Josh White Vol 2 1933 – 1935
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Complete Recorded Works 1929 1940
Vol. 2: (24th November 1933 to 18th March 1935)
Featuring the recordings of:
Joshua White (The Singing Christian), vocal / guitar. Joshua White, (as The Singing Christian on 4, 5 / as Pinewood Tom on 8, 9), vocal / guitar; Marie Miles, piano on 8. Joshua White (as Pinewood Tom), vocal / guitar; Walter Roland, piano. Pinewood Tom And His Blues Hounds: Joshua White, vocal; accompanied by Leroy Carr, piano; probably own guitar on 12, 14; probably Scrapper Blackwell, guitar on 13, 15. Joshua White (as Pinewood Tom), vocal / guitar; Clarence Williams, piano. Joshua White (as Pinewood Tom), vocal / guitar, unknown, piano. Joshua White (as Pinewood Tom), vocal / guitar; Walter Roland, piano.
Genres: Blues, Country Blues, South Carolina Blues, Carolina Blues, Piedmont Blues, Country Blues Guitar, Rural Blues, Ragtime Guitar, Gospel, Country Gospel, Carolina Gospel, National Guitar, Blues Piano,
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. In November 1933, Josh White left his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina, and returned to New York to make a set of religious recordings, most of which were issued under the name of “Joshua White (The Singing Christian)“. The recordings of Blind Willie Johnson (Full Recorded Works: Document DOCD-5690 & DOCD-5691) had become very popular, and Josh had produced his own versions of two of his songs (Jesus Gonna Make Up My Dying Bed and Motherless Children ) in his August 1933 session (see Volume One). This trend was continued in March 1934, when Josh recorded a very close rendition of Johnson’s Can’t Help But Crying Sometimes. At the end of this session, he also recorded two blues, Welfare Blues and Stormy Weather No. 1, the latter featuring some excellent guitar work, which were released under the name of “Pinewood Tom“, as were all his remaining secular recordings for ARC in the following two years. (A few titles also appeared credited to “Tippy Barton” and “Jimmy Walker“.) Josh has said that this was to protect his mother from the knowledge that he was singing “the devil’s music”, although his blues recordings of the previous two years had been released under his own name. Commencing in August 1934, ARC began teaming Josh White with other well-known artists, the first being Walter Roland, who supplied a fine piano accompaniment to Josh’s version of I Believe I’ll Make A Change and Friendless City Blues. Later, in March 1935, Josh returned the favour, and added his guitar backing to Roland’s own recordings, as well as to those with Lucille Bogan (see Document DOCD-5145 & BDCD-6038). Later that month, Josh was joined by none other than the piano and guitar team of Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell, themselves enjoying a most successful recording career at that time. Four titles were produced at this session, including a lively Gone Mother Blues and an energetic version of the duo’s own Mean Mistreater Mama. Four months later, in December 1934, Josh sat in and added his voice and guitar to a Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell session, as may be heard on Document DOCD-5138 and DOCD-5139- Josh broke his ties with South Carolina in December 1934, marrying a young singer named Carol Carr, and settling permanently in New York City. He now rarely travelled to the South, to the areas he had grown to detest, with his memories of the beatings and lynchings he had witnessed in his youth, during his boyhood travels with the blind bluesmen he led. At Josh White‘s first 1935 session, in February, ARC introduced yet another famous pianist, namely Clarence Williams, to produce a pair of recordings, including a spirited rendition of Kokomo Arnold‘s Milk Cow Blues, complete with the Arnold falsetto, a device that Josh was to use on several numbers around this time. Josh had appeared frequently with Clarence Williams and his Southernaires in the Harlem Fantasy Show, on WEAF-radio, New York City, between the years 1932 and 1935- A week after his recording with Clarence Williams, Josh was joined by an unknown pianist in a session in which a rendition of Roosevelt Sykes‘ popular D.B.A. Blues, and a reworking of the Mean Mistreater theme, were recorded. Three weeks later, in March 1935, Josh was reunited with pianist Walter Roland in a lively series of sessions that produced 14 recordings, starting with Bed Springs Blues (in which Josh announces his name as “Pinewood Tom“), and also including solid “New” versions of both Milk Cow Blues and D.B.A. Blues (with falsetto). The balance of these sessions, including two religious numbers, can be heard on Volume Three.David Moore Copyright 1993: Document Records.