Let Me Tell You About The Blues: The Evolution Of New York Blues

Various Artists
FORMAT: Audio CD - 3 Disc
Release date: 2 Oct 2009


"They say New York's a lonely place when the blues comes around, this set sums up this aphorism with a 3-CD overview of historic black music, NY Style"  4/5 RECORD COLLECTOR



CAT No: FVTD030UPC TEXT: 5055311000305

Full details

The blues recording industry began in New York City and for most of the 1920s, musicians travelled from all parts of the country to make their mark in the recording studio. Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey were amongst the most popular female singers but they were soon rivaled by the likes of Lonnie Johnson, Robert ‘Barbecue Bob’ Hicks, Texas Alexander and Mississippi John Hurt. Kansas Joe McCoy cut ‘When The Levee Breaks’, justly famous in its Led Zeppelin incarnation, in the city.

Other blues masters who came to New York during the 1930s and early 1940s included Big Bill Broonzy, Amos ‘Bumble Bee Slim’ Easton, Blind Willie McTell, Charley Patton, Leroy Carr, Leadbelly, Roosevelt Sykes, Sleepy John Estes, Blind Boy Fuller. Should we go on? A strong brand of country blues, mostly by artists from the Eastern states, carried on throughout the 1940s, some, like Boy Green, Hank Kilroy, Little Boy Fuller and Leroy Dallas made a handful of striking recordings. Gabriel Brown, Guitar Slim & Jelly Belly and Ralph Willis were more successful, although their music was about to be superseded by the arrival of rhythm and blues. Brownie McGhee and his brother, Stick, began as country artists before moving successfully into R&B. New artists like H-Bomb Ferguson, Bob Gaddy and Danny ‘Run Joe’ Taylor revelled in the freedom R&B gave them, while Little Esther, Margie Day and Big Maybelle were more than the equal of their male counterparts.

The new music created a new set of stars, prominent among them Chuck Willis, Larry Dale, Tiny Kennedy, Teddy ‘Mr Bear’ McRae, Hurricane Harry and the inimitable Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Even so, country blues still had a way to go, as Champion Jack Dupree, Sonny Terry and Cousin Leroy were willing to prove. By the mid-1950s, New York City provided a microcosm of the many forms of blues in which the public were engaged. The times were changing and rock ‘n’ roll would deal a death blow to the blues as a major influence on popular music. But, as we know, that wasn’t the end of it.



  1. Beale Street Mama (Bessie Smith)
  2. Guitar Blues (Sylvester Weaver)
  3. Countin’ The Blues (Ma Rainey)
  4. To Do This You Got To Know How (Lonnie Johnson)
  5. Jefferson County Blues (Sam Butler)
  6. Need More Blues (Bobby Leecan)
  7. Mississippi Heavy Water Blues (Robert Hicks)
  8. Dope Head Blues (Victoria Spivey)
  9. Cross-Eyed Blues (Helen Humes)
  10. Work Ox Blues (Texas Alexander)
  11. Candy Man Blues (Mississippi John Hurt)
  12. When The Levee Breaks (Joe McCoy (as Kansas Joe McCoy))
  13. Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat (Famous Hokum Boys)
  14. My Pencil Won’t Write No More (Bo Chatman)
  15. Slow Mama Slow (Sam Collins)
  16. Dead Cats On The Line (Tampa Red & Georgia Tom)
  17. Snake Doctor Blues (Jelly Jaw Short)
  18. B & O Blues (Bumble Bee Slim (as Amos Easton))
  19. How You Want It Done (Big Bill Broonzy (as Big Bill))
  20. No No Blues (Curley Weaver)
  21. Hard Road Blues (Buddy Moss)
  22. Groceries On The Shelf (Lucille Bogan)
  23. President Blues (Jack Kelly)
  24. Warm It Up To Me (Blind Willie McTell)
  25. High Sheriff Blues (Charley Patton)


  1. Barrel House Woman (Leroy Carr)
  2. I Let My Daddy Do That (Hattie Hart)
  3. Starvation Farm Blues (Bob Campbell)
  4. Packin’ Trunk Blues (Leadbelly)
  5. Black Man (Josh White)
  6. Penniless Blues (Walter Roland)
  7. I Saw The Light (Bull City Red)
  8. Driving Wheel (Roosevelt Sykes)
  9. Coon Can Shorty (Peetie Wheatstraw)
  10. Mercy Mercy Blues (Sam Montgomery)
  11. Hobo Jungle Blues (Sleepy John Estes)
  12. Let Me Squeeze Your Lemon (Charlie Pickett)
  13. If You’re A Viper (Rosetta Howard)
  14. Roll 'Em Pete (Big Joe Turner with Pete Johnson)
  15. Shake It, Baby (Blind Boy Fuller)
  16. Throw This Dog A Bone (Ollie Shepard)
  17. I’m A Black Woman’s Man (Brownie McGhee)
  18. You Ain’t No Good (Gabriel Brown)
  19. Play My Jukebox (Boy Green)
  20. No More Hard Times (Guitar Slim & Jelly Belly)
  21. Harlem Women (Hank Kilroy)
  22. Christmas Blues (Ralph Willis)


  1. Drank Up All The Wine Last Night (Stick McGhee)
  2. Your Sweet Man’s Blues (Leroy Dallas)
  3. They Call Me Mr Blues (Grant Jones)
  4. Rub A Little Boogie (Duke Bayou & His Mystic Six)
  5. Some Rainy Day (Curley Weaver)
  6. I'm Gonna Move Across The River (Brownie McGhee)
  7. Preachin’ The Blues (H-Bomb Ferguson)
  8. Coffee Daddy Blues (Danny ‘Run Joe’ Taylor)
  9. Side Walk Boogie (Country Paul)
  10. I (Believe You Got A Sidekick) (Bob Gaddy & His Alley Cats)
  11. Love, Love, Love (Little Bobby Harris)
  12. Sit Back Down (Esther Phillips (as Little Esther))
  13. Pepper Head Woman (Square Walton)
  14. I Feel So Bad (Chuck Willis)
  15. Take Out Your False Teeth Daddy (Margie Day)
  16. Midnight Hours (Larry Dale)
  17. One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show (Big Maybelle)
  18. Country Boy (Tiny Kennedy)
  19. I’m Gonna Keep My Good Eye On You (Mr Bear & The Bearcats)
  20. Ride And Roll (Sonny Terry)
  21. Mumbles Blues (Big Connie)
  22. I Put A Spell On You (Screamin' Jay Hawkins)
  23. The Last Meal (Hurricane Harry)
  24. Just Like A Woman (Champion Jack Dupree)
  25. Waitin' At The Station (Cousin Leroy)