospel act to record for Specialty, in 1947, was the Pilgrim Travelers, a quartet from Texas who had recorded for the Library of Congress. The Soul Stirrers joined the label in 1950 and it was the Soul Stirrers with Sam Cooke (after he replaced the group’s original lead, R.H. Harris) who guaranteed the huge attention given to Specialty and its gospel roster, when the larger world discovered African-American gospel and its golden era.

We now know a great deal more about gospel on important labels like King, Savoy, Peacock and Nashboro, and we can appreciate how fine these other catalogues were but there’s no question that Specialty’s gospel catalogue was exceptional. Our feature will be a representation of the best-known acts on the label and a few lesser-known acts.

On the Show:

HowellDevine – Muddy Waters – Steve Strongman – Soul Stirrers – Original Gospel Harmonettes – Chosen Gospel Singers – Pilgrim Travelers – Princess Stewart – Rev. Charlie Jackson – Ruby Andrews

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 9th.

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 12th)

TBA.

cmc

February 11, 2014

Blues and Rhythm Show 118 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, February 11, 2014 (1:00-2:30 pm)

This week, we devote the entire 90 minutes to Bob Geddins‘ Oakland-based record labels and the artists Geddins recorded. Since the “blues revival” of the sixties there has been great interest in records that very few people heard when they were first issued, records issued by operators like Bob Geddins that never had wide circulation. Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records befriended Geddins and issued an Oakland Blues LP on Blues Classics that first made us aware of the Oakland blues scene of the forties and fifties over forty years ago.

It’s not that Geddins never produced hits but, over the years he was in the record business, for all the effort he put into his businesses and the outside jobs he held to support his family and sustain his companies, he was rarely in a position to take advantage of a hit record and reap the benefit either personally or for his companies. Artists used his labels as a stepping stone to better-run and -financed companies.

Somehow Bob Geddins outlasted many others in the business and, if he did not achieve the financial comfort he sought, he did leave an important  legacy of recorded blues, gospel and R&B and there can be little doubt that he advanced the careers of a great many artists, even if they found their greatest success with other labels.

We’ll look at recordings made for Bob Geddins over a sixteen year period, 1945-1961.

On the Show:

Rising Star Gospel Singers – Pilgrim Travelers – Lowell Fulson – Bob Geddins’ Cavaliers – Jimmy McCracklin – Roy Hawkins – Jimmy Wilson – Big Mama Thornton – Sugar Pie De Santo – King Solomon

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 March 10th.

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 (February 18th)

We’re unsure about next week. Fundraising is coming up. That will be March 4th for this program. That’s also Fat Tuesday, so we will not be able to present a Mardi Gras program this year. We may present our IWD show on March 11th, three days after International Women’s Day. Still working on our railroad special.

cmc

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