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Texas Blues - Volume 7

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Texas Blues - Volume 7

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01. Lien on your body
02. Unsatisfied mind

Calvin "Loudmouth" Johnson - vocals, guitar
D. C. Bender - guitar, bass, drums
Houston, Tx. March 1964

03. Lost you baby

Calvin "Loudmouth" Johnson - vocals, guitar, harmonica
+ band
Houston, Tx. 23 June 1965

04. Lien on your body (Mortgage on your soul)
05. Unsatisfied mind 1967
06. Late on blues
07. They call me Loudmouth
08. Once I had a woman
09. Take my choice
10. Unwelcome in your town
11. Gangster of love
12. Alone in my bedroom
13. Hootchie Cootchie man
14. Moth Balls
15. She's mine
16. Rock me baby
17. Down and out

Calvin "Loudmouth" Johnson - vocals, guitar, harmonica
Johnny Winter - guitar
+ band
Houston, Tx. 17 May 1967

18. Coming back home
19. Mr Ticket Agent

Silver Cooks (John Cooks) - vocals, drums
apa Lightfoot - harmonica
Tommy Ridgley - piano
Edgar Blanchard - guitar
Don Cooks - bass
Houston, Tx. 1949

20. Worry blues

Jesse Lockett - vocals, guitar
Brazoria, Tx. 16 April 1939

21. Hole in the wall
22. Mellow hour blues
23. Boogie woogie mama (prob. alt. take to Hole in the wall)

Jesse Lockett - vocals
Earl Sims - alto saxophone
Jimmy Moorman - trumpet
Doc Jones - tenor saxophone
Laurence Robinson - piano
C. Lechugo - bass
Felix Gross - drums
Los Angeles, Ca. 1946

24. Reefer blues
25. Don't lose your mind
26. Run rabbit run
27. Cold blooded woman

Jesse Lockett - vocals
Will Rowland - alto saxophone
+ band
Houston, Tx. January 1949

 

This 7th Opus of our Texas Blues series brings to the fore three quite obscure Texas bluesmen who, nevertheless, leave us some quite interesting records.

Calvin "Loudmouth" Johnson was singing in the Houston area juke joints during the late 1950's and 60's. He seems to have lead a small band with guitarist D.C. Bender (cf Texas blues/ Vol. 6) with whom he recorded a self produced 45 which he was selling from the bandstand.

Calvin was "discovered" by producer Roy Ames around 1965 while he was mostly making a living from scrap dealing. Ames recorded him several times, particularly in 1967, first a session with his own band of friends. But the results were so awful that Roy decided to start back the whole affair, this time with his own protégé (and also discovery) Johnny Winter plus some good local musicians during a three days session that gave an excellent reworking of Lien on your body (Mortgage on your soul) that became soon a small local hit. The following years, Johnson is reported singing and playing bass at Houston venues with a group named The Ministers of Sinisters with Mike "Wezo" Wesolowsky at the harmonica and Russ Wilson on the drums... We unfortunately don't know when Calvin was born and when he (probably) died and where he was buried.

Drummer (and singer) Silver (John) Cooks, probably the brother of bassist Don Cooks, is just a name, possibly from New Orleans. He has recorded behind Edgar Blanchard and Papa Lightfoot and under his name only one excellent single.

Houston singer Jesse Lockett was playing regularly in the clubs of Houston's Third Ward during the 1940's, even issuing four 45s that shows a very convincing Texas blues belter. He had previously recorded half a track (unfortunately cut short by probably technical problems) in 1939 for John Lomax while he was serving a prison sentence at the Brazorias Penitentiary. The track is an excellent country blues where Jesse plays an unmistakable Texas guitar style. Local newspaper The Houston Informer wrote on July 31, 1943, that "Jesse Lockett, the blues shouter and composer, has returned to the Lincoln Theatre stage show after filling an engagement at the exclusive ofay nitery on the outskirts of town. Returning on the zoom, Lockett has knocked up some more of his low down numbers and (is) really blowing his tops.". And his last single, issued in January 1949, is also reported in the same paper by columnist John "Sid" Thompson with some laudatory comments: “Jesse Lockett, hefty blues singer, who is a native Houstonian, has returned to the city from California, where he went to cut a few records. Jesse is still doing the blues and his latest, which should get somewhere, is 'Run Little Rabbit Run' (sic ). A catchy tune with lots of blues tempo it still has a bit of be-bop. Have him sing it when you see him.” Elsewhere in the column, Sid notes the presence of an out-of-town band, Will Rowland, but doesn't specify that they were the backing band on "Rabbit": “Listen to the traveling band of Will Rowland, who came to Houston via Beaumont from Los Angeles. A seven piece combo, the band did jump a little but not in the class of recent small bands heard here. One of those fine girls (of the Jane Russell type). Elsie Jones, entertained with the group.”

We have unfortunately no idea of the whereabouts of Jesse Lockett who seems to have vanished during the early 50's. We have been able to gather all his recordings minus one title (Blacker the berry).

A lot of thanks to Cesare Malagodi, the excellent blog about Texas records labels Wired for Sound and the late Roy C. Ames with whom we had quite a long correspondance during the 1970's. --- Gérard Herzhaft, jukegh.blogspot.com

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