Elijah WaldUnique Blues CDs

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These are anthologies I put together because no one else had. The first is a collection of people who have been typed as blues singers doing more mainstream pop material. The others feature two of the most popular and influential figures in early blues, whom I feel have been ill-treated by the reissue market. There are several CDs of Leroy Carr's work, but none that is properly programmed to show the verve, humor, and breadth of his talent. Ida Cox was in some ways the most important blues singer of her era, and has never received anything like her due from modern fans and historians. (I no longer sell these CDs, but have left this page up, since the lists of titles and programming may be useful as a guide for people interested in checking out this material.)

(You might also want to check out my page of African acoustic guitar CDs.)

When I Take My Vacation in Harlem:
Blues Legends Sing Pop

Leroy Carr:
The Many Sides of a Master

Ida Cox:
Uncrowned Queen of the Blues

When I Take My Vacation in Harlem: Blues Legends Sing Pop

In the 1920s and 1930s, a lot of versatile black musicians were pushed by record companies to record the hot new blues styles. As a result, we tend to think of them as blues musicians and forget that in many cases they would have been playing more pop than blues at their live gigs. Thirty years later, very little had changed: Sam Charters, who produced some of the same artists for folk-blues labels, recalls that "All those guys would come in with their version of 'Honeysuckle Rose,' and I'd have to tell them that wasn't what we wanted."

This anthology showcases pop-flavored work recorded in the pre-war years by "blues" artists -- both uptown stars like Leroy Carr and Tampa Red and rural artists like the Mississippi Sheiks and Louie Lasky -- and shows how they brought their own flavor and style to bear on this material.

1. Lazy Lazy River -- The Mississippi Sheiks
2. When I Take My Vacation in Harlem -- Tampa Red
3. Arlena -- Leroy Carr
4. When You're Smiling -- Georgia White
5. Ain't She Sweet -- Leecan & Cooksey
6. Caroline -- Louie Lasky
7. Shine -- Dallas String Band
8. How About Me? -- Leroy Carr
9. Maybe It's Someone Else You Love -- Tampa Red
10. Guitar Swing -- Casey Bill Weldon
11. When the Saints Go Marching In -- Delta Rhythm Boys
12. Runnin' Wild -- James Cole's Washboard Four
13. It Must Be Love -- Georgia White
14. Nobody's Sweetheart -- Tampa Red
15. Always In Love with You -- Charlie McCoy
16. The Sheik Waltz -- Mississippi Sheiks
17. Let's Make up and Be Friends -- Leroy Carr
18. Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out -- Pine Top Smith
19. I Love You, Mary Lou -- Lonnie Johnson
20. Arlena -- Washboard Rhythm Kings
21. Dancing with Tears in My Eyes -- Leadbelly
22. Let's Get Drunk and Truck -- Tampa Red
23. Old Man Mose -- The Yas Yas Girl
24. Who's Sorry Now -- Big Bill Broonzy

Leroy Carr: The Many Sides of a Master

Leroy Carr was the most influential male blues singer of the '20s and '30s. Coming on a scene dominated by women singing over jazz bands, and idiosyncratic streetcorner performers, he and the guitarist Scrapper Blackwell developed a clean, sharp style that is the basis of virtually all later blues bands. His songs were covered and his style imitated by everyone from Robert Johnson, Blind Boy Fuller and Leadbelly to the Ink Spots, the Count Basie Orchestra, and Ray Charles, and both Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf recalled that a Carr song was the first blues they ever learned.

If Carr is rarely given full credit for his awesome role in blues history, one reason is that all the albums of his work concentrate on blues ballads, with the result that he has acquired a reputation as repetitive. Great as his ballads were, they were issued as singles, and in his own time very few people would have listened to a dozen of them back to back, nor would he have been likely to play them that way at a live show. This set balances the ballads with comic songs, romping barroom numbers, and driving dance tunes, programmed to show the soul, range and brilliance of his talent.

1. How Long -- How Long Blues
2. Baby Don't You Love Me No More
3. Naptown Blues
4. Gettin' All Wet
5. Don't You Get Tired of Riding That Same Train All the Time?
6. Mean Mistreater' Mama
7. Let's Disagree
8. Sloppy Drunk Blues
9. Four Day Rider
10. Papa's on the Housetop
11. Hurry Down Sunshine
12. Low Down Dog Blues
13. Carried Water for the Elephant
14. Midnight Hour Blues
15. Papa Wants to Knock a Jug
16. Blues Before Sunrise
17. I Ain't Got No Money Now
18. Take a Walk Around the Corner
19. Muddy Water
20. I Believe I'll Make a Change
21. Bo Bo Stomp
22. Longing for My Sugar
23. My Good for Nothin' Gal
24. When the Sun Goes Down
25. It's Too Short

Ida Cox: Uncrowned Queen of the Blues

Ida Cox was billed as the "Uncrowned Queen of the Blues" back in the 1920s, and she remains under-acknowledged today. One of the foremost stars among the generation of southern singers who recorded in the wake of Bessie Smith's success, she was the only one who kept touring throughout the United States right through the 1930s.

Cox was a lighter singer than Smith, and she had a direct, conversational style that made it seem as if she was telling a story rather than showing off her voice. As a result, her lines stuck in people's memories, and were repeated not only on her fellow blues queens, but by many of the male guitarists and pianists who became the next generation of blues stars. Leroy Carr began his career with a cover of her "How Long, Daddy, How Long," Muddy Waters adapted one of his first hits from her "Mojo Hand Blues," and hundreds of singers copied verses from her "Blues Ain't Nothin' Else But . . ." This anthology was selected to show the range of her talents, and to highlight those songs that went on to influence all of blues.

1. Chattanooga Blues
2. Chicago Bound Blues (Famous Migration Blues)
3. Come Right In
4. Any Women's Blues
5. Mama Doo Shee Blues
6. Worried Mama Blues
7. So Soon This Morning Blues
8. Mail Man Blues
9. Confidential Blues
10. Bear-Mash Blues
11. Chicago Monkey Man Blues
12. Blues Ain't Nothin' Else But . . .
13. Wild Women Don't Have the Blues
14. Misery Blues
15. Graveyard Bound Blues
16. How Long, Daddy, How Long
17. How Can I Miss You When I've Got Dead Aim
18. I Ain't Got Nobody
19. Don't Blame Me
20. Gypsy Glass Blues
21. Mojo Hand Blues
22. Hard, Oh Lawd
23. Cold and Blue