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Chicago - The Blues Yesterday Volume 13

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Chicago - The Blues Yesterday Volume 13

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01. Six weeks old blues n°1
02. Six weeks old blues n°2
03. God knows I can't help it
04. You'll work down to me someday
05. Against my will

John Henry Barbee (William George Tucker) – vocals, guitar
Willie Bee James – guitar, bass
Chicago, 8 September 1938

06. I know she didn't love me
07. Baby I need your love (That ain't it)
08. Gonna lose your mind (Tell me baby)

John Henry Barbee - vocals, guitar
Chicago, 1963

09. Early in the morning
10. No pickin' no pullin'
11. Six weeks old blues

John Henry Barbee - vocals, guitar
Homesick James – guitar
Washboard Sam – washboard
Willie Dixon – percussion
Chicago, 26 March 1964

12. Katy Fly
13. Big boat
14. Only boy child
15. Lonesome mama
16. Mean actin' mama
17. Stuff stomp

Elijah C. Jones – vocals, guitar
Yank Rachell – mandolin
John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson – harmonica
Aurora, 13 March 1938

18. Shake'em on down
19. Sad home blues
20. TNT blues
21. Race horse blues

Elijah C. Jones (as Kid Slim) – vocals, guitar
Chicago, 1949

22. Money taking woman n°1
23. Money taking woman n°2

Johnny Young – vocals, mandolin
Johnny Williams – guitar, vocals
Chicago, 1947

24. My baby walked out on me
25. Let me ride your mule

Johnny Young – vocals, mandolin
Johnny Williams – guitar
Snooky Pryor – harmonica
Chicago, Ill. December 1948

 

For this 13th volume of our ever popular "Chicago./The Blues Yesterday" series, let's go back to the crucial years that between the late 1930's and the late 1940's saw major changes in the Chicago blues.

John Henry Barbee, born William George Tucker on 14th November 1905 at Henning (Tn) learned to play guitar at a very early age and played for tips a little bit everywhere around Memphis, meeting Sleepy John Estes, John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson and Big Joe Williams with whom he toured the South for awhile. After a brawl (c. 1937) in which William George shot a white man, he fled to Chicago and took the name of John Henry Barbee to avoid any criminal search. He recorded four wonderful tracks for Vocalion in 1938 and was for a long time a familiar musician of the famous Maxwell Street Market, appearing very often with Moody and Floyd Jones. He was largely living outside music when Willie Dixon rediscovered him in 1963, persuading him to play again in folk clubs as an acoustic solo bluesman. Barbee was part of the American Folk Blues Festival 1964, recorded an excellent album for the Danish Storyville label but after a couple of stage appearances, Barbee felt very ill, was diagnosed with a severe cancer and flew back to the USA. He was quickly involved in a fatal car accident and was jailed in Chicago where he died on 9th November 1964.

We don't know anything about singer and guitarist Elijah C. Jones who was brought to the studios in 1938 by Yank Rachell, recording some titles and resurfacing in 1949 for another (at that time unissued) session where he was billed as Kid Slim.

Johnny Young (1st January 1918 in Vicksburg (Ms)) is of course well known by all the blues buffs around the world as one of the very few Post War blues mandolin player and as a true pioneer of the new Chicago blues. Young was also a familiar musician on the Maxwell Street Market and waxed a couple of sides for tiny labels in 1947-48. Unfortunately, he would have to wait until the 1960's to record again but this time quite extensively thanks to Pete Welding who brought him very often in the studios. After his remarkable contribution to Sam Charters' The blues/Today series, Young became a favorite of festivals and tours in the USA and Europe, recording many first rate LP's, particularly the two for Arhoolie. He was a staunch member of pianist Bob Riedy's excellent band when he died from a heart attack in Chicago, 18 April 1974. ---Gérard Herzhaft, jukegh.blogspot.com

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