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New York City - The Blues Yesterday Vol.5

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New York City - The Blues Yesterday Vol.5

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01. Ever lovin' baby
Cryin' blues

Little Luther (Thomas), vocals; 
band. 
New York City, 1960

02. Du dee squat
03. Sleepin' high
04. Doggin' me
05. Automatic baby

Little Luther (Thomas), vocals; 
band. 
New York City, 1962

06. Eenie Meenie Minie moe
07. The twirl

Little Luther (Thomas? or Johnson?), vocals, guitar; 
band. 
New York City, 21 february 1964

08. Who slipped out when I walked in?
09. Upset the town

Little Luther (Thomas), vocals; 
band. 
New York City, 1966

10. She'll stick by me
It hurts me to my heart
My main woman
Stay close

Little Luther (Thomas), vocals; 
band.
New York City, 1967-68


11. Can't understand it
12. Blue velvet

Big Bob Kornegay, vocals; 
Julian Dash, teno-saxophone; horns; 
Freddie Jefferson, piano; 
Carmen Taylor, vocals; 
Lee Stanfield, bass; 
Sonny Payne, drums. 
New York City, october 1951

13. Everythin's cool
14. I wanna see my baby

Big Bob Kornegay, vocals; 
Porkchops, band. 
New York City, 1956

15. Bacon Fat
16. Bad boy

Big Bob Kornegay, vocals; 
Count Hastings, teno-saxophone; 
Elwyn Frazier, baritone-saxophone; 
Skeeter Best, guitar; 
Kelly Owens, piano; 
Carl Pruitt, bass; 
Calvin Shields, drums. 
New York City, 11 january 1957

17. The man in the Phone Booth (Hello baby)
18. The man in the Phone Booth (Hello Mama)
19. Bullfrog
20. Hocus Pocus Voodoo
21. Humdinger
22. Stay with me baby

Big Bob Kornegay, vocals; 
band. 
New York City, 1957

23. At the house of Frankenstein
24. What am I
25. Your line was busy

Big Bob Kornegay, vocals; 
Leroy Kirkland, guitar
Orchestra. 
New York City, 1958-59


26. Ain't that loving you baby
27. I am so glad it's all over

B.B. KING Jr, vocals, guitar; 
The Blues Messengers, band. 
New York City, 1964

 

Let's go back to New York City for the 5th opus of this series New York City/ The blues yesterday. The African-American musical scene in post war New York was certainly abundant and extremely varied, spanning all styles, from the pure East Coast country blues largely derived from Blind boy Fuller to R&B pieces with big or small bands, jazz blues, pop blues, honking saxes, stinging guitars, proto-Rockabilly or real Rock n' roll... And aside well known big names, the myriad of NYC labels, majors, small or extremely tiny have recorded hundreds of little known or still unknowns blues and R&B artists... That of course doesn't mean their musical heritage is insignificant, far from it!

Luther Thomas is largely still an enigma. Singer (and probably also guitarist), he has for sure recorded three 45t under the nickname of Little Luther. His fourth (Eenie Meenie Moe/ The twirl) issued on the Chess label in 1964 is controversial among blues critics. Some say this Little Luther is Luther Thomas while the majority (and The Blues Discography as well as the knowledgeable site http://www.keeponliving.at/artist/luther_johnson.html) identify this Little Luther to Chicago blues artist Luther "Georgia Boy" Johnson, from Muddy Waters' band. Johnson himself said he recorded an early 45t under this moniker. We had already included those two titles in Chicago/ The blues yesterday Volume 4 but we propose them here again for a better appreciation in a different context. After that, Luther Thomas has also waxed a handful of 45t under his real name. But once again (!) some think this Luther Thomas is another... Luther Thomas! Whatever and what he (or they) is (are), we have here a first rate musical output between blues, R&B and early Soul that it would be a shame not to be able to fully appreciate.

Bob Kornegay (1925-85) is much better known. He started his musical career as the bass singer of the fame doo-woop groups, The Du-Droppers, The Bells or The Ravens before launching a personal career first as the singer of Julian Dash's jazz band and then, recording several 45t under different nicknames (Big Bob Kornegay, Big Daddy, The Wanderer). His two-sided The man in the phone booth climbed in the Top40 R&B in 1957 but was cut short by a trade dispute between two record labels. It seems that Kornegay didn't pursue a musical career after the 1960's.

Our last feature, B.B. King Jr is a complete mystery. He is certainly neither Andrew B.B. Jr Odom nor related to the real B.B. King. He is a good singer and guitarist who recorded only one known 45t with a band called The Blues Messengers. I found one only track of him, the announcement of a show he gave at the famed Cotton Club! ---Gérard Herzhaft, jukegh.blogspot.com

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