American Songs and Musicals in the "Thirties"
Such a beautiful year
1 If you asked an American what memories he would keep of 1938, he would certainly have mentioned family fish-fries and countryside getaways, for after the economic warning shot of the previous year, the daily life took back its cruising speed. No dramatic event to report, any cataclysm, any return of crisis. In spite of a tornado that hit Iowa in April, without making even too much damage, the year gets ahead peacefully. Midwest even begins to feel the positive effects of the federal decision to plant about 200 million trees between Canada and Texas so as to fix and wet the soils. But upon the arrival of autumn, the nature is a stark reminder to the memory of all. One of the most devastating hurricanes of the history of the USA strikes New York, Long Island and New England on September 21, killing more than 300 people at the moment when the news focus on Munich.
It is indeed in the Bavarian city that takes place the meeting between on one side Hitler and Mussolini and on the other both English and French prime ministers Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier. The conference follows the takeover of the Czech Sudeten region by the German army. The allies promised that they would never tolerate that Germany invades Czechoslovakia but it is now almost done. The American radios cover the event and listeners are suspended to the comments of Hans Von Kaltenborn, the special correspondant of CBS who makes every evening an immediate report of the day's discussions. Native of Wisconsin, Kaltenborn whose parents were German immigrants had built a huge reputation when sent as a reporter in Spain, he did not hesitate to move forward closer to the fighting, telling live events under the echoes of gunshots.
He since became one of the major figures of the air waves. His storytelling, the clarity of his language and his educational sense helped to make the radio an essential informing means. Stations spent to there most of their programs to music broadcasts and serials without being concerned with real-time news. They were satisfied with reports or debates often bothering the listeners. Kaltenborn is somehow the true inventor of the modern radio information, the correspondent who makes of the event a thriller holding the audience spellbound. Yet, the Munich Agreement appears as a real slap, a resounding backing, a huge disappointment.
Settled in the comfort of neutrality, the American opinion begins to be moved by the threats that totalitarian regimes pose to peace. President Roosevelt declined a few months earlier the offer of Moscow to create an anti-Nazi front but the power and the arrogance of Germany worry now.
Nothing seems to be able to thwart its expansionism. The shield that represented hitherto the French and English allies is indeed crumbling off. Dark days are outlined on the horizon and it is not by chance that the U.S.ambassador reminds that France and his country will always remain friendly in peace as in war.
It is in this tense context that Orson Welles creates the event October 30, by announcing on the radio the flying saucers invasion and the beginning of The War of the Worlds.
Although it is reminded to the
listeners that it is only about a
fiction, people are frightened and some authorities are overwhelmed by real panic reactions. The effect was however conclusive in demonstrating the importance of the radio as a means of communication. The convergence of all these events constitutes a mental preparation for the eventuality of a next war.
Some facts, on the other hand, deserve a detour as the incredible blunder of airman Douglas Corrigan who, left July, 17 from New York to California landed just after 28 hours of flight on Dublin airport, Ireland. This adventure almost hides Howard Hughes's performance who has just completed a world tour in 91 hours flying a Lokheed Super Electra.
And whereas to Broadway triumphs the musical Helzapoppin (which will remain on display more than three years), RKO begins from February the projection on the screens of Snow White and Seven Dwarfs. According to the terms of the contract which binds her to Disney, the actress Adriana Caselotti who gave her voice to Snow White made a commitment to have no other role throughout her life. Disguised his time as Robin Hood, Errol Flynn finally enters the Hollywood legend as well as Gary Cooper, under the features of Marco Polo.
1938 in music
2 The first musical event of the year is undoubtedly the reference concert given by Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall on January, 16. The event is even more considerable that it is the first time that jazz enters this prestigious place usually devoted to classical music. Benny Goodman performs his biggest hits surrounded with his usual musicians. These include pianist Teddy Wilson, drummer Gene Krupa, trumpeter Harry James and Lionel Hampton on vibraphone. But he has also invited Count Basie and members of his band as Lester Young and Buck Clayton as well as Duke Ellington’s sidemen such as saxophonist Johnny Hodges and trumpeter Cootie Willams.
Whistling has become fashionable since the release of Snow White and The seven Dwarfs. Everybody whistles at work or on stage. Following the example of the movie, imitating the seven dwarfs is the best way to gain courage and to show a strongly positive mind. Let us quote in this regard the famous I love to whistle introduced by the young soprano Deanna Durbin in the movie Mad about Music and fast popularized by Fats Waller. With Big Noise in Winnetka, Bob Crosby and his band perform for their part a number of highly remarkable whistling, quite as Elmo Tanner with Ted Weems and his orchestra in Heartaches.
From the early decade, jazz did not stop to print its mark on the music while continuing to evolve. New trends have appeared in particular with musicians like saxophonists Chu Berry and Coleman Hawkins whose searches already foreshadow bebop. The song oscillates as for it between the aesthetic romanticism and the energy inspired by what was initially called Lindy Hop, then Jitterbug such as conceived it Cab Calloway and now with the pianist Albert Ammons who promotes boogie-woogie to a quickly conquered white audience. The Andrews Sisters are related to this movement, combining swing and boogie-woogie in order to highlight the originality of their close harmony vocal style.
Meanwhile, singers continue to assert their place within the bands. Since the revelation of personalities like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, big bands do not any more hesitate to give importance to their vocalists.
The sung part which often occupied only a limited time does not from now on stop getting longer. Martha Tilton, Dolly Dawn, Bea Wain, Edythe Wright, Helen Forrest are certainly in this year the most influential big bands' voices. Let us not forget however Mildred Bailey, tireless since 1930 nor the young Maxine Sullivan who makes an interesting outset in the sentimental register.
4 The musical also seems to take a different direction in moving gradually away from the Broadway spirit which dominated the major productions of the previous years in favor of scenarios that do not inevitably happen in the theaters backstage. For obvious reasons of attendance, Hollywood feels the need to leave out New York for more exotic places. Mad About Music, one of the big successes of the year takes place in a boarding school in Switzerland whereas Sing You Sinners with Bing Crosby occurs mainly in Los Angeles in the world of horse-races. In the same way, Cowboy of Brooklyn performed by Dick Powell swings permanently between both universes that are the New York stage and the Wild West. And although it may be regarded as the best musical of the year, Carefree starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers seems to overlook the dance numbers that made the couple famous to favor a sentimental plot which both actors agree to perform without abandoning their usual humor.
Every year has unfortunately its part of drama. August 16 dies in Greenwood (MS) the blues singer and guitarist Robert Johnson, poisoned at the age of 27 in circumstances which remain unclear. Somebody poured a lethal dose of strychnine into a bottle of whisky which he consumed. Would it be a jealous husband whom he would have, according to any, seduced the wife? Nothing allows to prove it. The poison effect was not immediate but Johnson was suddenly taken by violent convulsions and died a few days later. We shall never know who achieved this criminal act but blues has now its legend.
Mad About Music (Universal Pictures)
Deanna Durbin - I Love to Whistle (Harold Adamson, Jimmy McHugh)
This song is obviously a wink to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Freshness and naivety show through this song, valuing the healthy and well settled life such as we imagine it in a girls' boarding school. Norman Taurog who directed the movie, has successfully added in this sequence lots of details intended to offset the youthful candor of Deanna Durbin and schoolgirls with a dose of humor likely to suit the public, all ages confused.
It is certain, in any case, that this style of "teenager" production is being a turning point in the musical by giving up gorgeous chorus lines in favor of adolescent romance, harbinger of a rejuvenation of the audience, a trend that will soon assert itself.
Orson Welles announces "The War of the Worlds" on CBS, panic seizes the country.
3 And Kurt Weill created September Song
What artist has not this song ever inspired? It belongs to a category of rare timeless masterpieces which intrigue you from the first notes and leaves finally its mark on you for ever. In the style of the thumping whisper of the waves in the sunset of a summer end, the lyrics unfold as the shortcut of a life which fled, obsessed by the pictures of the lost youth and the loves which time cannot erase. It was the object of multiple covers, all major soloists ventured on it beginning with Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra or Lena Horne but it was created in fact in the most unlikely way.
It is indeed the actor Walter Huston who, at his request, introduced it on the Broadway stage in the play Knickerbocker Holiday written by Maxwell Anderson. He impersonates Peter Stuyvesant, the famous Dutch governor of New York (at the time Nieuwe Amsterdam), known to have given up the city to the English in 1664. The action taking place a few years earlier wanted to be reflection of circumstance on democracy and authoritarianism. The play was not successful but September Song became on the other hand a hit despite the limited vocal qualities of Walter Huston, sometimes flickering.
Walter Huston (Toronto (Ont.) 1884 - New York (NY) 1950)
Certain songs put years to mature in the head of a composer to
lead sometimes to little but what culmination on the other
hand when he was touched by grace. Maxwell Anderson
needed only one hour to write the lyrics and Kurt Weill
hardly more to compose the music, knowing that it should
remain within the limits of Walter Huston's vocal possibilities.
His so particular performance will be rediscovered in 1950
courtesy of the movie September Affair starring Joseph Cotten
and Joan Fontaine and will be worth for the occasion
to place Walter Huston at the top of the charts, the very
year of his death.
Kurt Weill (Dessau (Germany) 1900 – New York (NY) 1950)
Graduated from the Higher Music School
of Berlin, he began his career as conductor
at the Lüdenscheid theater where he
composed in particular the music of the
Threepenny Opera written by Bertold
Brecht. Despite his popularity, his
attraction for jazz isolated him
however from the most prominent
composers of his generation as
Arnold Schönberg and Anton Webern.
Forced due to his Jewish origins to
leave Nazi Germany, he settled down
at first in Paris in 1933 before flying away
definitively for the USA in 1935.
Walter Huston - September Song
Les titres essentiels de 1938 (1)
5 the essential hits of 1938 (1)
01 – Tommy Dorsey (Shenandoah (PA) 1905 – Greenwich (CT) 1956) feat. Edythe Wright – Music Maestro, Please 2:56 (Alie Wrubel, Herbert Magidson)
02 – Fred Astaire (Frederick Austerlitz – Omaha (NE) 1899 – Los Angeles (CA) 1987) – Change Partners 3:04 (Irving Berlin)
Song from the musical Carefree
03 – Ella Fitzgerald (Newport News (VA) 1917 – Beverly Hills (CA) 1996) & Her Savoy Eight – This time it’s real 3:10 (Walter Shivers, Buddy Bernier, Bob Emmerich)
04 – The Andrews Sisters (Formed in Minneapolis (MN) 1925) Hold tight, Hold tight (Want some sea food , Mama) 2:49 (Leonard Kent, Dick Brandow, George Robinson)
05 – Adriana Caselotti (Bridgeport (CT) 1916 – Los Angeles (CA) 1997 ) with Shep Fields & His Rippling Rhythm Orchestra – Whistle while you work 3:05 (Frank Churchill, Larry Morrey)
Song from the full-legth cartoon White Snow and The Seven Dwarfs created by the Walt Disney studios
06 – Larry Clinton (Brooklyn (NY) 1909 – Tucson (AZ) 1985) feat. Bea Wain (Beatrice Wain – New York (NY) 1917) – My Reverie 3:25 (Claude Debussy, Larry Clinton)
One will never say rather how much Debussy had genius.
07 – Shirley Ross & Bob Hope (New Orleans (LA) 1908 – New York (NY) 1967) – Thanks for the Memory 3:10 (Leo Robin, Ralph Rainger)
Song from the movie The Big Broadcast of 1938
08 – Bing Crosby (Tacoma (WA) 1903 – Madrid (Esp.)1977) - I’ve got a pocketful of dreams 2:34 (James V. Monaco, Johnny Burke)
Song from the movie Sing You Sinners directed by Wesley Ruggles for Paramount starring Bing Crosby, Fred McMurray and the young David O'Connor.
09 – Benny Goodman (Chicago (IL) 1906 – New York (NY)) feat. Martha Tilton (Corpus Christi (TX) 1915 – Brentwood (CA) 2006) – I used to be color blind (Irving Berlin) 3:09
Song introduced by Fred Astaire in the movie Carefree.
10 – Andy Kirk & His Twelve Clouds of Joy (Newport (KY) 1898 – New York (NY) 1992) feat. Mary Lou Williams (Mary Elfrieda Scruggs – Atlanta (GA) 1910 – Durham (NC) 1981) – Little Joe from Chicago 2:47 (Henry Wells, Mary Lou Williams)
11 – Bob Crosby & His Bobcats (Spokane (WA) 1913 – La Jolla (CA) 1993) – Big noise from Winnetka 2:38 (Bob Haggart, Ray Bauduc, Gil Rodin, Bob Crosby)
12 – Mildred Bailey (Mildred Rinker – Tecoa (WA) 1907 – Poughkeepsie (NY) 1951) – Small Fry 2:52 (Hoagy Carmichael, Frank Loesser)
Song introduced by Bing Crosby in the movie Sing You Sinners.
6 Larry Clinton, n°1 with My Reverie
Larry Clinton, n°1 avec My Reverie
Trumpeter, trombonist and clarinetist, Larry Clinton (Brooklyn (NY) 1909 – Tucson (AZ) 1985) became known in the late 20s for the quality of his arrangements. Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Louis Armstrong or even Bunny Berigan use fairly regularly his services. He decides however from 1937 to form his own band and begins to record for Victor. He quickly points out a series of ambitious songs, adapting to swing style tunes borrowed to the classical musical heritage including Claude Debussy or Tchaikovsky.
Bea Wain (Beatrice Weinstein - New York (NY) 1917)
She learned during her childhood to play the piano and got first noticed by attending on NBC the Children's Hour broadcast.
She later formed her first vocal quartet named
Bea and The Bachelors (including
Al Rinker, Ken Lane and John
Smedberg) with whom she was
involved in Kate Smith's Radio
Show. She records in 1937 with
Artie Shaw but it is in the
band of Larry Clinton that
she really acquires a national
renown. She will play
by the quality of her voice as
much as by her stage ease and her
sensualism a part in the success
of songs like My Reverie or
Deep Purple which will be both
ranked at the top of sales.
Some do not hesitate to consider
her as the best singer of the Big Bands
era because of her natural sense of rhythm,
a quality so uncommon among white singers.
Larry Clinton and his Band perform My Reverie with in the microphone the young singer Peggy Mann. 2’,26” purely fascinating !
Peggy Mann (Margaret Germano - Yonkers (NY) on 1919) - very appreciated by conductors as Henry Halstead, Ben Pollack, Larry Clinton or still Gene Krupa, she has actually the timbre of voice sought to perform fashionable romantic ballads.
Carefree, comédie musicale de l'année
7 Carefree (RKO)
the movie credits
Direction : Mark Sandrich
Production ; Pedro S. Berman (distrubition RKO)
Screenplay: Alan Scott
Score : Irving Berlin
Actorrs : Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Ralph Bellamy
A love affair is of course in the frame of this screwball comedy, with however some variants
from usual plan.
Fred Astaire (Tony Flagg) is in the movie neither a musician, nor a professional
dancer but assumes for the first time the garb of a psychiatrist. He agrees to cede
to the request of his friend Stephen Arden (Ralph Bellamy) by taking in
consultation his engaged, the singer Amanda Cooper (Ginger Rogers) whom he
considers too undecided on her feelings. Things do not go as planned and
the patient falls in love with her doctor. Fred Astaire tries to catch up the situation
by working out sessions of hypnosis but Amanda becomes soon uncontrollable.
And Fred falls in love in his turn....
The story overrides the musical sequences even if the dance numbers reach a rare
quality level. It is mainly a sophisticated comedy, often very funny from where stands
out a thinly-veiled satire of psychoanalysis and its methods for interpreting the dreams and the subconscious. The movie was to be shot for that purpose in color but the idea was given up for reasons of budget.
This feature film (although it lasts only 80’) marks in fact a turning point in Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers's partnership. For the very first time, they exchange a kiss, putting an end to an old convention established since their early movies but it is perceived especially the beginning of paths that will soon separate, him, continuing brilliantly in his perfectionist style while she will be more involved in acting and drama movies.
The Yam (Irving Berlin)
The choreographic sequence generally regarded as the most successful of the movie because of its jazzy and dynamic side and its way either to isolate the duet of dancers but to form a kind of farandole in which join all the couples, including older ones.
Sur l'air de Change Partners, Fred Astaire fait danser Ginger Rogers après l'avoir mise sous hypnose
8 ttthe essential hits of the year (2)
01 – Benny Goodman (Chicago (IL) 1906 – New York (NY)) feat. Martha Tilton
(Corpus Christi (TX) 1915 – Brentwood (CA) 2006)
– This can’t be love 2:46
(Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers)
Song written for the play Boys From Syracus created on Broadway in 1938 based on The Comedy of Errors
02 – Ella Fitzgerald (Newport News (VA)
1917 – Beverly Hills (CA) 1996) with
Chick Webb & His Orchestra (Baltimore (MD) 1905 – Baltimore (MD) 1939) – A tisket a tasket 2:34 (Traditional)
Song adapted from a counting rhyme taught in the schools since 1879.
Curiously, this rhyme revisited by the young Ella was to become one of Chick Webb’s major hits at a time when his health was declining inexorably.
03 – Erskine Hawkins (Birmingham (AL) 1914 – Willingboro (NJ) 1993) – Let me
Daydream 2:39 (George Forrest, Robert Wright, Walter Donaldson)
04 – Red Norvo (Kenneth Norville – Beardstown (IL) 1908 – Santa Monica (CA) 1999)
with Mildred Bailey (Mildred Rinker – Tecoa (WA) 1907 – Poughkeepsie (NY) 1951) - After dinner speech 2:57 (Lew Pollack, Sidney Mitchell, Oscar Levant)
05 – Fred Astaire (Frederick Austerlitz – Omaha (NE) 1899 – Los Angeles (CA) 1987 ) – I used to be colour blind 3:05 (Irving Berlin)
Song introduced by Fred Astaire himself in the movie Carefree.
06 – Bing Crosby (Tacoma (WA) 1903 – Madrid (Esp.)1977) – You must have been a beautiful baby 3:00 (Harry Warren, Johnny Mercer)
This song recorded by Bing Crosby a few days after Tommy Dorsey and Edythe Wright is ranked among the best sales of the year.
07 – Larry Clinton (Brooklyn (NY) 1909 – Tucson (AZ) 1985) feat. Bea Wain (Beatrice Wain – New York (NY) 1917) – Deep purple 3:10 (Leo Robin, Ralph Rainger)
Song from the movie The Big Broadcast of 1938
08 – The Andrew Sisters (Formed in Minneapolis (MN) 1925) – Shortnin’ bread 2:50 (James Whitcomb Riley, 1900)
09 – Ted Weems & His Orchestra (Picairn (PA) 1901 – Tulsa (OK) 1963) feat. Elmo Tanner – Heartaches 2 :41 (Al Hoffman, John Klenner)
This song created in 1931 becomes for the first time a hit thanks to Elmo Tanner's whistling.
10 – Louis Jordan (Brinkley (AR) 1908 – Los Angeles (CA) 1975) feat. Rodney Sturgis (Newport (KY) 1898 – New York (NY) 1992) – Toodle-Loo on down 3:13 (Rodney Sturgis,
J. Mayo Williams)
11 – Fats Waller (New York (NY 1904 – Kansas City (MO) 1943) – Your feet’s too big 3:01 (Ada Benson, Fred Fisher)
12 – Walter Huston (Toronto (Ont.) 1884 - New York (NY) 1950) – September Song 4:47 (Kurt Weill, Maxwell Anderson)
Song introduced by Walter Huston himself in the play Knickerbocker Holiday written by Maxwell Anderson.
9 Louis Jordan (Brinkley (AR) 1908 – Los Angeles (CA) 1975)
This is certainly the ease of his style and the accessibility of his music that made him, from the late 30s, one of the undisputed stars of swing and then of Rhythm and Blues. Perhaps one could blame him for having sometimes yelded to the redundancy but he was instead one of the few musicians of his time to be as popular with a white audience as with a black public.
He owed to his father, a music teacher to be very early introduced to the practice of an instrument. He began with clarinet, was then trained to piano and chose finally the saxophone while asserting strong vocal capacities.
He had the opportunity to accompany singers so prestigious as Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey but his career knew its real development when he was hired in 1932 in the Clarence Williams's orchestra. Based in New York, he joined from 1936 Chick Webb's band, at the time very much in vogue. He quickly took a prominent place, what gave him two years later the desire to form his own band. He tried then to entice away Chick Webb's best musicians whose vocalist Ella Fitzgerald but did not succeed. His first recordings for Decca in November showed however the full extent of his possibilities and accompanied by his Tympany Five, a lighter group of high quality musicians (combo), he then became the most " trendy” personality in Harlem.
(AL) 1914 – Willingboro (NJ)
He began by learning drums,
was then on trombone
before finally choosing
trumpet. He obviously had a
gift for this last instrument and
quickly took the head of his
college teacher’s band, the
Bama State Collegians, which
left occurring in New
York in 1934. The adventure
was a success and the group,
very influenced by Louis
Armstrong's style, namely
became from 1936 that of
He got in 1938 his first recording contract with RCA Victor Company.
11 Gene Krupa (Eugene Burtram Krupa - Chicago (IL) 1909 - Yonkers (NY) 1973) The Drummin' Man
This charismatic showman made of the drums a full instrument while it was more considered as a rhythmic support. He is of more upstart to attract a wide audience through his scenic presence, his mastery and his legendary soloes, modifying in a definitive way the image of the discreet drummer hitherto hidden behind his cymbals.
The story begins in 1927 when at 18, he records with the McKenzie-Condon Chicagoans a first track played only on drums. He thought a moment to become a priest but gives up the idea after his first year in college and eventually chooses the music. He attends regularly the Chicagoans, a jazz band made up of students where he meets in particular Benny Goodman and Eddie Condon. After a promising early career in Chicago, he moves at the beginning of the Great Depression to New York with his friend, guitarist Eddie Condon. Their initial project having failed, he worked for several years as a studio musician.
He plays among others for Red Nichols, Irving Aaronson and Russ Columbo before joining in 1934 Benny Goodman's new band of which he will become, over the next three years, one of the essential sidemen. His impact is such that he gradually asserts himself as the true star of the orchestra as evidenced by his performance in Sing Sing Sing. After the success of the Carnegie Hall concert, disagreements with Benny Goodman are logically more lively, announcing the break. Gene Krupa decides then to form his own band. He will soon learn that drum solos do not build alone a song but he will also surround himself with quality musicians like saxophonist Vido Musso, pianist Milt Raskin, trombonist Sam Donahue, trumpeter Shorty Sherock and vocalist Irene Daye.
12 Helen Humes (Louisville (KY) 1913 – Santa Monica (CA) 1981)
Trained in piano as a child, she regularly plays the organ at church and is just 14 years old when she is noticed
by the blues guitarist Sylvester Weaver.
She records with him her first songs in 1927
and works then with Stuff Smith.
Helen goes in 1937 to New York where she
has the opportunity to record with Harry
James and Jimmy Dorsey. Her ability to
harmonize swing and Rhythm and Blues
enables her to join the following year the
band of Count Basie of whom she will
become the official singer, replacing Jimmy
Rushing left dedicating himself only to the
Helen Forrest (Helen Fogel – Atlantic City (NJ) 1917 – Los Angeles (CA) 1999)
She is featured from the age of 10 in the band led by his brother in Washington before beginning her career on CBS under the name of Bonnie Blue. She also takes the scene name of
Blue Lady and meets Bunny Berigan in the
New Yorker studios of WNENW. She has a
style of voice which is well suited to the
eclecticism of the big bands and it is while
performing at the Madrillon Club in
Washington that she gets noticed by Artie
Shaw in 1938. He soon decides to hire her in
his band to compensate for Billie
Holiday's going. She will stay there a year.
10 The essential hits of 1938 (3)
01 – Tommy Dorsey (Shenandoah (PA) 1905 – Greenwich (CT) 1956) feat. Edythe Wright – Do you remember last night 3:07 (George W. Meyer)
02 – Louis Armstrong (New Orleans (LA) 1901 – New York (NY) 1971) & The Mills Brothers (Formed in Cincinnati (OH) 1924) – My walking stick 2:44 (Irving Berlin)
Song introduced by Ethel Merman in the movie Alexander’s Ragtime Band directed by Henry King, starring Tyrone Power and Alice Faye
03 – Mildred Bailey (Mildred Rinker – Tecoa (WA) 1907 – Poughkeepsie (NY) 1951) – Washboard blues 2:49 (Fred B. Callahan, Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Mills)
Hoagy Carmichael had himself performed this song for the first time in 1927 with Paul Whiteman and his orchestra.
04 – Count Basie (Red Bank (NJ) 1904 – Hollywood (FL) 1984) feat. Helen Humes (Louisville (KY) 1913 – Santa Monica (CA) 1981) – Dark rapture 2:44 (Benny Goodman, Edgar Simpson, Manny Kurtz)
05 – Dolly Dawn (Teresa Maria Stabile – Newark (NJ) 1916 – Englewood (NJ) 2002 ) – You’re a sweetheart 2:46 (Harold Adamson, Jimmy McHugh)
Song introduced in 1937 by Alice Faye in the movie You’re a Sweetheart directed by David Butler with George Murphy and Ken Murray.
06 – Judy Garland (Frances Ethel Gumm – Grand Rapids (MN) 1922 – London (UK) 1969) – It never rains but what it pours 2:37 (Harry Revel, Mack Gordon)
Song performed by Judy Garland in the movie Love Finds Andy Hardy starring Mickey Rooney.
07 – Gene Krupa (Chicago (IL) 1909 – New York (NY) 1973) feat. Leo Watson (Kansas City (MO) 1898 – 1950)– Do you want jump, children? 2:34 (Willie Bryant, Al Donahue, Victor Seisman, James Van Heusen )
Gene Krupa performs an interesting cover of this song introduced shortly before by par Count Basie and his orchestra. One quotes by the way the performance of vocalist Leo Watson whose « shouter » voice perfectly accomodates a rather emphasized syncoptaed rhythm.
08 – The Andrews Sisters (Formed in Minneapolis (MN) 1925) – Ti-Pi-Tin 2:39 (Maria Grever, Raymond Leveen)
This American adaptation due to Horace Heidt was a chart-topper while the original version written by the Mexican Maria Grever had just been refused by her own editor.
09 – Artie Shaw (Arthur Arshawsky – New Haven (CT) 1910 – Newbury Park (CA) 2004) feat. Helen Forrest (Helen Fogel – Atlantic City (NJ) 1917 – Los Angeles (CA) 1999) – Thanks for everything 3:36 (Harry Revel, Mack Gordon)
Song introduced by Fred Astaire in the movie Carefree.
10 – Larry Clinton (Brooklyn (NY) 1909 – Tucson (AZ) 1985) feat. Bea Wain (Beatrice Wain – New York (NY) 1917) – I double dare you 2:53 (Jimmy Eaton, Terry Shand)
Louis Armstrong, Woody Herman, Rus Morgan, Al Bowlly recorded their own version of this song but Larry Clinton made with it a chart-topper.
11 – Alice Faye (Alice Jeanne Lepert - New York (NY) 1915 – Ranch Mirage (CA) 1998) & Ethel Merman (Ethel Agnes Zimmerman – New York (NY ) 1908 – New York (NY) 1984) – Blue skies 2:37 (Irving Berlin)
This song introduced in the movie Alexander’s Ragtime Band directed by Henry King and starring Tyrone Power had been originally written in 1927 by Irving Kaufman and covered at that time by George Olsen and Ben Selvin.
12 – The Mills Brothers (Mildred Rinker – Tecoa (WA) 1907 – Poughkeepsie (NY) 1951) – Sixty seconds together 2:45 (Hoagy Carmichael, Frank Loesser)
13 The compelling rise of boogie-woogie
Boogie-woogie is certainly the most significant musical revolution
of the 1930s so much it foreshadows the emergence of rock 'n' roll and
trends that will succeed after the end of World War II. It is at the
root a purely pianistic technique characterized by the speed of its
rhythm, the left hand repeating constantly, i.e. ostinato,
the 12-bar blues, while the right hand engages in a series
of improvisations. This method goes back up in fact to the
1920s, at the time of Prohibition when African American
pianists come from the South rushed in the clubs of the
industrial Northern cities to array their technique and
virtuosity. This style got first different names such as rolling
blues, western fast, shuffle, etc. .. but it was in 1928 that
Clarence Smith really gave rise to its final name by recording
Pinetop's Boogie Woogie. This expression is supposed
to correspond to the repeated noise of wheels of
wagons on rails.
Boogie-woogie developed at first in Chicago and
Kansas City without affecting however a wide audience.
It was not until the next decade and a talent scout as the producer
John Hammond for the emergence of major artists of the genre. The pianists Meade Lux Lewis, Albert Ammons with his famous Boogie-woogie Stomp released in 1937 and Pete Johnson are experiencing a sudden craze, causing in the late 1930s a kind of tidal wave which crosses the USA and conquers the white audience. Big bands and most musicians start to do boogie-woogie which from the piano adapts itself to guitar then to vocals before becoming the most popular dance of the war years.
John Hammond, invetisseur en talents
John Hammond, investor in talents
15 John H. Hammond (New York (NY) 1910 – 1987)
Coming from one of the richest families in the United States, he helped through his fortune and especially his passion for Jazz and Blues to the hatching of some of his most representative talents. His grandfather had been a general during the American Civil War, his great-uncle ambassador in Spain and his back maternal grandfather was none other than the wealthy William Henry Vanderbilt, banker, shipowner and boss of rail companies.
It is in an environment that we can qualify as blessed that little John begins from the age of 4 to play the piano. He chooses a few years later the violin and more particularly the alto which he continues to study at Yale University.
He intends primarily to make a career in the music business and becomes in particular from 1931 the first American correspondent of the Melody Maker, an English magazine mainly devoted to the new musical trends.
John Hammond asserts himself soon as the promoter and the defender of jazz, denouncing by elsewhere the racial barriers that make numb
American music. He agrees with the Columbia firm to create a special label for England, what allows him to produce for the occasion artists like Fletcher Henderson, Benny Carter and Joe Venuti at a moment when the effects of the crisis threaten the survival of many bands. But his main discovery remains of course Billie Holiday whom he heard singing in 1933 in a bar in Harlem.
He organizes for her a first recording session with Benny Goodman, another artist whom he follows the career. He will moreover be behind the start of this latter's quartet with Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton and Gene Krupa. A little later, in 1937, he hears for the first time Count Basie playing in Kansas City. Immediately attracted, he brings him in New York where he makes him known to the general public.
In December, 1938, finally, he organizes at Carnegie Hall an ambitious series of gigs entitled From Spirituals to Swing exclusively dedicated to jazz, blues and gospel. Are among other guests Count Basie and his band, Benny Goodman, Sidney Bechet, but also Big Bill Broonzy (who replaces Robert Johnson, originally approached), harmonicist Sonny Terry, gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe and the initiators of the new boogie-woogie fashion that are pianists Meade "Lux" Lewis, Albert Ammons and especially Pete Johnson accompanied with singer Big Joe Turner. The event is significant but Hammond faces the resistance of some associations which not only do not bear that African-American artists are so much featured but is also indignant that the funding was partly provided by the American Communist Party. It is by the way noticeable that these tough defenders of Anglo-Saxon civilization and values of capitalism did not lack a certain hypocrisy by accomodating themselves perfectly to the fact that black musicians brought in money to Records companys and music publishers.
Despite these threats, the show is not only a success but its symbolic value is also significant. John Hammond manages to break barriers by integrating African American musicians into a place like Carnegie Hall, a real temple dedicated to the "white" music. And although he appears more as an independent spirit, the political message sent by the choice of his sponsoring foreshadows the struggle for the civil rights.
These concerts have, however, for immediate effect to generate a craze of the New Yorker audience for boogie-woogie by launching fashionable clubs such as Café Society which has just opened in Greenwich Village and where youth all races confused will soon rush to dance until dawn on frenetic rhythms.
Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings - Shout for Joy (1938)
14 The essential hits of 1938 (4)
01 – Ella Fitzgerald (Newport News (VA) 1918 – Beverly Hills (CA) 1996) with Chick Webb & His Orchestra – I let a tear fall in the river 3:08 (Mack David, Jerry Livingston, Chick Webb)
Chick Webb and his musicians :
Trumpet : Dick Vance, Bobby Stark, Taft Jordan
Trombone : Sandy Williams, Nat Story, George Matthews
Clarinet : Hilton Jefferson, Garvin Bushell (saxo alto)
Saxo tenor : Ted McRae, Wayman Carver (flute)
Piano : Tommy Fulford – guitare: Bobby Johnson – double bass : Beverley Peer
02 – Larry Clinton (Brooklyn (NY) 1909 – Tucson (AZ) 1985) feat. Bea Wain (Beatrice Wain – New York (NY) 1917) - Pecos (TX) 1983) – Old folks 3:19 (Dedette Lee Hill, Willard Robison)
03 – Slim & Slam – Flat foot floogie (with a floy floy) 2:56
(Slim : Bulee Gaillard (guitar, chant) – Detroit (MI) 1916 – London (UK) /1991 / Slam – Leroy Stewart (violoncelle, chant) – Englewood (NJ) 1914 – Binghamton (NY) 1987) (Slim Gaillard)
The original title was actually Floozie with a Floy Floy, but the word refering in slang to a "slut" affected by some venereal disease was changed for Floogie, a nondescript word able to be programmed on the radio. The song was the same year recorded by Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers who made it a national hit.
04 – Mildred Bailey (Mildred Rinker – Tecoa (WA) 1907 – Poughkeepsie (NY) 1951) – So help me 2:47 (Eddie Delange, James Van Heusen )
05 – The Benny Goodman Quartet – The blues in my flat 3:05 (Richard A. Whiting, Johnny Mercer)
Benny Goodman on clarinet, Teddy Wilson on piano, Dave Tough on drums, Lionel Hampton on vibraphone. It is the opportunity to hear the voice of Lionel Hampton but also to recognize the bluesman qualities of Benny Goodman, able to evolve in a more experimental style where the influence of Duke Ellington is felt .
06 – Maxine Sullivan (Marietta Williams – Homstead (PA) 1911 – New York (NY) 1987) – It’s wonderful 2:54 (Robert Wells, Stuff Smith, Mitchell Parish)
She was the first to record this song that was to become later one of the biggest hits of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.
07 – Teddy Wilson (Austin (TX) 1912 – New Britain (CT) 1986) with Billie Holiday (Eleonora Fagan Gough – Baltimore (MD) 1915 – New York (NY) 1959) – Here it is tomorrow again 2:43 (Patrick Gibbons, Roy Ringwald)
08 – Stuff Smith (Hezekiah Leroy Gordon Smith – Portsmouth (OH) 1909 – Munich (D) 1967) – My blue heaven 2:58 (Walter Donaldson, George Whiting)
Arranging in the energetic style peculiar to Stuff Smith of a standard written in 1924 and introduced in 1927 by Nat Shilkret and the vocalist Gene Austin.
09 – The Andrews Sisters (Formed in Minneapolis (MN) 1925) – Lullaby to a little Jitterbug 3:00 (Sammy Cahn, Saul Chaplin)
The Andrews sisters disguised as sandwomen, once will not hurt. Small Jitterbug, it's time to sleep, but a day will come when you go to swing like Dad. Baby boom has not yet rung but toddlers already seem to get ants in their pants.
10 – Tommy Dorsey (Shenandoah (PA) 1905 – Greenwich (CT) 1956) feat. Jack Leonard (Brooklyn (NY) 1913 – San Diego (CA) 1988) – I’ll dream tonight 2:39 (Johnny Mercer, Richard A. Whiting)
Cover of the song introduced the same year by Chick Webb and Ella Fitzgerald
11 – Ethel Waters (Ethel Howard – Chester (PA) 1896 – Chatsworth (CA) 1977) – They say 2:30 (Edward Heyman, Paul Mann, Stephen Weiss)
12 – Adriana Caselotti (Bridgeport (CT) 1916 – Los Angeles (CA) 1997) – Someday my prince will come 3:16 (Frank Churchill, Paul Smith, Leigh Harline)
For ever the voice oSnow White, as wished Walt Disney.
16 Maxine Sullivan (Marietta Williams – Homstead (PA) 1911 – New York (NY) 1987)
With a father mandolinist and an uncle coductor, the life of Marietta was, from her childhood, lulled by music. Her grandmother made her for the first time sing in public while she was only 6 and she joined teenager the Red Hot Peppers, a band led by her uncle. She resumes in particular the traditional songs in the new style swing and gets out at this time by the clarity and the sweetness of her voice, qualities rarely found in the usual register of the jazz or blues singers.
She starts her professional career in Pittsburgh,
in a fashionable speakeasie, one of these semi-clandestine but popular bars where liquors flowed freely during the Prohibition and where they played the music until dawn
In 1936, finally, she gets acquainted with pianist Gladys Mosier who convinces her to try her luck in New York and arranges for that purpose a meeting with the composer Claude Thornhill. Interested in her voice, this one arranges for her a set of traditional songs including Loch Lomond which becomes a hit from its release. She leaves then for Hollywood where she appears in 1938 in two full-length films:
- Going Places with Louis Armstrong. It is in this movie that the latter introduces the famous Jeepers Creepers written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, a song which Maxine Sullivan takes shortly after to on her account to make a new hit
- St Louis Blues in which she performs the title song, a standard written in 1922 by W.C Handy introduced by Bessie Smith in 1925 with Louis Armstrong on trumpet.
Maxine Sullivan - St Louis Blues
17 Blues: birth of a myth
On August 16, 1938 tragedy occurred, Robert Johnson was hastily reminded by the one with which he claimed to have signed a pact. The musician died, poisoned what is believed by some strychnine that a jealous husband would have poured into his whisky. He who just revolutionized the blues after hardly two years of a lightning career leaves to his credit 29 songs which will be soon released by Columbia Records under the title King of the Delta Blues through the producer John Hammond. These will all remain to posterity as so many models of the genre and form the prerequisite for all the blues musicians seeking recognition. Hammond enjoyed a true "intuition" to identify the talents and he first realized that Robert Johnson was a an outstanding character. He had also sought to invite him to take part to the show that he was preparing for the end of the year at Carnegie Hall but the fate had to decide otherwise. This is another symbolic artist, Big Bill Broonzy, who was to replace him in New York.
With the loss of Robert Johnson, the blues deserts its birth place to follow as many plantation workers in Mississippi the migratory movement which push them towards the industrial areas of the North. Memphis is the first stop of the trip, then comes Saint-Louis and finally Chicago where the bluesmen community is the most representative.
The musicians who made the legend of the Delta are almost all expatriates, finally abandoning a country the soul of which they retain while fleeing its destitute living conditions and the segregation still raging. Son House does not give any more sign of life since last recordings of 1930 and it even seems that he would have left the area. Tommy Johnson and the guitarist Ishman Bracey seem in fact the only ones trying to continue the tradition in Mississippi.
There is also Bukka White who could be thought of as the keeper of the flame but he seems more attracted towards gospel and is moreover locked up in Parchman Farm State Prison.
Memphis is rather a getaway city. Many of bluesmen went there but without stopping for a long time.
Faithful however to his roots, Sleepy John Estes leaves Tennessee only to go to record in New York. In Memphis, lived also Bo Carter, the creator of the famous Corinne, Corinna whom the bootleggers tainted liquor almost blinded and who having left his native Mississippi where he made nevertheless an honorable career, has just recorded for last time in San Antonio. He gets now ready to live the less enviable life of a street singer.
In St Louis, the blues musicians have formed a small community around personalities like Peetie Wheatstraw, native of Tennessee, Big Joe Williams native of Crawford (MS) and Henry Townsend who although born in Shelby ( MS) was raised at the border of Illinois, on the other side of the river.
19 Chicago remains for many the final destination.
Native of Scott (MS), Big Bill Broonzy has lived there for over ten years.
The brothers Charlie and Joe McCoy from Jackson ( MS) came at first through Memphis but chose to settle down in Chicago where they founded in particular the Harlem Hamfats.
Native of the neighborhood of New Orleans, Memphis Minnie followed the brothers McCoy (Kansas Joe was a moment her husband) and lives in Chicago. Born at Indianola (MS), Jazz Gillum lives at the moment in Chicago.
Roosevelt Sykes from Helena (AR) made a short visit to New York before settling down in Chicago.
Coming also from Arkansas, Casey Bill Weldon stopped in Memphis before "rising" to Chicago. It is also the case of Washboard Sam who left Arkansas for Memphis and finally chose Chicago .
Come from Jackson (TN), Sonny Boy Williamson was joined in Chicago by his the friend guitarist Yank Rachell, native like him from Tennessee.
Johnnie Temple arrives from Canton (MS).
Excepted Blind Willie McTell and Blind Boy Fuller remained faithful to their native Georgia, the representatives of the Piedmont Blues as Tampa Red, Bumble Bee Slim and Kokomo Arnold, were attracted by new horizons and live in Chicago for a few years.
Does it mean that it is easier to succeed in this city? There is certainly a real emulation there but what is called to succeed for those who evolve in blues. It is effectively easier to get noticed in Chicago where producers like Lester Melrose are on the lookout for new talents but what hopes can be built from a recording session. Sales remain confidential. The shows are low paying since they are aimed at a public of connoisseurs. As for radios, usually present on all fronts of the music, they remain obstinately deaf to everything related to blues. Thus, a guitarist and singer of high quality as Kokomo Arnold, tired of seeing how the music pays poorly, prefers to renounce and work in a factory.
Aware of the problem, the Bluebird company spares no efforts to get the blues out of the marginality. In front of what would seem to appear only as a repetitive style to the limited recipes, it invents a new sound especially by diversifying instruments. The musicians find themselves of this fact several in studio and learn to complete. Real groups are formed in this way including generally piano, guitar, harmonica, trumpet, washboard, and double bass. It seems that the concept of the solitary singer who forged the soul of blues is now outdated, driven by the needs of the music market.
Leadbelly is however an exception. He enjoys some popularity since the release of Irene, Goodnight Irene but is not related to any particular movement. For Alan Lomax, his producer, the character is certainly high colored but after having moved the opinion, his history no longer fulfills rooms. His performance in Harlem is even a failure and the black audience sulks him. It’s finally while recording a repertoire of children's songs of folk inspiration that he seems more at ease. He shares therefore his time between New York and his native Louisiana.
It is paradoxical to notice that New York, considered as the home of the musical forefront and Hollywood where music is everywhere remain for the moment completely hermetic in this strangely new tune coming from the South. Is it because it is too far ahead of its time, or rather because it is essentially of African American inspiration? The Big Apple is not yet ready to be eated by the Second City.
18 The new voices of blues
Blue Lu Barker (Louisa Dupont – New Orléans (LA) 1913 – 1998)
Louisa has to leave the school at the age of 13 to be married to Danny Barker, a young player of banjo and guitar who already evolves in the New Orleans jazz world. It is in this context that the young Blue Lu begins a singer's professional career.
She has a limited vocal register but a real energy and goes easily from jazz to blues register, so that Billie Holiday, herself will say one day that she had widely undergone her influence.
The Barkers who left in 1930 to settle
down in New York where they are next to stars of jazz as Cab Calloway or Jelly Roll Morton and record occasionally for Decca and Vocalion. It is moreover for this company that Blue Lu Barker records in 1938 Don’ t you feel my leg which will remain her best song.
Merline Johnson (Mississippi 1912– ?)
Nicknamed The Yas Yas Girl (a corruption of the word ass in the blues language), she had a certain success in the late 30s but we know on the other hand only few things of her. Native of Mississippi, she records in Chicago from 1937 and specializes in what might be called bar songs whose themes concern generally drink and drunkenness. Very quickly popular in the world of blues, she performs alongside musicians like Big Bill Broonzy, Lonnie Johnson or Blind John Davis.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
(Rosetta Nubin – Cotton Plant (AR) 1915 – Philadelphia (PA) 1973)
Guitarist and charismatic singer, she is not properly classified in the category of blues even if her style is sometimes akin. She is mostly considered as the first major artist of gospel. Praised by some, criticized
also by some purists who blamed her for occurring indifferently in churches and in nightclubs, she remains an essential blazing face of the American spiritual culture.
Born into a travelling pastoral community, her mother provides her, from her early childhood, with a strong musical education to the point that she is deemed at the age 6 as a guitar prodigy. Her family is based in Chicago but goes regularly to gatherings where the young Rosetta gets used to occurring.
She decides to mid 1930s going to settle in Harlem where she gets acquainted with minister Thomas Thorpe who soon marries her. The marriage does not however hold due to the refusal of her husband to let her sing in public.
Rosetta Tharpe decides once the divorce pronounced to dash into a
professional career. She contracts with Decca in 1938 and records with the band of Lucky Millinder her first songs from which Rock me will become a hit. She enjoys therefore a popularity which is worth to her being requested by Cab Calloway as well as by Benny Goodman. She is invited to the Cotton Club and appears among the stars requested by John Hammond to take part in the gigs that he organizes at the end of the year at Carnegie Hall.
20 The great comeback of Lonnie Johnson
Having experiencing in the late 20s a rather brilliant career and played beside artists like Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong, this pioneer of the twelve string guitar and brilliant soloist had left the stage in 1932, at the time of the Great Depression. It was him who had somehow introduced from 1927 the solo playing note by note with a pick, before Django Reinhart or Robert Johnson. Affected by the untimely death of his friend the guitarist Eddie Lang with whom he had recorded numerous songs, he had gone to work in a steel mill near Cleveland, occurring occasionally.
He returns that at the moment with one series of hard-hitting tracks recorded in March in New York showing once more his soloist's outstanding qualities.
It remains to him only a more step to go to the electric guitar. This is what he does in October at the invitation of Peetie Wheatstraw with whom he records Hot Spring Blues. It is only a track and no one even dares to imagine at this time that it boots a revolution which will affect all popular music.
Lonnie Johnson & Peetie Wheatstraw - Hot Spring Blues
21 Blues: the essential hits of the year (1)
01 – Memphis Minnie (Lizzie Douglas – Algiers (LA) 1902 – Memphis (TN)
1973) – I’d rather see him dead 2:50 (Douglas)
02 – Robert Johnson (Hazlehurst (MS) 1911- Greenwood (MS) 1938) –
Honeymoon blues 2:19 (Johnson)
03 – John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson (Jackson (TN) 1914 – Chicago (IL)
1948) – Susie Q 2:36 (Williamson)
04 – The Harlem Hamfats (feat. Rosetta Howard (vocals) Kansas Joe McCoy
(guitar, vocals), Charlie McCoy (mandolin, guitar), Herb Morand
(vocals trumpet), John Lindsay (bass), Horace Malcolm (piano), Odell Rand
(clarinet), Fred Flynn (drums)) – Empty bed blues 2:53 (Harlem Hamfats)
Some similarities with Memphis Minnie, understandable thing when
one knows that she was a time the wife of composer Joe McCoy.
05 – Casey Bill Weldon (Pine Bluff (AR) - 1909 – Detroit (MI) 1960s) –
Way down in Louisiana 3:28 (Casey Bill Weldon)
06 – Blind Boy Fuller (Fulton Allen – Wadesboro (NC) 1907 – Durham
(NC) 1941) – Funny feeling blues 2:51 (Fulton Allen)
07 – Blue Lu Barker (Louisa Dupont – New Orleans (LA) 1913 – 1998) –
Don’t you feel my leg 3:01 (Barker)
08 – Sleepy John Estes (Nutbush (TN) 1899 – Brownsville (TN) 1977) –
Liquor stop blues 3:07 (Sleepy John Estes)
09 – Peetie Wheatstraw (William Bunch – Ripley (TN )1902 – East St Louis (IL) 1941) – Shack bully stomp 3:07 (Wheatstraw)
Peetie Wheatstraw is on piano, Lonnie Johnson on guitar.
10 – Bukka White (Booker T. Washington White – Houston (MS) 1906 – Memphis (TN) 1977) – High fever blues 3:00 (White)
11 – Blind John Davis (Hattiesburg (MS) 1913 – Chicago (IL) 1985) – Alley woman blues 2:56 (Davis)
So comfortable in jazz and blues as in boogie-woogie, he sometimes records for his own account but usually plays with musicians like Big Bill Broonzy, Tampa Red or Sonny Boy Williamson.
12 – Kokomo Arnold (James Arnold – Lovejoys Station (GA) 1901 – Chicago (IL ) 1968 ) – Something’s hot 2:33 (Arnold)
22 Blues: les titres essentiels de l'année (2)
01 – Washboard Sam (Robert Brown – Walnut Ridge (AR) 1910 – Chicago (IL) 1966) – Sophisticated mama 3:08 (Brown)
02 – John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson (Jackson (TN) 1914 – Chicago (IL) 1948) – Moonshine 3:04 (Williamson)
03 – Tampa Red (Hudson Woodbridge Whittaker – Smithville (GA) 1904 – Chicago (IL) 1981) – Rock it in rhythm 4:01 (Hudson Whittaker)
04 – Jazz Gillum (William McKinley Gillum – Indianola (MS) 1904 – Chicago (IL) 1966) – Reefer head woman 3:02 (Jazz Gillum)
05 – Kokomo Arnold (James Arnold – Lovejoys Station (GA) 1901 – Chicago (IL ) 1968 ) – Bad luck blues 2:33 (Arnold)
06 – Johnnie « Geeshie » Temple (Canton (MS) 1906 – Jackson (MS) 1968) & the Harlem Hamfats – County jail blues 2:31 (Fulton Allen)
07 – Merline Johnson , the Yas Yas Girl (Mississippi 1912 - ?) – Jelly bean blues 3:04 (Lina Arant)
Cover of a song introduced by Ma Rainey in 1924. The electric guitar which we hear is that of George Barnes, a whiz “white” kid 17-year-old working to develop this instrument since he was a child.
08 – Cripple Clarence Lofton (Kingsport (TN) 1887 – Chicago (IL) 1957) – I don’t know 2:59 (Johnson)
Lofton is better known as a boogie-woogie pianist but there are in Chicago numerous links between musical trends.
09 – Roosevelt Sykes (Helena (AR) 1903 – New Orleans (LA) 1983) – Down on my knees 2:52 (Sykes)
10 – Peetie Wheatstraw & Lonnie Johnson (New Orleans (LA) 1899 – Toronto (Ontario) 1970) – Hot spring blues 3:00 (Wheatstraw)
The first track recorded by Lonnie Johnson with an electric guitar. Peetie Wheatstraw plays the piano
11 – Memphis Minnie (Lizzie Douglas – Algiers (LA) 1902 – Memphis (TN) 1973) – Good biscuits 2:44 (Minnie McCoy)
12 – Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Rosetta Nubin – Cotton Plant (AR) 1915 – Philadelphia (PA) 1973) – Rock me 2:37 (Rosetta Tharpe)
42nd-street.fr - Gerard Tondu
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