Archive for the Byther SMITH Category

Byther SMITH – Hold That Train 1981

Posted in BLUES, Byther SMITH on December 9, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Byther SMITH – Hold That Train 1981


Recorded in 1981 and issued that same year on LP, the CD release of Hold That Train has been a long time comin’. Byther Smith is the great unsung Mississippi-cum-Chicago bluesman. Coming to the Windy City from the Delta, he has toured the world countless times, played with everyone from Dr. John to Malachi Thompson and Son Seals, and performs not only classic material from the blues canon, but writes amazing tunes as well. But outside the blues world he is an unknown, despite having some of the heaviest credentials on the planet and being one of the last Delta bluesmen still playing and recording. Smith is one of those bluesmen whose recordings are a potent, snaky brew of pure sweat, grit, and spirit. Hold That Train is a case in point. Here are 15 tracks covering 60 minutes that feature not only his signature slashing guitar style that embodies the entire history of electric blues with its wrist-wrangling attack, but his unbelievable singing voice, which is clear, cool, and full of the moaning power of raw sexuality and fierce independence. His versions here of “Tell Me How You Like It,” Willie Dixon’s “300 Pounds of Joy,” Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killin’ Floor,” Amos Blakemore’s “Come on in This House,” and the old trad nugget “What My Mamma Told Me,” become his in the execution. His own tunes, “I Don’t Like to Travel,” “Mississippi Kid,” and “Walked All Night Long,” are classics in their own right — even if nobody’s ever heard them outside of one of his gigs. The songs carry within them a reverence for the time-honored, rough-hewn migration of Delta music to northern climes, and an immediacy that takes them outside history and puts them on the stage at the corner bar, or the after hours blind pig. Bottom line is, this set is one of the most welcome issues on compact disc in recent memory, and if there is one Byther Smith disc to own, this is it, whether you are a diehard or recent convert.
By Thom Jurek. AMG.
A mainstay on the Chicago blues scene since the 1960s, “Byther Smith has earned a reputation as one of the most intense performers and songwriters in the blues.” Living Blues. Smitty’s strong, passionate voice and stinging guitar deliver the messages from this genuine bluesman, and he’s especially powerful when he’s playing live. Recorded in 1981, “Hold That Train” was partially issued on the Grits label as “Tell Me How You Like It.” This new expanded version contains many unissued songs, a full hour of raw Chicago blues played by a working band.
01. This Little Voice 3:20
02. 300 Pounds Of Joy 4:05
03. So Unhappy 4:29
04. Tell Me How You Like It 4:16
05. What My Mama Told Me 4:16
06. Hold That Train Conductor 5:28
07. Mississippi Kid 3:41
08. Come On In This House 5:05
09. You Ought To Be Ashamed 3:42
10. Walked All Night Long 4:09
11. So Mean To Me 4:46
12. Thrill Is Gone 4:19
13. Close To You 4:03
14. I Don’t Like To Travel 4:53
15. Killing Floor 3:39
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Byther SMITH – Mississippi Kid 1996

Posted in BLUES, Byther SMITH on November 28, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Byther SMITH – Mississippi Kid 1996


True blues from guitarist who once played with Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Howlin’ Wolf & many other blues greats.
The 1996 release Mississippi Kid sounds like it could have been released a quarter-century or more before, which is a compliment. Bracingly free of the rockist clich├ęs that bog down so many latter-day blues albums, Mississippi Kid is solid Chicago-style blues, with Smith’s guitar and vocals supported by two organists and a full horn section. Presented as a sort of musical autobiography, with the personal title track ending the album as a kind of summation, the album dusts off a couple of Smith’s earlier hits, most notably a slow, gripping version of his signature song, “Give Me My White Robe,” and the playful shaggy-dog story “Blues on the Moon,” given a suitably light-hearted and sly treatment. Smith is in excellent voice throughout and his playing is as fine as always, making Mississippi Kid a late highlight in his long and sometimes underappreciated career.
By Stewart Mason. AMG.
Nobody does low-down, deep blues like Byther Smith. At times his guitar playing invites B.B. King comparisons, but Byther is lonelier, edgier, tougher and more personal. Byther’s blues cut. “President’s Daughter,” “Blues on the Moon,” “Give Me My White Robe,” (harrowing, that; who else packs such a wallop singing about getting ready to die?), “Runnin’ to New Orleans” and “Monticello Lonely” are standouts. Two or three cuts are weak, but that’s a minor quibble on a very fine Chicago/Mississippi/Delta electric blues record.
By Tim Weber.
Personnel: Byther Smith- (Vocals, Guitar);
Jeff “Junkyard” Jozwiak- (Guitar);
Sonny Seals- (Tenor Sax);
Malachi Thompson- (Trumpet);
Steve Berry- (Trombone);
Bob “The Hoosier Hawk” Hecht- (Piano, Organ);
Jessie Lockridge- (Organ);
James Knowles- (Drums).
01. Judge Of Honor 4:39
02. Don’t Hurt Me No More 6:30
03. President’s Daughter 3:18
04. Living In Pain 5:44
05. Ashamed Of Myself 5:30
06. I Don’t Know Where You Go 5:41
07. Blues On The Moon 4:49
08. Your Daughter Don’t Want Me No More 4:06
09. Give Me My White Robe 5:48
10. Runnin’ To New Orleans 3:26
11. Cora, You Made A Man Out Of Me 4:33
12. Monticello Lonely 5:09
13. Mississippi Kid 4:50

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