Tampa Red Vol 14 1949 – 1951
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Tampa Red Vol. 14 (1949-1951)
Tampa Red – Vocal, Guitar, Slide Guitar, Vocal, Piano, Kazoo
With contributions by;
Peter Franklin, vocal, guitar
Johnnie Jones, vocal, piano
Ransom Knowling, bass
Odie Payne, drums
Sugarman Penigar, tenor sax
Genres: Chicago Blues. Bottleneck-slide guitar. City Blues
Informative booklet notes by Alan Balfour.
Includes detailed discography.
Volume fourteen, of fifteen volumes charting Tampa Red’s recording career from 1929 to 1953, further galvanises the link between the blues styles of the rural south to the city sound of the north and in particular, Chicago. Here, his blues are solid, sometimes they are low down, sometimes they jump, often they are driven and occasionally they are even Boogied!!
The first three tracks feature Tampa on piano accompanying the vocal and guitar of Pete Frankiln. Frankiln’s guitar style is closely based on that of Scrapper Blackwell, his vocal, along with Tampa’s piano playing encompasses the sound of another major figure of the Chicago blues scene, Big Maeo Merriweather. For the rest of the album Tampa back to the guitar, including his trademark slide playing and is accompanied by Johnnie Jones, Ransom Knowling and Odie Payne; three men who were about to become part of one of the most dynamic and exciting blues bands in Chicago during the 1950s; “The Broomduster’s”, led by the legendary Elmore James. Almost as a forerunner for things to come, we have, here, the first recording of When Things Go Wrong which James would record as “It Hurts Me Too”.
Pete Franklin an Indianapolis born guitarist/pianist who modelled himself on Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell. On arrival in Chicago Franklin made the acquaintance of Jazz Gillum and Tampa Red and through them was employed by Victor A&R / Producer, Lester Melrose, as supporting guitarist to Gillum on 25th January 1949. The following day Melrose recorded Franklin in his own right. The pianist for the four number session was Pete Franklin – Tampa Red who, not unnaturally, chose the Leroy Carr style as his accompaniment to Franklin.
That session was held at Melrose’s address at 8922 S. Hoyne Avenue, as were those by Tampa Red in March 1949 and March 1950. Johnny Jones, then aged twenty-four, shows his indebtedness to Maceo on the bouncing “It’s A Brand New Boogey” and “When Things Go Wrong With You”, a remake of Tampa’s 1940 “It Hurts Me Too”. Jones’s other talent was as a harmonica player and his eerily accurate evocation of John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson’s style can he heard on the infectious shuffle, “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is”.
The start of a new decade was acknowledged by Tampa with the aptly titled “1950 Blues” which features Jones duetting on the chorus, there were also a further number of remakes including his 1928 hit, “It’s Tight Like That” (as “It’s Good Like That” with sonic spirited playing from Jones) and his 1938 offering, “Love Her With A Feelin’”. Perhaps getting Tampa to re-record some of his earlier successes fifties style was just another way of trying to reach the new audience. Later that year, in November, Tampa recorded a remake of his 1934 recording “Black Angel”, (as “Sweet Little Angel”) a number that Robert Nighthawk had enjoyed great success with for Chess the previous year and one that Tampa had long claimed authorship on even though it was first recorded as “Black Angel Blues” by Lucille Bogan in 1930. The song eventually became an R&B hit for B. B. King and unfortunately for Tampa, forever linked with that artist.