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Thread: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #48

  1. #1
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Mar 2017
    Ottawa, Canada

    Default Blues, Stomps, & Rags #48

    One year review:

    Because little blues and blues-related music was being posted or discussed under the category "Jazz, Swing, Blues, Bossa, Choro, Klezmer, Ragtime," I began posting Blues, Stomps, and Rags entries on April 3, 2018. I've done this for a year now, my forty-seventh entry being on April 7, 2019. Most musicians highlighted were people whose music I was already familiar with, though I learned about a few others along the way. On each entry, I posted videos, and, after the first couple of posts, began to research specific musicians, to find out about who these people were, how they made a living, and other relevant information. I've been fairly random about who I posted, focussing to some degree on older musicians, but also including contemporary musicians. I only covered a couple of bluegrass interpreters of blues, and no rock musicians, as these types of music are readily available elsewhere. I still haven't included some blues mandolin players whose music I'd already heard. By and large, I'm not judging players, and include anyone who has videos of reasonable quality. If you or your favourite blues mandolinist hasn't been included, it's nothing personal -- let me know.

    I will continue making entries but more sporadically. I've enjoyed posting, but the research has been time-consuming, so I'll be spending more time playing the blues and less time posting. After I reach Blues, Stomps, and Rags #50, I'll post a table of contents. It's been a fun ride, and educational to me. I'd like to thank everyone who made comments, suggestions, or thanks. I also appreciate the many people who provided videos to YouTube and information to Wikipedia, Allmusic and other websites. Thanks as well to the good folks who manage Mandolin Cafe -- don't forget to send them a donation now and then.


    Today's Blues Mandolinist:

    While reading Alan Lomax's The Land Where The Blues Began (NY: Pantheon, 1993) -- a book I'm enjoying -- I read of Fiddlin' Joe Martin (1900-1975) who played in a Delta house session in 1941, accompanying Son House. Martin was born in Edwards, Mississippi, and died in Walls, Mississippi. I was unable to find much information about Martin, but learned that he was a mulit-instrumentalist, who also recorded with House in 1941. According to his Allmusic entry:

    "Martin learned guitar and trombone as a boy, later adding mandolin and bass fiddle (hence his nickname). He switched to washboard and drums in the 40s after damaging his hands in a fire. He worked with many Delta blues singers, including Charley Patton, Willie ‘Hambone’ Newbern, Johnnie Temple, Memphis Minnie, Willie Brown and Son House, recording with the last two for the Library of Congress in 1940. Martin played drums for Howlin’ Wolf until Wolf moved north, but his most enduring association was with Woodrow Adams; he appeared on all Adams’ recordings, and they worked Mississippi juke joints together until Martin’s death." (Other sources say that the Library of Congress recorded them in 1941.)

    Although the sound quality of Son House's recordings with Martin isn't great, it's surprising that Martin is usually overlooked in listings of blues mandolinists (perhaps because he had to give up the instrument). He's certainly adds something to these recordings.

    (Information from:
    and .)

    Here's Martin with Son House. If the links don't work, search YouTube for "Son House/ Walkin' Blues" (1941).

    And here's another lively tune from the same session. If the links don't work, search YouTube for "Son House/ Fo' Clock Blues".

    Last edited by Ranald; May-03-2019 at 4:21pm. Reason: tyoze!
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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  3. #2
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    Saint Augustine Beach FL

    Default Re: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #48

    Ranald, I have enjoyed your posts and learned about players I would not be aware of if not for your research.

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #48

    Thanks Ranald for all the great posts!

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