Georgie Price

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Note: The below is supplementary to the reviews published in issue 185.

CALENDAR: 2020 CALENDAR PLUS RARE PHOTOS AND POST WAR SONGS. CLASSIC BLUES ARTWORK FROM THE 1920s Vol. 17. With Free CD. By Blues Images - A division of John Teftellers World Rarest Records, P.O. Box 1727, Grants Pass, OR 97528-0200, USA. $24.95 + p&p. Website:www.bluesimages.comEmail: [email protected].


It’s 2020 and the 100th anniversary (in February) of the first blues recording: Mamie Smith’s Crazy Blues (or That Thing Called Love which she recorded earlier that year with a studio orchestra).

This coming year also marks the 17th annual Blues Images Calendar produced by John Tefteller from newly found or rarely seen advertisements and photographs of blues artists and the accompanying CD. This year marks a definite shift from the 1920s Paramount (mostly) artists toward rare post-war recordings. And while past calendars have relied mostly upon 1920s Paramount advertisements, the majority of illustrations in this calendar are recently-discovered photos and advertising materials.

January’s entry is a very early photo of perhaps the best-known blues artist: BB King. This photo, taken when BB was only 23, is accompanied by one of his earliest records, an exceedingly rare release on the Bullet label — even then he had a full band backing though his trademark stinging guitar notes from Lucille have yet to emerge.

Tefteller was able to obtain promotional still photographs from the 1929 film Hallelujah which featured Victoria Spivey in an acting role and Jim Jackson and Gus Cannon singing (both presumably lost). February features a portrait photo of Victoria Spivey that I do not recall having seen before (represented on the CD by Blood Thirsty Blues), and July features a vivid, high resolution photo of Jim Jackson presenting a copy of his Victor record of Gonna Move to Louisiana Blues to the film’s director, King Vidor — the photo quality is so good that one can read the record label. The calendar includes both sides of the Victor recording.

'The Mississippi Sheiks', the great, influential string band that recorded for Okeh, Paramount and Bluebird, is the March entry with a high resolution print of an obscure advertising flyer from 1930. The same flyer held one of the few-known early photographs of Bo Carter, a member of the Sheiks and a solo artist, best known for 'naughty' material and stunning guitar work. Carter’s April entry is Howling Tom Cat, an Okeh record which sold fairly well considering it was issued in 1931.

'The Mississippi Sheiks' also appear on Texas Alexander’s May entry, which features a high resolution portrait of the singer taken from the same Okeh flyer.

The Charlie Spand entry for June, I AIn’t Gonna Stand for That, is one of Paramount’s best known ads because it’s so irreverent - a woman in her nightie handing money out the window to a hustler wearing a cheeky grin while her 'man' is sleeping on the floor.  The record includes Blind Blake on guitar.

The September advert for Blind Lemon Jefferson’s Bad Luck Blues — he’s playing poker and lost everything but his underwear and the ad claims that’s next — is also well-known, but never before reproduced in this quality.

The 1931 Okeh flyer is back for October, this time for Lonnie Johnson, She’s Making Whoopie in Hell, Tonight — definitely one of his more intriguing titles while Lucille Bogan’s Shave ‘Em Dry takes the November spot.  This is perhaps her best record with her take-no-prisoners delivery and tough words.