This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
Norma, the Assistant Musicologist suggested that name for the column and it seems sensible because kids these days would probably think what we have today rather tame. Not like in our day when we would have been seriously titillated by these songs. So prepare for a bit of titillation.
Let's start with KANSAS CITY KITTY and GEORGIA TOM.
That's Tom whose name was Thomas Dorsey. Kitty, though, is a mystery; several singers used that name at the time, including Victoria Spivey, her sister Addie Spivey and Mozelle Alderson.
Some others as well. We do know that Tom played piano and sang on the record. Someone should have asked him who Kitty was that day. Anyway, Kitty and Tom perform Show Me What You've Got.
Several of BULL MOOSE JACKSON's songs were a huge hit when they were played live.
However, when he recorded them the radio stations didn't play them so they didn't sell very well - I assume just to those people who went to his shows. This is one that falls into that category, Big Ten Inch Record.
On her first solo album Maria Muldaur had a song called Don't You Feel My Leg. It was roughly based on this next song by MERLINE JOHNSON.
Merline was known at the time as the Yas-Yas Girl, but little else is known of her life. It's only about her recordings where we have some information – she had the help on various songs of such musicians as Big Bill Broonzy, Lonnie Johnson, Buster Bennett and several other such players.
I don't know who's on this track, Don't You Make Me High.
It's not only little known performers present today; we also have DINAH WASHINGTON.
There were a couple of hers I could have used, but this one tickled my fancy. I hope your fancy is similarly affected. Dinah's song is about a trombonist and his instrument. It's called Big Long Slidin' Thing.
ALBERTA HUNTER was born in the 19th century and was a contemporary of Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters in the 1920s.
She lived until 1984 and there was a revival of interest in her music in the last decades of her life. From her earlier days though, this is You Can't Tell the Difference After Dark.
I was trying to find out something about BARREL HOUSE ANNIE. I found a website that was titled "About Barrel House Annie" so I checked it. Unfortunately, there was the heading and a completely blank screen.
There doesn't seem to be a photo anywhere either (there certainly wasn't one on the CD). Anyway, here she is with If It Don't Fit, Don't Force It.
LILLIE MAE KIRKMAN is another for whom I could find no picture. Not just no picture, I couldn't find out anything about her either. So, I've really failed you today (except for the actual music).
Lillie Mae performs He's Just My Size. It's a sort of companion song to the previous one.
GEORGIA WHITE started playing clubs in Chicago, whence she hailed, in the late 1920s.
She kept playing them all over the place for the next 50 years. In the meantime, she made scores of records and teamed up with Big Bill Broonzy for a time. From her recordings in the 1930s, this is If I Can't Sell It, I'll Keep Sittin' on It.
CLARA SMITH started out performing in tent shows and vaudeville. From there she gravitated to speakeasies and cabarets.
Clara made a bunch of records, including a number of duets with Bessie Smith who was no relation. One of her records is It's Tight Like That.
Sam Heard was a singer, songwriter, dancer, comedian and all the rest of it necessary to make it in vaudeville and on Broadway. He recorded under the name Lovin' Sam and joined OSCAR'S CHICAGO SWINGERS to record the song New Rubbin' on That Darn Old Thing.