Monday, October 02, 2006


remember brave Laika

Bobby "Blue" Bland, Further Up the Road.
J.B. Lenoir, Mama, What About Your Daughter.
Elmore James, The 12 Year Old Boy.

Some electric blues for a Monday morning.

Bobby "Blue" Bland, born in 1930 in Rosemark, Tennessee, had been recording since 1951, starting out with Sam Phillips and the Bihari Brothers, who owned Modern Records, but it was on the Duke label, which had been created by Memphis DJ James Mattis to showcase local talent, that Bland truly prospered.

After a stint in the army that ended in 1955 (during which Bland had built up a reputation in Texas, where he was stationed--Don Robey, who owned Peacock Records in Houston, eventually purchased Duke in order to nab Bland), Bland began waxing a string of heavy blues singles: "It's My Life Baby," "Woke Up Screaming," "You've Got Bad Intentions." He was aided by the young guitarist Roy Gaines, who Chuck Willis soon poached.

"Further Up the Road," recorded in Houston in 1957, was recorded with Bill Harvey's band, which included Sun Records veteran Pat Hare on guitar. Released as Duke 170, it was a smash, a single that established Bland nationally, But it was also was the end of Bland's traditional blues period. From now on, Bland would record slower, more produced and polished tracks, such as his masterpiece "Lead Me On."

Find on The '3B' Blues Boy.

J.B. Lenoir (sometimes referred to as Lenore) released "Mama What About Your Daughter" (also known as "What About Your Daughter") as a sequel of sorts to some of his earlier singles, like "Mama Talk To Your Daughter" and "Mama Your Daughter is Going to Miss Me." This time, though, Lenoir isn't interested in the mother being an intermediary to save a failing relationship--he just wants her to know how fine her daughter is, and what his intentions are.

Where earlier Lenoir tracks had been fairly primitive--a guitar for rhythm, a lone saxophone for melody--"Mama What About Your Daughter" is wonderfully arranged, with the drummer laying down an irresistable shuffle, a well-oiled brass section that intersects perfectly with the guitar, and Lenoir giving one of his finest vocals.

Recorded in late December 1956 and released in 1957 as Checker 874 c/w "Five Years." Find on Martin Scorsese Presents.

In 1957, Elmore James was alternating playing in Chicago with a band he had assembled over the past few years, the Broomdusters, and retreating home to Mississippi whenever he felt close to collapse (he had a heart condition, exacerbated by years of heavy drinking). James was cutting a series of great sides for Chess and Chief, one being the wonderfully odd "The 12 Year Old Boy," in which James is apparently cuckolded by a pre-teen. James' guitar (with Wayne Bennett backing him up) is simply astounding on this track--it sounds like an air-raid siren at times.

Recorded in Chicago and released in May 1957 as Chief 7001. Find on The Sky is Crying.

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