Let Me Tell You About The Blues: The Evolution Of Detroit Blues

Various Artists
FORMAT: Audio CD - 3 Disc
Release date: 13 Sep 2010

CD of The Month BLUES & RHYTHM


CAT No: FVTD070UPC TEXT: 5055311000701

Full details

Detroit in the 1940s and ‘50s didn’t have a thriving record industry like Chicago. Detroit artists went there because that’s where the companies were. Even musicologist Alan Lomax made just one visit for the Library of Congress in 1938, when he recorded Calvin Frazier and Sampson Pittman. Nevertheless, enterprising individuals like Jack and Devora Brown, Bernard Besman and Joe Von Battle did their best to reflect the city’s musical talent.                                                     The Browns’ Fortune label moved into blues recording after years of pop and rockabilly releases, Besman’s Sensation encompassed blues, jazz and R&B, while from his first 1948 recordings on JVB, Von Battle covered a broad blues spectrum. Musicians walked in to record in the small studio at the back of his record shop at 3530 Hastings Street.  Men such as Robert Richard, Walter Mitchell, the garrulous Detroit Count (‘Hastings Street Opera Pts. 1 & 2’) and even Von Battle himself . Besman took the prize when John Lee Hooker was brought to him. Others he recorded included Sylvester Cotton, Andrew Dunham and James Taylor. He also sold Hooker masters (‘Never Satisfied’, ‘I’m In The Mood’, ‘I’m A Boogie Man’) to other companies, as well as Eddie Burns (‘Hello Miss Jessie Lee’). The Browns recorded the John Brim Combo and Big Maceo.

The JVB procession went on, with records by L.C. Green, Playboy Fuller, Johnny Howard, Washboard Willie and One String Sam. Most prized of all are songs by Baby Boy Warren (‘Hello Stranger’, ‘Sanafee’ and ‘Chicken’) with Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) at his very best. There were R&B hits, too, by saxophonists Paul Williams (‘Thirty-Five-Thirty’) and Wild Bill Moore (‘We’re Gonna Rock’), pianist T.J. Fowler (‘T.J. Boogie’) and guitarist Emmit Slay (‘Looky Ploot’). Band vocalists included Kitty Stevenson , Alberta Adams and LaVern Baker, as Bea Baker (‘I Want A Lavender Coffin’) and Little Miss Sharecropper (‘I Want To Rock’). Jackie Wilson began as Sonny Wilson with ‘The Rainy Day Blues’ and Calvin Frazier sang with T.J. Fowler’s band. John Lee Hooker had a band backing on ‘No More Doggin’’, while JVB tried their luck with The Kool Kats, Gip Roberts and Lena Hall. It’s no surprise to learn that Berry Gordy, Mary Wells and Stevie Wonder were regular visitors to Joe Von Battle’s shop.



  1. A Double Crossing Woman (Calvin Frazier)
  2. Highway 61 Blues (Sampson Pittman)
  3. Cadillac Woman (Robert Richard)
  4. Street Opera (Part 1) (Detroit Count)
  5. Stop Messin’ Around (Walter Mitchell)
  6. Notoriety Woman (Slim Pickens)
  7. Root Hog (Robert Richard)
  8. Pet Milk Blues (Walter Mitchell)
  9. Sak-Relation Blues (Sylvester Cotton)
  10. Lookin’ For My Woman (Joe Von Battle)
  11. Street Opera (Part 2) (Detroit Count)
  12. Ugly Woman Blues (Sylvester Cotton)
  13. Henry’s Swing Club (John Lee Hooker)
  14. Little Bitty Woman (James Taylor)
  15. Sweet Lucy (Andrew Dunham)
  16. My Special Friend Blues (Baby Boy Warren)
  17. Stormy Weather Blues (Sylvester Cotton)
  18. Strange Man (John Brim)
  19. Worried Life Blues No 2 (Big Maceo)
  20. Hattie Mae (Andrew Dunham)
  21. Without You My Life Don’t Mean A Thing (Big Maceo)
  22. Never Satisfied (John Lee Hooker)
  23. That’s All Right (Eddie Kirkland)
  24. Mean Man Blues (John Brim)
  25. Where Did You Stay Last Night (Eddie Burns)


  1. I’m In The Mood (John Lee Hooker)
  2. It’s Time For Lovin’ To Be Done (Eddie Kirkland)
  3. Old Battle Ax (Robert Henry)
  4. 38 Pistol Blues (L.C. Green)
  5. I’m A Boogie Man (John Lee Hooker)
  6. Sugar Cane Highway (Playboy Fuller)
  7. Hello Miss Jessie Lee (Eddie Burns)
  8. Hastings Street Boogie (L.C. Green)
  9. Gonna Play My Guitar (Playboy Fuller)
  10. Dealing With The Devil (Eddie Burns)
  11. No Shoes (Eddie Kirkland)
  12. Ramblin’ Around Blues (Sam Kelly)
  13. Goin’ Down To The River Blues (L.C. Green)
  14. Sanafee (Not Welcome Anymore) (Baby Boy Warren)
  15. Natural Man Blues (Johnny Howard)
  16. Bus Driver (John Brim)
  17. Hello Stranger (Baby Boy Warren)
  18. Good Rockin’ Mama (Henry Smith)
  19. Dark Night Blues (Johnny Howard)
  20. Lonesome Blues (Henry Smith)
  21. Chicken (Baby Boy Warren)
  22. I Need A $100.00 (One String Sam)
  23. Washboard Blues (Part 1) (Washboard Willie)
  24. Rock House (Calvin Frazier)
  25. My Baby Ooo (One String Sam)


  1. Thirty-Five-Thirty (Paul Williams)
  2. We’re Gonna Rock (Wild Bill Moore)
  3. T.J. Boogie (T.J. Fowler)
  4. The Hucklebuck (Paul Williams)
  5. Red Hot Blues (T.J. Fowler)
  6. Little Tillie Willie (Detroit Count)
  7. Looky Ploot (Emmit Slay)
  8. Burnt Toast (Wild Bill Moore)
  9. It Ain’t Right (Kitty Stevenson)
  10. Beulah (Emmit Slay)
  11. I Want To Rock (Little Miss Sharecropper)
  12. The Rainy Day Blues (Sonny Wilson)
  13. I Feel So Good (Maurice King & His Wolverines)
  14. That’s The Best I Can Do For You Blues (The Kool Kats)
  15. I Want A Lavender Cadillac (Maurice King & His Wolverines)
  16. Got Nobody To Tell My Troubles To (Calvin Frazier)
  17. Say Baby Say (T.J. Fowler )
  18. She Fool Me (Harvey Hill )
  19. Little Baby Child (Calvin Frazier)
  20. Remember (Alberta Adams)
  21. J.B. Boogie (Joe Weaver & His Blue Notes)
  22. I Do Like I Please (John Lee Hooker)
  23. No One Monkey Goin’ To Run My Show (Gip (Sandman) Roberts)
  24. Five Long Years (Lena Hall)
  25. No More Doggin’ (John Lee Hooker)