Mississippi Sheiks – Complete Recorded Works 1930 – 1936 Vol 1 (1930)
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Complete Recorded Works 17 February 1930 – 15 October 1936
Vol. 1: 17th February 1929 to 12th June 1930
Featuring the recordings of:
Walter Vincson (Jacobs), vocal / guitar on 1, 6, 7, 8; Lonnie Chatman, vocal / violin on 1, 2, 3; possibly Bo Chatman (Carter), 2nd violin on 8; Walter Vicson or Lonnie Chatman, vocal on 2, 3, 5. Mississippi Sheiks With Bo Chatman (Carter), vocal / guitar / violin on 9, 10, 12, 13; Sam Chatman, vocal / guitar. Walter Vincson, vocal / guitar, speech on 20 / yodelling on 16; ; probably Lonnie Chatman, violin Bo Chatman (Carter), vocal on 15, 17/ speech on 20 / guitar (possibly not on all sides).
Genres: Blues, Mississippi Blues, Country Blues, String Band, Country Blues Guitar, Blues Violin, Hokum, National Guitar
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. It wasnt until February 1930 that the Mississippi Sheiks encountered Okehs field recording unit in Shreveport, Louisiana, some distance from their base in the Jackson, Mississippi area. Their name was made up at the recording session at the request of producer Polk Brockman, and was apparently inspired by the pop hit Sheik of Araby, although the word was common in black speech, thanks to Rudolph Valentino. At their first session, the Sheiks recorded their two biggest hits. Sitting On Top Of The World, with its mournful delivery in ironic contrast to the jaunty words, was a perfect song for the coming Depression, and attracted a host of cover versions. Stop And Listen Blues was musically based on Tommy Johnsons Big Road Blues, and gave Walter Vinson a chance to display his considerable guitar prowess, playing with unrestrained force. The lyrics, recounting a girlfriends funeral, are equally impressive, and this song, too, was widely covered. There was more to the Sheiks than blues, though; they were accustomed to playing for white dances, and The Sheik Waltz and The Jazz Fiddler reflect this side of their work, and were issued in Okehs old-time series, while Lonely One In This Town is more pop than blues. The waltz, which includes Charles K. Harriss After The Ball among its strains, is also a showcase for Lonnies technique. Driving That Thing was the first of the many sexual metaphors they employed when playing a rural version of the hokum popularized by Tampa Red and others. Alberta Blues was a version of Corrine Corrina, which Bo Chatmon had recorded in 1928 which became a standard, recorded by blacks, hillbillies, folk revivalists and pop singers. At their next session, spread over four days in San Antonio, the Sheiks were equally eclectic, ranging from the tough and very black West Jackson Blues to the sentimental, white-influenced Jail Bird Love Song. This may be one of the sessions on which Sam Chatmon appears; compare the singing on Grinding Old Fool to that on the earlier Driving That Thing. Jake Leg Blues and Bootleggers Blues were alcohol-related topical commentary, the first blaming the jake leg epidemic caused by adulterated Jamaica Ginger on Prohibition, the second adapted from To The Pines. Topical in a different way were Yodeling Fiddling Blues and Loose Like That, respectively indebted to Jimmy Rodgers and Tampa Red. (Tampas Chicago Moan also inspired River Bottom Blues.) Stars themselves by now, as all-round entertainers the Mississippi Sheiks werent above covering the work of two of the most popular musicians in the country.Chris Smith Copyright 1991 & 2008 Document Records.