Saturday, May 30, 2009

Grits/Zorch Show #2

A few weeks ago (Mothers' Day, to be exact), Grits and I did another show...we stayed on his channel and didn't go on shortwave at all. As predicted, it was a lot more free-wheeling, and a helluva lot longer too!

Wouldja believe...four hours?

We played all kinds of stuff...a little jazz, a little blues, a little country, some psych (mainly for Metal-Muncher, of course!), and some vintage commercials too. And a large number of Mother was Mothers' Day!

We were visited by Lily (a chocolate Lab), the newest member of the Grits household. We'll post a picture of her sometime.

We also had a very special visitor, Annie!
Unlike a certain orphaned comic character, this Annie has lovely eyes. I call her my li'l Calico Blob. We beat her up a little (with lots of love, of course!) on the air.

We certainly had a lot of fun...

It would be crazy to post a four-hour long show here, wouldn't it? So I'll just post a few highlights. Hope you like 'em!

With all of the hoopla about H1N1, I had to play the best song I know about influenza (the real 'flu, not the boogie-woogie type).

There was an outbreak in 1929...not as bad as the 1918 pandemic, but serious enough to inspire this terrific gospel record.

404748-B Memphis Flu Elder Curry and Congregation Okeh 8857
King Edward Hotel, Jackson, Mississippi, 18 December 1930: Elder Curry; guitar & vocal; Elder Charles Beck, piano; Jo Ann Williams, lead vocal.

This was a variation on the old standard, God's Mighty Hand.

From the sublime to the's a silly bit of fluff:
IM-3157 Quarantine Dennis Bell Imperial 5781
1961: Dennis Bell, vocal; unidentified orchestra and Insipid Female Chorus.

Ah yes, the immortal lines "we've all got spots, we're covered with red dots." I suppose I shouldn't joke too much about measles...I somehow survived a rare double-dose of the goldurned disease when I was six. I don't remember a lot of the ordeal...apparently I was unconscious through most of it. Shoot...I'm still somewhat unconcious, right?


April 14-15 marked the 97th anniversary of the sinking of RMS Titanic. The disaster spawned quite a few songs...including this record by Richard "Rabbit" Brown. It's hard not to notice his slight garbling of the facts...the ship was sunk by a "gruesome icebreaker" and "Southampton" comes out "South Hamilton." It's still (to me, anyway) the most moving musical account of the tragedy.

38005-1 The Sinking of the Titanic Richard "Rabbit" Brown Victor 35840
New Orleans, 11 March 1927: Rabbit Brown, vocal & guitar.

Astute collectors out there will note (by the serial number) that this was a twelve-inch record. Victor pressed only six twelve-inch "Race" records...most were sermons. I have one of those...someday I'll post it.

My other favorite account of the Titanic story is Blind Willie Johnson's God Moves On The Water. I'll post that one someday, too.

I dedicated the following cut to Annie and Elvis (and their furry friends). It's Swingin' Dem Cats, a particularly rousing hot jazz record by The Missourians, from the last session they did before Cab Calloway started leadership of the band a few months later. This side has some great solos and ensemble work...but it's the clarinet of William Thornton Blue that sends me every time...he comes in like a cat bat out of hell.

59174-2 Swingin' Dem Cats The Missourians Victor V-38145
NYC 17 February 1930: Lockwood Lewis, conductor; R. Q. Dickerson, Lammar Wright, trumpets; De Priest Wheeler, trombone; William Thornton Blue, George Scott, clarinets & alto saxes; Walter Thomas, clarinet, tenor & baritone sax; Earres Prince, piano; Morris White, banjo; Jimmy Smith, tuba; Leroy Maxey, drums.

Oh yeah...we also played a couple of great Wynonie Harris cuts. Here's my favorite one:

K-5325 Blow Your Brains Out Wynonie Harris King 4226
Cincinnati, Ohio, 23 December 1947: Wynonie Harris, vocal; Oran "Hot Lips" Page, trumpet; Hal Singer, Tom Archia, tenor saxes; Joe Knight, piano; Carl "Flat-Top" Wilson, bass; Clarence Donaldson, drums.

For years I assumed that this cut was recorded at the end of a session, with someone saying "hey, we have five minutes of studio time left! Let's throw a blues together!" It has that kind of spontaneity. But the matrix numbers show that Blow Your Brains Out was actually the second title waxed in a six-side session!

Wynonie sounds like he's struggling a bit to come up with something to rhyme with "Archia." He zooms in on a "Time marches on" motif. Harris introduces the other tenor sax as "Oklahoma." (Hal Singer was from Tulsa, and was a few months away from scoring a huge hit [and a new nickname] with Cornbread.) Of course, as much fun as the improvised lyrics are, it's the honkin' saxes that are the stars here.

I've had two or three copies of this on 78...I've never seen a copy that wasn't worn to around
F+/G- condition. This side got played. And played. And played!

You can hear why.

I also wanted to play a good record by
Professor Longhair (Roy Byrd) that night...
Grits had the Crawfish Fiesta album on his hard drive.
I selected the following cut:

Her Mind Is Gone Professor Longhair from Crawfish Fiesta (Alligator Records)
1980: Henry Roeland (Roy) Byrd, piano & vocal; large ensemble featuring Mac Rebennack (Dr. John), guitar.

We played the, we didn't dedicate it to our moms, although we did think about it (only kiddin', Mom!).

Buy the won't be disappointed!

And now for something completely different...

CO 29723 Roumania, Roumania Aaron Lebedeff Columbia 8226-F
NYC, 13 February 1941: Aaron Lebedeff, vocal; Sholom Secunda Orchestra.

What a record! He sings about the Old Country...the delights of dancing, eating and drinking. You can find the original Yiddish lyrics along with a translation at the bottom of this page: ...although it's impossible to translate his lip-popping.
A couple of people have asked me about the song I like to sign off's one of the prettiest white gospel records I've ever heard. I especially like the full sound of Karnes's fancy harp-guitar. His thumping bass notes remind me of those of Rabbit Brown (compare this cut with the Titanic one above).

47234-2 We Shall All Be Reunited Alfred G. Karnes Victor V-40076
Bristol, Tennessee, 28 October 1928: Alfred G. Karnes, vocal & harp-guitar.

This was recorded at the second batch of sessions Victor held in Bristol.
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Well...that'll do it for now, I guess...'til the next time, eh?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank You Zorchman!