DELTA BLUES

  jan nico mulderij
race records

De eerste opgenomen Delta Blues



Hoewel de Delta Blues haar oorsprong kent voor 1900, werden de eerste opnames gemaakt in de jaren 1920, toen platenmaatschappijen de potentiële Afro-amerikaanse markt bestookten met Race Records (een soort van verzameldiscs met allerhande muziek van zwarte artiesten).

Deze Race Records zijn rond 1924 gestart na het giga-succes van Mamie Smith met “Crazy Blues” (opgenomen op 10 augustus 1920). Van haar plaat werden er direkt duizenden exemplaren verkocht in de zwarte getto's in Noord-Amerikaanse steden als New York, Detroit en Chicago.
Onmiddellijk begon er een talentenjacht. Het doel was om nieuw blues talent en een aantal van de oudere country blues artiesten te vinden. Deze zangers (en de New Orleans-stijl jazzbands, ook ontdekt tijdens de talenjacht) werden naar Chicago en New York gebracht om materiaal op te nemen.
Freddie Spruell wordt gerekend tot de eerste Delta Blues muzikant van wie opnames zijn gemaakt zonder begeleidende band (zie hieronder).

Op grote schaal werden de vroege Delta Blues (en andere genres) ook opgenomen door John Lomax en zijn zoon Alan Lomax (folkloristen). Zij doorkruisten de zuidelijke Verenigde Staten om muziek op te nemen, gespeeld en gezongen door gewone mensen. Daarvan zijn duizenden opnames opgeslagen in de Smithsonian Institution.

Een selectie van oude opnames:
Bertha Lee Pate - “Yellow Bee” (1934) PLAY INFO
Big Joe Williams - “Little Leg Woman” (1935) PLAY INFO
Blind Joe Reynolds - “Outside Woman Blues” (1929) PLAY INFO
Blind Willie Johnson - “Nobody's Fault But Mine” (1927) PLAY INFO
Bo Carter - “Good Old Turnip Greens” (1928) PLAY INFO
Bukka White - “The New 'Frisco Train” (1930) PLAY INFO
Charley Patton - “Pony Blues” (1929) PLAY INFO
Freddie Spruell - “Milk Cow Blues” (1926) PLAY INFO
Garfield Akers - “Cottonfield Blues part 1” (1929) PLAY INFO
Geeshie Wiley & Elvie Thomas - “Last Kind Words Blues” (1930) PLAY INFO
Henry 'Son' Sims - “Farrell Blues” (1929) PLAY INFO
Hollis 'Fat Head' Washington - “Early In The Morning” (1940) PLAY INFO

willie fordDeep River of Song: Mississippi - The Blues Lineage
Sixteen country-blues cuts, recorded between 1936 and 1942 by folklorists Alan and John A. Lomax for the Library of Congress at plantations, penitentiaries, tourist camps, and elsewhere (actually the two songs by William Brown were done near Mississippi, in Arkansas). Deep River of Song: Mississippi - The Blues Lineage is a more pleasurable compilation than most folk field recordings of the era are (whether by the Lomaxes or others), due to the tight and focused performances. A couple of the names will be familiar to any blues fan (and to some non-blues fans). Muddy Waters, then playing acoustic Delta blues as McKinley Morganfield, contributes 'I Be Bound to Write to You' and 'You Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone'; Son House, about to disappear from the public eye for a couple of decades, does four songs, including his famous 'Walking Blues' (which is six minutes here, with accompaniment from other musicians on mandolin, guitar, and harmonica). Most of the tracks are entertaining and academically important, as well as illustrative of some differences in Mississippi blues styles. Some of these are blues that are more upbeat than the Delta stereotype, as in David 'Honeyboy' Edwards' 'Wind Howlin' Blues' and Lucious Curtis (who never recorded before or after his 1940 recordings on this disc), whose sharp guitar picking has some ragtime and boogie flavor.

Hollis 'Fathead' Washington
An African-American singer, who was recorded by the Library of Congress while an inmate at the State Penitentiary, Parchman, Mississippi in 1939.

Isaiah Nettles - “Mississippi Moan” (1935) PLAY INFO
Ishman Bracey - “Saterday Blues” (1928) PLAY INFO
J.D. Short - “Lonesome Swamp Rattlesnake” (1930) PLAY INFO
Jim Thompkins - “Bedside Blues” (1930) PLAY INFO

jim thompkinsJim Thompkins
Jim Thompkins was a mysterious Mississippi bluesman, whose full catalogue is represented by only one song: the incredible 'Bedside Blues'. Although Jim Thompkins was known to have cut another track on the same data in February 1930, this has since vanished. No known pictures of him exist.

Joe Callicott - “Fare Thee Well Blues” (1930) PLAY INFO
John Henry Barbee - “Six Weeks Old Blues” (1938) PLAY INFO
Kansas Joe McCoy - “When The Levee Breaks” (1929) PLAY INFO
Kid Bailey - “Mississippi Bottom Blues” (1929) PLAY INFO
Lead Belly - “The Boll Weevil” (1933) PLAY INFO
Lucious Curtis & Wilie Ford - “Sto' Gallery Blues” (1940) PLAY INFO

willie fordDeep River of Song: Mississippi - The Blues Lineage
Sixteen country-blues cuts, recorded between 1936 and 1942 by folklorists Alan and John A. Lomax for the Library of Congress at plantations, penitentiaries, tourist camps, and elsewhere (actually the two songs by William Brown were done near Mississippi, in Arkansas). Deep River of Song: Mississippi - The Blues Lineage is a more pleasurable compilation than most folk field recordings of the era are (whether by the Lomaxes or others), due to the tight and focused performances. A couple of the names will be familiar to any blues fan (and to some non-blues fans). Muddy Waters, then playing acoustic Delta blues as McKinley Morganfield, contributes 'I Be Bound to Write to You' and 'You Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone'; Son House, about to disappear from the public eye for a couple of decades, does four songs, including his famous 'Walking Blues' (which is six minutes here, with accompaniment from other musicians on mandolin, guitar, and harmonica). Most of the tracks are entertaining and academically important, as well as illustrative of some differences in Mississippi blues styles. Some of these are blues that are more upbeat than the Delta stereotype, as in David 'Honeyboy' Edwards' 'Wind Howlin' Blues' and Lucious Curtis (who never recorded before or after his 1940 recordings on this disc), whose sharp guitar picking has some ragtime and boogie flavor.

Mattie Delaney - “Down The Big Road Blues” (1930) PLAY INFO
Mississippi John Hurt - “Frankie” (1928) PLAY INFO
Muddy Waters - “Country Blues” (1941) PLAY INFO
Papa Charlie McCoy - “Last Time Blues” (1929) PLAY INFO
Peetie Wheatstraw - “Four o'Clock In The Morning” (1930) PLAY INFO
Robert Johnson - “Kindhearted Woman Blues” (1936) PLAY INFO
Robert Lee McCoy - “Tough Luck” (1937) PLAY INFO
Robert Lockwood jr. - “Take A Little Walk With Me” (1941) PLAY INFO
Robert Petway “Rockin' Chair Blues” (1941) PLAY INFO
Robert Wilkens - “Rolling Stone” (1928) PLAY INFO
Roosevelt Sykes - “44 Blues” (1929) PLAY INFO
Rosie Mae Moore - “Staggering Blues” (1928) PLAY INFO

Rosie Mae Moorerosie mae moore
Little is known about blues vocalist Rosie Mae Moore. Moore recorded several songs in the late 1920s, including 'Staggering Blues' and 'Stranger Blues.' She was from Jackson Mississippi and performed in medicine shows before getting involved with blues guitarist and mandolinist Charlie McCoy. McCoy accompanied Moore on her recordings for Victor, as did guitarist Ishman Bracey. She was Charlie McCoy's girlfriend during the time of her recordings that all took place in 1928. She recorded four sides for Victor in Memphis in the early part of the year. Later in December she recorded four more sides for Brunswick in New Orleans, backed by McCoy as well as Walter Vincson and Bo Chatman of The Mississippi Shieks. On her Brunswick releases she was billed as Mary Butler.

Rube Lacey - “Mississippi Jail House Groan” (1929) PLAY INFO
Sam Collins - “Yellow Dog Blues” (1927) PLAY INFO
Skip James - “Cherry Ball Blues” (1931) PLAY INFO
Son House - “Dry Spell Blues” (1930) PLAY INFO
Tommy Johnson - “Cool Drink Of Water Blues” (1928) PLAY INFO
Tommy McClennan - “You Can Mistreat Me Here” (1939) PLAY INFO
William Brown - “Mississippi Blues” (1942) PLAY INFO

william brownWilliam Brown
US blues singer, guitar player. He recorded three solo songs only, 'Ragged And Dirty', 'Mississippi Blues' and 'East St. Louis Blues' for Alan Lomax.
According to reports from Alan Lomax and 'Chasin' That Devil's Music, Searching for the Blues' by Gayle Dean Wardlow, he's not the same Willie Brown who recorded 'M&O Blues' and 'Future Blues' and played with Son House and Charley Patton.

Willie Brown - “M & O Blues” (1930) PLAY INFO
William Harris - “I'm Leavin' Town” (1927) PLAY INFO
Willie Harris - “What Makes A Tom Cat Blue?” (1929) PLAY INFO

willie harrisWillie Harris
In the period of the late 1920's, there was a blues musician by the name of William Harris recording for Gennett & Champion, as well as a gospel musician Blind Willie Harris who recorded two songs for Vocalion. This Willie Harris, was believed to have been from Mississippi, and the same musician that backed Sonny Boy Nelson and Mississippi Matilda on their 1930's Bluebird recordings in New Orleans. Harris cut two records of his own in Chicago in 1929-1930.

En de Moeder en de Keizerin van alle Blues:

Gertrude Ma Rainey - “Bad luck blues” (1923) PLAY INFO
Bessie Smith - “Gulf coast blues” (1923) PLAY INFO

Met dank aan:
* Stefan Wirz: www.wirz.de
* RagtimeDorianHenry: www.youtube.com//RagtimeDorianHenry


© Jan Nico Mulderij, 2020
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