Mississippi Sheiks – Complete Recorded Works 1930 – 1936 Vol 3 (1931-1934)
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Complete Recorded Works 17 February 1930 – 15 October 1936
Vol. 3: 25th October 1931 to 26th March 1934
Featuring the recordings of:
Walter Vincson, vocal / guitar; acc. prob. Lonnie Chatman, violin. Walter Vincson, vocal / guitar on 5, 9, 10, 11, 14, 16; Lonnie Chatman, violin (except on 16) / vocal on 6, 12, 13, 15; unknown piano on 16; Walter Vincson or Lonnie Chatman, vocal on 7. 8. Walter Vincson (Jacobs), vocal / guitar; prob. Lonnie Chatman, violin; unknown (probably Bo Carter or possibly Charlie McCoy) 2nd guitar. Bo Chatman (Carter), vocal / guitar; accompanied by Lonnie Chatman, violin; prob. Sam Chatman, 2nd guitar.
Genres: Blues, Country Blues, Mississippi Blues, String Band, Blues Guitar, Country Blues Guitar, Blues Violin, National Guitar, Hokum
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. The Mississippi Sheiks wrapped up their two days in Atlanta with four titles which show off Walter Vinson‘s guitar playing to particular advantage, as well as including some clever lyrics: When You’re Sick With The Blues is hokum, but Bed Spring Poker gives an unusual warning of the dangers of sexual gambling. I’ve Got Blood In My Eyes For You was one of four titles from these sessions issued on Columbia, the parent company of Okeh. Around the time Columbia 14660-D was released, in June 1932, the Sheiks were recording for Paramount, which was in turn to terminate its 12/13000 race series towards the end of that year. The last two discs issued were both by the Mississippi Sheiks; all through the Depression they had been favourites with black record buyers, and it’s not surprising that they were Paramount’s last throw of the dice. Nor, perhaps, is it surprising that much of the session was devoted to remakes and rewrites. Inevitably, they cut further – and very fine – versions of Stop and Listen and Sitting On Top Of The World, and Don’t Wake It Up (taken at a tearing speed) and Please Baby were second attempts at songs recorded in Atlanta the previous year. Shooting High Dice used the tune of W. C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues”, while New Shake That Thing was a tribute to the enduring popularity of Papa Charlie Jackson‘s hit from 1925, given engaging new lyrics that celebrate the ability of Southerners to have fun. Apart from reworking old numbers, the Sheiks also made some excellent originals: She’s Crazy About Her Lovin showcases some of the finest and most intuitive playing recorded by either Vinson or Lonnie Chatmon, and He Calls That Religion is a biting attack on clerical hypocrisy. The most unusual song was the last: I’ll Be Gone, Long Gone is unsurprising in being one more lyric to the melody of “Sitting On Top Of The World”, but, uniquely for the Sheiks, it is a piano-guitar duet. As usual, Walter Vinson is the guitarist and vocalist. Even in 1933, there was still a little recording of blues singers going on, and in June of that year the Mississippi Sheiks were allocated a block of eight Columbia matrices, although only two titles were issued. Despite the standard discography, there are two guitars present along with Lonnie’s fiddle. One of the guitars is Walter Vinson; the other has been assumed to be Bo Carter. It’s quite possible, but the duetting, especially on Kitty Cat Blues, has a heavier, more percussive touch than that on “Sales Tax” (see DOCD-5086), where Bo is definitely present, and the second guitarist might be Charlie McCoy, who settled in Chicago about this time. Bo Carter was definitely present on 26th and 27th March 1934 and he is said by “Blues & Gospel Records” to be the vocalist and guitarist for the Sheiks on these dates, with Sam Chatman on second guitar, and Lonnie on violin as usual. Walter Vinson might be present on one of the sessions, as may be heard on DOCD-5086. Vinson was definitely present at both sessions, but it appears that he was absent for the titles on this album; the guitar picking is characteristic of Bo Carter. After much listening it can be concluded that Bo is the singer as well. Unsurprisingly, he recorded a version of Sitting On Top Of The World, although he gave it ingenious lyrics about the numbers game. It’s Done Got Wet was a joyful celebration of the end of Prohibition, with a scat episode, and Bo Carter imitating Walter’s intrusive “r” (“Oh-rit’s done got wet”, etc.). These six titles are all notable for the superb interplay between Bo’s guitar and Lonnie’s violin, which produces a quite different sound to that of the usual Sheiks duo.Chris Smith Copyright 1991 Document Records