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Jimmy Witherspoon Blowin' In From Kansas City (LP)

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(Ace) 16 tracks - Original 1948 to 1952 'King' recordings Blues shouting is a dying art form in... mehr

Jimmy Witherspoon: Blowin' In From Kansas City (LP)

(Ace) 16 tracks - Original 1948 to 1952 'King' recordings

Blues shouting is a dying art form in the field of rhythm & blues and is only a memory from its hey-day in the forties and early fifties. Most of its main practitioners. such as Jimmy Rushing, Joe Turner, Wynonie Harris, Walter Brown. Big Duke Henderson, are dead and gone. A few, such as Jimmy Nelson, have been rediscovered and are currently enjoying a successful comeback.

One artist who has successfully straddled the last forty years in the music business is Jimmy Wither-spoon. in the forties a jukebox favourite of the rhythm & blues scene; in the late fifties and sixties a successful jazz and blues vocalist and maker of countless albums in the company of many big names in the jazz field. Spoon's long and interesting career got off the ground in Los Angeles in the mid 40s when he made dozens of important recordings for companies such as Phillo/Aladdin, Mercury, Supreme, Swingtime and Modern.
Belonging to the blues shouting tradition, which differs from its cousin country blues, Witherspoon performed in the company of jumpin' big bands which evolved out of the territory bands of the mid and south west. This is ably described by John Tyman, in his notes on another Witherspoon album. 'For the most part these singers got their start in the Negro sections of cities such as Kansas City, Okla-homa City and other centres below or bordering the Smith and Wesson line.'

Born in Gurdon, Arkansas on 18 August 1923, Jimmy Witherspoon sang as a child in his local Baptist church choir, where his mother played piano. During his teens Witherspoon moved to California in search of work in L.A. He washed dishes until he was called up to the Merchant Marines in World War II. While serving in the Marines he travelled to the Far East. and was invited to sing with pianist and band-leader Teddy Weatherford, who had a residency at the Grand Hotel Winter Gardens in Calcutta, India.
On his discharge at Vallejo California. the naval shipyard town south of San Francisco. he met up with Jay McShann whose band was on a tour of the west coast. McShann had just lost his vocalist Walter Brown. Witherspoon was auditioned and got the job. When the unit arrived in Los Angeles in 1945 they cut sides for the Mesner Brothers' Phillo label (later known as Aladdin). Ironically they chose the old McShann and Bronco hit 'Confessin' The Blues'.

Witherspoon's rich vocal style rapidly became a favourite with audiences of both radio and juke-boxes, his 78 rpm discs selling by the truckload. Witherspoon's long association with the Biharis at Modern was a happy one, even in the early eighties. I met him while he was visiting Jules Bihari at his office on Normandie Ave. Jules was in no doubt about his affection for 'Spoon and said that he was his favourite blues singer. It was Jules Bihari who conducted Witherspoon's first Modem recording sessions in L.A. in 1946. These were fronted by an all-star band led by drummer Al 'Cake' Wichard including Jay McShann on piano. Most sessions were held at either Universal or Radio Recorders in Hollywood.
Towards the end of 1947 Modern held a mass of recording sessions in an attempt to beat Petrillo's recording ban of 1948. It was during this period that Witherspoon cut a fairly large amount of masters.

Because most of Witherspoon's Modern classics were cut direct to 16' acetate lacquers. and later re-leased on 78 rpm discs, a wealth of good material remained on the shelf, with the exception of his big hits. Few of these lacquers were ever remastered or transcribed onto tape. The remainder of these masters were later reissued on budget-line Crown albums. The Witherspoon sessions were made with a variety of accompanists including Jay McShann. Al 'Cake' VVichard, Maxwell Davis, Buddy Floyd and Gene Gilbeaux/Don Hill. In particular the fine guitar work of Mitchell Tiny Webb and Chuck Norris shine on various numbers on this set. The gem of a 1950 date features the beautiful tenor sax of Ben Webster on 'I'm Going Round In Circles'. I have included an alternative take to that issued on Modern 806. on which Webster's horn is even more lyrical.
Other fine recordings released for the first time in-clude 'T.B. Blues' which dates from an early session with Al Wichard's Sextet, which also includes Jay McShann on piano. Other lacquers revealed mag-nificent sides from a 1951 date: 'Blowing The Blues' and 'It's Raining Outside'. The band on these sides sounds suspiciously like Johnny Otis', with Otis on vibes. It is a total mystery why they remained in the can. Another fabulous cut. the two-part 'I'm Just Wandering' is included here — the first time it's been heard since its original issue on 78. Mistakes sometimes happened at Modern during the assembly of their budget Crown albums in the 60s. Often the label copy didn't match up with the run-ning order of the LP. This screw-up happened on Crown LP 5418. which featured both Ray Charles and Jimmy Witherspoon. A Ray Charles title, 'I Found My Baby There' was listed on the running order as 'Evil Woman'. This track was in fact Wither-spoon, which was strangely titled on the original Modern 78 as 'Geneva Blues'. More investigations will be made into the Witherspoon sessions in which 'Geneva Blues' was allotted master number MM 805. Perhaps there was a mix-up when the Biharis cut the lacquer back in the forties, as the titles for the next two matrices, MM 806 and MM 807, are unknown. For this collection I have chosen an alternative take of 'Geneva'/'Evil Woman' on which the tenor saxo-phone bridge has been replaced with a fine alto solo by Frank Sleet. I wonder who is hiding under the 'Gal Friday' pseudonym on 'There Ain't Nothing Better' released in 1950 on Modern 20-782. It could be significant that the previous release. Modern 20-781, by Little Willie Littlefield had a duet with Little Laura Wiggins. Witherspoon has been a prolific recording artist throughout his career. In the late 50s and 60s he re-corded numerous albums for World Pacific, Prestige, Reprise, RCA, Verve and Bluesway, often in the company of top flight are musicians. This collection of prime Spoon reinforces my view that he was one of the greatest city blues vocalists of the 40s and 50s. When he was pulling them in at concerts and topping the charts he had few rivals.
Ray Topping 1991

Artikeleigenschaften von Jimmy Witherspoon: Blowin' In From Kansas City (LP)

  • Interpret: Jimmy Witherspoon

  • Albumtitel: Blowin' In From Kansas City (LP)

  • Genre R&B, Soul

  • Label Ace Records

  • Geschwindigkeit 33 U/min
  • Plattengröße LP (12 Inch)
  • Record Grading Mint (M)
  • Sleeve Grading Mint (M)
  • Artikelart LP

  • EAN: 0029667127912

  • Gewicht in Kg: 0.2
Witherspoon, Jimmy - Blowin' In From Kansas City (LP) LP 1
01 Love Me Baby
02 There Ain't Nothing Better
03 Love And Friendship
04 T.B. Blues
05 Goin' Around In Circles
06 Geneva Blues Aka Evil Woman
07 I'm Just A Country Boy
08 Good Jumping Aka Jump Children
09 Blowing The Blues
10 It's Raining Outside
11 I'm Just A Lady's Man
12 I'm Just Wandering Pt 1
13 I'm Just Wandering Pt 2
14 Who's Been Jivin' You
15 Sweet Lovin' Baby
16 Thelma Lee Blues
Jimmy Witherspoon Obwohl er aus der von Big Joe Turner und Jimmy Rushing angeführten... mehr
"Jimmy Witherspoon"

Jimmy Witherspoon

Obwohl er aus der von Big Joe Turner und Jimmy Rushing angeführten Blues-Shouter-Tradition von Kansas City kommt, machte Jimmy Witherspoon den Großteil seiner frühen Aufnahmen unter eigenem Namen in Los Angeles. Dort gab es mehr als genug unabhängige R&B-Label, um ihn praktisch nonstop im Studio auf Trab zu halten. Er arbeitete hauptsächlich für Modern Records, die ihn in den Nachkriegsjahren ausgiebig aufnahmen. Doch Modern war bei weitem nicht das einzige Label, das 'Spoon' in seinen Katalog aufnahm.

"Mensch, ich glaube, mir sind dann die Firmen ausgegangen, ich war bei so vielen", sagte der Sänger. "Sie gaben dir ohnehin nicht sonderlich viel Geld. Wenn du keine Hitplatte hattest, brauchten sie dich nicht mehr." Witherspoon wurde am 8. August 1923 in Gurdon, Arkansas, geboren. "Ich habe mein ganzes Leben lang gesungen, in der Kirche, ungefähr seit ich fünf Jahre alt war", sagte er. "Ich wollte immer singen." Er kriegte seine große Chance 1943 – in Kalkutta, Indien, ungewöhnlicherweise. "Ich war während des Zweiten Weltkriegs in der Handelsmarine und sang dort mit der Band von Teddy Weatherford", sagte er. "1944 kam ich zurück nach Vallejo, Kalifornien, wo meine Mutter wohnte, und dann schloss ich mich Jay McShann an. Das war mein erstes richtiges Engagement. Ich blieb ungefähr vier Jahre bei Jay."

Spoon ersetzte Walter Brown im grandiosen Orchester des Pianisten McShann (zu dessen Mitgliedern auch Charlie Parker gehörte). Er war auf Platten der Band für Philo/Aladdin, Premier und Mercury, bevor er Ende 1947 seine ersten eigenen 78er für das in L.A. ansässige Supreme-Label machte. Für diese Firma nahm er auch den Titel auf, der zu seiner Visitenkarte wurde: Ain't Nobody's Business, das im Vergleich zu Billie Holidays Version komplett umgestaltet wurde. Der Song wurde erstmals als T'aint Nobody's Bizness If I Do in 1922 urheberrechtlich geschützt und zuerst von Anna Meyers and the Original Memphis Five aufgenommen. "Jemand schlug es vor – Al Patrick, der Besitzer von Supreme Records", sagte Witherspoon. "Dann veränderte ich den Text. Es ist nicht das Gleiche wie 'T'ain't Nobody's Business'. Es ist daran angelehnt, aber es ist nicht derselbe Text." McShann war zur Stelle, um über die 88 Tasten zu rollen. "Das war in Los Angeles und er kam dorthin, um aufzutreten, und ich bat ihn darum, es mit mir aufzunehmen, und das tat er dann auch. Die Akkordwechsel und so, das war von ihm." Der Zweiteiler setzte sich 1949 für unglaubliche 34 Wochen in den R&B-Charts fest, darunter eine Woche an der Spitze.

Witherspoon wechselte 1948 zu Modern, für die er ein Füllhorn voller swingendem R&B und ruhigem Blues aufnahm, wobei Letztere durch seine weit hinter dem Beat gesetzte Phrasierung charakterisiert sind. Who's Been Jivin' You fällt jedoch klar in die flottere Kategorie, wie verrückt angetrieben von der unaufhaltsamen Akkordarbeit des Gitarristen Chuck Norris (Maxwell Davis und Vido Musso waren die Saxofonisten, Henry McDade spielte Klavier, Ralph Hamilton Bass und Jesse Sailes das Schlagzeug). Spoon teilte sich die Autorennennung mit Joe Bihari (als Joe Josea), dem Mitbesitzer von Modern 

Von Modern ging Jimmy zu Federal, Checker, Atlantic, RCA Victor, World Pacific und Vee-Jay, bevor ihn ein bejubelter Auftritt beim Monterey Jazz Festival 1959 bei einem neuen Publikum bekannt machte. Er blieb äußerst aktiv und kam sogar nach einer Kehlkopfkrebserkrankung 1981 triumphal zurück, bis ihn der Krebs wieder einholte und seine Stimme am 18. September 1997 für immer verstummen ließ.

 

Bill Dahl
Chicago, Illinois

PLUG IT IN! TURN IT UP!

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Tracklist
Witherspoon, Jimmy - Blowin' In From Kansas City (LP) LP 1
01 Love Me Baby
02 There Ain't Nothing Better
03 Love And Friendship
04 T.B. Blues
05 Goin' Around In Circles
06 Geneva Blues Aka Evil Woman
07 I'm Just A Country Boy
08 Good Jumping Aka Jump Children
09 Blowing The Blues
10 It's Raining Outside
11 I'm Just A Lady's Man
12 I'm Just Wandering Pt 1
13 I'm Just Wandering Pt 2
14 Who's Been Jivin' You
15 Sweet Lovin' Baby
16 Thelma Lee Blues