April 2020 Updates: Complete Blues Discographies

These are the April updates for my Complete Blues Bio-Discographies list. A more complete version (as of now) is here.

Please note that this is the order in which I updated the list, not the order of living dates, recording dates or order in which the names appear on the list.

Henry Thomas
Washington Phillips
Gus Cannon / Cannon’s Jug Stompers
Jimmy Reed
Jim Jackson
Sam Collins
Skip James
Otis Rush
Frank Stokes
Ishman Bracey
Big Bill Broonzy
Blind Willie Johnson
Blind Willie McTell
Texas Alexander
Barbecue Bob
The Beale Street Sheiks
Memphis Jug Band
William Harris
St. Louis Bessie
Walter «Buddy Boy» Hawkins
Alice Moore
Mississippi John Hurt

Can: Tago Mago [40th Anniversary Edition Bonus CD]

Rating: 7.1/10
Rated as
: Archival / Live
Album Status
: Must for Fans
Released: 2011
Recorded: 1972
Specific Genre: Krautrock
Main Genre: Experimental Rock, Rock
Undertones
: Ambient, Free Improvisation, Psychedelic Rock
Label: Spoon 40SPOON6/7

[Disc 1: 1.1 Paperhouse 1.2 Mushroom 1.3 Oh Yeah 1.4 Halleluhwah 1.5 Aumgn 1.6 Peking O 1.7 Bring Me Coffee or Tea]
Disc 2: 2.1 Mushroom 2.2 Spoon 2.3 Halleluhwah

Love me! You gotta love me!

Tago Mago is – at least in recurring intervals – my favourite album. But let’s talk about the live bonus material from the 40th-anniversary edition. The bonus CD with the live material contains three tracks from a live performance in 1972. Unsurprisingly, the sound quality isn’t quite up to snuff – aside from being murky, especially Karoli’s guitar suffers from being buried in the mix, sounding as if he played from down the hallway. Well, we do with what we can get. I’ll go into the details, but what you get it is what you want and expect: Anxious, extremely rhythm-driven nightmares, amazing examples of free form tension-and-release, some chaotic nonsense, irresistible grooves: bleak, hypnotic, riveting. Well, it’s Can. What did you expect?

Two main points: The rather murky sound quality doesn’t really damage the enterprise, because it fits the claustrophobic, future-noir sound. But besides a riveting second track and an at least interesting mini-version of „Halleluhwah“, there is nothing to learn about Can here that can’t be experienced as good or better on other available live material. Secondly: The reason to get this is the 30-minute second track „Spoon“ which features everything you want in a Can jam: disorientation, paranoia, exploration and a beautiful, ethereal ending in an ambient-style hinting at 1973’s Future Days. Only half of this jam is available on The Lost Tapes (as is the less interesting opener „Mushroom“, a rare jam where they lose focus and decide to run the thing into the ground). The third track is a brief nine-minute „Halleluhwah“, in an interesting version where everything happens slightly too fast, it plays like a one-act-version of the epic original and fades out before the climax – I can only assume due to some technical error or scrambled tapes.

PS. The cover art hasn’t been changed. The photograph you see on the cover is a detachable carton sleeve to protect the gatefold vinyl replica inside, featuring the famous original head and is very nicely done all in all. Complete with several interesting liner notes by fawning fellow musicians but little historical information, it is a beautifully made reissue, less informative than it could be.

Jimmy Johnson: Tobacco Road

Rating: 8.1/10
Rated as
: Album
Album Status
: Genre Contender
Released: 1978
Recorded: 1977
Specific Genre: Chicago Blues, Soul Blues
Main Genre: Electric Blues, Blues
Label: MCM Blues Records

1 Long About Midnight 2 Strange Things Happening 3 Look on Yonder Wall 4 I’m Crazy About My Baby 5 Tobacco Road 6 Breaking Up Somebody’s Home 7 Sweet Little Angel 8 Three Times Chicago

Can’t control the vibration, after all I didn’t make it myself

Most discographies will allude to 1979’s Johnson’s Whack as Jimmy Johnson’s first album, or might be referring to qualifications like his ‚domestic‘ debut and whatnot, but this little gem from 1978 (recorded 1977) is Johnson’s actual debut (and was issued in France – and he did record half an LP in 1975, on the same French label). At fifty years of age, Johnson suffered the fate of many great bluesmen of the postwar generation: important as a studio session for decades, important to the sound of the soulful Chicago blues of bigger names, and too late into the game now to make a big splash for himself.

On Tobacco Road, Johnson sports the melismatic, exhilarated singing style of B.B. King and a not unsimilar guitar technique than another King (Albert) – somewhere between an articulate sting and a bending, organic wail. But he is distinct from both as Johnson goes sneakily funky where BB King goes smooth, he goes raw where King goes schmaltzy and he kicks into a dryly cool, rugged groove where King faceplants in overexcited horn sections. While this somehow got a „live“ tag, there clearly is no audience present (at some points, you can hear what amounts to background studio chatter), so this is probably closer to a studio session which greatly benefits the slightly ramshackle, laid-back couch-groove of the whole set. In terms of cool Chicago soul blues, this is not unlike what Earl Hooker did in the mid-1960s, but with a jazz-informed drummer and a really steady rhythm guitarist supplying a comforting background for Johnson to take off from. Watch out for some funky little drum fills and some great breakdowns which showcase Johnson’s vocals – especially on the hurt, grief-stricken yet somehow defiantly energetic showstopper „Feel Like Breakin’ Up Somebody’s Home“.

As electric soul blues goes, this is a highly recommended set precisely because it moves in areas somewhat out of fashion at the time – it isn’t self-consciously trying to be overly theatrical and doesn’t fall into any of the flashy traps of the genre, it’s just some bloke, some beers, and some emotive, low-key blues.

Lead Belly: His complete Victor/Bluebird recordings

How to acquire all recordings Lead Belly made for the Victor Records label (absorbed by RCA Records in 1929) and its subsidiary label Bluebird Records? Lead Belly recorded for Victor RCA/Bluebird on two dates: June 15th and June 17th of 1940 (a saturday and a monday, as it happens), a total of 27 known tracks.

The Lead Belly collection Take This Hammer – The Secret History of Rock & Roll (Bluebird 82876 50957 2 or RCA 50957), the fifth volume of Bluebird series When the Sun Goes Down sometimes has the claim to sport „The Complete RCA Victor Recordings“.

This is one track short of the truth: While it does have the unissued first take „Grey Goose“ (Victor 051327-1), it misses the alternate take of „Grey Goose (Take 2)“ (Victor 051327-2). These are often mistaken for one another, as the vocal performances of Lead Belly and the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet were very precise – but apart from slightly different speeds (which could be due to pitch differences), some of the Quartet vocalists do notably different things in the background on the two tracks.

This track, „Grey Goose (Take 2)“ can almost exclusively be found on Document Records „Too Late, Too Late“: More Newly Discovered Titles And Alternate Takes, Volume 6 (1924-1946) (DOCD-5461).

There are two more Document Records that contain Victor/Bluebird recordings: Complete Recorded Works 1939-1947 In Chronological Order: Volume 1 (1 April 1939 To 15 June 1940) (DOCD-5226) and Complete Recorded Works 1939-1947 In Chronological Order: Volume 2 (17 June 1940 To Summer 1943) (DOCD-5227).

These are excellent compilations that contain many other Lead Belly tracks that you can almost exclusively get on them – so you need them. But they do not contain two tracks from the Victor sessions that are available on Take This Hammer: versions of „Yellow Gal“ and „Julianne Johnson“.

This creates one of the more unfortunate overlap situations for Lead Belly: If you get all three Document Records compilations (which you should), you’ll need to get Bluebird’s Take This Hammer for just two tracks.

This is a problem that nowadays can be solved through downloads, I guess, but then you miss out of the liner notes. Here is the tabella for Lead Belly’s Victor/Bluebird sessions:

Lead Belly’s Victor/Bluebird Recordings
No. / SourceTitleDocumentothersRemarks
New York June 15, 1940  Huddie Ledbetter   vocal/guitar with speech-1
051295-1, Victor 27268Pick A Bale Of CottonDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051296- , Victor unissuedYellow GalRCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye; RCA 50957 notes it as „051296-1“
051297-, Victor unissuedWhoa Back, BuckDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051298-1, VictorMidnight SpecialDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051299-1, Victor 27268Alabama BoundDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051500-1, VictorRock Island LineDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051501-, Bluebird B8791Good Morning BluesDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051502-, Bluebird B8791Leaving BluesDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051503-1, VictorT.B. BluesDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051504-, Bluebird B8709Red Cross Store BluesDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051505-, Bluebird B8550Sail On, Little Girl, Sail OnDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051506-, Bluebird B8709RobertaDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051507-, Bluebird B8559AlbertaDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051508-1, VictorI’m on My Last Go RoundDOCD-5226RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
New York June 17, 1940  Huddie Ledbetter   vocal/guitar with speech-1
051322-1, Victor Easy RiderDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051323-1, Bluebird B8750New York CityDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051324-, Bluebird B8570Worried BluesDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051325-, Bluebird B8570Don’t You Love Your Daddy No More?DOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye. Fancourt notes that Wolfe/Lornell also incorrectly note this track for August 4, 1949.
051326-1, Bluebird B8750You Can’t Lose-A Me ChollyDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye. Fancourt notes that Wolfe/Lornell also incorrectly note this track for August 4, 1949.
051327-1, Victor unissuedGrey GooseDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051327-2, Victor 27267Grey Goose (Take 2)DOCD-5461in: Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051328-1, Victor unissuedDidn’t Ol‘ John Cross The Water?DOCD-5411RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051329-1, Victor 27267Stew BallDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051330-, Victor unissuedTake This HammerDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051331-, Victor unissuedCan’t You Line ‚EmDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye
051332-Julianne JohnsonRCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye; RCA 50957 notes it as „051332-1“
051333-1, Victor 27266Ham An‘ EggsDOCD-5227RCA 50957in: Wolfe/Lornell; Dixon/Godrich/Rye

Toller Ausdruck der Woche: Arrieregarde – Nachtrag!

In diesem Beitrag hatte ich mich sehr darüber gewundert, warum für Avantgarde die metaphorische (kultur- und kunstprogressive) Bedeutungsvariante im Duden lexikalisiert ist, während dies für Arrieregarde nicht der Fall ist, obwohl ein Blick in ein DWDS-Korpus zeigt, dass im 20. Jahrhundert auch hier eigentlich nur die metaphorische (kultur- und kunstregressive) Bedeutung verbucht ist.

Deshalb habe ich beim Institut für Deutsche Sprache (IDS) nachgefragt. Und tatsächlich, nicht einmal vier Tage später kam die erlösende Antwort. Klar, sie ist so allgemein wie die Frage, aber trotzdem: Das ist sprachbenutzer*innenorientierter Service, ich bin baff. Zehn von zehn Punkten für das IDS. Hier die Antwort: