Wednesday, September 1, 2010

V/A- Wolf's At The Door: Lost Recordings From The Spirits Of The South

Bengt Ollson, a young Swedish blues enthusiast, made the recordings found here during his extensive travels throughout the Deep South in the late '60s and early '70s. In 1969, at 19 years of age, Olsson headed to Memphis, where Memphis Jug band veteran Dewey Corley introduced him to many of the city's overlooked older blues musicians.

One of theose was guitarist Walter "Hopalong" Miller, who performs Sherman's Blues on a deliciously distorted electric guitar and switches over to acoustic on Stuttgart, Arkansas, which finds Coley comping him on washtub bass and kazoo. Like Corley, Ashley Thompson was part of the vital jug band scene in Memphis in the '20s and '30s, working as a guitarist and vocalist in Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers, whose Minglewood Blues was later interpreted by the Grateful Dead (Olsson's recordings represent the first known of Thompson since his Jug Stomper stint).

Upon returning home to Sweden, Ollson published his research in the paperback memhis Blues and Jug Bands, and was soon back in the Memphis region. one of Ollson's collaborators there was Bill Barth, member of the psych band Insect Trust, who appears here backing gospel singer Joe Townsend, who earlier recorded the single "Going Over The Hill" for Memphis' eccentric gospel label, Designer.

Just east of Memphis, Ollson recorded Lum Guffin, called "the walking Victrola" because of his wide repertoirs; Guffin also played in a local fife and drum band. Farther east in Somerville, Tennessee, Ollson set up shop in a bootlegger's shack to record Lattie "The Wolf" Murrell, whose nickname stems from his great ability to mimic the vocal mannerisms of Howlin' Wolf. Elba, Alabama's David Johnson was arguably a greater folk sculptor than musician, but there's a wonderful sense of abandon on his two tracks here that one only encounters rarely. His neighbor Perry Tillis, subject of the full-length Birdman release Too Close, was blind from birth and spent his early years rambling the country playing blues. When Olsson caught up with him in 1972 he was a preacher, but like his influence Blind Willie Johnson his guitar playing was still infused with the blues.

Little is known about the remaining artists, Lonnie Fuqua and the gospel duo of Cleo and Howard Williams. They are true ghosts preserved on tape to linger forever.

- Scott Barrett, Oxford, MS. (From the liner notes.)



These field recordings of lesser-known southern blues acts stand up with the best of Alan Lomax & George Mitchell. The performances are raw and the sound quality is resonant. Great stuff. Released in 2010 on LP by Sutro Park. 320 vinyl rip by yours truly.

Download Link: V/A- Wolf's At The Door: Lost Recordings From The Spirits Of The South

Purchase it from Forced Exposure.

1. Jonny Wilson / Lum Guffin 3:46
2. Sherman's Blues / Walter Miller 5:55
3. Somewhere To Lay My Head / Bishop Perry Tillis 3:35
4. Jesus Has Never Left Me Alone / Cleo Williams 3:44
5. Sweet Peace / Ashley Thompson 2:09
6. Take Your Burdens To The Lord / Joe Toownsend & Bill Barth 2:16
7. Stuttgart, Ark / Dewey Corley & Walter Miller 4:43
8. He's Calling Me / Bootlegger's Quartet 5:02
9. Wolf's At Your Door / Lattie Murrell 3:38
10. 40 Days And 40 Nights / David Johnson & Guitar Sam 3:21
11. Moan / Lonnie Fuqua 4:34
12. The Soul Of A Man / David Johnson 2:37
13. (Untitled) / David Johnson 1:11

Bishop Perry Tillis:

11 comments:

Holly said...

This is GREAT! Thank you very, very much.

BTW, I really appreciate all the care you take with your transfers. That's a LOT of work!

matthew l. reese said...

Excellent! Also, want to echo what Holly said. Thank you so much fer yer time and the variety of posts!

nicholab said...

thanks for the love, people.

Jamie Garner said...

love the music on this comp! really raw. thank goodness for the musicologists and music freeks that took the time to search this stuff out- without them the music world would be poorer.

The Super Sonic Sonar Radar said...

Your blog is the coolest and most bizzare collection of stuff i've ever witnessed. Much appreiciated by the way. You sir are a fine gentleman.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I never would have known about this were it not for you. I just ordered it from FE. Thanks so much! PS I second Holly in appreciating the care you take with your transfers.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above. High quality music presented in high fidelity is the greatest! Thanks very much.

brown beard said...

Many thanks for your work.

Anonymous said...

Great comp. Bishop Perry Tillis is awesome, even if he thought blues was the devil's music. Thanks much for the re-up.

FuseRed said...

Love it, thanks for this

Anonymous said...

incredible comp. thanks for keeping this one alive!

_m_shakka.