sweartotellthetruth

January 20, 2014

Blues and Rhythm Show 115 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, January 21, 2014 (1:00-2:30 pm)

One major and one minor theme on this week’s program. Major theme is a feature devoted to Robert Nighthawk, a legendary figure who recorded in four different decades but should be better known and recognized for his achievement. Nighthawk reportedly never stayed long in Chicago but and because he spent so much time in the south he may have missed opportunities for larger success as a recording artist. Through radio, he was a recognized figure in the Delta and live recordings from the sixties show what a fine and versatile performer he was. Had he lived longer someone surely would have explored his large and diverse repertoire in studio recordings. His commercial recordings from the forties and fifties provide only a partial picture of his abilities. Although Peter Guralnick’s novel, Nighthawk Blues, is said to be based upon the life of Big Joe Williams, the title seems to invoke the sense of romance and mystery around the figure of Robert McCollum, who adopted his mother’s surname, McCoy, after being involved in a shooting, and later changed it to Nighthawk from his best known early record, “Prowling Night-Hawk”. 

We’re also going to play a few tracks from the Stax label and some related material on this week’s program–instigated by Robert Gordon’s recently published study of Stax, Respect Yourself, which we’ve begun reading. 

On the Show:

Rufus Thomas – Ruby Johnson – Stax Records, Little Richard – Bill Doggett – Rita Chiarelli – Robert Nighthawk – Dixie Nightingales – 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 February 17th.

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 28th)

We plan to put on a program of railroading songs soon but we aren’t sure how much preparation it will take. Next week’s program will likely be more eclectic.

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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