Blues from the Roadhouse, the Penitentiary, and the Country on This Week’s Viking Twang!
Written by Randy Black on April 5, 2016
Champion Jack Dupree
Blind Jimmy Strothers
Viking Twang Episode 83 April 5, 2016
Good morning, friends, and welcome to Viking Twang Episode 83, My name is Randy Black. Hope you’re enjoying the term and this little hint of summer we’ve been having.
This week we might call this show Viking Blues. We’re going to start with songs from a 1996 collection of 1950s and 1960s blues called Classics from the Roadhouse. We’ll head to the South in the second set for some 1930s field recordings by John Lomax. We’ll close with some white country blues from the 1930s.
1 – Turkey Red, W.C. Beck & the Portland Country Underground.
2 – Let The Doorbell Ring; Larry Dale. Dale was a Texas bluesman who was one of Keith
Richards’ favorites. He recorded this is 1960.
3 – Red Hot; Billy “The Kid” Emerson. Emerson played piano in Ike Turners bands before
recording this song in 1955.
4 – Shim Sham Shimmy; Champion Jack Dupree. Dupree was a New Orleans-barrelhouse
piano player and Golden Glove boxer who recorded this in 1953.
5 – Dynamite at Midnight; King Curtis. Curtis Ousley played sax with people like Lionel
Hampton and Buddy Holly and opened for the Beatles at Shea Stadium. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. This is from 1957.
6 – I’d Rather Go Blind; Etta James. Another Rock and Roll Hall of Famer; she recorded this
7 – Moaning at Midnight; Howlin’ Wolf. The great blues harmonica player; he recorded this for
Sam Phillips at Sun Records in 1955.
This next set is a group of 1930s field recordings from the Library of Congress, released by Rounder Records in 1998 as Afro-American Spirituals, Work Songs, and Ballads. We’ll start with Dock Reed, Henry Reed, and Vera Ward Hall.
8 – Trouble So Hard; Dock Reed, Henry Reed, and Vera Ward Hall. This was recorded in
Alabama in 1937 by John Lomax and Ruby Pickens Tartt.
9 – Lead Me To the Rock; Wash Dennis and Charlie Sims. Dennis and Sims were prisoners at
Mississippi’s Parchman Farm prison, recorded by John Lomax in 1936.
10 – The Blood-Stained Banders; Blind Jimmy Strothers. Lomax recorded the minstrel banjo
player in State Farm, Virginia in 1936.
11 – Jumping Judy; Allen Prothero. Lomax recorded this song, sung by Kelly Price, at the
prison in Gould, Arkansas in 1934, accompanied by a work gang with their axes.
12 – Run, Old Jeremiah; Austin Coleman and Joe Washington Brown. John Lomax and his
song, Alan, recorded this in 1934 in a church in rural Louisiana.
13 – Look Down that Long, Lonesome Road, Reid Farm Group. At the time Lomax was
recording this songs, the classic work song was fading away due to mechanizaion on the farms. But it remained in Southern prisons. This is from 1934 in Boykin, Tennessee.
For this last set, we’re going to look at some of the white country blues artists of the 1920s and 1930, starting with Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers, who have the Milwaukee Blues.
14 – Milwaukee Blues; Charlie Poole & the North Carolina Ramblers. Charlie was the big star
of the 1920s before he died in 1931 from a bout of hard living. He recorded this classic in 1926.
15 – Deep Elem Blues; Prairie Ramblers. This was a Kentucky band that hit it big when they
hired a woman named Patsy Montana to be their singer in 1933. You recognize this song as being recorded by everyone from Doc Watson to the Grateful Dead. This is from 1935.
16 – Never No Mo’ Blues; The Rhythm Wreckers. This was a Los Angeles band who recorded
this in 1937.
17 — Train That Carried the Girl from Town; Frank Hutchison. Hutchison was a guitar and
harmonica player and West Virginia coal miner who recorded for Okeh Records. This is from 1926.
18 – Prohibition Blues; Clayton McMichen. McMichen was a member of Gid Tanner and the
Skillet Likkers until 1931; this song was recorded in 1932.
19 – When I Grow Too Old to Dream; Riley Puckett. Another big star of the era and Skillet
Likker alum; this is from 1936.
20 – Twang Theme; The Countrypolitans.