31 March 2020

Podwireless 212 April 2020


1. (Sig) English Country Blues Band : The Italian Job from the CD Unruly (Weekend Beatnik) ghostsfromthebasement.bandcamp.com

2. Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom : Rise Up Alexa from the CD Never Work (BB*Island) bbislandmusic.com/shop/

3. June Tabor & Oyster Band : False True Love from the CD Fire & Fleet (Running Man) oysterband.co.uk

4. Myrkur : Fager Som En Ros from the CD Folkesange (Relapse) myrkur.bandcamp.com

5. Trad.Attack! : Miks Te Ei Laula? from the CD Make Your Move (Made In Baltics) tradattack.ee

6. Farafi : Sembere from the CD Calico Soul (Piranha) piranha.de

7. Kadialy Kouyate : Fondinke from the CD Nemo (Kadialy Kouyate) kouyatekadialy.com

8. The Unthanks : Griesly Bride from the CD Diversions Vol. 5 Live And Unaccompanied (Rabble Rouser) the-unthanks.com

9. Rainy Day Woman : Shelter from the CD Home (Rainy Day Woman) facebook.com/rainydaywoman1

10. Diana Collier : Ode To Riddley Walker from the CD Ode To Riddley Walker (Rif Mountain) rifmountain.com

11. Andrew Cronshaw : Cuir A Chion Dìlis Tharam Do Lamh (True Love Put Thine Arms Around Me) from the CD Zithers (Cloud Valley) andrewcronshaw.bandcamp.com

12. Rebecca Foon : Pour from the CD Waxing Moon (Constellation) cstrecords.com

13. Fra Fra : Naked from the CD Funeral Songs (Glitterbeat) http://www.glitterbeat.com

14. Jola : Ulad L Ghaba (The Children Of The Forest) from the CD Hidden Gnawa Music In Brussels (Muziekpublique) muziekpublique.be

15. Aunt Molly Jackson : Roll On Buddy from the CD Songs Of Hard Times: Up, Over & Through (Alan Lomax Archive) alanlomaxarchive.bandcamp.com

16. The John Dummer Blues Band : Skin Game from the CD Crawling Up A Hill (Grapefruit/ Cherry Red) cherryred.co.uk

17. Matilde Politi feat. Gabriele Politi : Nta Viddi E Vaddi from the CD Viva Santa Liberata (Felmay) felmay.it

18. Maruja Limón : Rosario Dinamitera from the CD Ante Mí (Kasba Music) somosmarujalimon.com

19. Melingo : El Sueño Del Éxodo from the CD Oasis (Buda) budamusique.com

20. Junglelyd : Boots from the CD Junglelyd (Sounds Of Subterrania!) soundsofsubterrania.com

21. Andreas Tophøj, Rune Barslund : Dronningholmvejs Trippevals from the CD Trails & Traces (Go' Danish Folk Music) gofolk.dk

22. Paul Hutchinson : Roodulum from the CD The Maniacs (Paul Hutchinson) paulhutchinsonmusic.co.uk

23. Ewelina Grygier : Szplin (Zimowy Dzik Jig / Ton Simple Plinn) from the CD Szplin (CM) ewelinagrygier.art.pl

24. Nancy Wallace : She Dreams Of Maps from the CD Weirdshire 3 – A Cure Of Souls (Sproatly Smith) sproatlysmith.bandcamp.com

25. Brigid Mae Power : The Blacksmith from the CD Head Above The Water (Fire) firerecords.com

26. Peter Knight's Gigspanner Big Band : Awake, Awake from the CD Natural Invention (Gigspanner) gigspanner.com

27. Veronica Doubleday & John Baily : Asheq-e Manam Leili from the CD Silken Threads (Sempre) Email j.baily@gold.ac.uk

28. Matthieu Saglio with Bijan Chemirani : L'appel Du Muezzin from the CD El Camino De Los Vientos (ACT) actmusic.com

29. Manhu : Moon from the CD Voices Of The Sani (Riverboat) worldmusic.net

30. Guo Can, Zoumana Tereta, Richard Bourreau : Sinzani Fama from the CD Saba Sounds (Felmay) felmay.it

31. Jack Sharp : God Dog from the CD Good Times Older (From Here) fromhererecords.com

32. Sam Carter : Fly The Flag from the CD Home Waters (Captain) samcartermusic.co.uk

33. Brian McNeill : John Harrison's Hands from the CD No Silence (Greentrax) greentrax.com

34. Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela : Coconut Jam from the CD Rejoice (World Circuit) shop.worldcircuit.co.uk

35. Santrofi : Konongo Kaya from the CD Alewa (OutHere) outhere.de

36. Damily : Zaho Va from the CD Early Years: Madagascar Cassette Archives (Bongo Joe) bongojoe.ch

37. Will Pound : Scottish a Virmoux/ SBrando from the CD A Day Will Come (Will Pound) willpound.com


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29 March 2020

It's A Good Thing! – Podwireless Country Blues Classics


(This playlink is to Mixcloud streaming:  you can also download the podcasts from Podomatic )

If you’re a gnarly old blues mouldye fygge you’ll know and love all this music anyway (though you might enjoy having this couple of hours strung together to save you doing the shelf work). This isn’t really for you though. It started as a private cassette (!) compilation that I put together back in the last century when I realised that this music was falling off the radar of some younger friends, especially those going to UK folk clubs where country blues which had been a major element in the 1960s had virtually vanished off the radar. Then about a decade back I reassembled it all for a couple of CDRs to keep in the car.
So what is this that you’ll hear through the surface noise of ancient scratchy 78rpm records? It’s folk music but it’s also pop music, often dance music (artists like Charlie Patton could reputedly entertain dancing revellers all night, without amplification), mostly made for the African-American population in the southern USA between the mid 1920s and the onset of WWII – with the greatest concentration in the few years from 1927 to ’30 when the Great Depression slowed the fledgling recording industry. These were commercial records – often released on what were classified as ‘Race Records’ – of a newly emerged art form. Some of them were by older artists like Henry Thomas or Frank Stokes (sometimes classed as ‘songsters’) whose core repertoire harked back to earlier days in the previous century.

It’s mostly played on guitars, mostly by men (with the exception of Memphis Minnie, Lottie Kimbrough and Geeshie Wiley here), mostly by black men (other than Dock Boggs, Dick Justice and Frank Hutchison here) and it’s also music of the first generation who could be influenced by records and the radio as well as hearing other musicians in person. It’s the roots of later artists like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, who in turn became the inspiration for even later white ones like The Rolling Stones, Cream and ever onwards. It’s the deep roots of much rock music of the later 20th century and onwards.

On a personal note, you’ll hear loads here that profoundly influenced English folk club musicians of the 1960s generation – not just us blues boomers like myself, Jo Ann Kelly, Dave Kelly, Mike Cooper and all, but everybody through Davy Graham, Wizz Jones, John Renbourn and on to the people who created the classic English folk guitar styles like Martin Carthy (who always credits Big Bill Broonzy as a major influence on his thumb work). We were really lucky that quite a few of the original artists like Son House, Skip James, Bukka White, Big Joe Williams, Sleepy John Estes and more were still alive and came to the UK on tour so we could – sometimes literally – sit at their feet.

If you know my own repertoire down the years, you’ll hear lots of tunes, riffs, lines and verses, slapped strings, syncopation, foot pounding and bottleneck ideas that have entered my music by osmosis, even though the songs are no longer country blues in form and my accent stopped being a bad attempt at a southern US one way back in the early 1970s (full credit to our national folk treasure Shirley Collins for inspiring that change). “Cultural appropriation” hadn’t been invented as a Bad Thing back then: we just absorbed things which we heard, loved and struck a (loud, often open G!) chord.
Here’s hoping this opens a few more ears and is a tiny blow against the 21st Century English folk music occasional tendency towards twee!
And yes, it’s alphabetical. For some strange cosmic reason, it works!

1. Garfield Akers : Cottonfield Blues, Pt. 1 (1929)
2. Texas Alexander : Work Ox Blues (1928)
3. Kid Bailey : Rowdy Blues (1929)
4. Blind Blake : Georgia Bound (1929)
5. Barbecue Bob : Going Up The Country (1928)
6. Dock Boggs : Down South Blues (1927)
7. Big Bill Broonzy : Long Tall Mama (1932)
8. Willie Brown : Future Blues (1930)
9. Sleepy John Estes : Everybody Oughta Make A Change (1939)
10. Blind Boy Fuller : Lost Lover Blues (1940)
11. Bobby Grant : Nappy Head Blues (1928)
12. William Harris : Bullfrog Blues (1928)
13. Son House : My Black Mama, Part 1 (1930)
14. Peg Leg Howell : Skin Game Blues (1928)
15. Mississippi John Hurt : Spike Driver's Blues (1928)
16. Frank Hutchinson : Worried Blues (1926)
17. Skip James : Devil Got My Woman (1931)
18. Blind Lemon Jefferson : That Crawlin' Baby Blues (1929)
19. Robert Johnson : Terraplane Blues (1936)
20. Tommy Johnson : Big Road Blues (1928)
21. Blind Willie Johnson : It's Nobody's Fault But Mine (1927)
22. Little Hat Jones : Bye Bye Baby Blues (1930)
23. Dick Justice : Old Black Dog (1930)
24. Lottie Kimborough : Rolling Log Blues (1928)
25. Robert Lockwood Jr : Little Boy Blue (1941)
26. Tommy McClennan : Whiskey Head Woman (1939)
27. Blind Willie McTell : Searching The Desert For The Blues (1932)
28. Memphis Minnie : Nothing In Rambling (1940)
29. William Moore : Old Country Rock (1929)
30. Hambone Willie Newburn : Roll And Tumble Blues (1929)
31. Charley Patton : It Won't Be Long (1929)
32. Frank Stokes : It's A Good Thing (1929)
33. Johnnie Temple : New Louise Louise Blues (1937)
34. Henry Thomas : Don't Leave Me Here (1929)
35. Willie Walker : South Carolina Rag (1931)
36. Bukka White : Bukka's Jitterbug Swing (1940)
37. Geeshie Wiley : Last Kind Words Blues (1930)
38. Robert Wilkins : That's No Way To Get Along (1930)
39. Big Joe Williams : Baby Please Don't Go (1941)
40. Oscar Woods : Lone Wolf Blues (1936)

Many of these tracks are available in different combinations on multiple re-issue compilation CDs: check the catalogues of labels like Document, Yazoo, World Music Network, Indigo, Catfish. Particular thanks to the Origin Jazz Library re-issue LPs of the early 1960s which, after the legendary Folkways Harry Smith anthology, opened the ears of my generation to all this music. Really! The Country Blues.

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Podwireless is available for free: it’s a labour of love and public service netcasting. If you would like to make a voluntary contribution to its running costs, see the Tip Jar link at the top of the column on the right, or just go to

And see the FAQ