Monthly Archives: February 2013

45: “Sally Put Your Red Shoes On” b/w “Gasoline Alley Bred” by Johnny Johnson and His Bandwagon. Bell 1185. Released November, 1971.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

The Bandwagon was a soul vocal group that started in 1967. Stateside success eluded them, but their single “Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache” reached #4 on the UK’s Top 40 chart in October, 1968. The song was considered to be a key example of the Northern Soul sound, and would be covered by Dexy’s Midnight Runners in 1980.

The group disbanded in 1969, only to be reformed in London by its lead singer as Johnny Johnson and His Bandwagon. They continued to find success, though by the time of this single’s release, they were starting to lose favor with their original fans for becoming a bit more commercial.  Continue reading

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78: “Piney Woods Girl” b/w “Long Eared Mule” by Ernest V. Stoneman & Emmett Lundy. Okeh 40405. Recorded in New York City, May 27, 1925.

mage courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Ernest V. Stoneman was born in Momarat, Virginia, in 1893. He was a talented multi-instrumentalist (guitar, autoharp, harmonica) and singer who recorded solo and with a number of groups — Ernest V. Stoneman & His Dixie Mountaineers and Ernest Stoneman and the Blue Ridge Corn Shuckers —that were often comprised of neighbors and family members. In 1927, Victor Records would launch a very successful career by recording Stoneman and other artists of his choosing in Bristol, Tennessee. Those other artists included The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers; clearly, the man had taste

But before that happened, Stoneman recorded for a number of smaller labels, including Okeh. Continue reading

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45: “Madona/Flamenco” b/w “Flamenco Bleu/Mon Coeur Va” by Dalida. Barclay 70034. Recorded in Paris, France in 1956.

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Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Dalida was born in Cairo to Italian parents in 1933. “Madona,” which tells the tale of a woman praying to the Virgin Mary to guide her seafaring man home through calm waters, was her first single and did fairly well in France, where she had moved to pursue an acting career. It can be heard here, and a translation of the lyrics can be found here. A song called “Bambino,” released later in 1956, sold 300,000 copies and more fully established a career as successful as the singer’s life was fascinatingly tragic. Continue reading

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78: “Insane Crazy Blues” b/w “Bottle It Up and Go” by Charlie Burse with Memphis Jug Band. Okeh 8959. Recorded November 7, 1934 in Memphis, TN.

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Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

The Memphis Jug Band was, indeed, from Memphis, Tennessee, where they were a popular choice for parties, dances or even political rallies. Their broad appeal was evidenced by where they could be found playing, everywhere from Church’s Park (now W.C. Handy Park) for tips to more hifalutin’ venues like Chickasaw Country Club or the famed Peabody Hotel. The Memphis Jug Band recorded for a number of different labels (though primarily Victor) from 1927 to 1934. This song was recorded in Memphis on their second to last day of their final recording session: November 7, 1934. It moves along at a frenetic pace and includes a rollicking scat section, showing how the band’s sound had changed from a fairly straightforward country blues that was more typical of jug bands to something pretty close to jazz. Lyrics and tabs can be found here. The song can be heard here.

Charlie Burse joined the Memphis Jug Band in 1928 and was still part of the group when this was recorded. He usually played guitar and mandolin, but we can hear him singing here as well, which might explain his top billing over the name of the band on the label. Continue reading

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