Vol. 1: (1928-1935)
Featuring the recordings of:
Robert Wilkins, vocal / guitar. Robert Wilkins (as by Tim Wilkins), vocal / guitar; probably Little Son Joe, guitar; “Kid Spoons”, spoons. Robert Wilkins (as by Tim Wilkins), vocal / guitar; “Kid Spoons”, spoons. Tom Dickson, vocal / guitar. Allen Shaw, vocal / guitar.
Genres: Memphis Blues, Tennessee Blues, Country Blues, Country Blues Guitar, Bottleneck-Slide Guitar
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. The city of Memphis has been linked with the blues since W.C. Handy updated ‘Boss’ Crump’s political campaign song of 1909 and published it as ‘The Memphis Blues’ in 1912. This was, of course, a formal composition but when ‘race’ recordings really took off in the 1920’s a whole underworld of blues activity was discovered to be in existence in the city, centered on the ‘black’ thoroughfare of Beale Street. Beale was rough; joints such as Pee Wee’s, The Hole In The Wall and Jim Canan’s reveling in a reputation for having a man for breakfast’ everyday even though ‘you never find a dead Nigger on Beale. The implication being that bodies were quickly hauled out and dumped elsewhere before daybreak. But there was another side to the Memphis Blues. It was born from the Country Blues that were drawn in by Afro-Americans from outlying rural areas looking for work and bringing their music with them. This, the first of several volumes dedicated to Memphis Blues, covers the work of three outstanding musicians playing in the Country Blues genre. Robert Wilkins was born in Hernando, Mississippi but as soon as he was old enough relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, a city he had visited many times as a child whilst on the traditional “cotton run”. The evocative, Rolling Stone, has a story-line that builds verse by verse, gaining its momentum with a hypnotic guitar figure. The infectious, upbeat, New Stock Yard Blues was inspired by his day job at the local live stock auction. That’s No Way To Get Along is a song with a haunting melody and lyrical images like, “they treated me like my poor heart was made of a rock of stone, you know that was enough, mama, to make your son wish’d he’s dead and gone”. In 1964 Robert Wilkins, who had by then turned his back on The Devils Music, recorded and improvised reworking of Thats No Way To Get Along using the biblical theme of the “Prodigal Son” for the lyric base. This was subsequently covered by the Rolling Stones. Tom Dickson and Allen Shaw keep the standard high with Shaw (see also DOCD-5159) producing the fine, driving, Moanin The Blues with bottleneck slide guitar accompaniment.
Alan Balfour Copyright: 1990 Document Records