Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
Barbecue Bob Vol 2 1928 - 1929

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Barbecue Bob (Robert Hicks)
Nellie Florence


Barbecue Bob (Robert Hicks)
01 - Mississippi low-levee blues Listen
02 - Ease it to me blues Listen
03 - Jacksonville blues (Nellie Florence, vocal) Listen
04 - Midnight weeping blues (Nellie Florence, vocal) Listen
05 - She`s gone blues Listen
06 - Cold wave blues Listen
07 - Beggin` for love Listen
08 - Bad time blues Listen
09 - Meat man pete Listen
10 - Dollar down blues Listen
11 - It just won`t hay Listen
12 - It`s just too bad Listen
13 - Good time rounder Listen
14 - Honey your going too fast Listen
15 - Red hot mama papa`s going to cool you off Listen
16 - California blues Listen
17 - it`s a funny little thing Listen
18 - Black skunk blues Listen
19 - Yo yo blues Listen
20 - Trouble done bore me down Listen
21 - Freeze to me mama Listen
22 - Me and my whiskey Listen
23 - Unnamed blues Listen

Barbecue Bob (Robert Hicks), vocal, twelve-string guitar


Nellie Florence, vocal; accompanied by Barbecue Bob, twelve-string guitar (two tracks)


Genre: Country blues from Atlanta, Georgia.

Informative booklet notes written by Chris Smith.

Detailed discography.


Think of the "rural blues" or "country blues" from Atlanta in the late 1920s and it is more than likely that the sound of the iconic twelve-string guitar comes to mind. One of the undisputable "Kings of the twelve-string" from the Atlanta area was Blind McTell (see Documents BDCD-6001, BDCD-6014 and the triple CD; DOCD-5677), yet, if there was such a thing as the guitar sound of Atlanta at the time, it was that of Robert Hicks, better known as Barbecue Bob and his brother Charlie also known as Laughing Charlie (see Document BDCD-6027).


Though Bob's guitar technique didn't have the same complexities and range as that of Willie Mctell, it was powerful, with the use of a hard, slapping, of the lower bass string, contrasted with the high ringing notes, produced, almost exclusively, on the high treble string. Usually, his accompaniments were delivered with a relentless, pulsating rhythm and this simple but winning formula was topped off by his dark, rich, captivating voice.


By the time that he recorded Mississippi Low-Levee Blues, Barbecue Bob was a star among the record buying public, selling, on average, 6,000 copies per record for Columbia's "race series". His songs, sometimes written by others, often written by himself, cover the highs and lows of life. Dollar Down is almost a documentary account of the perils of easy credit; Freeze To Me Mama is a love song for grownups; and Trouble Done Bore Me Down belies its titles with its witty observations:


You got a large family, you don't need no more,

The Doc drop by, you get four or five more.


As well as these blues and others like the fierce California Blues and Yo Yo Blues based on Curley Weaver's 'No No Blues' (see Document DOCD-5110), by April 1929 Bob was adding a new style of music, one that took account of the craze for the sexually allusive "hokum blues" that had been sparked off by Tampa Red & Georgia Tom with 'It's tight Like That' (see Document DOCD-5073). It Just Won't Hay takes close notice of the record though it is has an unmistakable Bob treatment. Even more so is Honey Your (sic) Going Too Fast. As if to try and confirm that he was the master of new music crazes, not their servant, on Red Hot Mama,  Papa's going To Cool You Off, he takes crazy liberties with the structure of this nominally 16 bar composition (but try to count them!) song.


By the end of 1929 the circumstances that lead to Bad Time Blues was under way. Nevertheless, Columbia were to persist with recording Barbecue Bob, for he had proven to be a good seller in economically happier times and his last recordings, made all through 1930, can be heard on Document's third volume of this great blues artist's work on Document DOCD-5048.

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