Monday, July 31, 2006

New CD releases: Foree Wells & D.C. Bellamy

3516 Holmes Street
Kansas City, MO 64109
(816) 931-0383

SEPTEMBER 2006 RELEASES (Street date Sept. 19)


D.C. Bellamy’s influences range from the soulful music of his half-brother, Curtis Mayfield, to the basic blues beat of Jimmy Reed, from the humor of Bobby Rush to the tight blues ensemble work of the Muddy Waters band. Yet he sounds like none of those greats (except, on occasion, for Muddy, when he digs down deep for a roaring blues delivery) – D.C.’s music is refreshingly original, buoyed by a flair for catchy musical hooks, clever turns of phrase, sparkling guitar licks, and songs that make you pay attention to his keen insights into human nature.

Micajah Ryan, noted engineer whose credits include albums by Bob Dylan, Guns N’ Roses, John Prine, and Megadeth, among others, recorded D.C.’s new album at the audiophile facility Blue Heaven Studios in Salina, Kansas, and was so inspired by the originality of D.C.’s blues that he also wanted to write the liner notes. As he wrote: “I began to realize that this was no ordinary blues artist. Sure, the form was the same, the keys were familiar and the songs were instantly recognizable as the blues, but there was something different happening here. . . . Not massively different, just different enough to make it fascinating. . . . It is fresh at a time when I did not think that the blues genre could be fresh again.”
(UPC 049998 191321)


Foree Wells traveled from Kentucky to Memphis to jam on Beale Street and play guitar on a Sun Records session with Rosco Gordon in the 1950s. Back home in Louisville, he emerged as the leading force on the local blues scene, mentoring a number of musicians including his three sons who worked with him in the Walnut Street Blues Band. Wells sported a guitar style influenced by Gatemouth Brown, B.B. King, Pee Wee Crayton, and Louisville’s Eggie Porter (guitarist on Hank Ballard and the Midnighters’ early sides).

Those influences are evident on It’s a New Day, Brother!, along with tracks that dip into vintage Santana and Allman Brothers territory. This, Wells’ only album, was first scheduled for release on the Rooster Blues label but when Foree died in 1997 and the label changed hands, the CD remained unissued – until now.

(A release was announced in 2001, and it was listed for sale by a number of dealers, but no CDs were ever manufactured by the new Rooster Blues ownership. At last, Stackhouse Recording Company is proud to release this historic CD, by arrangement with Rooster Blues and with the sponsorship of an organization that Foree Wells helped to found in Louisville, the Kentuckiana Blues Society.)

The album's spark and originality stand as a tribute to an outstanding artist who would have been internationally recognized as a major blues talent had he lived to celebrate its release.

(UPC 049998 191222)


SRC-1910: KEEP IT TO YOURSELF: ARKANSAS BLUES, Volume 1 – Solo Performances (Various Artists)

Selected as an Outstanding Folk Recording by the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center, Keep It To Yourself follows in the tradition of field recordings conducted by Library of Congress folklorists of decades past. Producer Louis Guida scoured the fields, hills, front porches, prisons, and juke joints of Arkansas to record these blues performances in 1976. Most tracks are downhome guitar blues, most notably by the crippled Pine Bluff singer who plays slide guitar with a butter knife, CeDell Davis (well known in blues circles for his subsequent Fat Possum recordings). Eight other performers are featured, including Cummins Prison inmate Reola Jackson, whose a cappella moan was recorded while a prison door slams in the background. (Previously released in the U.S. on LP only, Rooster Blues R7605).
(UPC 825346 558325)


Memphis Gold calls his music “Sanctified Beale Street Urban Gutbucket Blues,” and with the national release of Prodigal Son he stakes out his claim to this special realm of blues turf, which extends from his Memphis birthplace to his present home in the Washington, D.C. area. Memphis Gold (singer-guitarist-harmonica player Chester “K.D.” Chandler) performed on Beale Street as a child and learned from the legendary blues and gospel guitarist Reverend Robert Wilkins, who recorded the seminal version of Prodigal Son that the Rolling Stones once copied. Memphis Gold is joined on this CD of fresh, soulful and original blues by D.C. area musicians such as harp players Phil Wiggins and Charlie Sayles and Nighthawks drummer Pete Ragusa. Memphis Gold first released this CD on his own, to enthusiastic reviews and airplay, but with no distribution, so Stackhouse Records and City Hall are proud to bring this hidden treasure into the light.
(UPC 049998 191123)

Distributed in North America by:

101 Glacier Point, Suite C
San Rafael, CA 94901
PHONE: (415) 457-9080 FAX: (415) 457-0780

Mail orders: $12.98 per CD. Postage & handling for one CD: $3.75 (US), $7.50 (Canada, Europe & South America), $10.00 (Asia, Africa & Australia), plus $1.00 for each additional CD.

Send orders to: STACKHOUSE, 3516 Holmes St., Kansas City, MO 64109 with a check or money order in U.S. dollars, or send payment over the Internet by PayPal to e-mail

Sunday, July 30, 2006

CD: Memphis Gold: Prodigal Son - SRC-1911

Prodigal Son
Stackhouse Recording Company SRC-1911
(UPC 049998 191123)

Memphis Gold calls his music “Sanctified Beale Street Urban Gutbucket Blues,” and with the national release of Prodigal Son he stakes out his claim to this special realm of blues turf, which extends from his Memphis birthplace to his present home in the Washington, D.C. area. Memphis Gold (singer-guitarist-harmonica player Chester “K.D.” Chandler) performed on Beale Street as a child and learned from the legendary blues and gospel guitarist Reverend Robert Wilkins, who recorded the seminal version of Prodigal Son that the Rolling Stones once copied. Memphis Gold is joined on this CD of fresh, soulful and original blues by D.C. area musicians such as harp players Phil Wiggins and Charlie Sayles and Nighthawks drummer Pete Ragusa. Memphis Gold first released this CD on his own, to enthusiastic reviews and airplay, but with no distribution, so Stackhouse Recording Co. and City Hall Distributors are proud to bring this hidden treasure into the light.

Tracks: Come With Me, Don’t Let Her Ride, Crabcakes, Big Leg Woman, Prodigal Son, Chicken It, 3’s Tonic, Preacher Blues, Test Drive That Woman, Serves Me Rightm Melt Down Baby, Bedroom Mumba.

$12.98 plus $3.75 postage & handling (US), $7.50 Canada, UK, Europe & South America; $10.00 Asia & Australia, from Stackhouse Recording Co., 3516 Holmes St., Kansas City, MO 64109. E-mail for orders and PayPal payment:

See our blog site for more blues, R&B, gospel, jazz and rock CDs and records:

To contact MEMPHIS GOLD for concerts, tours, and club dates, call (703) 243-6171, (703) 798-7249, or (703) 862-2084, or e-mail:

Stackhouse CDs are distributed in North America by:

101 Glacier Point, Suite C
San Rafael, CA 94901
PHONE: (415) 457-9080 FAX: (415) 457-0780

Stackhouse Recording Company
Jim O'Neal
3516 Holmes Street
Kansas City MO 64109
(816) 931-0383

CD: Arkansas Blues Vol. 1 - Stackhouse SRC-1910


Stackhouse Recording Company's first release is Keep It To Yourself: Arkansas Blues Vol. 1 -- Solo Performances, a collection of solo blues guitar, harmonica and piano performances recorded in Arkansas in 1976 featuring CeDell Davis, Willie Wright, W.C. Clay, Willie Moore, Trenton Cooper, Nelson Carson, Mack White, Reola Jackson, and Herbert Wilson.

The cover depicts a handpainted illustration of Sonny Boy Williamson from one of the old King Biscuit Flour/Sonny Boy Corn Meal trucks in Helena, Arkansas, that used to deliver to the grocery stores in the Delta; it appears on this CD cover in the correct color for the first time (the pink color on the original LP, Rooster Blues R7605, was a printer error).

The opening and closing tracks on the CD are versions of the King Biscuit Time radio show opening and closing themes performed by W.C. Clay, who was the guitarist on King Biscuit Time in the early 1950s. CeDell Davis has four tracks on the CD and will be featured on an upcoming solo CD of vintage recordings. Liner notes are by producer Louis Guida and Jim O'Neal.

This album was "Selected as an Outstanding Folk Recording" on a list released by the American Folklife Center at The Library of Congress.

Track Listing
1. King Biscuit Time (Opening Theme) - W.C. Clay
2. Keep It to Yourself - W.C. Clay
3. Someday Baby Blues - W.C. Clay
4. Standing at My Window - W.C. Clay
5. I'll Take Care of You - Reola Jackson
6. Roaring Twenties Rag - Nelson Carson
7. Hill Country Blues - Nelson Carson
8. Old Time March - Mack White
9. John Henry - Willie Wright
10. Standing Around Crying - Willie Wright
11. Willie's Blues - Willie Moore
12. Hello Central - Herbert Wilson
13. That's Boogie! - Trenton Cooper
14. Educator's Blues - Trenton Cooper
15. Fish Tail Theme - Trenton Cooper
16. Let Me Play with Your Poodle - CeDell Davis
17. Lonely Nights - CeDell Davis
18. Big G Boogie - CeDell Davis
19. How Much More - CeDell Davis
20. Natchez Burning - Willie Wright
21. What'd I Say - W.C. Clay
22. King Biscuit Time (Closing Theme) - W.C. Clay

Mail order price: $12.98 plus $3.75 postage & handling (USA). Foreign postage: $7.50 (Canada, Europe & South America); $10.00 (Asia & Australia). We accept PayPal, cash, checks, or money orders. Send orders to Stackhouse, 3516 Holmes St., Kansas City MO 64109. PayPal e-mail:

Vol. 2 of the Arkansas Blues series will feature bands recorded in 1976, including Calvin Leavy, Duke Bradley, and Harmonica Slim. These albums are produced in conjunction with the Delta Cultural Center in Helena.

Stackhouse CDs are distributed in North America by:

101 Glacier Point, Suite C
San Rafael, CA 94901
PHONE: (415) 457-9080 FAX: (415) 457-0780

Stackhouse Recording Company
Jim O'Neal
3516 Holmes Street
Kansas City MO 64109
(816) 931-0383

Stackhouse Recording Company

Stackhouse Recording Company

The Stackhouse, former home of Stackhouse Delta Record Mart, Rooster Blues Records, and Stackhouse Recording Studio (232 Sunflower Avenue, Clarksdale, Mississippi)

Stackhouse Recording Company
Jim O'Neal
3516 Holmes Street
Kansas City MO 64109
(816) 931-0383

New CD Productions & Compilations

Until 2004, CDs produced by BluEsoterica Productions appeared only on the Rooster Blues label (which I co-owned until 1999). Production activities have slowed to a halt at Rooster Blues, but I have plenty of ideas for new albums and plenty of albums in the can that never got released. I had planned for a new label, Stackhouse Recording Company (SRC), to have a retail, mail order, distribution and promotion base in Clarksdale, Mississippi, at the Stackhouse store, which was the headquarters of Rooster Blues Records, Stackhouse Delta Record Mart, and Stackhouse Recording Studio when I lived in Clarksdale from 1988 to 1998 (when I moved to Kansas City).

The store had been open at times in more recent years but it sat inactive for too long and fell victim to the Delta weather (hot summer sun, downpours of rain, high humidity and even the occasional ice storm). The building needs a new roof at minimum and may need to be torn down and replaced altogether. (For all I know, it may be being demolished at this very moment.) I tried in vain to find investors or partners to help keep the business going in Clarksdale, but no one was willing to take the chance, neither the local blues entrepreneurs nor the influx of out-of-town investors and speculators who have been buying up property in downtown Clarksdale. It was with both reluctance and relief that I finally gave up on maintaining a Clarksdale base for the record business, and in October 2005 I sold the building – at a huge loss, compared to what my former partner Patty Johnson and I paid a local realtor for it in 1988 (boy, did they ever see us coming!).

In the meantime, the Stackhouse label did release its first CD, a reissue of the 1983 Rooster Blues LP Keep It To Yourself: Arkansas Blues Vol. 1 -- Solo Performances, in cooperation with the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Arkansas, and producer Louis Guida. The CD bears the old Clarksdale address (wishful thinking), but I have actually operated the label out of my house in Kansas City (just as I originally did with Rooster Blues in Chicago). For more details on the CD, see the post on Arkansas Blues Vol. 1. See also the posts on the most recent Stackhouse CDs, Memphis Gold: Prodigal Son and D.C. Bellamy: Give Some Body to Somebody.

CDs are available by mail for $12.98 plus $3.75 postage & handling (USA). Foreign postage: $7.50 (Canada, Europe & South America), $10.00 (Asia & Australia). We accept PayPal, cash, checks, or money orders. (By the way, we also have a stock of old Rooster Blues CDs. See our mail order catalog.)

Stackhouse CDs are distributed in North America by:

101 Glacier Point, Suite C
San Rafael, CA 94901
PHONE: (415) 457-9080 FAX: (415) 457-0780

Other CDs in the works include:

* Vol. 2 of the Arkansas Blues series, featuring bands recorded in 1976, including Calvin Leavy, Duke Bradley, and Harmonica Slim.

* Several never-released albums recorded at the Stackhouse in Clarksdale (including Monroe Jones, T-Model Ford & Willie Foster, Lonnie Pitchford, and the New Africa String Band).

* Various albums from the Rooster Blues catalog which I once owned and now am licensing back. By agreement with Rob Johnson, who nows owns Rooster Blues, Stackhouse has acquired the rights to release the following CDs which were originally scheduled to be issued on Rooster Blues:

• Foree "Guitar" Wells
• Lane Wilkins
• Willie Foster
• Eddie Rasberry
• Clarksdale, Mississippi: Coahoma The Blues [previously released only on cassette]

Also to come are historical albums from the archives of BluEsoterica Productions, including:

* Gabriel, the Wild Angel of the Blues (1950s-60s)
* St. Louis blues and R&B compilations -- various artists, produced by Gabriel (1950s-60s)
* And possibly some CDs of previously unissued Library of Congress material from Mississippi.

The Delta Cultural Center, the Kentuckiana Blues Society, db promotions, and individual supporters such as former Rooster Blues employee Billy Cochrane ( have helped to sponsor or co-produce several recent and upcoming CDs, and I’m interested in hearing from anyone who’d like to sponsor other CDs or finance new recordings. As noted on the Stackhouse & BluEsoterica Welcome page:

I have a knack for co-founding struggling blues entities, including Living Blues Magazine, Rooster Blues Records, and the Sunflower River Blues Association. I no longer own Rooster Blues, and most folks would say this is a great time NOT to be in the blues record business. On the other hand, with CD sales and work for blues artists in general at a low ebb, the need has never been greater. So, I can't help but take the plunge again with a new record label, Stackhouse Recording Company. There's no money behind this venture, as usual, so new CDs can only be released after enough money has come in from sales of the previous ones. I'll take on an investor or partner if someone wants to take a chance on a good cause, but you can also help out if you're just here to buy records. Visit our online catalog and check out the books, magazines, CDs, LPs, 45s, 78s, and musical memorabilia. I buy and sell soul, R&B, funk, jazz, country, folk, world/ethnic, gospel, soundtrack, and rock 'n' roll records as well as blues.

Inquiries from distributors, retailers, collectors, and potential investors or co-producers are welcome.

Copyright © 2006 All Rights Reserved

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Recommended blues events & websites (2005-2006)

This page, copied from from the website, lists only the recommended blues events of 2005 along with a few websites to check out. It became a problem to keep the BluEsoterica website updated, which was a primary reason I've switched to blogging. I would still recommend the same festivals for the remainder of 2006. Ed Cabbell phoned to say he has already staged his 34th annual John Henry festival in West Virginia (last weekend) -- still one of most grassroots and least-publicized festivals anywhere, and the second oldest surviving blues festival in the country (beaten to the punch by a matter of months by Tom Mazzolini's San Francisco Blues Festival in 1973).

A new event to add to the 2006 calendar is the GREAT PERFORMERS OF ILLINOIS festival at Millenium Park in Chicago, an event designed to showcase the diversity of talent and culture in the state, especially from outside the Chicago metropolitan area. -- Blues will be featured on Thursday, Sept. 7. I'll post a press release about the event soon.
-- Jim O'Neal, July 30, 2006

Events, Bookings, Reviews & Notices

Feb. 17-19, 2005
Oxford, Mississippi
BLUES TODAY Symposium ( sponsored by Living Blues Magazine (800-390-3527) and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture (662-816-2055) at the University of Mississippi. This is a nice gathering of blues aficionados, scholars, writers and musicians, more down-to-earth than academic. Blues tours in Greenwood and Clarksdale are offered on the days before and after the conference.

April 22-May, 1, 2005
New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS JAZZ & HERITAGE FESTIVAL ( , 504-522-4786). This festival is huge and spread out, with music at tents and stages all over - blues, Cajun, zydeco, jazz, New Orleans R&B, rock, gospel, and more. Some say it's grown too big, but there's plenty of fine music and room to move about the grounds.

April 26-27, 2005
Rock N' Bowl, New Orleans
PONDEROSA STOMP (, 504-723-0153) "Celebrating the Unsung Heroes of the Blues, Soul, Rockabilly, Swamp Pop and New Orleans R&B." This amounts to a party thrown in a bowling alley by the estimable "Dr. Ike" for his friends and fellow enthusiasts, bringing together a dream lineup of established legends and guys who might be "famous" for the one obscure record they made in 1952.

June 24-26, 2005
Kansas City, Kansas
KANSAS CITY KANSAS STREET BLUES FESTIVAL (, 913-328-0710) A free grassroots community blues event in the heart of the African-American neighborhood, featuring many of the Kansas City area's finest blues performers, as well as special guest headliners. On Third Street between Garfield & Parallel, in front of KCK's favorite blues joint, the Club Paradox.

June 9-12, 2005
Grant Park, Chicago
CHICAGO BLUES FESTIVAL (City of Chicago Web Site , 312-744-3315) The biggest and always one of the best blues festivals, with a variety of national and local blues talent, panels, booths, ethnic food, etc. And it's free! Enjoy the smaller crowds at the Juke Joint and Front Porch stages if the Main Stage masses turn you off. Afterwards, you can find lots of opportunities to catch live music after the fest every night at clubs around town.

July 29-31, 2005
Big Boulder Resort, Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania
POCONOS BLUES SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL (, 800-468-2442): In a resort in the Pocono Mountains, an eclectic assortment of blues talent from around the country gathers every year. This festival always gets positive reviews for its choices in music and for its setting and atmosphere. I haven't made it to this one yet but some day . . .

July through September
Bay Area, California
The BAY AREA BLUES SOCIETY has been presenting annual summer festivals in several cities including Oakland, Hayward-Russell City, Siskiyou, and Vallejo, in recent years. This series looks like just the kind of blues festivals we love, loaded with local acts few people outside the area have ever heard of and not headlined by blonde whiz kids or rock bands. For more details, see website, or contact Ronnie Stewart, BABS, P.O. Box 5471, Mill Valley, CA 94942-5471 (510-836-2227).

August 12-13, 2005
Clarksdale, Mississippi
SUNFLOWER RIVER BLUES FESTIVAL ( A prime showcase for blues and roots music from the Delta since 1988, featuring an acoustic stage and a main stage next to the Delta Blues Museum. Admission is free, and there's juke joint music after the fest. The Delta Blues Museum (, 662-627-6820) also sponsors education programs leading up to the festival. The fest is organized by a volunteer group, the Sunflower River Blues Association, which has no office, but you can get festival details from the Delta Blues Museum, or Roger Stolle or Joni Mayberry at Cat Head (662-624-5992), or media contact Panny Mayfield (

August 17, 2005
Morgantown, West Virginia
JOHN HENRY FESTIVAL, Hazel Ruby-McQuain Riverfront Park: This is a hard one to find out about – director Ed Cabbell doesn’t advertise, doesn’t do internet, and the festival has no website – but ever since 1973 this event has celebrated the heritage of legendary folk hero John Henry by presenting the black music of Appalachia, both secular and sacred, along with an eclectic mix of other American folk forms and world music. The full name of the festival is actually the John Henry Memorial Authentic Blues and Gospel Jubilee. Sparky Rucker is a regular here. Events are held in Morgantown over a period of days; this year it begins August 17 with a concert in an amphitheater on the Monongahela River. Contact Ed Cabbell, P.O. Box 1172, Morgantown, WV 26507 (304-292-8016). For general info, the local Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners (304-296-8356) does have e-mail if you’re phone- or snail mail-challenged:

Sept. 17, 2005
Greenville, Mississippi
The MISSISSIPPI DELTA BLUES FESTIVAL (, the oldest blues festival in Mississippi and the largest one anywhere sponsored by an African-American organization, began presenting blues from the juke joints, the chittlin' circuit, and the national blues scene in 1978 amidst the cottonfields south of Greenville. The event was almost cancelled in 2004, however, until other local sponsors stepped in to offer a substitute festival in downtown Greenville. To find out what's going on this year, contact M.A.C.E. at (888) 81-BLUES or (662) 335-3523, or check with the Greenville Greenville/Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau (, 662-334-2711 or 800-467-3582).

Sept. 24-25
Great Meadow, Fort Mason, San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO BLUES FESTIVAL (, (415) 979-5588 The oldest surviving blues festival in the world, presented every year since 1973, featuring national and Bay Area acts. The fest is large and it isn't free or privately funded, so in order to sell tickets, some mainstream blues or blues-based acts are booked, but it's one of the better festivals of this kind. (Too often, committees who book other blues festivals end up with a "lowest common denominator" roster loaded with rock bands or big names from other fields with not much of a blues connection.) Many great national and Bay Area bluesmen and women have appeared here, and there is a free kickoff concert the day before the festival.

Oct. 6-8, 2005
Helena, Arkansas
KING BISCUIT BLUES FESTIVAL (, 870-338-8798): A favorite event of the blues festival crowd, King Biscuit offers multiple stages and always books talent worth seeing. Like the Sunflower festival across the river in Clarksdale, it draws a mix of fans who travel from afar to "the Biscuit" every year and a large local black audience. The free festivities are in downtown Helena, where the King Biscuit phenomenon began as a radio show in 1941 - still broadcast today on KFFA radio (1360 AM), hosted by Sonny Payne at the Delta Cultural Center.

Oct. 14-15, 2005
Blue Heaven Studios, Salina, Kansas
BLUES MASTERS AT THE CROSSROADS (, 800-716-3553, 785-825-8609) This intimate festival, in the converted First Christian Church, 201 South 8th Street, in Salina, gives Blue Heaven Studios owner Chad Kassem a chance to bring little-known blues acts from the bayous, backwoods, and big city ghettos of America to the middle of Kansas. Artists are typically overwhelmed by the warm reception they receive. The atmosphere is more like what might be expected from a respectful European or Japanese audience.

Recommended Websites has the best selection of information and links we've found. Check out all the bibliographical and discographical links, essays, interviews, histories, record labels, and lots more. Bluesworld's Joel Slotnikoff also holds regular auctions of rare 78s.

For fans who want to know more about one of the little-recognized esoteric genres of blues, the Chicago jump/jazz/lounge blues of the '40s and '50s, there is an excellent, well-researched site from the Red Saunders Research Foundation at

KOKO TAYLOR CELEBRITY AID FOUNDATION:, PO Box 2545, Country Hills, IL 60478, phone 708-612-1978 or 206-6554, phone/fax 708-206-9900. Koko has tried her hand at two blues clubs and a banquet hall in recent years but none of the business ventures succeeded; now she and her family have started a foundation to provide social services, counseling (on topics such as insurance, health care, and alcohol/drug problems), and music business education to musicians and their families. Among the speakers on the foundation's schedule has been former soul singer Joe Simon, now Bishop Joe Simon. Koko is addressing some vital issues and deserves thanks and support for her efforts.

MAIL ORDER RECORD SALES and AUCTIONS: Be Sure to visit our Online Catalogue. More records are also listed online on eBay (Seller ID: Stackhouse232); at; and under seller name BLUESOTERICA at

We buy and sell soul, R&B, funk, jazz, gospel, country, world/ethnic, novelty, and rock 'n' roll records as well as blues. We also appraise music collections.

Copyright © 2006 All Rights Reserved.

BluEsoterica Research Forum (June 2002-April 2006)

[This page contains all the material posted on the BluEsoterica Research Forum at from June 2002 to April 2006. New postings will appear on this blog.]


. . an off-the-wall site for immortalizing the obscure details of blues history, carrying on the legacy of the S/DDRMMOC&RBN (Stackhouse/Delta Record Mart Mail Order Catalogue & Rooster Blues Newsletter, published in Clarksdale, Mississippi, 1989-94), my "BluEsoterica" column in Living Blues magazine (1994-96, revived in 2002 in conjunction with this website), and Mike Rowe's Numerology Guide in Blues Unlimited magazine (1973-78, supposedly being resuscitated exclusively for this website).

I've invited Mike, Paul Garon, Dick Shurman, Bob Eagle, and other co-conspirators to bring up new issues designed for sufferers of blues dementia, plus reprinting inglorious scribblings of the past. To start with, we offer the beginning of BluEsoterica: the first column, from Living Blues #114, March/April 1994, and a new research proposal from Paul Garon. This and future reprints may include bits and pieces that didn't fit onto the BluEsoterica pages in LB, along with revised and updated information. Readers' questions, comments, theories, and contributions are welcome.

We will post some submissions for public discussion, but we also welcome private inquiries from researchers who may not want their material made public.

The column started out with a burst of queries in 2002, but little or no response to answer those queries. So the queries are still here on the website, if anyone out there has anything to contribute. Many other questions sent in by researchers have been answered privately.

BluEsoterica (Living Blues #114, March/April 1994)

Sometimes it strikes me that Living Blues is so serious about its mission, and its readers so worked up defending or attacking editorial policies, reviewers' opinions, or each other, that we overlook the minutely detailed, legendarily obscure, or insanely esoteric questions about the music we love.

You know, the stuff that most British blues magazines, European discographers, and Japanese collectors seem to dote on. Who played guitar on the 1924 Edna Johnson session for Gennett? Did Patton spell his name Charlie or Charley? Did he really wear his bowtie at an angle to cover the scar on his neck? And where was who when that Clarksdale mill burned down (in Patton's Moon Going Down)? Which mill was it (I've already asked the Clarksdale Fire Department!)? Why do blues artists give so many different birthdates for themselves in different interviews? Who was Monroe Moe Jackson? Was he related to Monroe Guy Jackson? Why did they take him out of the revised edition of Blues Records 1943-1970? Into how many thousand fragments did that tape of the unissued Little Walter alternate take explode when Mike Rowe and I were trying to operate the tape machine in the old Chess Records vault? Whatever happened to those pieces of tape? And shouldn't the term be "alternative take," not "alternate take"? What planet was Homesick James born on? Who stole the Robert Johnson plaque from the monument at Mt. Zion? Why doesn't Highway 61 run from Chicago to the Gulf of Mexico like the song says it does? How many Guitar Slims are there? How many Luther Johnsons? Willie Browns? Who had bigger feet, Howlin' Wolf or Sonny Boy? Whatever happened to Willie Steel? Casey Bill Weldon? Louise Johnson? Leecan & Cooksey? Shy Guy Douglas? Frankie "Half-Pint" Jaxon? How do I "dust my broom"? What was the first 10-inch blues LP? What was the last? Who misidentified those photos of Bob Koester's in LB 112?

It is into such matters that this column will foolishly delve. Guest columnists with mysteries to investigate, minutiae to propose, or absurdities to ponder are invited to contribute.


The largest and most intriguing extant body of still-unissued prewar blues recordings must be those in the Library of Congress' Archive of Folk Culture (formerly known as the Archive of Folk Song). I'd always wondered about some of the curious titles listed in the prewar discography, Blues & Gospel Records 1902-1943, by Dixon & Godrich, and finally had a chance to hear some of them on a recent visit to the library in Washington, D.C. Two days of listening convinced me it would take months to hear it all, but I also came away convinced that many of the titles and artists' names have been listed erroneously for years, ever since (or even before) the early editions of Dixon & Godrich in the 1960s. I looked forward to discovering what or who a "Manuwat" was, for instance, based on the entry of Manuwat Blues by singer-harmonica player Turner Junior Johnson, recorded in Clarksdale in 1942, only to find that a previous researcher (whose handwriting I recognized as that of Trix Records' Pete Lowry) had corrected the catalogue card to read Minglewood Blues. Johnson's song is based on the 1928 Cannon's Jug Stompers record; in neither version is the word "Minglewood" sung, but Johnson does introduce the song by that name.

All right, then, next question: what or where was Minglewood? In Bengt Olsson’s 1970 book Memphis Blues, West Tennessee resident David Rice remembered: “Minglewood is a sawmill place in Ashport, west of Ripley. It was torn down 15 or 20 years ago.” John “Memphis Piano Red” Williams added, “Minglewood is a box factory.” The name, however, seems to have been mangled, according to Paul Garon: A photo from the University of Louisville Photographic Archives published in Garon’s Blues and the Poetic Spirit (1975) bears the caption: “Workers at the Mengel Box Company, Louisville, Kentucky, 1920. The Mengel Box Co. also owned the town of Mengelwood, Tennessee, on the outskirts of Memphis. The town in mentioned in many blues by Memphis singers.”

In the case of Manuwat Blues, and several others, whoever first entered the title for the Library of Congress apparently couldn't decipher the words; another 1942 Clarksdale vocal/harmonica side by Jesse James Jefferson (Preacher Thomas), listed as She's A Big Sturdy Woman, turned out to be She's A Biscuit Turnin' Woman. But it also seems that, in transmitting the information to Dixon & Godrich, errors were made either in copying the names and titles (presumably by hand, since the entire folk song catalogue is indexed only on typed cards, not on computer), or in deciphering the handwriting when the information was retyped by the discographers. The Mississippi artist listed in D&G as Will Storks is in fact Will Starks (or, in Alan Lomax's book The Land Where the Blues Began, Will Stark); a Clarksdale listing credited to "Marilyn Davis & Ollie Upchurch" is by a male vocalist, Maryland Davis Upchurch, accompanied by his son Ollie Upchurch.

The most puzzling title of all is listed in D&G as Junian, A Jap's Girl Christmas For His Santa Claus (sic), by Willie Blackwell, recorded by Alan Lomax in Arkansas in 1942. The song has been released on a Library of Congress album (Folk Music in America, Volume 10: Songs of War & History, LBC 10) as Junior, A Jap Girl's Christmas For Her Santa Claus. On Travelin' Man CD 07, Mississippi Blues: Library of Congress Recordings 1940-1942, it's called Junior's A Jap's Girl Christmas For His Santa Claus (sic). (The sics appear in the printed titles in Dixon & Godrich and on the CD.) In his book, Lomax refers to the song as A Jap Girl For Next Christmas From Santy Claus, and names the artist only as "Willie B." The L of C album notes even state: "Blackwell's song has one of the most bizarre titles in the Archive of Folk Song -- a title confirmed, incidentally, by his own announcement on the original disc." The opening verse, as transcribed in the booklet to LBC 10, is: "Goodbye I got to leave you, I got to fight for America, you and my boy/Goodbye babe, I hate to leave you, I got to fight for you, America and my boy/Well well, you can look for a Jap girl's Christmas, oooh lord baby, for Junior's Santa Claus." By these interpretations, I suppose Blackwell, who was preparing to serve his country in World War II, must have intended to capture a geisha girl and bring her home to Junior; or maybe the Japanese girl's Christmas was to be celebrated with Junior or Santa in some other way. Bizarre indeed.

However, upon relistening to the track, I've decided that we've been missing the all-too-gruesome point of Mr. Blackwell's tale of sending baby Junior a Japanese Christmas present. I'm sure the last line is: "Well, well, you can look for a Jap's SKULL Christmas, oooh Lord, baby, for Junior's Santa Claus." (The title, then, with missing words filled in, would be something like [I'm Going To Send] Junior A Jap's Skull [For] Christmas For His [Present from] Santa Claus.) (The term "Santa Claus" has been used elsewhere in blues and gospel to mean the Christmas gift, not jolly St. Nick himself -- a relevant line here would be Rev. A.W. Nix's "Death might be your Santa Claus" from Death Might Be Your Christmas Gift, recorded in 1927.) The bone-chilling connection is made clear by Blackwell's third verse: "Yes, when Junior starts to teethin', baby, please write to me/When Junior starts to teething, oh baby, please write to me/Well, well, I'm gonna send him a Jap's tooth so that he can cut his [with ease?]." On that deathly holiday note, we'll end this query with another one: Whatever happened to Willie Blackwell? He showed up in Memphis in the early '70s and may have gone back to Flint, Michigan, where he'd lived earlier. Did he ever aqcuire such grisly war souvenirs as he promised in his song? Anyone with knowledge of Willie Blackwell, please let us know.


We’ve since learned the answers to a few questions posed above. (Some of the questions which were written for the column in 1994 were cut from the published version in LB, such as “What ever happened to . . .?” The late Shy Guy Douglas, one of those mystery artists, has since been documented on some Nashville blues/R&B reissues.) Monroe Moe Jackson, Highway 61, and the subject of blues artists’ birthdates were discussed in subsequent BluEsoterica columns. A new edition of the prewar discography, Blues and Gospel Records 1890-1943 by Robert M.W. Dixon, John Godrich, & Howard Rye, was published in 1997, making note of some of the Library of Congress errors listed above but still listing the Blackwell song as Junian, A Jap’s Girl Christmas For His Santa Claus [sic].

The Library of Congress, meanwhile, has made some progress in cataloguing its collections of field recordings, and has even posted an excellent site online at, entitled “Southern Mosaic: The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip.” Which will lead us to another listening misadventure . . . next time.

Name: Jim O’Neal
Date: 6/24/2002



"Who will help me make the bread," said the Little Red Hen. Well, we all know how that ended! Even so, I'm going to jump in a suggest a project even while declining the position of project leader.

Several people have echoed Paul Oliver's complaint that it's too bad we don't know where all the 78s in our collections came from. When the records first came out of the South (or "the field" as some would call it) and went into the first great collections: Klatzko, Whalen, McKune, et al. (not to mention Koester, Thompson, and others), no note was made of where the record was found. True. And even later generations tended to commit the same sin: the Perls generation did little to record the source of the records in their collections.

But is it really too late? Obviously it's too late to draw on the memories of Klatzko, McKune and Perls, but those of us who are still alive have access to two sources: our memories of where specific items came from (admittedly subject to well-known vagaries) and labels on the 78s we currently own. For example, I remember quite vividly all the details of certain finds, and I'm sure other collectors do, too. And many of the records in my possession have labels on them indicating where they were sold: Sam's Tailor Shop says one. Often we remember what cities we found our records in, and often the records themselves bear ownership labels that give the residence of the owner.

A compilation of this information would be an enormous job, just as it would be enormously valuable. For many collectors, going through their own records could be a pretty big job right there! But it's a project worth doing, before any more of us--and our memories--die.

Name: Paul Garon
Date: 6/23/2002



Paul Garon has also asked that we announce his forthcoming revised and expanded edition of his 1971 book The Devil’s Son-In-Law: The Story of Peetie Wheatstraw and His Songs. Paul would like to hear from anyone who has information on Peetie that did not appear in the original book.

For a copy of Paul and Beth Garon’s mail order catalogue of rare blues and jazz books and radical literature, please contact:

Beasley Books (ABAA)
1533 W. Oakdale
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 472-4528
(773) 472-7857-FAX


While we’re at it, I’ll add these names to the list – I’m looking for unpublished material, reminiscences from other artists or sources, photos, memorabilia, newspaper ads or clippings, or just comments or insights that researchers, collectors, and fans may want to share on the following artists:


>>listings from Jacksonville FL & Tampa FL city directories in the 1920s as Hudson Whittaker;

>>information, including death dates, on his parents, John and Elizabeth Woodbridge, who were killed in an auto accident; also any information on his grandparents;

>>death date of his wife and business manager, Frances;

>>any surviving relatives in Georgia or Florida.





Name: Jim O'Neal
Date: 7/13/2002


August 16, 2002-February 2, 2005:
And a few more odds and ends:

* BRIGHT STAR FLOUR: This was one of at least three brands of flour that sponsored blues broadcasts on KFFA radio in Helena, Arkansas, in the 1940s. King Biscuit Flour and the King Biscuit Time show are well known in blues lore, and I found Mother's Best Flour in a Mississippi grocery store in the 1990s (although I don't know if it's still being marketed). But I've never seen a sack of Bright Star Flour -- does anyone have a flour sack, or a photo, or other information on Bright Star?

* TALAHO SYRUP: Another radio sponsor of a Sonny Boy Williamson show, in Mississippi. (Could be spelled TALLY HO or something similar.) Are there any bottles, ads or photos of this product out there?

* BEN HARPER: Just curious -- there was a blues singer named Ben Harper who recorded in Los Angeles in the 1960s; is the current recording artist Ben Harper any relation?

* MAGIC SAM: Dick Shurman, who wrote the liner notes for a new Delmark compilation of Magic Sam sides, asks: Why wasn't Sam on Shakey Jake's Bluesville LP sessions? Legal reasons? (Sam and Jake regularly worked together in Chicago at the time.)

* BOBBY “GUITAR” BENNETT: What ever happened to BOBBY “GUITAR” BENNETT, who made several blues and soul 45s in the ‘60s and ‘70s, including the title track of the reissue compilation When Girls Do It? For the past 30 years I have been asking sources around Philadelphia, where Bennett was reportedly based, but no one has been able to tell us anything yet.

* CLARENCE ASHE: Another one I’ve been curious about for years, Clarence Ashe specialized in monologues of tragicomic blues situations, one of which found him employed giving baths to dogs! In another, he sings “My horse went blind and my mule went lame.” He recorded for Zell Sanders’ J&S label in New York, but I have a copy of one early J&S 45 that has a Montgomery, Alabama address. (Some J&S sides were also released on Chess and ABC-Paramount). Percy Welch, the Macon, Georgia bandleader who gave Little Richard his first job, has co-composer credit on one of Ashe’s records. Does anyone know more about Clarence Ashe?

* DIXIE BLUES BOYS: This two-harmonica blues group has long been a mystery among collectors. The two sides of their 1955 single for Modern’s Flair subsidiary, along with some unreleased material, are on the Modern Downhome Blues Sessions Volume 3 CD. Their identities were finally confirmed when Ace Records’ John Broven found the original contract they had signed with Modern, revealing the names of four members: Charles S. Johnson, Ozie Saxton, Dan Winston, and Clarence Wilkins. (A fifth musician was also present on the session: the lineup included two harps, guitar, upright bass, and drums. The band may have traveled from the South or Midwest to Los Angeles, and at least some of them stayed there. Guitarist Stormy Herman remembered Saxton and “Leonard” as a harmonica team in L.A. in the mid-’50s, and said Saxton played on his Dootone record.) Further information on the group is still sketchy. They have flown so far under the blues radar that they may have been an itinerant band, traveling from town to town, setting up on the streets or finding jobs at clubs and restaurants. Census and death records reveal an Ozie or O.Z. Saxton who born in Arkansas on Sept. 28, 1905, lived in Leflore County, Mississippi, in 1930, had a Social Security card issued in Missouri, and died at Vernon Convalescent Hospital in Los Angeles on Oct. 28, 1983 – his death certificate listed his occupation as “musician.” One Dan Winston was born in Louisiana on May 25, 1913, with a Social Security number issued in Louisiana; he died in L. A. on Oct. 8, 1979. Suggested points of origin or later bases of operations for the group include Monroe, Louisiana, Itta Bena, Mississippi, Helena, Arkansas, St. Louis, and Kansas City. Thanks to Eric LeBlanc and Bob Eagle for census and death records research. Any information on these folks would be appreciated.

* PINE TOP SLIM, LEROY SIMPSON, ARKANSAS JOHNNY TODD, BIG BILL DOTSON, and BIG CHARLEY BRADIX are among the artists who will appear on the Modern Downhome Blues Sessions Volume 4 anthology. Little information has turned up on these artists so far. Pine Top Slim was reportedly discovered on the streets of Atlanta by producer Joe Bihari; Billboard magazine reported in March 1952 that Dotson was recommended to Modern by DJ Johnny Martin of WLOU in Louisville, Kentucky; Bradix (1911-1981) was a Dallas, Texas pianist who had 78s on Blue Bonnet, Colonial, and Aristocrat; and Leroy Simpson and Arkansas Johnny Todd were names made up by reissue compilers Frank Scott and Bruce Bromberg back in 1969 when they found unidentified acetates in the Modern vaults. The Simpson and Todd tracks were issued on the Kent LP Blues From the Deep South; the Biharis didn’t want them released simply as “Unidentified Artists,” so Frank and Bruce devised bluesy-sounding names for the phantoms. If you have any idea who these artists really are, or any info about Pine Top Slim, Charlie Bradix, or Big Bill Dotson, please let me know!

Other artists on the Vol. 4 whose careers have been better documented are include Jesse Thomas from Shreveport, Louisiana; Dallas pianist Alex Moore, and Dallas guitarist Little (Lil’) Son Jackson. Any unpublished material or memorabilia from these artists would be welcome too, and acknowledged in the liner notes.

Name: Jim O'Neal
Dates: 8/16/2002 to 2/2/2005



For a forthcoming biography of Blind Willie McTell, Michael Gray (author of Song & Dance Man III: The Art of Bob Dylan seeks any information, particularly anecdotal and unpublished. Many thanks in advance.

Michael Gray
Pear Tree House
Tinley Garth
York YO62 6AR
TEL 44 1751 433439
FAX 44 1751 433360

Name: Michael Gray
Date: 8/24/2002



For a forthcoming biography of Ralph S. Peer, Richard M. Sudhalter seeks all information, particularly anecdotal and primary-source matter, published and unpublished, about Peer's relations with the various blues artists he recorded for Okeh and Victor. Particularly important is any direct reminiscence by the artists involved about Peer's approach to recording them, his business arrangements with them, and his overall manner. All thanks in advance.

Richard M. Sudhalter, author of *Lost Chords* and *Stardust Melody*

Name: Richard M. Sudhalter
Date: 8/26/2002



In October 1928, at a Columbia field session in Johnson City, Tennessee, Frank Walker recorded two sides by a man named Ellis Williams. Both were released on the 14,000 series; Williams was probably the only blues musician to record at the session (except for a possible unreleased band called The Queen Trio). Has anybody ever found out anything about him? He's not on any of the SSDI rolls.

Any help appreciated.

Name: Charles Wolfe
Date: 8/29/2002


who WAS it made up this song?

Is anyone able to understand Baby Face Leroy (or the version of the song form which he may have borrowed the lyrics) on "Boll Weevil" where he tells Muddy Waters and Little Walter what to say if anyone asks them who made up the song?

Name: Dick shurman
Date: 4/25/2005


Lightnin' Hopkins

for a forth coming biography of Lightnin' Hopkins I'm looking for previously unpublished interviews and/or documents, contracts, adverts, lyrics, anything related his life, etc. Thanks.

Name: Tim O'Brien
Date: 10/30/2005


Andrew Brown - Brave 45

Who owns or knows someone who owns a copy of ANDREW BROWN's BRAVE 45 - a copy or a copy of the label will earn you a free 2 cd BOX of BIG BROWNS BLUES by ANDREW BROWN (available this year 2006)

Name: Gerrit Robs
Date: 3/6/2006


a Harmonica you all must see!

Hi folks...sorry to put a "commercial" thing here, but i'm sure you'll all agree item number 7408651580 I listed on ebay today is worth having a look at! details follow, thanks much. The rarest blues harmonica you could imagine and a "missing link" between the acoustic delta blues of Sonny Boy Williamson and the electric amplified blues of Little Walter (!!!) Yes, believe it or not, a RESONATOR is soldered to the harmonica so it could be heard over the din of a juke-joint. Purchased in Alabama land of Jaybird Coleman and Bullet Willams (two early and somewhat mysterious Alabama harmonica players of the late 1920's and early 1930's) and likely dating to that period based on the ORIGINAL PAINT rust and wear. I can not read the brand name of the harmonica itself, I can make out the words "easy blowing" and "germany" so those of you who are harmonica scholars and collectors will probably be able to make it out or identify. Those of you who have studied the emergence of the blues know folks such as Muddy Waters biggest problem was being heard over the crowd at jukes and rent parties, the electric guitar solved that problem and created Chicago and Electric blues. In a similar manner, the microphone took the "mississippi saxophone" of early delta blues players into a new realm when Little Walter and others plugged in. This "make-do" resonator I believe was an attempt to add musical volume to the instrument but it is certainly the only one I have ever seen and as such is quite a find. The metal bowl or hubcap type metal resonator is 7 inches across the opening and 5 inches tall. The harmonica itself is well-soldered into the piece and is 4 inches long. There is genuine age, wear and signs of legitimate vintage use, this is no recent concoction (although it is such a need idea I don't doubt there will one day be others! and YES...IT DOES STILL PLAY.

Name: Jim Linder
Date: 4/19/2006


Copyright © 2006 All Rights Reserved.

BluEsoterica Archives & Productions

Research & Production e-mail:
Mail order e-mail:

BluEsoterica Archives

The BluEsoterica Archives consists of extensive subject files, more than 2000 tapes of interviews and music, negatives from 1500 rolls of film (about 40,000 images), plus thousands of records, a comprehensive library of books and magazines, a poster collection, and other memorabilia. This is what I kept or have since accumulated AFTER Amy van Singel and I donated thousands of records and files to help start the University of Mississippi Blues Archive. I would like to either find a permanent home for this material outside of my house, or create a new, funded and staffed archival organization to manage the collections here.

Institutions or organizations interested in sponsoring, housing, or cataloguing the archives, please contact us.

Towards an Interview/Oral History Archive
I'm especially interested in establishing a full-fledged archive for tapes of interviews and oral histories, as proposed in "The Voice of the Blues." I have begun collecting audio and video tapes from interviewers, researchers, DJs, and documentary producers, and am planning on transferring them to digital format, and making them available for future documentary and research use, contingent upon permission from each interviewer. For the present, I would at least like to hear from people who have taped interviews (or written interview notes) so that I can begin identifying and cataloguing the source material. Just send a list of interview subjects with dates and any explanatory notes you may care to add. I'll post a database of interview tapes on this website.

BluEsoterica Productions
Recent BluEsoterica album productions: Willie King & the Liberators: "Freedom Creek" and "Living in a New World"; Super Chikan: "Shoot That Thang"; Robert "Bilbo" Walker: "Rock the Night"; D.C. Bellamy: "Water to Wine"; Eddie C. Campbell: "Hopes and Dreams"; "Philadelphia" Jerry Ricks: "Many Miles of Blues" [all on Rooster Blues Records]. See Stackhouse Recording Company page for most recent and upcoming productions.

Work on recent documentaries: Fuji TV (Japan): "The Roots of Music" series; "Blues Story," August 2003 PBS documentary produced by Shout! Factory and Imaginary Entertainment; other programs on PBS, NHK, Mississippi ETV, and other networks. Compilations and liner notes: Rooster Blues, Delmark, BMG, Rhino, Ace, Blue Suit, and others. Interviews conducted and videotaped for "Blues Story" and for Acoustic Sounds/Blue Heaven Studios' "Blues Masters at the Crossroads." Concert and Festival Coordination services available.

Call or e-mail if you want a custom-designed blues presentation for schools and youth groups (connecting blues to hip-hop, country, and rock music), or for seminars, workshops, panel discussions, festivals, and documentary projects. Recent presentations and panels: Blues, Hip-Hop and Contemporary Music; Blues and Storytelling; Mississippi Blues Women; Mississippi Roots of American Popular Music; Robert Johnson; John Lee Hooker; Junior Parker; The State of the Blues; Screamin' and Cryin' About the Blues; Jazz Gillum, Pinetop Smith, and Fred McDowell Tribute (Chicago Blues Festival).

Whenever possible, I like to do these presentations in conjunction with a blues artist who will demonstrate the music and participate in the discussion. "Philadelphia" Jerry Ricks, a storehouse of acoustic blues knowledge and licks, is available for such programs; artists who can illustrate other aspects of the blues include Super Chikan, Willie King, D.C. Bellamy, and Lane Wilkins.

Music Publishing
The Drop Top Music catalogue contains hundreds of songs written by Eddy Clearwater, Eddie Shaw, Gabriel, James "Super Chikan" Johnson, Eddie C. Campbell, Valerie Wellington, Lonnie Shields, Lonnie Pitchford, Foree "Guitar" Wells, and others. Please contact us for samples or licensing information.

Booking Contact
BluEsoterica is NOT a booking agency, but I do want to help blues artists get more and better gigs, so I'm offering to put promoters, club owners, and festivals in touch with artists or their agents, and in certain cases help with booking arrangements for "Philadelphia" Jerry Ricks, Eddie C. Campbell, Willie King & the Liberators, D.C. Bellamy, Super Chikan, Lady Bianca, Robert "Bilbo" Walker, Lane Wilkins, Ike Turner, Memphis Gold, Dennis Binder, Big George Brock, Magic Slim & the Teardrops, Eddie Shaw, Eddy Clearwater, and Sax Kari, along with many others, especially artists from Mississippi, Chicago, and Kansas City.

DJ Service
I can also direct you to a DJ if you're in need of an expert record-spinner, especially in the funk and soul genres. James "Superwolf" Trotter and his partner Memphis Black play the hardest-to-find, hardest-hitting funk 45s and LPs if you're into obscure local releases from Youngstown, Ohio, Miami, or North Carolina. Blues, reggae, Haitian, Cuban, and African music also available.

BluEsoterica doesn't have a regular radio program of its own, but my collection of blues, R&B, jazz, world music, and rockabilly serves as a lending library for various DJs in the Kansas City area, and I do make guest appearances and work on documentaries on various stations around the country.

Submitting Demos and Promo/Review Copies
Material may be submitted to BluEsoterica Archives & Productions, 3516 Holmes St., Kansas City, MO 64109. CDs and records will usually be added to the archives here for documentary, radio, and DJ use. We also welcome new VINYL releases on LP, 12-inch EP, or 45rpm (or 78!).

Tour Guide Service
Want a custom-designed tour of the Mississippi Delta, Chicago, Kansas City, Memphis, wherever? I've coordinated tours for years, including the annual Down Home Blues Tour for Japanese tourists, and can put you in touch with guides who know the territory.

New Productions & Compilations
For more info, visit the Stackhouse Recording page.

Mail Order Record Sales and Auctions
Visit our Online Catalogue and check out the thousands of CD, albums, cassettes, magazines, and posters we have for sale.

We also buy soul, R&B, funk, jazz, gospel, country, world/ethnic, novelty, and rock 'n' roll records as well as blues. We also appraise music collections.

Also see our listings on eBay (Seller ID: Stackhouse232); at and at

Jim O'Neal 3516 Holmes Street Kansas City MO 64109 (816) 931-0383
Research & Production e-mail:
Mail order e-mail:

Copyright 2006 All Rights Reserved.

This page and others have been copied to this blog from the website.

THE VOICE OF THE BLUES, Muddy Waters & Howlin' Wolf

BluEsoterica provides updates and corrections to the book "The Voice of the Blues: Classic Interviews from Living Blues Magazine" (Routledge, 2002, edited by Jim O'Neal and Amy van Singel).

"The Voice of the Blues" is a collection of interviews conducted from 1967/68 to 1981, originally published in Living Blues, America's first blues magazine, with chapters expanded for this book to include introductions, postscripts, editors' notes, and previously unpublished questions and answers from several interviews.

Includes interviews with Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, Little Walter & Louis Myers, T-Bone Walker, Freddie King, Little Milton, Georgia Tom Dorsey, Houston Stackhouse, Eddie Boyd, Little Esther Phillips, and Sleepy John Estes & Hammie Nixon. 427 pages, paperback, with Foreword by Peter Guralnick, 43 photos and detailed index.

Signed Copies are available for only $29.95 plus $4.50 shipping & handling (USA). Air mail shipping & handling: $7.95 Canada, $18.00 all other countries.


First, apologies to Ward Gaines, co-author with Scott Dirks and Tony Glover of the new Little Walter biography "Blues With a Feeling -- The Little Walter Story": an unnamed gremlin somehow got Ward's name wrong on page 282 of TVOTB.

Next, in the Muddy Waters interview, p. 180, Muddy recalled his first Chicago recording session (released on the 20th Century label under the name James "Sweet Lucy" Carter) and said that Memphis Slim, Jimmy Rogers and Lee Brown also recorded at the same session. Details from Scott Dirks on this rare Memphis Slim/Jimmy Rogers/Lee Brown 78 on the Harlem label have since been published on Big Joe Louis' website: "Jimmy Rogers' First Recording," at

We also have some comments on this session from the producer, J. Mayo Williams, who told us in an unpublished 1972 Living Blues interview that he had recorded Muddy. At the time, not knowing about the 20th Century 78, we mistakenly assumed Mayo had recorded Muddy's Columbia sides.
Here is the transcription of the relevant portion of the interview:

LB: Did you have anything to do with Chess, like when they were Aristocrat and then Chess later on?
JMW: No. Here: Chess used to be my distributor. Yeah, when they was right over here on 43rd Street . . . I mean 51st Street. And I'm the first one to record Muddy Waters.
LB: Really?
JMW: Yeah.
LB: Did you record him for Aristocrat?
JMW: I recorded him for myself.
LB: When was that?
JMW: Now that was in the Civic Opera Building, and the engineer didn't know how to put that eccentric [concentric] groove in the records, and they were never released. They didn't know how to . . . you know where that eccentric groove is, you know, where it rejects and so forth and so on? The engineers didn't know how to put in a lead-in line, from the beginning. And I just, I had them around here someplace. I don't know where in the hell they are.
LB: You still have them?
JMW: (Laughs). I don't know where they are, I haven't been able to--
LB: Do you remember the titles of the songs he sang?
JMW: I don't even remember the titles.
LB: Did he play by himself or with a band?
JMW: No, he had a little group.
LB: Do you remember how many people were in the group? And what they played?
JMW: No. I got his picture stickin' up there. [The walls of Williams' office were filled with photo collages of blues and jazz artists.] Yeah. I only keep it because these others, I recorded everybody you see in here, all these others, at some time or other. And now, you asked me if I had done anything for Chess. When Chess was just starting in the big time, you see, I got in touch with him. He had been my distributor over here at 51st Street. I got in touch with him. Then he began to make money and got too big for me. Yeah. And I got in touch with him. Now he's gonna send me, he tells me that he will send a couple of his lieutenants out to see me and I told him about having these records, you see. He's gonna send a couple of lieutenants out to see me, and I just wouldn't see 'em, you see. I wanted to talk to Chess, but he was too big for me then, see. And consequently I never paid any more attention to those records. Would be worth money today, if I had 'em I could get 'em re-recorded or retaped and processed, and make some money. But that was the story of Muddy Waters. And I never will forget it. They had a studio up in the Civic Opera Building on about the 13th or 14th floor. And Muddy Waters was glad to record.
LB: He had never made any records [in Chicago] before that, had he?
JMW: No.
LB: Was that about 1950 or earlier?
JMW: Now, let me see. No, that was . . . all of this was after '46, so it could have been around between '50 and '55, some time about then, you see. But, well, I made a whole lot of mistakes at this game, too, you see. But money was coming, so . . .
[The date of this session is listed in "Blues Records 1943-1970" as 1946. Producer Lester Melrose also recorded Muddy for Columbia in September of that year.]

The NORTH LITTLE ROCK blues sessions
In the Houston Stackhouse interview (p. 130-131), Stackhouse recalled a recording session he did in North Little Rock with Ernest Lane on piano. I speculated that this must have been done at Charles Scroggins' [sic] Music Center for the Bihari brothers' Modern/RPM labels. (Joe Bihari recorded Driftin' Slim, Baby Face Turner, Junior Brooks, and Sunny Blair at the Music Center in 1951-52.) More recent research at the library in Little Rock revealed that the store was owned by Martin Scroggin, and through an internet search I managed to contact his son, during the course of writing liner notes for Ace Records' reissue CD series The Modern Downhome Blues Sessions. The Music Center had a set-up to record anyone who came in off the street wanting to make a demo for a fee of three dollars, and that's how Driftin' Slim and his crew first came to record there. Scroggin pitched the demos to Joe Bihari and Bihari returned to do the official Modern/RPM sessions. It appears that the Stackhouse/Lane sides were done as three-dollar demos, paid for by local club owner Jim Lindsay, and were not acquired by Modern. At least one of the Stackhouse demos survived and we hope to have some news soon about releasing it on CD.

The JIMMY REED Family Blues Tradition
I wrote that one of Jimmy Reed's daughters had told me that the Reed family had all gone into gospel music in the introduction to the Reed interview (p. 307). In 2004 I got to spend some time with some of the Reed family again at the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame induction ceremony and dinner in Memphis. Jimmy Reed Jr. is active in the church and no longer sings blues or soul (his 1967 Mercury 45, it turns out, is a prized item among "Northern Soul" collectors, valued at $200 or more!). But his younger sister Rose is indeed singing the blues, and did some of her father's songs during the Chicago Blues Festival in June 2004 at Gregg Parker's Chicago Blues Museum tent. If anyone would like to contact the Reed family, please call or e-mail me for contact info.

The HOWLIN' WOLF Interview
And, to readers who bought "The Voice of the Blues" expecting to read an interview with Howlin' Wolf as advertised on the back cover, we ended up eliminating the Wolf interview (from the first issue of Living Blues in 1970) from the first draft of the book, although the publisher's copywriters didn't know that. The Wolf interview, we felt, was not as informative as others done later in Living Blues (no fault of Wolf's, just of the uninformed interviewers!) -- but, as a service to our readers and to all Howlin' Wolf fans, we're reprinting it here (with revisions from the original LB feature, with thanks to Allmusic Zine).

Other "missing" interviews, chopped from the manuscript when the publisher told us we had to cut back on the page length: Champion Jack Dupree (by Staffan Solding), Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry (by Barry Elmes), Big Joe Turner (by Paul Clinco), Lowell Fulson (by Bruce Iglauer, Jim O'Neal & Bea Van Geffen), Percy Mayfield (by Dick Shurman), and Z.Z. Hill (by Jim O'Neal). We hope to publish these and several others in a second volume of blues interviews.

And now:

An Interview with HOWLIN' WOLF

On Oct. 10, 1969, Howlin' Wolf was (believe it or not) the opening act for a Paul Butterfield concert at Cahn Auditorium on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Three naive young enthusiasts managed to get an interview with the Wolf backstage for WNUR, the college radio station. Wolf was quite gracious, good-humored, and patient with these novices; the part I remember best about the interview was Wolf reassuring us as we fumbled for questions: "Take your time, you know, I ain't in no hurry. . ."
Over the years I've often wished I had known enough at the time to have done an in-depth interview with Wolf; by the time I knew what questions I should have asked, Wolf had become virtually unapproachable -- or so it seemed to me and many others. During Wolf's final years stories constantly circulated about how embittered he had become about the music business, or at least about how other people were getting rich off his music. I always regretted that I didn't try to get to know him better, but he cut such an imposing, intimidating figure that I could barely manage to say hello, even though I went to see him many times when he was playing the West Side blues bars. In retrospect I think Wolf might have actually enjoyed telling his stories to someone; I can remember times I saw him sitting alone at the bar, neither approaching anyone nor being approached. Maybe he didn't want to be bothered, but maybe he was lonely. Another regret is that we only used 22 minutes of tape for the interview, because Wolf continued to talk long after the tape ran out. [See notes at the end of the interview that I wrote at the time.]
When Living Blues Magazine published its first issue in early 1970, we chose the Howlin' Wolf interview as our premier cover story. I remember two responses to that feature in particular. One was a letter from a blues authority from overseas who was dumbfounded that we had asked Wolf about Jeff Beck instead of about his recollections of historical figures such as Ishmon Bracey. (I was the culprit who asked if he knew Jeff Beck; the reason was that Beck had recently recorded Wolf's "I Ain't Superstititious" on his "Truth" album with the following note on the back cover: "I Ain't Superstitious: Stolen riff from old 'Howlin' Wolf' tune, but he doesn't mind because I asked him.".) The other response was Wolf's. Sometimes when we went to Big Duke's Blue Flame Lounge, where Wolf was performing regularly, we'd take copies of Living Blues #1 and usually we'd just give them away to the musicians, barmaids and customers instead of trying to collect 50 cents for them. When Wolf saw this, he chastised me for giving away something I should be selling. A couple of years later, of course, I heard that Wolf was complaining because Living Blues had never paid him any money . . . At any rate, here is the complete, re-transcribed, unedited version of the Howlin' Wolf interview which appeared in Living Blues #1 (certain words and phrases sound different now, relistening to Wolf's speech after 30 years of transcribing blues interviews.) The interviewers (not credited in that issue, I guess because we didn't want our ignorance exposed) were: Amy van Singel (the host of WNUR's blues show), Jim O'Neal, and Dave Loebel.

Portions of this interview tape can be heard in the 2003 BMG/Bluebird DVD documentary The Howlin' Wolf Story.

-- Jim O'Neal
Founding Co-Editor, Living Blues

AVS: We're talking with Howling Wolf here. I'd like to know where you were born, because I heard it's been in Arkansas and Mississippi both.
HW: Well, I was born in Aberdeen, Mississippi. That's about 160 miles beyond Memphis, kinda 'tween Memphis and Jackson on Highway 45 goin' south. [*Wolf's birthplace has since been pinpointed as White Station, Mississippi, close to the towns of Aberdeen and West Point. A statue of Wolf was erected in West Point in 1997.]
AVS: Did you grow up in Mississippi?
HW: No. I growed up in Arkansas. Around Forrest City, West Memphis, and like that.
AVS: When did you come to Chicago?
HW: I come to Chicago in '52, somewhere about '52.
AVS: Uh, when did you make your first recordings? Were these before you came to Chicago?
HW: Yes. I made -- [coughs] excuse, excuse me -- I made my recordin' with, uh, uh, Chess. Leonard Chess. Chess and Checker.
AVS: Right.
HW: Um-hum. And that was in '48 when I first started out really to makin' records. But I been playing for 35 years. I was playing long, way before I cut, started to cuttin' records, through-and-out the South. [*Discographies cite the date of Wolf's first recording as 1951.]
AVS: Who taught you how to play harp?
HW: Rice Miller.
AVS: Second Sonny Boy!
HW: Yeah.
AVS: I thought it was the first one.
HW: No. The first Sonny Boy, they say he got killed here in Chicago. But Rice Miller was my man that I learned under. He married my sister -- half-sister. And I got a chance to learn how to blow a harp.
AVS: Right. You were at Ann Arbor Blues Festival. Did you like it?
HW: It was wonderful. Really wonderful. I didn't know how the peoples like it. See, I always like to go around and play for 'em any time they ask, or call on me, you know.
AVS: Where are you playing on the West Side now? We went down, I guess it was Roosevelt Road, and we saw about four different signs where you're playing.
HW: Well, you see, I just moved from there, first sign. I'm gone to the next sign, that's close to California. See, that lady there at Damen & Roosevelt, she got to the place she mistreat my friends, you know. One night she'll charge 'em a dollar and the next night a dollar and a half, and the peoples got to grumblin' about it, you know. So they come to tellin' me their trouble. I told her about it. She thought I shouldn'ta, so I just left, went down right through, 'cross Western, at, on the corner of California.
JO: Is that Walton's Corner?
HW: No. Yeah, right there at Walton's Corner. They call it Duke's Place. It's on the left hand side.
AVS: That's about the fourth name we've heard for it.
HW: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Yeah.
[*Note: The clubs Wolf referred to were the Key Largo (at "the first sign"), at the corner of Damen Ave. & W. Roosevelt Rd., and Big Duke's Flamingo Lounge, 2657 W. Roosevelt Rd.]
JO: Are you gonna play guitar tonight too?
HW: Yes, I play some guitar, you know, uh, sometime. I always let Hubert play because he's a young man and I want him to be seen. I partly raised him, you know. I always keep him out there in the front and I do the singin', but if he get kinda sluggish with it, then I'll play.
[*Note: I can recall a night at Pepper's Blues in the Loop, a couple of years later, when Wolf decided that not only Hubert, but the rest of the band as well, were too "sluggish" to be onstage, so he commanded them to leave, told the audience why, and proceeded to sit down with his guitar to do the set himself. It took him a while to try to tune the guitar and nothing much happened, unfortunately.]
AVS: Who's in your band?
HW: I have Hubert, the lead guitar player, Hubert Sumlin. Then I have my bass player, his name Calvin Jones, but we all call him Fuzzy. And my drummer is named Willie Williams, and my piano player is named Detroit Junior.
AVS: Is this the Detroit Junior -- where's he from?
HW: Yes, the same.
AVS: Is he from -- he's made records on his own . . .
HW: Yeah, but he, he fell on the wayside. I'm carryin' him along, you know, until he get another break. And my horn blower, tenor sax, is named Willie Young. And me: I am the Wolf! [Laughs.]
AVS: Yeah! You wanta say that again--I gotta get that!
HW: And me, I am the Wolf.
AVS: Thank you. Wow, that's great. Um, can you tell us about the psychedelic blues album that you made for Chess [Cadet Concept LP 319, Wolf's latest LP release at the time of the interview]?
HW: Ooh, well, oh, that was Marshall Chess's ideas, you know. I never did go for it, I never did like it, because that queer sound in there, "bow-wow-wow-wow." [Room erupts in laughter.] I just don't like it. I still don't like it. But the teenagers go for it, you know. So he's runnin', he's out there, a young man out there with the young crowd. So I just made it for him, you know. Course, I been with 'em ever since he was a baby, you know. I been with that company ever since that boy was a baby, you know. So.
JO: Have you recorded anything since then?
HW: Yes, I got out a new one out now. If they goin' on and turn it loose, "I'm into hard luck and I ain't doin' no good." ["Hard Luck," a 45 rpm single on Chess 2081, recorded July 14, 1969.]
JO: Are you still writing your own songs?
HW: Some of 'em. And some of 'em I get from different fans, you know, and give 'em their portion, you know, write -- the writers' portion. When the royalties come out. I get some from the white groups, from the colored groups, from the -- from the Puerto Rican. Different fans, you know.
AVS: I'd like to hear one of those!
HW: They always keep me in song, you know, because I make 'em, why, they know they gonna get their, their writers' share, you know.
AVS: What songs are you gonna do tonight?
HW: Oh, I do what the peoples ask me to do. I don't know what I'm gonna do! You know. (Laughs). You see you gotta . . .
AVS. Yeah. Can you do "300 Pounds of Joy"? That's my favorite song.
HW: Yes, OK.
JO: Do "I Ain't Superstitious"?
HW: Well . . . maybe I will. OK. I ain't sung that "Superstitious" in so long I might not know how to now. Several people ask me, you know.
JO: Do you know Jeff Beck?
HW: Jeff Beck?
JO: Yeah.
HW: I don't reckon I do.
JO: He recorded "I Ain't Superstitious." He's an English blues group.
HW: Yeah. Well, I'm glad somebody thought enough of it to take it and do somethin' with it. Maybe the next fella can do more with it than I. But I don't feel bad about it because there's -- when somebody take your number and use it, why, that's lettin' 'em know that you -- that they really appreciate your sound, you know. I wished a lot of 'em 'd take 'em and doin' it. I ain't givin' 'em no trouble copyin'.
JO: Quite a few people have.
HW: Um-hum. Yeah.
AVS: Questions, anybody? I'm trying to think of what else I have to ask you.
HW: [Coughs.] You have to excuse me.Well, take your time, you know. I ain't in no hurry, you know. Think of what you want to think of. I know -
JO: Do you -- do you prefer playing the blues clubs or concerts like this?
HW: Well, I -- I just like to play anywhere, you know. I play in the blues clubs, concerts . . . It doesn't matter.
JO: I notice, like, Muddy Waters doesn't play the clubs much anymore, does he?
HW: [Coughs.] Well, I can't speak for Muddy Waters. They play different places and I hope 'em good luck at it. I don't have anything to say about the guy, you know. Treat me all right. But I can this: they are jealous hearted, you know. Are jealous hearted musicians, you know. See, if you can't do like your songs, get kinda jealous of you. Like you, like they think you better than them and all that, but I don't fool with those kind of peoples, you know. I ain't got the time.
AVS: You played up in Madison, Wisconsin, recently, didn't you?
HW: Yes, I did. I was up there a few weeks ago. Last night I was in Appleton, Wisconsin.
AVS: Yeah, yeah. Is that -- is that Lawrence University?
JO: Lawrence? Yeah.
AVS: Yeah, we talked to some people.
HW: Oh, they had a wonderful time there last night. They didn't want me to leave, but I told 'em "I gotta make it." They wanted me to stay all night, I said, "No, no." [Laughter in room.] "You gon' mess me up on this other job. I gotta go now." They taken me to their little studio, you know, down right 'cross the streets there, little studio in the basement. And we drinkin' some wine and talk some trash -- don't have that on there [on tape]! [Laughter.]
[Two musicians come in, get five dollars from the Wolf to buy some wine, talk a few minutes with him, and leave. "Don't tell nobody where I'm at, hear?" Wolf tells them as they go.]
JO: Who were they [the musicians]?
HW: That -- that was Fuzz with that, the one I paid. They call him Calvin but everybody calls him Fuzz. And that guy there was Detroit Junior, that little low fella.
JO: He's the guy I saw at Pepper's, you remember, that night?
AVS: Huh.
HW: Yeah, that's Detroit.
JO: Yeah. Doesn't he play at Pepper's?
HW: Yes, he fool around and fell on the way. He's a good musician all right, but he gets, get drunk and be late on the job and can't keep his musicians straight, and he just, just give it up for awhile, he said the guys wouldn't do right for him. Say he was tired of all them headaches. I don't blame him 'bout that. You know, when you playing and got a contract signed with people, you got to be there. And they lookin' for your band to be there, but some people, they'll get carried away over somethin' else and be late gettin' to the job, you know. Nothin' you can do about it, you know. Or either keep 'em or let him go.
JO: So do the members in your band change a lot?
HW: Hm?
JO: Do you change your band around a lot, with different people?
HW: With different musicians?
JO: Yeah.
HW: Oh, yeah, in a, in a club, you know, but not in a place like this [a concert hall], you know, because peoples payin' to come in and you don't want the -- I don't know how they'd like it, you know, unless we kinda do it. I might put 'em up there and then they'll get insulted. I don't want to do that. Now when I'm playin'down there at the club, you know, I'll let anybody play. Anybody that think they want to play, they welcome. But I can't do it out here. I don't think. I ain't gon' try. [Laughter.]
DL: Have you ever played with Paul Butterfield?
HW: Huh?
DL: Have you ever played with Paul Butterfield? 'Cause Muddy has.
HW: No. No, I never played with Paul. Paul's a nice boy. And one thing about Paul: he kept the colored boys until he got straightened out like he wanted. And, from me -- he took 'em away from me, you know, and -- and now he done put 'em down and got somebody else. That's the only thing I felt band about him when he was startin'. He got my, a couple of my good musicians. And kept 'em awhile. I don't know what the break-up was, but I asked the musicians what was the break-up but they never did tell me. I never knew, I ain't never got to see Paul to ask him why did he, he didn't keep 'em, you know. Course sometimes musicians get unruly and you have to put him down. But I still would want to know what happened, you know.
JO: Who were those musicians?
HW: Oh, my drummer, er, a one, uh, my bass player. Sammy Lay for one and, and Jerome Arnold was the other'n -- mixed-breed Negro, look like a Mexican, Puerto Rican or somethin'. But his name was Jerome Arnold.
JO: Can I ask you, who you think is the best harp player?
HW: Well, I don't go --
JO: Besides yourself.
HW: I don't go into these things. I don't know.
JO: Is there someone you --
HW: I don't make no comments on musicians.
HW: I'm not tryin' to turn you all smart because I don't, because I might be talkin' somethin' I don't know, and fact of the business, just don't make it to talkin' about musicians. Let the peoples, let them decide. Just like some of 'em say right now, they call my kind of music folk songs. But them no folk songs, them old blues. See? And if ain't that it's rock 'n' roll. It's still old blues. Old gutbucket stuff.
AVS: What was your first record?
HW: Oh, "Smoke Stack Lightnin'," I think. ["Moanin' at Midnight" b/w "How Many More Years" was actually Wolf's first release -- Chess 1479.] No, I don't care what you're doing, if you go down in a four-bar intro, I mean 12-bar with four-bar intro, you're playing the blues, you know. When you step the stuff up you're playin' rock 'n' roll, then you can turn around and play jazz, you know.
JO: Have you ever played anything but the blues?
HW: No. No, I don't play anything but the blues, but now I never could make no money on nothin' but the blues. That's -- that's why I wasn't interested in nothin' else but the blues, you know. Course now I ain't gon' pour no water on somebody else 'cause he like jazz, how-high-is-the-moon and who-bop-a-dop, that's his business. [Laughter.] But me, I just like them old blues. 'Cause I don't know nothin' but the blues. Now the reason I play 'em, I come up hard. I suffered 'em, a lot of places. Person ain't never had no in hard times, why they don't know the blues mean anyway. Take the young generation: they don't understand but they tryin' to learn it. But see, men from me on back up, they know what it mean. Take these kids -- take these peoples over here. They wouldn't had even knowed, they wouldn't even thought about the Negroes now as well as they do until the English boys come here and and made a fortune and went back home. Then everybody went to runnin' with the Negro sounds, you know. That was a good sound, you know. Just as well's to face it. They was out there playin' that longhaired music and stuff -- hillbilly music. [Laughs.] Now today, just about every young cat you see now playin' anything, he gon' play him some blues before he's done, you know. All right. 'Cause conditions make you have the blues, make you be content, you know. If you ain't got it, you got to be content. Um-hum.
JO: Why do you think young black people today don't like the blues as much?
HW: Well, he don't understand it. He doesn't understand it. They would -- 40 percent [of] dudes, you know, they say they don't like the blues, but whenever they get to a place and get to drinkin' a few drams, then they fall right back to his old inherit, you know what I mean. Blues. Well, let him tell it out there while he's got his hair slicked up, startin' out he says, "No, I don't like the blues." But just as soon as he get out there and get to drinkin', and you watch his attitude. Every time he run to the piccolo [jukebox] he want to put some B.B. King or Muddy Waters on there, you now. And beat everybody in the house stompin' it. [Laughter.] Oh, you can't leave your inherit, I don't care where you go. Um-um. You take it's just like your inherit: you can't leave it. You might go off a while of it, but you got to go back to it, you know. So I have to be with these here Negroes, you know. My people. You can't leave your inherit, I don't care how far you go, you got to look back at it, you know, or come back to it, to a certain extent. I might be wrong, but that's the way I see it.

[Tape ran out at this point. Wolf continued talking for another hour. Some of his comments:
"My daddy was a black Negro, my mother was a half Indian."
Wolf worked as a plumber, and still works on pipes for friends. He doesn't like electrical work -- "I know too many people that got burnt out like that."
He said he has been to Europe three times -- first during World War II, and then two blues tours in the '60s. He found audiences there enthusiastic, but couldn't understand their "gobble-gobble-gobble."]
[A group of musicians finally returned with a pint of Canadian Club, a can of 7 Up and five cups. After the liquor was gone, Wolf said, "Don't let nobody know we was here," leaving the bottle and cups in the room as everyone left.]

Copyright © 2007 All Rights Reserved.

Welcome to Stackhouse & BluEsoterica

Welcome to the website world of BluEsoterica Archives & Productions, Mail Order, Stackhouse Recording Company, Drop Top Music, and Jim O'Neal. This archival, production, consultation, research, publishing, media, and mail order enterprise is dedicated to the esoteric appreciation of the blues, as well as to buying, selling, and trading all sorts of records, with an eye for the obscure and unusual.

If you want to read or write about some new, obscure, or overlooked details on blues, I launched this website also as a research forum for such ramblings and musings. If you have something you want to ask or discuss or spout off about, send it in. When I can get it together, I also still write a BluEsoterica column in that magazine down in Mississippi I helped start a year or 37 ago called Living Blues ( See the expanded Howlin' Wolf interview at The Voice of the Blues page here from the first issue of LB, along with the corrections, additions and updates to the book of Living Blues interviews, The Voice of the Blues. (By the way, Living Blues has reprinted issue No. 1, available from this site for $10.00 plus postage & handling.)

I have a knack for co-founding struggling blues entities, including Living Blues Magazine, Rooster Blues Records, and the Sunflower River Blues Association. I no longer own Rooster Blues, and most folks would say this is a great time NOT to be in the blues record business. On the other hand, with CD sales and work for blues artists in general at a low ebb, the need has never been greater. So, I can't help but take the plunge again with a new record label, Stackhouse Recording Company. There's no money behind this venture, as usual, so new CDs can only be released after enough money has come in from sales of the previous ones. I'll take on an investor or partner if someone wants to take a chance on a good cause, but you can also help out if you're just here to buy records. Visit our online catalogue and check out the books, magazines, CDs, LPs, 45s, 78s, and musical memorabilia. I buy and sell soul, R&B, funk, jazz, country, folk, world/ethnic, gospel, soundtrack, and rock 'n' roll records as well as blues.

Thanks to the friends who have been helping out, in Kansas City and Clarksdale, including Brenda Haskins, Nancy Kossman, James "Superwolf" Trotter, Renee Bassett, Joni "Woman" Mayberry, Philadelphia Jerry Ricks, Nancy Klein, and Charles "Rags" Ragsdell, who is responsible for the latest website design and online ordering system -- and of course also to the resident gremlins, mail order helpers who hold packages while we stand in line at the post office, and music critics who inform me when "stupid" music comes on the radio or CD player, Dela O'Neal (age 11) and Louis O'Neal (age 9).

Our site features:
The Voice of the Blues Page: The Voice of the Blues book additions & corrections; Muddy Waters' First Chicago Record; Howlin' Wolf Interview
Mail Order Catalogue: Blues, R&B/Soul/Funk, Rock 'n' Roll, Country, Jazz, Gospel, Soundtracks, and World Music: CDs, LPs, 45s, 78s, blues books, magazines & memorabilia
BluEsoterica Archives & Productions Archival and Documentary Projects, Presentations
Stackhouse Recording Company news and new CD releases
BluEsoterica Research Forum: Research -- Trivia - Blues Mysteries: Join in the latest discoveries, musings, postulations, and ramblings on our minds and yours. Please e-mail us with your questions, answers, and comments.
Recommended: Events, Artists, Recordings, Websites, Booking Contacts

HELP WANTED: INTERN/VOLUNTEER We're looking for someone who enjoys working with old vinyl, listing records on the computer. We also need data entry, cataloguing, and filing assistance to manage our archives. (See BluEsoterica Archives & Productions page.) We have many interview tapes that need to be transcribed; anyone with a good ear for Southern blues dialect who wants to assist, please contact us. One day maybe we can get a grant to pay someone to do some of this archival work, but it's a volunteer job for now.

See "Productions" ("Services") page for opportunities to work with us on our archives and record productions.

SITE SEARCH MISSPELLINGS: This is for those who've tried to search the web for us under various permutations of BluEsoterica. If you've searched for Bluesoeteria, Bluesoteria, Bluesesoterica, Blusoterica, Bluesotarica, Blusotarica, Bluesotaria, Bluesotrca, Bluesotrica, Bluestrica, Blues Esoterica, Bluesamerica, Blueserotica, Bluesetcetera, Bluesadnauseam . . . you've found us!

Jim O'Neal, 3516 Holmes Street, Kansas City MO 64109. (816) 931-0383
Research e-mail: Mail order e-mail: Online order/auction sales: Visit our online catalogue at , as well as on eBay (Seller ID: Stackhouse232); at, and at

Copyright © 2007 All Rights Reserved.