Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Louis Armstrong - Blues Accompaniments 1924-1927


If I were to compile a list of my favorite jazz players, it probably won't overlap with a "jazz genius top ten" by much. I'll take Sonny over Trane any day, ditto Fats and Brownie over Miles, and I am only lately starting to warm up to Parker, and then probably because of overexposure than because of a true emotional connection - I must've heard his Savoy sides more times than I've heard Pink Floyd. But there is one guy that will probably top both lists, and that is Louis Armstrong. Satchmo does it for me every time.
I'll take his Hot Fives/Sevens to a desert island, no contest. There is no point in sharing them, though: there have been at least three different "complete" reissues, probably more, and all are easily available elsewhere. However, his sideman recordings are more obscure. After coming up to Chicago in 1922 to play with King Oliver and then Fletcher Henderson, Pops was very much in demand as a studio musician and accompanist. I am sure he did not mind making some dough on the side, either, so there is a wealth of his solos backing the famous and not-so-famous blues singers of the day, from Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith on down. In fact, the record execs noticed that the 78s with his solos - even uncredited - often sold better, and that gave them a bright idea to record Armstrong as a leader; the rest, as they say, is history.
Today's share is a collection of tracks with Armstrong's participation, recorded between 1924 and 1927. There are some sublime solos here; my favorites are two Bessie Smith tracks - I Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle and You've Been a Good Ole Wagon; another great track, He Likes It Slow, features the whole Hot Five and so appeared as a part of the "Complete" box sets. I should warn the prospective listeners that some of this is pretty sonically crude. Hot Fives and Sevens were an all-star band and they got all the latest studio gizmos and extra attention from the recording engineers; also, we get to hear the Hot Fives and Sevens after they've been put through the marvels of modern remastering. These tracks, OTOH, have none of the above; what they often do have is a distinctive unrehearsed "let's cut it and go drinking" one-take feel - the balance is all over the place, there are stumbles and rough spots, and the instrumentation is sometimes rather skeletal, such as the vocal-cornet-harmonium trio on the St. Louis Blues. So, for all the historical interest and occasional brilliance of Satchmo's solos, these probably won't be going with me to any desert island unless I'll be taking my 500GB hard drive with me.
A very thorough Armstrong discography can be found here, refer to it for session dates, personnel and instrumentation.
Track list and links are in comments.

11 comments:

  1. 1. See See Rider Blues – Ma Rainey acc. by her Georgia Jazz Band [Paramount, 1924/10/16]
    2. Jelly Bean Blues – Ma Rainey acc. by her Georgia Jazz Band [Paramount, 1924/10/16]
    3. Counting The Blues – Ma Rainey acc. by her Georgia Jazz Band [Paramount, 1924/10/16]
    4. Nobody Knows The Way I Feel Dis Mornin – Clara Smith acc. by Louis Armstrong, Charlie Green and Fletcher Henderson [Columbia, 1925/01/07]
    5. Broken Busted Blues – Clara Smith acc. by Louis Armstrong, Charlie Green and Fletcher Henderson [Columbia, 1925/01/07]
    6. The St. Louis Blues – Bessie Smith acc. by Louis Armstrong and Fred Longshaw [Columbia, 1925/01/14]
    7. Reckless Blues – Bessie Smith acc. by Louis Armstrong and Fred Longshaw [Columbia, 1925/01/14]
    8. Sobbin' Hearted Blues – Bessie Smith acc. by Louis Armstrong and Fred Longshaw [Columbia, 1925/01/14]
    9. Cold In Hand Blues – Bessie Smith acc. by Louis Armstrong and Fred Longshaw [Columbia, 1925/01/14]
    10. You've Been A Good Ole Wagon – Bessie Smith acc. by Louis Armstrong and Fred Longshaw [Columbia, 1925/01/14]
    11. You've Got To Beat Me To Keep Me – Trixie Smith acc. by her Down Home Syncopators [Paramount, 1925/02]
    12. Mining Camp Blues – Trixie Smith acc. by her Down Home Syncopators [Paramount, 1925/02]
    13. The World's Jazz Crazy And So Am I – Trixie Smith [Paramount, 1925/03]
    14. Railroad Blues – Trixie Smith [Paramount, 1925/03]
    15. Shipwrecked Blues – Clara Smith acc. by Louis Armstrong and Fletcher Henderson [Columbia, 1925/04/02]
    16. Court House Blues – Clara Smith acc. by Louis Armstrong and Fletcher Henderson [Columbia, 1925/04/02]
    17. My John Blues – Clara Smith acc. by Louis Armstrong, Charlie Green and Fletcher Henderson [Columbia, 1925/04/02]
    18. Nashville Women's Blues – Bessie Smith acc. by Louis Armstrong, Charlie Green and Fred Longshaw [Columbia, 1925/05/26]
    19. Careless Love Blues – Bessie Smith acc. by Louis Armstrong, Charlie Green and Fred Longshaw [Columbia, 1925/05/26]
    20. J. C. Holmes Blues – Bessie Smith acc. by Louis Armstrong, Charlie Green and Fred Longshaw [Columbia, 1925/05/27]
    21. I Ain't Goin' To Play Second Fiddle – Bessie Smith acc. by Louis Armstrong, Charlie Green and Fred Longshaw [Columbia, 1925/05/27]
    22. Come On Coot Do That Thing – Coot Grant and Kid Wesley Wilson acc. by Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra [Paramount, 1925/09]
    23. Find Me At The Greasy Spoon (If You Miss Me Here) – Coot Grant and Kid Wesley Wilson acc. by Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra [Paramount, 1925/09]
    24. Low Land Blues. – Bertha "Chippie" Hill acc. by Louis Armstrong and Richard M. Jones [OKeh, 1925/11/09]
    25. Kid Man Blues – Bertha "Chippie" Hill acc. by Louis Armstrong and Richard M. Jones [OKeh, 1925/11/09]
    26. Lazy Woman's Blues – Blanche Calloway acc. by Louis Armstrong and Richard M. Jones [OKeh, 1925/11/09]
    27. Lonesome Lovesick – Blanche Calloway acc. by Louis Armstrong and Richard M. Jones [OKeh, 1925/11/09]
    28. Gambler's Dream – Hociel Thomas acc. by Louis Armstrong's Jazz Four [OKeh, 1925/11/11]
    29. Sunshine Baby – Hociel Thomas acc. by Louis Armstrong's Jazz Four [OKeh, 1925/11/11]

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  2. 30. Adam And Eve Had The Blues – Hociel Thomas acc. by Louis Armstrong's Jazz Four [OKeh, 1925/11/11]
    31. Put It Where I Can Get It – Hociel Thomas acc. by Louis Armstrong's Jazz Four [OKeh, 1925/11/11]
    32. Wash Woman Blues – Hociel Thomas acc. by Louis Armstrong's Jazz Four [OKeh, 1925/11/11]
    33. I've Stopped My Man – Hociel Thomas acc. by Louis Armstrong's Jazz Four [OKeh, 1925/11/11]
    34. Lonesome, All Alone And Blue – Bertha "Chippie" Hill acc. by Louis Armstrong and Richard M. Jones [OKeh, 1926/02/23]
    35. Trouble In Mind – Bertha "Chippie" Hill acc. by Louis Armstrong and Richard M. Jones [OKeh, 1926/02/23]
    36. Georgia Man – Bertha "Chippie" Hill acc. by Louis Armstrong and Richard M. Jones [OKeh, 1926/02/23]
    37. You've Got To Get Home On Time – Baby Mack acc. by Louis Armstrong and Richard M. Jones [OKeh, 1926/02/23]
    38. What Kind Of Man Is That – Baby Mack acc. by Louis Armstrong and Richard M. Jones [OKeh, 1926/02/23]
    39. Deep Water Blues – Hociel Thomas acc. by Louis Armstrong and Hersal Thomas [OKeh, 1926/02/24]
    40. G'wan I Told You – Hociel Thomas acc. by Louis Armstrong and Hersal Thomas [OKeh, 1926/02/24]
    41. Listen To Ma – Hociel Thomas acc. by Louis Armstrong and Hersal Thomas [OKeh, 1926/02/24]
    42. Lonesome Hours – Hociel Thomas acc. by Louis Armstrong and Hersal Thomas [OKeh, 1926/02/24]
    43. A Jealous Woman Like Me – Sippie Wallace acc. by Louis Armstrong and Hersal Thomas [OKeh, 1926/03/01]
    44. Special Delivery Blues – Sippie Wallace acc. by Louis Armstrong and Hersal Thomas [OKeh, 1926/03/01]
    45. Jack Of Diamonds Blues – Sippie Wallace acc. by Louis Armstrong and Hersal Thomas [OKeh, 1926/03/01]
    46. The Mail Train Blues – Sippie Wallace acc. by Louis Armstrong and Hersal Thomas [OKeh, 1926/03/03]
    47. I Feel Good – Sippie Wallace acc. by Louis Armstrong and Hersal Thomas [OKeh, 1926/03/03]
    48. A Man For Every Day In The Week – Sippie Wallace acc. by Louis Armstrong and Hersal Thomas [OKeh, 1926/03/03]
    49. He Likes It Slow – Butterbeans and Susie acc. by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five [OKeh, 1926/06/18]
    50. Pleadin' For The Blues – Bertha "Chippie" Hill acc. by Louis Armstrong and Richard M. Jones [OKeh, 1926/11/23]
    51. Pratt City Blues – Bertha "Chippie" Hill acc. by Louis Armstrong and Richard M. Jones [OKeh, 1926/11/23]
    52. Mess, Katie, Mess – Bertha "Chippie" Hill acc. by Louis Armstrong and Richard M. Jones [OKeh, 1926/11/23]
    53. Lovesick Blues – Bertha "Chippie" Hill acc. by Louis Armstrong and Richard M. Jones [OKeh, 1926/11/26]
    54. Lonesome Weary Blues – Bertha "Chippie" Hill acc. by Louis Armstrong and Richard M. Jones [OKeh, 1926/11/26]
    55. Dead Drunk Blues – Sippie Wallace [OKeh, 1927/05/06]
    56. Have You Ever Been Down – Sippie Wallace [OKeh, 1927/05/06]
    57. Lazy Man Blues – Sippie Wallace [OKeh, 1927/05/06]
    58. The Flood Blues – Sippie Wallace [OKeh, 1927/05/06]

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  3. Hello!
    Thanks for the great opportunity of downloading a lot of beautiful music.
    If you want to visit my new blog you will find there my little contribution from my collection.

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  4. thanks for this personal comp --and some euphonium vids. lovley!!

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  5. Love your blog since loooong time ago. Thanks thanks thanks!! I would take hot five/sevens to a desert island too... even if I like most of the music of your blog. Go ahead! Keep goin'

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  6. It will be great to watch St. Louis Blues, i have bought tickets from
    http://ticketfront.com/event/St_Louis_Blues-tickets looking forward to it.

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  7. Great to see Louis Armstrong...you can't go wrong with him. Thanks for a great blog!

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  8. Hi, I hate to ask, but do you think you might be able to re-upload these somewhere else now that Mega... is no more? Thanks!
    Steve

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