Georgia Blues & Gospel 1927-1931
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Georgia Blues & Gospel
Complete Recorded works (1927 1931)
Featuring the recordings of:
Julius Daniels, vocal / guitar; Bubba Lee Torrence, guitar added on some sides. Julius Daniels, vocal / guitar; Wilbert Andrews, guitar George Carter, vocal / guitar. Lil McClintock, (male) vocal / guitar. Lillie Mae, vocal; accompanied by. unknown, piano; poss. Barbecue Bob, guitar. Lillie Mae, vocal; accompanied. unknown, piano; unknown, guitar; prob. Curley Weaver, guitar.
Genres: Blues, Country Blues, Georgia Blues, Gospel, Guitar Evangelist, Country Blues Guitar, 12-string Guitar, Bottleneck-slide Guitar, Female Blues, Blues Piano, Piedmont Guitar, Songster, Gospel
Abridged from this album’s original booklet notes. Julius Daniels can be associated with the shared black and white pre-blues tradition. Two beautifully executed religious pieces with bottleneck guitar accompaniment balance his first session, with I’m Goin’ To Tell God How You Doin’ using the melody popular with other Piedmont performers as Tryin’ To Get Home (see Eddie Head and His Family, DOCD-5101, and Blind Willie McTell, BDCD-6001). Can’t Put The Bridle On That Mule This Morning is another song from the shared pre-blues tradition and is related to the popular “Crawdad Hole”. Of particular interest in this song is the explicit “nigger and the white man playing seven-up” verse, which is much more common in its disguised form as “monkey and the baboon”. Daniels’ second session ended with two choice blues numbers: Richmond Blues (with an interesting alternative take which retains the core verses while adding some “floating” stanzas), and the first recorded version of the blues standard Crow Jane. The several surviving alternates are useful in determining to what extent an arrangement was “set” in Daniels’ repertory. Unfortunately, he never recorded again after 1927. As Bruce Bastin reports in Red River Blues. Daniels continued living in Charlotte and worked at various menial jobs before he died of heart failure on October 18, 1947. The available evidence points to a somewhat later appearance of blues in the Piedmont than in Mississippi which helps to explain why Daniels was so comfortable with pre-blues material. Songster Lil McClintock appears to have been a contemporary of “first generation” recorded artists like Henry Thomas and Jim Jackson. His first name is probably a shortened version of “Little” and he is one of the handful of black folk artists to have been noted by folklorists prior to being commercially recorded. (The Southern Folklore Quarterly published an article by Chapman J. Milling in 1937; “Delia Holmes – A Neglected Negro Ballad” in which a version of that song, collected from Lil and Babe McClintock in Clinton, South Carolina in 1923, was printed.) Bruce Bastin reports that McClintock was from Clinton, which is in the vicinity of the birthplaces of Gary Davis and Pink Anderson, and that he made his records under the auspices of Burm Lawson, manager of Cooper’s Furniture Store in Union. McClintock was sent to record in Atlanta with another of Lawson’s discoveries, the blind religious singer Gussie Nesbitt (see DOCD-5154). There he cut four titles: two secular pre-blues numbers that are discussed in more detail in Paul Oliver‘s Songsters And Saints. Furniture Man is a topical number about the repossession of goods bought on credit and actually mentions Mr. Cooper in the lyrics, although I’m not certain he would have been pleased with the plug. Don’t Think I’m Santa Claus is a textbook example of the professional songster’s use of composites or medleys known to his audience as “rags”. Mack McCormick, in his exemplary essay on songster Henry Thomas (Herwin LP H-209), defines “rags” as”… pieces of songs patched together, compressed into anthologies with an almost Joycean flavour.” They appear to be utilized by the songster with “the assumption that his audience knew in full such standard songs… and thus he was free to merge them into a patchwork medley that may follow a subtle chain of association (not always apparent unless the listener is equally familiar with the songs quoted and alluded to.” McCormick notes also that the term “rags… is distinct from but has a close relationship with the word ‘ragtime’ that designated the popular music and a formal style of the 1890s. Both terms allude to music which is patched together from pieces of different colours and textures.” Richard Raichelson demonstrates with comparisons from sheet music that Don’t You Think I’m Santa Claus “… consists of the choruses of four commercial ragtime songs written in 1904-5 and joined together into a medley”. The songs are: You Must Think I’m Santa Claus by Irving Thomas and Maxwell Silver, By The Watermelon Vine – Lindy Lou by Thomas S. Allen, Keep A Little Cozy Corner In Your Heart For Me by Jack Drislane and Theodore F. Morse, and Everybody Works But Father by Jean Havez (lohn Edwards Memorial Foundation Quarterly, August 1970). A significant number of Georgia guitarists displayed a penchant for the twelve stringed variety of the instrument. While a major artist like Blind Willie McTell was stylistically in a class by himself, the Atlanta group surrounding Barbecue Bob Hicks and his brother Charley Lincoln represents a definable regional style that apparently captures the adaptation of a claw-hammer banjo style over to a strummed approach on guitar. The Hicks brothers learned the style from their neighbour Savannah “Dip” Weaver, mother of Curley Weaver who could also perform in that style although he seemingly went out of his way to be perceived as a more versatile and up-to-date player. Both Willie Baker and George Carter have been postulated as elder statesmen of the style but nothing concrete is known about either of them. Bruce Bastin relates that when Edward “Snap” Hill, a boyhood friend of Curley Weaver and the Hicks brothers was played a tape of one of George Carter‘s songs it prompted him to say: “He’s from Atlanta” although he knew nothing about him. Carter’s four pieces exemplify two song types, with Rising River and Ghost Woman in standard tuning – key of E with the use of the more colourful IV-6th chord in the progressions, and Hot Jelly Roll and Weeping Willow in open G tuning using the earlier strummed technique of the Atlanta school. Lillie Mae is another biographical blank, but her four sides reveal a singer capable of several popular rural styles, from her uncanny mimicking of Georgia’s “Mother Of The Blues” – Gertrude “Ma” Rainey on Buggy Jail House (complete with a Tampa Red sound-alike on guitar) to the hokum flavoured titles that complete her two sessions (and this compilation) on an upbeat note, reminding us that despite all of its serious elements, the blues is ultimately a music of celebration.Ken Romanowski April 1993 Copyright 1993: Document Records.