WFMU Ichiban, Rock and Soul with Debbie D

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Detroit Blues: The Early 1950s

I picked this LP up for cheap a couple of weeks ago. It includes John Lee Hooker's first recording of "House Rent Boogie", recently fallen hero Eddie Kirkland's "No Shoes", "I Need $100" by One String Sam (one of those rare tracks where you see the name of the artist and the song title and think "There's no way this isn't good" and then get the record home and find out you're right), and most amazingly, Detroit Count's "Hastings Street Opera", a travelogue of the buckets o' blood that lined Detroit's pre-urban renewal main stem. Listen and learn. I guarantee you there was no guidebook to bars where the bartenders shoot everyone in there after 2 in the morning and you can get a steak sandwich that tastes like fish. The LP was in one of those heavy plastic library covers and a closer look revealed that some enterprising soul had snatched it from the New York Public Library's listening room. Whether they did it out of greed, or figuring that it was justified because one day soon the library wouldn't have a turntable, we'll never know, but in the end they did the world a favor because now it's available in the demented wilderness that we call the internet. There are a couple of annoying but brief left channel dropouts courtesy of my dying receiver, and, sadly, a skip on Bobo Jenkins's "Ten Below Zero", but it could have been a lot worse.

Baby Boy Warren - Sanafee
Baby Boy Warren - Baby Boy Blues
Baby Boy Warren - Mattie Mae
Baby Boy Warren - Chicken
Dr. Ross - Thirty Two Twenty
Bobo Jenkins - Ten Below Zero
Bobo Jenkins - Baby Don't You Want To Go
Eddie Kirkland - No Shoes
Detroit Count - Hastings Street Opera, Parts 1 & 2
L.C. Green - Remember Way Back
Big Maceo - Big City Blues
John Lee Hooker - House Rent Boogie
One String Sam - I Need $100
Brother Will Hairston - Alabama Bus

Addendum: Commenter BB points out an important fact that I forgot to mention, which is that the harmonica player on the Baby Boy Warren tracks is none other than Sonny Boy Williamson (the second Sonny Boy, aka Rice Miller, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Sonny Boy Williamson Too, or Sonny Boy Williamson Also, not to be confused with the first Sonny Boy Williamson). Thanks BB!

12 Comments:

ColinDuff said...

I don't know the Detroit Count track(s). About to download. Many thanks.

BB said...

This is such a great LP. I first bought it in a real record store c.1966. Was blown away by SBW's amplified harp on the Baby Boy Warren tracks, as well as Doctor Ross and especially Eddie Kirkland's "No Shoes" all on side one. Then you got L. C. Green on side two along with Brother Will Hairston, JLH, and the "Hastings Street Opera". Can't beat it. A Blues Classic for sure.

Ralphus said...

I too have this on vinyl but am going to download it for digital versions. I like all the tracks but 'Alabama Bus' is a must-hear.

DJ Little Danny said...

Thank you for this!

Matt Fiveash said...

BB, thanks for pointing out what I forgot to mention in my post: that is indeed Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) playing on the Baby Boy Warren tracks. I am going to amend the post right now...

Matt Fiveash said...

DJ Little Danny, nice to hear from you. I used to be a regular visitor to Office Naps but I stopped checking it several years ago when it looked like it was out of commission. Nice to see it's up and running again, I am going to catch up on what I've been missing now...

Terrence said...

Here is a link to a fantastic article from 2000 about the Detroit Blues scene-:

http://www2.metrotimes.com/editorial/story.asp?id=137

C. von Grumpy said...

Thank you once more!

BB said...

And if you want to get a hold of the Baby Boy/Sonny Boy tracks, they're on an Ace CD comp called Deep Harmonica Blues in great sound. . . .

Anonymous said...

Tks for posting!
Great album.
BMinNZ

DefChef said...

Love this....thanks for putting it up there, and thanks for keeping Ichiban so gawt-damn interesting!

Daniel said...

First of all: Thanks for this wonderful album that I didn't knew. And now, a comment: don't you think the blues is better heared in this way? I mean, even if you hear it ripped in mp3 or m4a or... from an old vinyl disc. Love the time it longs, the scratches, the ambient, the warm... don't know how to explain, but for me its better than cold CD box with hundred of songs that you can't afford. Of course, much better in real vinyl, but even ripped... Un saludo macanudo from Spain. Love your blog.

add