Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup Delmark Records “Look On Yonder’s Wall, Hand Me Down My Walking Cane” (1969). The human voice has rarely been as movingly rich as that of Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup nor has the human experience been so thoroughly mirrored as in the simple blues poetry of this big and gentle man from Mississippi. Some have commented that Crudup’s voice sounds similar to that of Elvis Presley but the truth is the other way around; Crudup wrote several of Presley’s hits and seems to have been an early Presley idol. – Delmark Records His last few gigs were with Bonnie Raitt. He passed away in 1974. You can see here in the design, the melding of blues legends into popular music and the youth culture of the sixties.
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Lowell Fulsom “Tramp” Kent Records (1967) (1921 – 1999) Check out both Fulsom’s Tramp and the Joe Tex response “Papa Was Too” (Sampled by Wu-Tang Clan).
A major figure in West Coast blues, Fulson (sometimes listed as Fulsom) took the smooth, jazz-tinged jump-blues of Texas to California, where he had rhythm-and-blues hits from the 1940s to the 60s. He wrote songs that were also recorded by Elvis Presley (“Reconsider Baby”), Otis Redding and Carla Thomas (“Tramp”) and B.B. King (“Three O’Clock Blues”). He was a member of the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rhythm-and-Blues Hall of Fame.
Fulson was born in 1921 on a Choctaw Indian reservation in Oklahoma; his grandfather was a Choctaw. Fulson played gospel and country music before turning to the blues. In 1939 he replaced Chester Burnett (later known as Howlin’ Wolf) in the band led by the country-blues singer Texas Alexander, who was based in Gainesville, Texas. He served two years in the Navy in Oakland, Calif., and stayed on the West Coast when he began his recording career in 1946.
He had his first rhythm-and-blues hit, “Three O’Clock Blues,” on the Swingtime label in 1948, and went on tour in 1950 with a band that included Ray Charles on piano. Other bands Fulson led would include Ike Turner on guitar and Stanley Turrentine or King Curtis on tenor saxophone. He continued to have hits, including a version of Memphis Slim’s “Nobody Loves Me” that he retitled “Everyday I Have the Blues,” and his own song, “Blue Shadows,” in 1950. Although he lived in California, he began recording for the Chicago- based Checker label (part of Chess Records) in 1954, when he had a hit with “Reconsider Baby.”
He moved in 1964 to Kent Records, recording as Lowell Fulsom, and his soul- styled “Tramp” reached No. 5 on the rhythm-and-blues chart in 1967. He continued to tour and record well into the 1990s, with albums for European labels and, most recently, for the Rounder and Bullseye Blues labels. He won five W.C. Handy blues awards in 1993 and his 1995 album, “Them Update Blues” (Bullseye Blues), was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues album.
American Folk Blues Festival 1964 Fontana Records (UK) Recorded in the Musikhalle in Hamburg that year including Sonny Boy Williamson, Sugar Pie Desanto, Howlin Wolf and others. Courtesy of Chess Records. GO Sugar go!
“THE SUPER SUPER BLUES BAND” Checker Records HOWLIN WOLF! MUDDY WATERS! BO DIDDLEY! A Mount Rushmore of Blues Legends! In early 1967, Chess Records decided to shore up its fortunes by placing three of its aging stars in the studio to record together. Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and Little Walter played off each other on the session that would result in the Super Blues album which, in turn, would sell enough copies to keep the ball rolling and merit a second all-star session.
Later that year, Waters and Diddley were joined in the studio by the great Howlin’ Wolf who replaced the ailing Little Walter, for a similar blues jam session. With a top-notch band that included guitarists Hubert Sumlin and Buddy Guy (who also played bass), pianist Otis Spann, and drummer Clifton James, the trio of Chess legends laid down the songs that would become The Super Super Blues Band album.
“A Bit of the Blues” Osie Johnson and his orchestra RCA Victor Records (1956) Featuring: Osie Johnson (vocal), Nick Travis (tp), Hal McKusick (as, cl), Al Cohn (ts), Milt Hilton (b), Gus Johnson In the 1950s and the first half of the 1960s, Osie Johnson was one of the most in-demand drummers in New York, making a countless number of recordings and working steadily in the studios. Johnson was a member of Earl Hines’ band during 1951-1953. Stints with Dorothy Donegan and Illinois Jacquet followed before he became a busy session musician, playing and recording with a who’s who of mainstream (including Coleman Hawkins, Dinah Washington, Wes Montgomery, and Sonny Stitt). In addition to contributing tasteful and supportive drums, Osie Johnson was an occasional composer, arranger, and singer, leading sessions for Jazztone (1955) and RCA (1956).
Nina Simone (1933-2003) “Sings the Blues” RCA Victor Records (1967) “Do I Move You?”, “In the Dark,” “Day and Night,” “My Man’s Gone Now,” “I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl,” “Backlash Blues,” (a civil rights song written by her friend the poet Langston Hughes) and “The House of the Rising Sun” (Nina first recorded this song in 1962. After The Animals version became a hit she re-recorded this faster version.) Musicians here include Eric Gale , Rudy Stevenson (guitar); Buddy Lucas (harmonica, tenor saxophone); Bob Bushnell (6-string bass); Ernie Hayes (Organ), Bernard “Pretty” Purdie (drums). (Editors note: I saw Nina live at Carnegie Hall in 1991 or 92. You could hear a pin drop. The place was like a cathedral. It was magical.)
Freddie Robinson, Guitar and Vocals “Off the Cuff” (1973) Enterprise Records (Stax) With Wilton Felder (Bass), Monk Higgins (Electric Piano also Producer, Arranger and Conductor), Joe Sample (Keyboards), Harold Mason (Drums), Red Holloway (Tenor Sax) and George Bohannon (Trombone). Darlene Love adds to the backing vocals. Art Direction by Ron Gorden, Artwork by Edwin Murrell
After playing blues guitar on Chess studio recordings with Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter, Robinson played in Jerry Butler’s band from 1963-67. He also worked with Syl Johnson and then moved to Los Angeles to be part of Ray Charles’ outfit.
(“Off the Cuff” was sampled by Ice T in “Pulse of the Rhyme”)
1. Off the cuff 2. Georgia on my mind 3. Could it be I’m falling in love 4. Smoking 5. Medicine man 6. River’s invitations 7. Changing dreams 8. Try it one time 9. You’re on my mind 10. You never ever miss away 11. I remember
(Also check out “The Coming Atlantis on World Pacific)
Mississippi Fred McDowell “1904-1972” Photo by Baron Wolman Just Sunshine Records Recorded September 8-10, 1969 at Malaco Sound Recording Studios, in Jackson, Miss.; prod. by Tommy Couch; Fred McDowell, g, voc; Jerry Puckett, b; Darin Lancaster, dr Liner notes by Michael Cuscuna Mississippi Fred McDowell taught a young Bonnie Raitt the slide guitar and his recording of “You Gotta Move” was covered by the Rolling Stones on “Sticky Fingers.” There’s a nice story about Fred’s last live recording session on Oblivion Records You can buy a print of this cover shot at Wolfgang’s Vault