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

Various Artists
FORMAT: Audio CD - 3 Disc
Release date: 15 Nov 2010

CAT No: FVTD078UPC TEXT: 5055311000787

Full details

Mention Nashville and the first thing that enters most minds will be Country Music and the Grand Ole Opry. Then again, for true believers the city is also the nation’s centre for Bible publishing. Perhaps less well-known but in striking contrast to God and double-knit suits is that throughout the late 1940s and 1950s, Nashville was also the home of a thriving blues and R&B recording industry. Principal among the labels were Bullet, Republic, Tennessee, Nashboro and Excello, with a welter of smaller ones such as World, Mecca, J-B and Cheker.

Bullet, the creation of musician Wally Fowler, music publisher C.V. Hitchcock and deejay/artist manager Jim Bulliet (pronounced Boulay), dominated Nashville’s recording scene in the immediate post-war years. Beginning with a country series in January 1946, it added a blues and R&B series three months later. The latter was launched with records by Wynonie Harris and ‘G.I. Singsation’ Cecil Gant; Harris moved on but Gant became a prolific Bullet artist, soon joined by bluesmen Rudy Greene, Walter Davis, Max (Blues) Bailey and Rufus Thomas disguised as Mr Swing. Bullet was joined in 1951 by Republic, Tennessee and Nashboro, the latter run by Ernie Young, owner of Ernie’s Record Mart. Tennessee’s most popular artist was Christine Kittrell, a talented and powerful singer who never achieved nationwide fame, while Republic’s Bernard Hardison cut the original version of ‘Too Much’, later made a hit by Elvis.

Starting in August 1952, Excello soon swept its competition aside with a roster of artists that included Kid King’s Combo, Shy Guy Douglas, Max Bailey, Arthur Gunter (Elvis commandeered ‘Baby Let’s Play House’), Gunter’s brother Little Al, Louis Brooks, Good Rockin’ Sam, Louis Campbell, Clarence Samuels (with a manic Johnny Copeland on guitar) and Jerry McCain, alongside a host of less commercial but no less interesting talent like Slim Hunt, the Dixie Doodlers, the Leap Frogs, the Blue Flamers and the Blues Rockers. Excello would go on to even greater (and international) success when in 1956 Young started to release Louisianan J.D. Miller’s swamp blues recordings by the likes of Lightnin’ Slim, Lonesome Sundown and Lazy Lester – but that’s another story.



  1. Nashville Jumps (Cecil Gant)
  2. My Baby’s Barrel House (Wynonie Harris)
  3. Evil Man Blues (Rudy Greene)
  4. Train Time Blues (Cecil Gant)
  5. Keep Your Man At Home (Iona Wade & S Williams)
  6. Dig This Boogie (Wynonie Harris)
  7. Tom, Tom The Piper’s Son (Don Q Orchestra)
  8. I’m Lucky With My Brown Gal (Sherman Williams)
  9. Move Back To The Woods (Walter Davis)
  10. Call On The Phone (Lewis Campbell)
  11. Late Hours Blues (The Blue Jacks)
  12. Raid On Cedar Street (Tom Douglas)
  13. Delinquency Blues (Max (Blues) Bailey)
  14. Beer Bottle Boogie (Mr Swing (Rufus Thomas))
  15. Hey Little Girl (Bernard Hardison)
  16. Don’t Do It (Christine Kittrell)
  17. Gonna Bring My Baby Back (Mr Swing (Rufus Thomas))
  18. Back Alley Boogie (Sherman Johnson)
  19. Steam Pressing Woman (Tommy Brooks)
  20. Bullet Boogie (Cecil Gant)
  21. Payday Lover (Vivian Verson)
  22. Don’t Get Excited (Tucker Coles)
  23. Wail Daddy (Charlie Dowell Band)
  24. Well Alright Baby (Billie McAllister)
  25. I Got A Big Fat Daddy (Helen Foster)


  1. Certainly All (Eddie Jones)
  2. Old Man You’re Slipping (Christine Kittrell)
  3. My Baby Left Me (Little Eddie)
  4. No Better For You (Gay Crosse)
  5. If You See My Lover (Julius King)
  6. Why Don’t You Let Me Be (J D Horton)
  7. Don’t Want Nobody Hangin’ Around (Lewis Campbell)
  8. Feelin’ Sad (Eddie Jones)
  9. Somebody Somewhere (Helen Foster)
  10. It Sure Costs Money To Live (Robert Tucker)
  11. Sittin’ Here Drinking (Christine Kittrell)
  12. Pitch A Boogie Woogie (Charles Ruckles)
  13. Still Feelin’ Sad (Ford Nelson)
  14. I Ain’t Nothing But A Fool (Christine Kittrell)
  15. Brownskin Woman Blues (Little Maxie Bailey)
  16. Chocolate Sundae (Kid King’s Combo)
  17. Detroit Arrow (Shy Guy Douglas)
  18. Things Gonna Change (The Leap Frogs)
  19. She Was All I Had (Dixie Doodlers)
  20. Little Annie (Ford Nelson)
  21. Skip’s Boogie (Kid King’s Combo)
  22. Love Me Baby (Bernie Hardison)
  23. Drive Soldiers Drive (Little Maxie Bailey)
  24. Changeable Woman (Robert Tucker)
  25. Dirty Britches (The Leap Frogs)


  1. Baby Let's Play House (Arthur Gunter)
  2. Bus Station Blues (Louis Brooks & The Hi-Toppers)
  3. The Brass Rail (Kid King’s Combo)
  4. Best Of Friends (Dixie Doodlers)
  5. Late Every Evening (Tommy McGhee)
  6. I’m Your Country Man (Shy Guy Douglas)
  7. Blues After Hours (Arthur Gunter)
  8. Driving Down The Highway (The Blue Flamers)
  9. It’s Love Baby (24 Hours A Day) (Louis Brooks & The Hi-Toppers)
  10. Gotta Have You Baby (Louis Campbell)
  11. Courtin’ In A Cadillac (Jerry McCain)
  12. Lonesome For My Baby (Slim Hunt)
  13. Prize Fightin’ Papa (Beulah Bryant)
  14. Too Much (Bernard Hardison)
  15. Wasted Time (Shy Guy Douglas)
  16. The Natural Facts (Louis Campbell)
  17. Johnny Mae (Blues Rockers)
  18. Don’t Let Daddy Slow Walk You Down (Good Rockin’ Sam)
  19. No Jive (Little Al)
  20. Cool Lovin' Mama (Rudy Green)
  21. That’s What They Want (Jerry McCain)
  22. Miss You So (Lillian Offitt)
  23. Little Lean Woman (Little Al)
  24. I Don't Need You Now (Earl Gaines with Louis Brooks & His Hi-Toppers)
  25. Pipe Dreams (Jimmy Beck & His Orchestra)