Georgie Price

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CALENDAR: BLUES IMAGES 2023 CALENDAR. Classic Blues Artwork Of the 1920s. Vol. 20. With Free CD By Blues Images - A division of John Tefteller’s World Rarest Records, P.O. Box 1727, Grants Pass, OR 97528-0200, USA. $29.95 + p&p. Run, Mollie, Run (Henry Thomas), No More Ball And Chain (Joshua White), Shipwreck Blues (Bessie Smith), Old Rounder’s Blues (Funny Paper Smith), Balky Mule Blues (Blind Lemon Jefferson), Blake’s Worried Blues (Blind Blake), Worn Down Daddy Blues (Ida Cox), Lexington Kentucky Blues (Papa Charlie Jackson), Big Boy Blues (Ma Rainey), Blue Devil Blues (Texas Alexander), Poor Me (Charley Patton), A Sermon On A Silver Dollar (Brother Fullbosom), Moses Go Down To Pharaoland (Brother Fullbosom), Gonna Play My Guitar – A Letter To Muddy Waters (Playboy Fuller), Freight Train In The Morning [Unreleased] (Playboy Fuller), Sugar Cane Highway Alternate Take [Studio Chatter] (Playboy Fuller), Going Back To Mobile [Unreleased] (Playboy Fuller), Mr. Charlie – Test [Unreleased] (Pete Franklin), Springtime Blues (Scrapper Blackwell), St. Louis Woman Blues – Test, Take 1 [Unreleased] (Irene Scruggs with Little Brother Montgomery), St. Louis Woman Blues – Test, Take 2 [Unreleased] (Irene Scruggs with Little Brother Montgomery), Beat You Doing It (Edith North Johnson), Whispering To My Man (Edith North Johnson), Ain’t Gonna Worry My Life Any More [Unreleased] (Memphis Willie Borum),  I’m Going Away Blues (Frank Stokes) Email:


  Nearly 20 years ago blues collector John Tefteller acquired a trove of 1920-30s newspaper advertisements record companies made up to promote blues and gospel recordings. They were so graphically rich and historic that Tefteller decided to offer them to collectors and blues fans as calendars + CDs of the songs depicted on the calendars and some bonus tracks of rare or unissued/reissued materials.

  The 2023 calendar will be the finale — the digital age has not been kind to print offerings (as an ex-newspaper reporter I can attest to this) — but it ends on a great blue note.

  Before describing the monthly offerings, I’ll offer the backstory on a couple of the bonus tracks included on the accompanying CD. The first is the Willie Borum, which came from an entirely unissued 1934 session. Vocalion issued the Hattie Hart and Alan Shaw discs from this date, but, for some reason, held off on the Borum, who was not heard on record until a mid-60s Bluesville session. 

  This issue was discovered in Kyoto, Japan by collector Dave Hignett who is living in that country. Hignett found the issue, labeled as Buddy Moss, on the Lucky label which used Brunswick/ARC masters. He offered it to me but when I played the disc, I realized it was definitely not Moss and not the title listed, instead being a version of the blues standard Worried Life Blues (or Some Day Baby) The good folks on the Real Blues Forum identified the matrix as the Willie Borum session, and, from there, to John Tefteller’s collection. 

  The Pete Franklin test of Mr Charlie came from a box of unissued Victor test pressings I acquired many years ago from a former worker at the Victor operation in New Jersey. The contents ranged from Caruso to Perry Como, but the Franklin was the only blues record in the box - at the time it was not documented in Ledbetter & Slaven. The only copy of the Stokes, Goin’ Away Blues to surface outside the EMI Archive turned up 30 years ago at Records Revisited in New York. I cajoled the disc from the proprietor, Mort Savada and eventually traded it to Pete Whelan who traded it on to its current owner.

  The bonus tracks also include several startlingly great tracks from Detroit bluesman Playboy Fuller taken from JVB tapes. Fuller has the intensity of Elmore James and was deeply influenced by him. A 1930 Scrapper Blackwell Champion of Springtime Blues has never been reissued from a clean copy and is one of his best sides. There are four Paramount tests, two from Irene Scruggs with pianist Little Brother Montgomery and two by Edith Johnson. 

  The calendar’s January feature is Henry Thomas’ Run Mollie Run, a “pre-blues” folk song from the singer billed as “Rag-Time Texas.” The photo of Thomas on this page is from a 1931 clip of the Chicago Maxwell Street market which features a precious few seconds of Thomas playing his guitar and Quills.

  February features one of Joshua White’s best ARC recordings, a topical song about an industrial fire that claimed the lives of 20 factory workers, while March offers a striking portrait of Bessie Smith in one of her last recordings, Shipwreck Blues

  April features an unissued Funny Paper Smith — one of the stranger blues nicknames — a Texas bluesman who recorded a number of sides in the early 30s, then disappeared. The illustration looks a bit like an R. Crumb work. Blind Lemon Jefferson, a calendar “veteran” is back this year with a Paramount illustration for Balky Mule Blues

  Another calendar favorite, Blind Blake covers June with Worried Blues, with a colorized advert. Ida Cox was a Paramount star and this gorgeous ad for Worn Down Daddy Blues is worthy of her stature. Paramount’s most famous blues article, Ma Rainey is on the outside looking at her man celebrating in Big Boy Blues; while Papa Charlie Jackson tells everyone about his time at the Kentucky Derby where he was apparently treated like a VIP as an entertainer.

  Charle Patton’s full length photo is back with Poor Me, one of his final recordings for Vocalion, which always reminded me, by its cadence and structure, a Ma Rainey tune, then closing with a sermon from Brother Fullbosom.

  As with previous calendars, the production is entirely first class — high resolution images, and heavy glossy paper. The remastering is done, in part, using some of the same 1920s equipment that retains that warm sound. 

  Don’t miss this 20th and final instalment of the blues calendar. By 2024, the blank spent on my office wall will be painfully obvious.