Leroy Carr – Complete Recorded Works Vol 4 (1932-1934)
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Complete Recorded Works (19 June 1928 – 25 February 1935)
Vol. 4: 16 March 1932 to 14 August 1934
Leroy Carr, vocal, piano; Scrapper Blackwell, guitar; Carr & Blackwell, speech on 4; Carr & Blackwell, vocal duet on 9.
Genres: Country Blues Guitar, Blues Guitar, Blues Piano, Tennessee Blues, Indianapolis Blues,Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. Vocalion did no further recordings with Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell until February 1934. However, the March 1934 session which produced The Depression Blues also gave rise to one of Leroy Carr‘s most memorable songs, Midnight Hour Blues. To the tune of Betty and Dupree, Carr wistfully sang of loneliness and abandonment, throughout the number constructing such very real images as, “In the wee midnight hours, long fore the break of day, (x2) when the blues creep up on you and carry your mind away” or “Blues why do you worry me why do you stay so long, (x2) you came to me yesterday, stayed with me all night long”. superbly complemented by Blackwell sympathetic, snapping guitar phrases.
It was in St. Louis where Carr and Blackwell eventually returned to recording via a Vocalion field unit who had set up a mobile studio in the city in February 1934. Over a two day period the unit recorded ten sides by Carr, two by Blackwell and ten religious items by Elder Oscar Saunders and his congregation. The sessions witnessed the partnership of Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell at its most intuitive. The guitar playing of Blackwell created a complete fusion of feeling with, and understanding of, Carr’s mellow piano and plaintive vocals. Their perfect unison and comprehension of one another’s musical needs were never better displayed than on reflective numbers like, Mean Mistreater Mama, Hurry Down Sunshine and Shady Lane. If any song from that period encapsulated the sheer perfection and musical heights the pair had attained then, above all, it was the exquisite Blues Before Sunrise. After a further six month gap, the duo was back in the New York studio but in the interim fate had taken a hand. A rival company, Bluebird, had, intentionally or otherwise, discovered an artist with much of Carr’s appeal and many of his vocal qualities. In April 1934 Joe Pullum recorded Black Gal What Makes Your Head So Hard? which on release proved to be as big a success as Carr’s How Long, How Long six years previous. The record out sold most releases in any record company catalogue – even Leroy Carr‘s. Ironically, Black Gal, in exactly the same manner as How Long, spurned several follow-ups and numerous copies by other artists. Carr himself wasn’t immune to the success of the number, recording his own version (see DOCD-5138) in an attempt to capitalise on its popularity!
Alan Balfour Copyright 1992 Document Records