sweartotellthetruth

August 9, 2016

Blues and Rhythm Show 235 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, August 9th (1:00 to 2:30pm)

WE ARE REPEATING A PROGRAM FROM TWO MONTHS AGO WHEN CFMU EXPERIENCED A PODCAST FAIL.

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Fifteen months ago  we presented a 90-minute special following the death of B.B. King at the age of 89. At the time, we weren’t aware that the Japanese P-Vine label was preparing a comprehensive box set making available all of B.’s recordings for the Bihari Brothers’ Modern-RPM-Kent companies. That set has just been made available. Its full title is The Complete RPM-Kent Recording Box: The Life, Times and the Blues of B.B. King. The box contains 17 CDs, According to P-Vine the box includes all the B.B. King singles, album tracks, alternate and incomplete takes, including 100 songs premiered in the box, 10 of them completely unreleased, as well as what P-Vine calls “session scenes” with successive takes of several numbers plus the attendant studio talk. In the box, there is also an LP with rare material from the B.B. King catalogue plus Charles Sawyer’s biography of B.B. KIng in a Japanese translation. The 56-page booklet details the tracks on every disc but there is no complete session discography. The booklet does include lyric transcriptions by Chris Smith and appreciations from various figures in the blues field. A further attraction of the booklet is the selection of photos by Ernest Withers. Much, but not all, of the booklet’s text has been translated to English from the original Japanese.

Our feature on the box will include A & B sides from the singles issued by RPM and Kent between 1951 and 1961. Some well-known titles but several that aren’t well-known.

The greater part of the 17 CDs is made up of the album tracks, alternate takes and never issued material and we’ll work that material into the show over time. Some of these tracks are organized by theme while others are organized chronologically on discs titled “B.B.’s Blues Revolution”, Phase 1 – 4. There’s a complete disc of “session scenes” on the disc “B.B. in the Recording Studio”. The CDs are housed in cardboard sleeves and each CD has a soft protective liner.

It would be hard to argue that there is a greater figure than B.B. King in post-World War 2 blue and most of his great recordings were made for Modern-RPM-Kent but not many people will opt to buy a 17-CD set and the Complete RPM-Kent Recordings is a limited edition. A four-CD set on Ace (UK) called The Vintage Years remains in print and it is an excellent survey of B’s recordings for the Bihari Brothers labels.

Still, the publication of the P-Vine set is something of a momentous occasion even if the packaging is less sturdy than we might have anticipated and we thought we should devote some attention to it on the program.

Also on the program, Bluegrass Gospel, Gospel Funk and Sacred Steel.

The Complete RPM-Kent Recording Box 1950-1965

On the Show:

B.B. King – Louis Jordan – T-Bone Walker – Marshall Lawrence Band – Stewart Family – Brother John Witherspoon – 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 September 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 (August 16th)

The Document label.

cmc.

March 31, 2015

Blues and Rhythm Show 174 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

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

Our theme this week the origins of Robert Johnson. There’s a powerful mythology around the figure of Robert Johnson, way out of proportion to his contemporary importance when he was alive. We’ve never devoted much time to Robert Johnson’s music on The Blues & Rhythm Show, but this week we are looking at the sources of his songs, guided by Elijah Wald’s book Escaping the Delta and a CD compilation he edited for the Yazoo label, a CD titled Back to the Cross-Roads. A large part of the myth of Robert Johnson rests on the idea that his songs were not only unique but were an expression of his tormented psyche. Not given much consideration was the idea that Johnson was developing songs from models that were available to him from popular blues artists like Leroy Carr, Kokomo Arnold or Lonnie Johnson, something which Wald demonstrated in considerable detail in his book. And, while Robert Johnson revealed certain preoccupations in his songwriting, they were not in any way outside of blues convention As the title of Wald’s book suggests, Johnson’s ambitions were larger than the Delta region he emerged from and, while his music was an anticipation of the later Mississippi-in-Chicago blues and the beat of rock and roll, Wald wondered if his imagination might not have taken him in a quite different direction.

On the Show:

Michael Jerome Browne – Steve Earle – Johnnie Temple – Robert Johnson – Leroy Carr – Kokomo Arnold – Scrapper Blackwell – Rev. E.W. Clayborn, The Guitar Evangelist – Tampa Red – Mississippi Sheiks – 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 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 (April 7th)

Can’t tell you right now.

September 6, 2014

Blues and Rhythm Show 144 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, August 26th (1:00-2:30 pm)

This week, a program devoted entirely to blues and quartet gospel from Alabama in the 1920s and 1930s. Generalizations about blues from Alabama are difficult. There is simply a dearth of information even about relatively well-known figures like Ed Bell (aka Barefoot Bill). Birmingham was a location visited by record companies as early as 1927 and as late as 1937 but without really reflecting the local blues scene in any depth and there isn’t much hard information about some recording artists believed to be from Alabama. Blues historians and album compilers tend to group recordings and performers regionally. Alabama was the state where a lot of a pre-blues music could be found in the 1930s and still in the 1940s and 1950s when researchers like Harold Courlander and Frederick Ramsay were active recording traditional performers. Indications are that there was a healthy blues scene in Birmingham, including boogie piano, but it isn’t well-represented in commercial records.

We can be more certain about gospel quartet. Birmingham and Bessemer, both in Jefferson County, were the home of a distinct quartet culture, especially in the 1920s and thirties. Mobile on the Gulf Coast also had a gospel scene. We offer a selection of quartet gospel mostly recorded between 1928 and 1932. Two of the quartets in this set recorded in the post-World War 2  era and our set does not include the Heavenly Gospel Singers, whose records were all made between 1935 and 1941.

The years 1930 to 1932 witnessed a shaking out of the record industry and most blues and gospel performers–like most country artists who recorded in the twenties—would not record again when the labels began to build back their catalogues. The first five quartets in our survey did not record after 1931.  The Famous Blue Jay Singers first recorded in 1932 but not again until 1947.

On the Show:

Tampa Red – Daddy Stovepipe – Bogus Ben Covington – Jaybird Coleman – Walter Roland – Mobile Strugglers – Mount Zion Baptist Quartet – Bessemer Sunset Four – Slim Duckett & Pig Norwood – Famous Blue Jay Singers of Birmingham – Jimmy Hughes

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 September 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 (September 2nd)

Next week is Welcome Week at McMaster University. We will present a live show from the Atrium of the McMaster Student Centre. Blues, R&B, Gospel and Soul will all be represented in the mix.

cmc

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