Walter Roland Vol. 2 (1934-1935) – Full Album
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Complete Recorded Works (17 July 1 933 – 20 March 1935)
Vol. 2: 30 July 1934 to 20 March 1935
Featuring the recordings of:
Walter Roland, vocal / piano on 1 / guitar on 2, 3. Walter Roland, vocal on 4 / guitar; Sonny Scott, vocal / guitar. Walter Roland, vocal / piano. Sonny Scott, vocal; accompanied by Walter Roland. Walter Roland, vocal / piano; Sonny Scott, vocal or speech (except on 14 / probably percussion on 13); Bessie Jackson (Lucille Bogan), speech on 13. Jolly Two: Walter Roland, Sonny Scott, guitar duet. Walter Roland, vocal; accompanied by own piano on 18, 19 / own guitar on 17; Sonny Scott, vocal on 17 / vocal or speech on 19 / guitar on 17. Walter Roland, vocal; accompanied by own piano on 20, 21 / own guitar on 22, 23; Sonny Scott, guitar on 22, 23 / vocal or speech on 21 / probably percussion on 21, Bessie Jackson (Lucille Bogan), speech on 21.
Genres: Blues, Country Blues, Alabama Blues, Blues Piano, Blues Guitar, Country Blues Guitar, Guitar Duet,
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. Walter Roland made 19 recordings for the American Record Corporation at 4 sessions in July, 1933. All were issued, as were most of those he made as an accompanist to Lucille Bogan and Sonny Scott, suggesting good sales. A year after their first New York sessions together, Roland and Bogan were back in New York recording for ARC. Although Sonny Scott didn’t make the trip this time, Roland and Bogan were not the only artists in ARC’s New York studio on 30th July, 1934. Buddy Moss from Georgia cut a couple of titles, as did Bob Campbell, a fine but shadowy blues singer and guitarist who may have come up from Alabama with Roland and Bogan. One of Campbell’s titles was the brilliant Dice’s Blues. Two masters later, Roland recorded his version of this piece, varying the lyrics after the first verse and giving it a more up-tempo treatment. Roland’s PWA Blues, like Joe Pullum‘s (an entirely different song, recorded four months before Roland’s) paid tribute to the Public Works Administration, one of President Roosevelt’s New Deal programmes which took men off welfare by creating jobs, thereby helping to lift the nation out of depression. Like Bluebird with Pullum, A.R.C. misheard Roland’s pronunciation of the letter “p”, hearing it as “c” and so mis-titling the record CWA Blues. In teaming Josh White with Walter Roland, first on two 1934 White recordings and then at several March, 1935 sessions, A.R.C. were probably trying to repeat the success of the Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell partnership. Cold Blooded Murder and Sail On Little Girl No. 2 were in fact “covers” of a Bumble Bee Slim record. White and Roland were far too talented to slavishly recreate a sound, however, and their musical empathy produced some outstanding performances. Although under-recorded, on the 7th and 8th of March, White is heard to much better effect on the 14th & 18th March titles. Penniless Blues, the only issued title from the last session on 20th March, is especially fine with Roland bitterly commenting “You know living with that woman is just like being in hell”. All of Roland’s 1933 titles had been issued and only 5 of his 1934 recordings remained unissued (including Walking Blues and the World Fair Blues) but out of two dozen 1935 titles, half were never issued, including the intriguing Our Father Blues, White Corn Drinker and the lively-sounding Steak And Onion Stomp. Having been one of the few successful blues recording artists in Depression time, it seems strange that Roland didn’t record again after 1935, but the tastes of blues record buyers were changing and the bigger sound of the Chicago-based bands was becoming increasingly popular. Big Bill, Jazz Gillum, Tampa Red, Washboard Sam et al were in the ascendancy and territorial musicians like Walter Roland were fading as recording prospects.Bob Groom Copyright 1993 Document Records.