Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
Barrelhouse Women Vol 1 1925 - 1930

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Evelyn Brickey
Clara Burston
Katherine Adkins
Bertha Ross
Frances Wallace


Evelyn Brickey
01 - My man is somebody elses too Listen
02 - Down in the valley blues Listen

Katherine Adkins
03 - Individual blues Listen
04 - Did she fall or was she pushed? Listen

Bertha Ross
05 - Blues rode me all night long Listen
06 - My jelly blues Listen
07 - Lost man blues Listen
08 - Tea-rollin` blues Listen

Frances Wallace
09 - Low down man blues Listen
10 - Too late, too late blues (the flu blues) Listen

Clara Burston
11 - Weak and nervous blues Listen
12 - Georgia man blues Listen

Barrelhouse Frankie (Frankie Wallace)
13 - I had to smack that thing Listen
14 - Smother me blues Listen

Clara Burston
15 - 1930 mama (take 1) Listen
16 - 1930 mama (take 2) Listen
17 - CP blues Listen
18 - Beggin` man blues Listen

Frankie And Clara (Frances Wallace and Clara Burston)
19 - Frankie and Clara - part 1 Listen
20 - Frankie and Clara - part 2 Listen

Clara Burston
21 - Try that man o`mine Listen
22 - Pay with money Listen
23 - Can`t get enough Listen
24 - Good and hot Listen

Barrelhouse Women Vol. 1 1925-1930

Informative booklet notes by Mike Rowe
Detailed discography.

When we think of women blues singers of the 1920's, we generally think of cabarets, the vaudeville stage, and traveling shows as the normal context for their music. Yet recordings by the end of that decade revealed that there were a number of women like Memphis Minnie, Mattie Delaney, Geeshie Wiley, and Elvie Thomas who accompanied themselves on guitar and clearly held their own with their male counterparts in house parties, juke joints, and country picnics. There was yet a third group of women blues singers who were accompanied by a piano, sometimes played by themselves but more often by a male musicians. Some of these artists, like Ida Cox, worked primarily or exclusively in the vaudeville and cabaret circuit, but there were others who preferred or simply never had a chance to get out of the urban saloons, honky-tonks, and rent parties. The artists on this disc range in style from vaudeville to pure barrelhouse.

Here are four acts that brought the blues into their performances. Evelyn Brickey and Katherine Adkins single 78 outputs were typical of many female vaudeville performers of the day for whom jazz / blues were a part of their repertoire. Recorded evidence suggests that Bertha Ross, a possible pseudonym for Lucille Bogan and the duet; Clara Burston and Frances Wallace, were far more committed to the genre. With Bertha Ross we head south to the twin cities of Birmingham and Bessemer, Alabama, and enter barrelhouse blues territory. All four of her titles vocals are outstanding, particularly Lost Man Blues. The Bessemer Blues Pickers, who accompany her, seem to consist mainly of pianist Vance Patterson. There's some excellent duet harmony whistling, but no additional picking, on Blues Rode Me All Night Long, while the great Jaybird Coleman pops in on harmonica during a break on My Jelly Blues. Patterson has a darting piano style like that of Walter Roland.

Clara Burton and Frances Wallace recorded under their own, individual names, helped out in accompanying each other and as a two-part duet. They both seem to be cut from the same cloth, though streetwise women who insult each other about the man that they share on Frankie And Clara. Wallace was aptly named Barrelhouse Frankie on one of her records. She sings in a tart voice somewhat like Alice Moore’s and contemplates murdering her man in Low Down Man Blues. Burston consistently takes the stance of a prostitute in her songs. C.P Blues gives a good insight into the world’s oldest profession. Her fine lyrics, tough singing style and outstanding accompaniment mark her as a blues singer of the first rank. Bertha, Clara and Frances sound like they were tough, good time girls and one wonders what their idea of a good night out would be. “If the phone rings tell them I’m staying in to comb my hair”.

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