Out before the holiday season Guido van Rijnâs biography of Smokey Hogg praises to be a blues fans Xmas treat.
Texas bluesman Andrew âSmokeyâ Hogg was a singer, guitarist and pianist who moved to the West Coast after World War 2.
Andrew Hogg was born in Rusk County, Texas in 1914. He learned to play guitar and piano, and in the mid 1930s, he played around Texas juke-joints and bars with slide guitarist Black Ace (B.K. Turner). In February 1937, he was in Dallas where he recorded for the Decca label, and at the same session he played guitar on four tracks by pianist âWhistlinâ Alex Moore.
He served in the Army the war and when he returned to Dallas he recorded a series of songs that were leased to the Bihari Brothersâ Modern label in Los Angeles. He also recorded for the Bullet label, singing and playing piano over the guitar of Frankie Lee Sims.
In 1948, Smokey moved to the West-coast and went into Modern Recordsâ studio with pianist Hadda Brooks, and his second single âLong Tall Mamaâ was a national R&B hit. A stream of singles followed, including a cover of John Lee âSonny Boyâ Williamsonâs âGood Morning Little Schoolgirlâ, which again made the national charts in 1950.
Switching to Art Rupeâs Specialty label, Smokey released singles for them, and a couple more for Exclusive, while Modern were still releasing material from those 1947 Dallas sessions.
Smokey then recorded for a number of other labels: Independant, Sittinâ In With, Jax, Jade, Macyâs, the Bihariâs Modern, RPM and Meteor imprints, as well as Lew Chuddâs Imperial, Mercury, Combo, Top Hat and Colony, while further sides were leased to Fidelity, Federal and Showtime.
He had a couple of singles released by Rayâs Records of Pasadena in 1957, and made his final sides for the Ebb label later that year.
In total Smokey released almost 70 records in just over 10 years. Smokey returned to Texas and continued to play around the Dallas area until he passed away in McKinney at the age of 46, just before the US blues revival made his style of down home and country Blues popular again.
This is a new, one-hour documentary digs down deep into Alabamaâs African American inspired blues tradition, one less well-known than its Mississippi counterpart, but equally rich.
The film is produced and directed by Alabama filmmaker Robert Clem. It is his eighth feature documentary about Alabama, its history and culture.
His latest details the stateâs African American blues tradition, from the days of slavery to the 1930s and 1940s, when John and Alan Lomax recorded hundreds of songs for the Library of Congress with the aid of Sumter County folklorist Ruby Pickens Tartt; and on to the present day.
Alabamaâs blues tradition is centered in the stateâs Black Belt region, which was the heart of the antebellum cotton-growing industry â fueled by the labor of enslaved Blacks. According to a description provided by APT, the music âis more rural than the well-known Mississippi Delta blues and, in some sense, closer to the original source.â
The film deploys slave narratives, archival blues recordings and the recorded music of contemporary Black blues artists to explore the role the music has played in the region from slavery until current times.
Among the musicians heard in the film are Vera Hall, Dock Reed, Willie King and âBirminghamâ George Conner, who was born and raised in the Black Belt. Other featured musicians include Jock Webb, B.J. Reed, Michael Carpenter, Little Lee and the Midnight Band, B.J. Miller, teenage blues phenomenon Nigel Speights, and Alabama Blues Hall of Famers Clarence âBluesmanâ Davis, Sam Frazier and Earl âGuitarâ Williams.
The film includes archival recordings, and live performances filmed at Black Belt juke joints in Boligee, Panola and Union, and at the famed Red Wolf Lounge in Birmingham.Â The film also pays a visit to Gipâs Place, the juke joint founded in Bessemer by the late Black Belt native Henry âGipâ Gipson.
The documentary includes archival film of Black Belt Alabama from the 1920s into the early 2000s and a collection of photos taken in Alabamaâs Black Belt in the 1950s by writer, historian and jazz expert Fred Ramsey. Some of the photos appeared in Ramseyâs book, âBeen Here and Gone,â but have never appeared in a film until now.
Viola Smith, a swing-era musician who was promoted in the 1930s as the ‘fastest girl drummer in the world’ and who championed greater inclusion of women in the almost completely male preserve of big bands, died on October 21st O at her home in Costa Mesa, California. She was aged 107.
With a drum kit featuring 12 drums, including two giant tom-toms placed near her shoulders, Ms. Smith was from 1938 to 1941 the centre piece of the Coquettes, an ‘all-girl’Â big band. Her showcase was ‘The Snake Charmer’ a jazzy arabesque with explosions of drumming pyrotechnics.
Ms. Smith belonged to a coterie of female bandleaders who struggled to gain respect for their musicianship.
She had created the Coquettes from the remnants of her Wisconsin family ‘all-female band’ in which she was one of eight musical sisters. She favored crisp and swinging arrangements and was, by several accounts, an egalitarian leader who valued the input of her employees in major business and artistic decisions.
More than a pleasant timekeeper, she was a dervish behind the drums and found it difficult to conduct the group while playing. She turned over baton duties to Frances Carroll, a hip-swiveling singer and dancer.
The band, became known as Frances Carroll & the Coquettes, playing at nightclubs and dance halls and appearing in several short films and on the cover of the entertainment trade magazine Billboard before dissolving.
By that time, Ms. Smith said, she had spent 15 years on the road and had grown exhausted by the demands of travel. She selected Manhattan as her home base and won a summer scholarship to study timpani at the Juilliard School. She also sat in with bands at New York’s Paramount Theatre’ as many able-bodied male drummers of the day were drafted into military service for World War II.
She caused a stir with her 1942 essay in the music trade magazine DownBeat titled ‘Give Girl Musicians a Break!’ in which she called on prominent big-band leaders of the day to hire more women.
Within a year, she was playing under Phil Spitalny, whose all-girl band (heavy on harps and chiffon gowns) offered unadventurous material – but a steady income. The group, where she remained for a dozen years, was featured on Spitalny’s ‘Hour of Charm’ radio show and in two movies, ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’ (1942) and the Abbott & Costello comedy’Here Come the Co-Eds’ (1945).
Ms. Smith later drew attention as a member of the ‘Kit Kat Band’ quartet featured in the musical ‘Cabaret’ which ran on Broadway from 1966 to 1969 and then toured nationally.
Ms. Smith retired a few years later but occasionally picked up her drumsticks to play with a California ensemble called the Forever Young Band, which billed itself as ‘America’s Oldest Act of Professional Entertainers.’
Viola Clara Schmitz was born in Mount Calvary, Wisconsin, on November 29th, 1912. Her father, a cornetist, operated a tavern and concert hall in nearby Fond du Lac that boasted of having the first revolving crystal ball north of Chicago.
He insisted on piano training for each of his 10 children. Viola said she began drumming for the family orchestra because ‘with her being the sixth child’ all the other instruments she liked were taken. She was highly motivated to learn. ĂąâŹĆSo long as we practiced, we barely had to do work around the house, she told the ‘Women of Rock Oral History Project’.
By the 1920s, the enterprising patriarch had formed an all-girl dance band with the Schmitz daughters, billed as the Schmitz Sisters Orchestra (later the Smith Sisters Orchestra). She described her parents in glowing terms, recalling a tightknit Catholic family that traveled by luxurious Pierce-Arrow.
They were in demand for weddings and state fairs and played on the radio as far away as Chicago, once engaging in a musical battle over the airwaves with an all-male band. Â The band dwindled as some of the sisters left to marry or enter other occupations; one sister died. Besides Viola, the only remaining sister by 1938 was Mildred, who played sax, clarinet and violin. They rechristened themselves the Coquettes and gathered other musicians to form a new group.
Ms. Smith said Woody Herman tried to recruit her, but only as a novelty act pitted against another drummer. Yet in her later DownBeat essay, she spoke of Herman as a rare ‘progressive’Â in the field whose 1941 hiring trumpeter Billie Rogers was a milestone.
All girl Â bands such as the International Sweethearts of Rhythm Â peaked in the early 1940s and rapidly faded from the scene as men returned from war.
Repertoire Records are to release a 14 CD box set of BBC radio broadcasts byÂ Barbara Thompson, described as perhaps the best known jazz artist in the UK – outside of the UK.
This set includes material ranging from a live concert by the New Jazz Orchestra, introduced by Â Humphrey Lyttelton, in February 1969, to a set by Paraphernalia, featuring Barbaraâs late husband Â Jon Hiseman (drummer with The Graham Bond Organisation and founder-member of Colosseum) andÂ keyboard player Peter Lemer, dating from June, 1990.
The set contains such rarities as a set of compositions by Mike Taylor, broadcast in 1969 as a tribute following his then-recent death; ‘Improvisations For Octet and Strings’ (1970); ‘Five Movements for Jazz Ensemble’ (1971), conducted by Neil Ardley and introduced by Ian Carr; several broadcasts from the mid-1970s by Jubiaba; and many sets by Paraphernalia, in its various forms including a complete broadcast live from Holland Park, mastered to the highest level, with extensive liner notes by celebrated jazz critic, broadcaster and saxophonist Dave Gelly.
The box set release ushers in a particularly active period for Barbara – not only is her much-anticipated autobiography due to be published soon via Jazz In Britain, but there is also a new album due for release in early 2021 by the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.
Barbara will also feature in an edition of 24 hours in A&E on Channel 4, broadcast on Thursday, 8th October, at 9 pm. The TV programme acknowledges Barbaraâs ongoing battle with Parkinsonâs Disease, but more pertinently addresses a new heart condition, and touches upon the untimely death of her husband Jon Hiseman in 2018.
The programme looks at the experience of two other patients, Barbaraâs segment is narrated by her daughter, Ana Gracey.
This very poignant episode puts focus on this new threat to her health, but also celebrates the force of nature that she has been throughout her life and career, including footage from her Live â05 DVD, and even features a brief segment playing her soprano at home. This incredible dynamism is in full effect in the music contained within ‘Live at the BBC’, and in her autobiography.
This year, SenegalâsÂ Orchestra Baobab celebrate their 50th Anniversary. Its major milestone for any band but their story is even more fascinating.
To celebrate the band has announced the issue of their landmark 2002 classic reunion album âSpecialist In All Stylesâ for the first time ever on vinyl, on September 25th. Alongside this comes a previously unseen video from the archive â a performance of âJiin Ma Jiin Maâ from their 2015 show at Jazz Ă Vienne Festival in France.
âSpecialistâ was the first album by the full group since 1982âs legendary âPirates Choiceâ, a holy grail for African music fans. Recorded at Londonâs Livingston Studios in just ten days and produced by World CircuitâsÂ Nick GoldÂ withÂ Youssou NâDour, âSpecialist In All Stylesâ is a definitive illustration of Baobabâs Afro-Latin magic, introducing new material and reinventing some of the old tunes that made them famous.
By the start of 1970, at the height of the Star Bandâs fame, a new fashionable venue, Club Baobab, opened its doors in Dakarâs European district. Well known as a hangout for those with status and power, the club was built around a baobab tree, and to fire up its musical roster, its well-connected owners poached Star Band singers Balla Sidibe, Rudy Gomis and guitarist Barthelemy Attisso. Bassist Charlie Ndiaye and percussionist Mountaga Koite soon followed, joined by rhythm guitarist Latfi Ben Jelloun, Nigerian clarinet player Peter Udo, and veteran griot singer Laye Mboup.
With that, the stage was set for Orchestra Baobab to set the tempo for a new era of modern Senegalese and African music, drawing through the clubâs doors a diverse urban crowd ranging from businessmen and politicians to army officers and expats.
Combining pop, soul and traditional music from across Senegal and beyond, Orchestra Baobab quickly developed a distinctive raft of styles that reflected the cultural mix and the strong musical personalities of its members. Balla and Rudy hailed from Senegalâs culturally rich Casamance, saxophonist Issa Cissokho from Mali, and Latfi from Morocco. Guitarist Attisso â the lawyer-turned-guitarist whose arpeggio runs would become one of the bandâs scintillating trademarks â came from Togo, but what bound these myriad elements as tight as a drum skin was a strong Cuban influence, introduced to Senegal by sailors flowing in and out of the Port of Dakar.
Over the next decade, Orchestra Baobab kept evolving with an ever-changing lineup of members and released a number of classic records along the way.
However, by the end of 1983 Baobab had unofficially disbanded, and it wasnât until Nick Gold and Youssou NâDour encouraged the group to reform 15 long years later that Orchestra Baobab rose again at their now-famous London Barbican gig in 2001 and received a standing ovation that seemed to go on forever.
Celebrating 50 years as one of Africaâs greatest bands is an achievement few can equal, and while special Anniversary shows have been put on hold as a result of the global Coronavirus outbreak, plans remain in place to celebrate the band and their story through filmed performances and interviews, remixes and playlists, to help the prestigious Orchestraâs global legion of fans celebrate their half-century milestone.
To celebrate the centenary of Charlie Parker a CD Â release of Parkerâs âThe Savoy 10-Inch LP Collectionâ. The collection, spotlightsÂ Charlie Parkerâs ground breaking be-bop sessions for Savoy Records spanning 1944 to 1948. The tracks are already available on vinyl and digital formats.
The CD edition features 28 tracks from the four legendary Savoy 10-inch albums, presented with newly restored and re-mastered audio and a deluxe 20-page booklet containing vintage photos, rare ephemera and liner notes journalist and authorÂ Neil Tesser.
These historic recordings, Miles Davis,Â Dizzy Gillespie,Â John Lewis,Â Bud PowellÂ andÂ Max Roach.
When saxophonist Charlie Parker and his contemporaries introduced bebop in the 1940s, they were ushering in a bold new style that would influence modern music for decades to come.
Nowadays, as Neal Tesser argues i bebop was considered avant-garde. âBebop undergirds such a vast swath of American music that its revolutionary nature recedes into the background. It is now so familiar and comfortable, such an ever-present part of the family history, that non-historians can hardly envision it ever being ârevolutionary.ââ
However, when listeners heard this new sound for the first time, it was unlike anything they had experienced before. Though bebop evolved in the early part of the decadeâcultivated in New Yorkâs late-night jazz clubsâit didnât appear on record until the mid-1940s, following a two-year strike by the AFM (the US Musiciansâ Union), which banned commercial recordings for labels, due to royalty disputes.
The 28 tracks that make upÂ The Savoy 10-Inch LP CollectionÂ are some of the worldâs earliest bebop recordings, including takes from a November 1945 date that is often referred to as âThe Greatest Jazz Session Ever,â featuring Davis, Roach andÂ Curley RussellÂ appearing as âCharlie Parkerâs Reboppers.â
The tracks were compiled by Savoy and released over the next several years four LPs set:Â New Sounds In Modern Music, Volume 1Â (1950); New Sounds In Modern Music, Volume 2Â (1951);Â as well asÂ VolumesÂ 3Â andÂ 4Â (both released inÂ 1952).
Nearly all of the compositions heard in this collection are originals by Parker, with a few contributions by Miles Davis, and an original tune from guitaristÂ Tiny Grimesâwho led Parker in the session for âTinyâs Tempo.â Highlights include the upbeat âNowâs the Time,â the bluesy âParkerâs Moodâ and âConstellation,â which Tessler notes âseems to anticipate the free-jazz energy solos of the 1960s.â Also notable is âKo-Ko,â featuring an impressive improvisation from the saxophonist, as well as one of Birdâs most recognizable tunes, âBillieâs Bounceâ.Though multiple styles of bop would become mainstream by the end of the 1950s, these recordings mark the beginning of a new era and a radical shift in musical trends. It was a sound that, Tesser declares, was âat once liberating but also threatening. Charlie Parker and his fellow instigatorsâŠsparked a cultural earthquake that upended the music landscape for decades.â
Following the commercial and critically acclaimed success of the recent albums âBluesâ (2019) and âCheck Shirt Wizard – Live in ’77â (2020), UMC is releasing âThe Best Of Rory Gallagherâ inÂ October this year.
The compilation includes Roryâs recordings compiled from across his extensive recording career, including tracks from his first band Taste (from 1969) through to his final studio album âFresh Evidenceâ (1990).
The album will be released as a Double CD set with 30 tracks including a previously unreleased track with Jerry Lee Lewis.
It will also be released as a 2-disc black vinyl set and “direct to consumer” limited clear 2LP, plus a 15-track single CD, as well as digital HD and digital download.
The Rory Gallagher ArchivesÂ contains some amazing rarities and this set will include â(I Canât Get No) Satisfactionâ â cut with Jerry Lee Lewisâ at The Killerâs 1973 âLondon Sessionsâ featuring Rory singing and playing the Rolling Stonesâ classic alongside Jerry Lee Lewis.
The previously unreleased rarity is featured on the Double CD version and digital versions of the album, and available as a limited edition direct to consumer 7â vinyl single.Â The 7â inch picture sleeve features a rare archive photo of Rory and Jerry Lee Lewis from Jerry Leeâs 1973 âLondon Sessions.â The B-side features âCruise On Outâ (4:42) taken from Roryâs critically acclaimed album âPhoto Finishâ (1978).
Tracklisting for the 30 Track Double CD Set:
Taste – What’s Going On (from 1970âs âOn The Boardsâ LP)2:48
Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram performs four tracks in his hometown of Clarksdale, Mississippi and talks songwriting, growing up in the âBlues Holy Landâ and navigating racial inequality through music.
Record Store Day at Piccadilly Records, Oldham Street, Manchester 2018
For crate diggers used toÂ queuing outside the UKs plethora of independent record stores searching for rare vinyl, CDs and other collectables on Record Store Day things will be different this year. The twice postponed Record Store Day 2020 will be staggered over three days : August 29th, September 26th and October 24th and collectors and fans will be encouraged to use the Record Store Day store locator from August 14th to find out how their local shop plans to open on August 29th.
Measures that are set to be in place include bookable time slots (which will be available one week in advance on a first-come, first-served basis) and the operation of socially distanced queues.
For this year only,Â RSD will relax online sales so that products can be made available on participating shop websites or over the phone from 6PM on the evening of each âdropâ.
More than 230 independent record shops in the UK faced huge uncertainty with the postponement of this yearâs RSD due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Many stores are now hoping that the first instalment of the âRSD Dropsâ will provide a much-needed sales boost in order to get them back on the road to recovery.
Speaking to RSD, Natasha Youngs, owner of Resident Music in Brighton, said: âWe may not be partying this year but weâre still determined to make sure we celebrate the artists and labels that have made special releases available for our event. Getting them into the hands of the fans safely and sensibly is our top priority this year.
âWe will be operating a socially distanced queue and will be serving from 8am. With the releases being made available online at 6PM the same evening, customers who would rather not visit the shop in person can choose to order them online in the evening instead. They can then collect their records from the shop at a later date or have them posted to their door.
âWeâll focus on being able to organise another exciting event next year when things can hopefully return a little more to normal.â