Lucille Bogan (Bessie Jackson) - Skin Game Blues

Artist Biography by Eugene Chadbourne

Bessie Jackson was a pseudonym of Lucille Bogan, a classic female blues artist from the '20s and '30s. Her outspoken lyrics deal with sexuality in a manner that manages to raise eyebrows even within a genre that is about as nasty as recorded music ever got prior to the emergence of artists such as 2 Live Crew or Ludacris. The name change seems to be quite different in her case than the usual pattern among blues artists who recorded under other names simply to make an end run around pre-existing recording contracts. Jackson/Bogan seemed to be looking for something more substantial, in that she not only changed her name but her performance style as well, and never recorded again under the name of Lucille Bogan once the Jackson persona had emerged. This was despite having enjoyed a hit record in the so-called "race market" in 1927 with the song "Sweet Petunia" as Bogan, but perhaps this was a scent she was trying to hide from.

This performer came out of the extremely active blues scene of Birmingham, AL, in the '20s. She was born Lucille Anderson in Mississippi, picking up Bogan as a married name. She was the aunt of pianist and trumpet player Thomas "Big Music" Anderson. Bogan made her first recordings of the tunes "Lonesome Daddy Blues" and "Pawnshop Blues," in 1923, in New York City for the OKeh label. Despite the blues references in the titles, these were more vaudeville numbers. She moved to Chicago a year or two later and developed a huge following in the Windy City, before relocating to New York City in the early '30s, where she began a long collaborative relationship with pianist Walter Roland. This was the type of musical combination that many songwriters and singers only dream about; he was a perfect foil, knew what to play on the piano to bring out the best in her voice, and was such a sympathetic partner that it is hard to know where her ideas start and his end, no matter what name she was using. The pair made more than 100 records together before Bogan stopped recording in 1935.

One of the most infamous of the Jackson sides is the song "B.D. Woman's Blues," which 75 years later packs more of a punch than the lesbian-themed material of artists such as Holly Near or the Indigo Girls. "B.D." was short for "bull dykes," after all, and the blues singer lays it right on the line with the opening verse: "Comin' a time/women ain't gonna need no men." Well, except for a good piano player such as Walter Roland or some of her other hotshot accompanists such as guitarists Tampa Red and Josh White, or banjo picker Papa Charlie Jackson. She herself gets an accordion credit on one early recording, quite unusual for this genre. Certainly one of Bogan's greatest talents was as a songwriter, and she copyrighted dozens of titles, many of them so original that other blues artists were forced to give credit where credit was due instead of whipping up "matcher" imitations as was more than norm. She still wrote songs during her later years living in California, and her final composition was "Gonna Leave Town," which turned out to be quite a prophetic title. By the time Smokey Hogg cut the tune in 1949, Jackson really had left town, having passed away the previous year from coronary sclerosis. While the material of some artists from this period has become largely forgotten, this is hardly the case for her; Saffire: The Uppity Blues Women have recorded several of her songs, as has bandmember Ann Rabson on her solo projects, as well as the naughty novelty band the Asylum Street Spankers.


Raul Seixas - Meu amigo Pedro

Parabéns Raulzito! Hoje você completaria 72 anos. Um brinde!

Dedicado à todos os meus amigo Pedro, de ontem, hoje e sempre!


Edith Wilson - How Come You Do Me Like You Do

Artist Biography by Frank Powers

Edith Wilson belongs to that first group of African-American women referred to as vaudeville or cabaret blues singers that in the early '20s followed Mamie Smith into the recording studios. Wilson's recording career started with Columbia in 1921 with accompaniments provided by trumpeter Johnny Dunn's Jazz Hounds.

She was born Edith Goodall to a middle class black family in Louisville, KY, on September 2, 1896. Her birthdate is often stated as ten years later, but this was due to vanity. Her ancestors included an American Vice President, John C. Breckenridge, and a woman who was the model for the Liza character in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Edith Wilson entered show business in 1919 at the Park Theater in Louisville. Shortly afterwards she joined blues singer Lena Wilson and her pianist brother Danny when they performed in Louisville. Edith and Danny Wilson were married and the three formed an act. They opened in Baltimore to success and played locations on the East Coast. When they encountered talent scout Perry Bradford in New York, who had brought Mamie Smith to Okeh Records, Edith Wilson was introduced to Columbia Records where she was paired with Johnny Dunn's Jazz Hounds for a series of 17 recordings made in 1921 and 1922. Edith Wilson would make few recordings in subsequent years until she made her comeback in the 1970s.

While working at the Club Alabam in New York in 1924, Edith Wilson was caught up in a dispute between the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra and the club managers. They wanted tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins to appear on-stage with Edith Wilson. Hawkins was perfectly willing to oblige but asked for extra compensation, which was refused. Edith Wilson once recalled, "I was to come out on-stage carrying Hawk's saxophone and sing a song called "Nobody's Used It Since You've Been Gone" and then I'd give him back his horn and he'd play." It's not certain if this incident led to the Henderson band's departure from the Club Alabam right away, but soon the orchestra was hired by the Roseland Ballroom.

Edith Wilson never really was a blues singer in the sense of Bessie Smith or Ma Rainey. Her career would be spent performing on theater stages and in nightclubs. She became a major star in the New York black entertainment world. She was a member, with the famous Florence Mills, of "Lew Leslie's Plantation Review" at the Lafayette Theater in Harlem. In the mid- to late '20s, Edith Wilson was in England where she would establish herself as an international star. She would return to England many times over the course of following decades. Later, in New York, Edith Wilson appeared in the famous revue Hot Chocolates, where she introduced the Fats Waller/Andy Razaf tune "What Did I Do to Be So Black and Blue." Louis Armstrong also appeared on the show with Fats Waller and Wilson; the three were billed as "The Thousand Pounds of Harmony." Edith Wilson would appear with all the greatest names in black show business of the day, including Bill Robinson, Duke Ellington, Alberta Hunter, Cab Calloway, Noble Sissle, and many others.

Edith Wilson was also a recognized actress, appearing in non-singing roles on radio shows like Amos and Andy and in the Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall classic film To Have and Have Not. She was also active in early network television. Around 1950, Edith Wilson assumed the character of Aunt Jemima, promoting the pancake mix for the Quaker Oats Company. Some criticized Wilson for playing a black stereotype, but she refused to be intimidated and was proud of what she considered the aura of dignity she brought to the character.

Edith Wilson retired from show business in 1963 to work as an executive secretary with Negro Actors Guild and to involve herself with other charitable, religious, and literary activities. She returned from retirement in 1973, performing and recording with various artists such as Eubie Blake, Little Brother Montgomery, and Terry Waldo's Gutbucket Syncopators. Edith Wilson's last appearance was at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1980.


Lena Wilson - Chirpin' the Blues

Artist Biography by Ron DePasquale

After touring the vaudeville circuit for four years, Lena Wilson began recording in 1922. For the next two years and in 1930, Wilson recorded with the likes of Perry Bradford's Jazz Phools, Conaway's Rag Pickers, Johnny Dunn's Jazz Hounds, Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra, and the Nubian Five. She also recorded as a solo artist with Lena Wilson's Jazz Hounds, which featured trumpet player Gus Aiken, Garvin Bushell on clarinet, Herb Fleming on trombone, and John Mitchell on banjo, along with piano players Porter Grainger and Cliff Jackson. She also performed with her brother Danny Wilson, who married blues singer Edith Wilson, and the act became a trio. Lena Wilson also became a mainstay in New York's black theater scene of the 1920s, appearing in many musical revues. Wilson married violinist Shrimp Jones and continued to perform in New York's clubs until the mid-'30s. She died in 1939.


Ida Cox - Four Day Creep

Artist Biography by Scott Yanow

One of the finest classic blues singers of the 1920s, Ida Cox was singing in theaters by the time she was 14. She recorded regularly during 1923-1929 (her "Wild Woman Don't Have the Blues" and "Death Letter Blues" are her best-known songs). Although she was off-record during much of the 1930s, Cox was able to continue working and in 1939 she sang at Cafe Society, appeared at John Hammond's Spirituals to Swing concert, and made some new records. Cox toured with shows until a 1944 stroke pushed her into retirement; she came back for an impressive final recording in 1961.

Cox left her hometown of Toccoa, GA, as a teenager, traveling the south in vaudeville and tent shows, performing both as a singer and a comedienne. In the early '20s, she performed with Jelly Roll Morton, but she had severed her ties with the pianist by the time she signed her first record contract with Paramount in 1923. Cox stayed with Paramount for six years and recorded 78 songs, which usually featured accompaniment by Love Austin and trumpeter Tommy Ladnier. During that time, she also cut tracks for a variety of labels, including Silvertone, using several different pseudonyms, including Velma Bradley, Kate Lewis, and Julia Powers.

During the '30s, Cox didn't record often, but she continued to perform frequently, highlighted by an appearance at John Hammond's 1939 Spirituals to Swing concert at Carnegie Hall. The concert increased her visibility, particularly in jazz circles. Following the concert, she recorded with a number of jazz artists, including Charlie Christian, Lionel Hampton, Fletcher Henderson, and Hot Lips Page. She toured with a number of different shows in the early '40s until she suffered a stroke in 1944. Cox was retired for most of the '50s, but she was coaxed out of retirement in 1961 to record a final session with Coleman Hawkins. In 1967, Ida Cox died of cancer.


Roy Buchanan - When A Guitar Plays The Blues

Roy Buchanan (September 23, 1939 - August 14, 1988) was an American guitarist and blues musician. A pioneer of the Telecaster sound, Buchanan was a sideman and solo artist, with two gold albums early in his career, and two later solo albums charting on the Billboard chart. Despite never having achieved stardom, he is still considered a highly influential guitar player.Ranked #57 on the Rolling Stone list "100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time," Guitar Player praised him as having one of the "50 Greatest Tones of all Time."