Washboard Sam Vol 7 1942 – 1949
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Complete Recorded Works (20 June 1935 – 27 October 1949)
Vol. 7: 31st July to 27th October 1949
Featuring the recordings of:
Washboard Sam, vocal / washboard; Memphis Slim piano; Big Bill Broonzy, guitar; Ransom Knowling, stand-up bass. Washboard Sam, vocal / washboard; J. T. Brown, tenor sax; Roosevelt Sykes, piano; Big Bill Broonzy, guitar; Willie Dixon, stand-up bass. Washboard Sam, vocal / washboard; “Sax” Mallard, alto sax / clarinet; Bob Call, piano; Big Bill Broonzy, guitar; Ernest “Big” Crawford, stand-up bass. Washboard Sam, vocal / washboard; “Sax” Mallard, alto sax / clarinet; Bob Call, piano; Big Bill Broonzy, guitar; Ransom Knowling, stand-up bass; Judge Riley, drums. Washboard Sam, vocal / washboard; Eddie “Sugarman” Penigar, tenor sax; Bob Call, piano; Willie Lacey, guitar; Ransom Knowling, stand-up bass. Washboard Sam, vocal / washboard; Eddie “Sugarman” Penigar, tenor sax; Bob Call, piano; Willie Lacey, guitar; Ransom Knowling, stand-up bass.
Genres: Blues, Arkansas Blues, Early Chicago Blues, Blues, Guitar, Blues Piano, Urban Blues
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes In this, the seventh and final album of Washboard Sam‘s recordings, his final session for Bluebird and his post-war sessions for RCA Victor are covered. The first two songs from his session of July 31,1942 were on volume six; the remaining four songs begin this album. The personnel on this initial session was Memphis Slim on piano, Big Bill Broonzy on guitar, Ransom Knowling on string bass and Sam on washboard. The first two songs here were unissued on 78s. Down South Woman Blues is set in Mississippi with references to Highway 51 and 49. The solo is by Memphis Slim. Ain’t That A Shame is not the Fats Domino song but rather another song based on How Long Blues; Big Bill handles the solo this time. The two issued songs from this session were Sam’s last to be released on the Bluebird label. I Laid My Cards On the Table is Sam’s story of a heartbreaking one-sided love affair. I Get The Blues At Bedtime was written by Big Bill, who obligingly solos on guitar. After a four and a half year layoff, Sam began recording for RCA Victor; his first post-war session took place on February 18, 1947 in Chicago. In addition to Sam’s washboard, it included Roosevelt Sykes on piano, Big Bill on guitar, Willie Dixon on string bass and J. T. Brown on tenor saxophone. The latter had been a member of Sykes’ band and would later become a regular member of Elmore James‘ band. The session began with a cover version of You Can’t Make The Grade written and recorded by James “Beale Street” Clarke in late 1946 for Columbia. J. T. Brown‘s distinctive style of tenor is heard immediately on this song, as Sam exhorts him to “play one”. In fact, J. T.’s playing adds a sameness to all four songs, possibly why he was only used on this one session. I Just Can’t Help It is a lively number where Sam defends his inability to control his actions. The session concludes with Soap And Water Blues where Sam complains that his woman “smells like a goat… and has B. O. all the time”! Only Big Bill Broonzy and Washboard Sam are carried over to the next session of October 16,1947. Newcomers are “Sax” Mallard alternating on alto saxophone and clarinet, Bob Call on piano and Big Crawford on string bass. No Special Rider features a clarinet solo and ironically was written by Roosevelt Sykes, who was replaced by Call on this session. Ramblin’ With That Woman features a guitar solo by Bill. The next session adds a new dimension to Sam’s recordings, as drums are used for the first (and last) time. Taking place a short three weeks after the above session on November 4, 1947, the same musicians are used with the exception of Ransom Knowling replacing Crawford on string bass and Judge Riley being added on drums. Call gets to solo on You Know How I Feel. Sam fills this composition with many blues clichés including “poor boy long way from home” and “you got to reap just what you sow”. Money is the issue on Dollar Is Your Best Friend because Sam’s friends won’t help him. There was another musician’s union strike in 1948. Sam’s final two sessions for RCA Victor took place in 1949, and are unique among his recordings due to the absence of Big Bill Broonzy, who was replaced by Willie Lacey on guitar. Call and Knowling are retained, but drums are dropped and Eddie “Sugarman” Penigar on tenor saxophone replaces “Sax” Mallard. No. 1 Drunkard and Nothing In Rambling is the final release by Sam to be issued on 78 speed only; his last three releases were all issued simultaneously on both 78 and the new 45rpm speed which RCA introduced in 1949. The first session took place on February 25, 1949; Sam’s first 45 coupled I’m Just Tired with Maybe You Love Me. Both songs were written by RCA A & R man Lester Melrose. The later song features Willie Lacey on the introduction. Washboard Sam‘s final session for RCA Victor was held on October 27, 1949 with the same personnel as the previous session. You Said You Loved Me is a plea for his woman to stop two-timing him. St. Louis is the location described in the next song, Market Street Swing. Lamenting his orphaned childhood is the theme of Motherless Child Blues. The session ends on a bright note with Gamblin’ Man where Sam is a winner all the time.Victor Pearlin Copyright 1993: Document Records