Key Postwar Cuts: 1949-54

Key Postwar Cuts: 1949-54

by Joe Hill Louis
     
 

Joe Hill Louis was a one-man band, pure and simple. It's what he did, singing while playing guitar, adding in harmonica runs and keeping 4/4 time on a hi-hat and bass drum, all at once. It's a rare thing, one-man bands. A few names come to mind, like Doctor Ross, Jesse Fuller, and …  See more details below

Overview

Joe Hill Louis was a one-man band, pure and simple. It's what he did, singing while playing guitar, adding in harmonica runs and keeping 4/4 time on a hi-hat and bass drum, all at once. It's a rare thing, one-man bands. A few names come to mind, like Doctor Ross, Jesse Fuller, and Duster Bennett, but it's a short list. An experienced street musician, Louis took what he did seriously, and always dressed impeccably, but he had a rough spark in him, too, and his street corner sets were frequently fascinating. The recording studio was another matter. Louis only knew how to do things the way he knew how to do things, and recording a man who insisted on recording everything at once, from vocals to guitar to crude 4/4 kick drum rhythms, was a difficult task. This two-disc set, which includes sides Louis cut for Meteor, Sun, and a host of other labels between 1949 and 1954, shows the results, which are mixed. The earliest tracks had Louis playing acoustic guitar, and with the harmonica and one-man drum kit going along, too, it all sounds sort of washed out, and songs like "Train Ticket" sound like nothing so much as generic blues with lyrics to match. But then Louis got an electric guitar, and things picked up, and songs like "Come Back Baby" had a Jimmy Reed-like feel, laconic and shuffling, but with a little jug band kick, too, and it was all delivered looser than the tie rods on an old car, and live as all get out because, well, Louis couldn't record any other way. He developed, at his best, a raw, almost rock & roll boogie sound on sides like "Blue in the Morning," the almost Excello-sounding "Good Morning Little Angel," "Gotta Go Baby," and the bayou-tinged "Going Down to Louisiana." When other musicians are present on these tracks, which is only occasionally, it widens the palette a little bit, and the addition of a piano accompanist on "Eyesight to the Blind," for instance, seems stark and startling after all the one-man band stuff, while the instrumental "Jack Pot" comes off like a ragged, jazzy, and joyous after-hours jam session. Asked about Louis once, Sam Phillips said Louis was "a loner but not lonesome." Of course not...he was a one-man band.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/24/2009
Label:
Jsp Records
UPC:
0788065420826
catalogNumber:
4208
Rank:
276484

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Don't Trust Your Best Friend
  2. Railroad Blues
  3. A' Jumpin' and A' Shufflin'
  4. Joe's Jump
  5. Gotta Let You Go
  6. Boogie in the Park
  7. Nappy Head Woman
  8. I Feel Like a Million
  9. Heartache Baby
  10. Train Ticket
  11. Come Back Baby
  12. Boogie in the Park
  13. Cold Chills
  14. Mistreat Me Woman
  15. Street Walkin' Woman
  16. Going Down Slow
  17. Blue in the Morning
  18. Highway 99
  19. Gotta Go Baby
  20. Big Legged Woman
  21. Joe Hill Boogie
  22. Eyesight to the Blind
  23. Walkin' Talkin' Blues
  24. The Way You Treat Me
  25. Early in the Morning
  26. Peace of Mind
  27. Cold Chills
  28. Gotta Go Baby

Disc 2

  1. Chocolate Blonde
  2. She Comes to See Me Sometime
  3. We All Gotta Go Sometime
  4. She May Be Yours (Sweetest Girl in Town)
  5. Keep Your Arms Around Me Mama
  6. Got Me a New Woman
  7. Sweetest Gal in Town
  8. I'm a Poor Boy
  9. Jack Pot
  10. I Love My Baby
  11. Western Union Man
  12. On the Floor
  13. She Got Me Walkin'
  14. Keep Away from My Baby
  15. Good Morning Little Angel
  16. Tiger Man
  17. Hydramatic Woman
  18. Ridin' Home
  19. Don't Do It Again
  20. She's Taking All My Money
  21. Jealous Man
  22. 4th and Beale
  23. Ruthie Mae
  24. Joe Hill Boogie
  25. Going Down to Louisiana
  26. Get Up off It
  27. Sweetest Woman I Ever Seen
  28. Goin' Away Blues
  29. Just Plain Tired

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