Covered by many, yet understood by few, “Midnight Special” was traditionally a folk song which originated among prisoners. The country-blues version, sung by Bill Cox, hums along like a freight train, encouraging the light of the powerful locomotive to inspire those out of their destitution.
Enigmatic blues legend Kid Bailey (AKA Willie Brown) left behind scant few recordings, and clean copies are difficult or perhaps impossible to come by. We downloaded the best audio we could find of Bailey’s classic “Rowdy Blues” from Archive.org, and asked producer Michael Rosen to employ his studio magic to reconstruct the audio with glitches and pops reduced and the warmth of the original recording brought to the fore. It’s a great live take from nearly a century ago, and we are happy to be able to share it for new audiences to enjoy today.
Here’s some blistering harmonica boogie from “blues harp” masters Dutch Coleman and Red Whitehead. Expertly shaping the tone with their breath and their mouths, this duo of innovators created a trance-inducing sound way back when, and lucky us, they recorded it. Pure instrumental music goodness with two guys jamming full-on and stompin’ they feet.
In the early 1960s Syd Barrett grafted Pink Anderson’s first name with another bluesman (Floyd Council), to form the name of Pink Floyd. Two decades before Barrett was born, Columbia Records recorded two 78’s with Pink Anderson & Simmie Dooley in 1928. This upbeat number features a humorous back and forth chatter between Pink Anderson and Simmie Dooley, both playing guitar and singing verses. This is a great tune that deserves to be heard, and we’re lucky to have a nice clean MP3 of it, too.
Another rare treat for fans of the deep, deep Mississippi blues sound. Caldwell Mississippi Bracey had a loose, magnificently lazy guitar hand, and one of the warmest voices of his time. “You Scolded Me And Drove Me From Your Door” is one of only four sides Caldwell is known to have recorded. It’s such a great track. Have a listen.
Oscar “Buddy” Woods was a member of the first mixed-race country blues group, and a pioneer of lap-steel-bottleneck blues. He composed music through the Harlem Renaissance and through Prohibition. “Don’t Sell it, Don’t Give it Away,” Woods’ signature tune, is an upbeat good old-fashioned break-up number that swings, big time. Clean mp3 of the original vinyl. A true gem.
They sure don’t make ’em like this anymore. One guy with a guitar and his voice, alone except for a tape recorder, making music more deep than a million overdubs could ever conjur up. ‘Scuse me now while I hop this freight train..