Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
Clifford Gibson 1929 - 1931

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R T Hanen
Clifford Gibson
Jimmie Rodgers


Clifford Gibson
01 - Beat you doing it Listen
02 - Whiskey moan blues Listen
03 - Tired of being mistreated part 1 Listen
04 - Tired of being mistreated part 2 Listen
05 - Stop your rambling Listen
06 - Sunshine moan Listen
07 - Ice and snow blues Listen
08 - Don`t put that thing on me Listen
09 - Drayman blues Listen
10 - Old time rider Listen
11 - Bad luck dice Listen
12 - Levee camp moan Listen
13 - Hard-headed blues Listen
14 - Blues without a dime Listen
15 - Keep your windows pinned Listen
16 - Jive me blues Listen
17 - Brooklyn blues (45th street blues) Listen
18 - Society blues Listen
19 - She rolls it slow Listen
20 - Railroad man blues Listen

R.T. Hanen (probably J.D. Short)
21 - She`s got Jordan River in her hips Listen
22 - Happy days blues Listen

Jimmie Rodgers
23 - Let me be your sidetrack (take 2) Listen

Clifford Gibson, vocal, guitar

With contributions by Roosevelt Sykes, piano. R.T. Hanen (probably J.D. Short), vocal. Jimmie Rodgers, vocal, guitar.

Genres: St. Louis Country Blues, Country Blues Guitar; Old-Timey.
Informative booklet notes by Mike Rowe.
Detailed discography.

Cllifford Gibson's oeuvre had been committed to wax by 1929, his first year of recording, with eight sides for QRS around June and another twelve sides for Victor in November and December of that year. Called back in 1931 to his hometown of Louisville mainly as an accompanist to Roosevelt Sykes and R. T. Hanen (probably J. D. Short) and, surprisingly, on one take as an accompanist to the white hillbilly Singer Jimmie Rodgers and that was it - almost.
St. Louis's country blues men and women all appeared on record about the same time - Henry Spaulding, Mary Johnson, Alice Moore, Lawrence Casey, Henry Brown, Sylvester Palmer and Roosevelt Sykes all made their debut in 1929 while Walter Davis, Peetie Wheatstraw and Charley Jordan were only just behind them as recruits to the city's burgeoning blues activity.
Arkansas and Mississippi supplied most of St. Louis's blues performers and Clifford Gibson from Kentucky was an oddity. An extremely accomplished guitarist Gibson showed the influence of Lonnie Johnson (Bad Luck Dice, and Levee Camp Moan for example) in much of his guitar work but brought his own talent for original lyrics. His songs show the usual preoccupation with mistreatment by women and his only other major theme was gambling to which he constantly refers in song (Bad Luck Dice of course, Hard Headed Blues and Levee Camp Moan). He can surprise with his lyrics such as "When I was society" and with attitude too. Beat You Doing It (presumably the same song Edith Johnson recorded soon after for Paramount) which suggests to the listener a boatful, probably sexual blues, is in fact quite the reverse: a thoughtful word of warning to "Don't never think your woman thinks too much of you, there's always some good man beat you doing what you trying to do." She Rolls It Slow is the only overt sexual blues he recorded and stylistically and possibly thematically owes a lot to Lonnie Johnson's success with such material. It was a change from his usual limited range of tunes from which melodically only Tired Of Being Mistreated stands out. It's no surprise that it's the only song by which he is remembered today through Henry Townsend who absorbed some of his style. There is little to gauge Gibson's popularity at the time but his memory is assured by his meticulous guitar picking and original lyrics while his musical eminence on St. Louis' blues scene was never in doubt.

NOTE: Clifford Gibson's 1960 recordings, made under the name of "Granpappy" Gibson for the Bobbin label can be found on Document DOCD-5619 'Rural Blues Vol 2 (1951-1962)'.

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