Archive for the Ma RAINEY Category

Ma RAINEY – Mother Of The Blues 2007

Posted in BLUES, Ma RAINEY on December 1, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Ma RAINEY – Mother Of The Blues  2007
(5 CD Box Set)

Blues

See see rider, see what you have done, Lord, Lord, Lord
Made me love you, now your gal has come
You made me love you, now your gal has come

I’m goin’ away, baby, I won’t be back till fall, Lord, Lord, Lord
Goin’ away, baby, won’t be back till fall
If I find me a good man, won’t be back at all

I’m gonna buy me a pistol, just as long as I am tall, Lord, Lord, Lord
Shoot my man, and catch a cannonball
If he won’t have me, he won’t have no gal at all

See See Rider, where did you stay last night? Lord, Lord, Lord
Your shoes ain’t buttoned and your clothes don’t fit you right
You didn’t come home till the sun was shining bright

“See See Rider” is the first recording of this famous song which is often titled “C.C. Rider”. Although it was copyrighted by Ma Rainey, the song is likely to be traditional in origin. Ma Rainey’s slow blues is not quite comparable with later and faster versions by other artists, but nonetheless it’s a classic interpretation of the Mother of Blues, accompanied by her “Georgia Jazz Band” with Louis Armstrong on cornet, Buster Bailey on clarinet and Charlie Dixon on banjo. This version was very popular and became the one and only chart hit of the legendary blues singer (#14 on Jan 31, 1925). Sadly, like most Paramount recordings, it is preserved only in primitive sound quality.

After that, “See See Rider” became one of the most famous blues songs with over 100 versions recorded, e.g. by Big Bill Broonzy, Mississippi John Hurt, Leadbelly, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Peggy Lee, Chuck Willis, LaVern Baker, The Animals, and many others. Here are the original lyrics that were usually modified ad libitum on other recordings.
By Fixbutte.
**
Gertrude “Ma” Rainey (1886-1939) was an early blues singer known for her “rough” vocal style, primitive-sounding recordings, and flamboyant stage act. She was an early influence on Bessie Smith (despite recording her first songs several months after Bessie), she was older and had years more experience. While Smith had a more urban feel to her sound, Rainey’s sound had a far more rural feel. I also feel that while Smith had the technically “better” voice (i.e. smoother and not as rough), Rainey had the much more varied material. She also wrote several of her own songs, many of them dealing with the hardships of poor blacks and the life of the “ghetto” in much the same way that hip-hop or rap does today, but never glamorizing it. Her voice expresses perfectly each subject matter. For instance, on Hustlin’ Blues (which really does sound like Bessie Smith’s Back Water Blues, no doubt), in which she plays the role of a streetwalker, you can feel in her voice the disgust with herself and her abusive pimp, and the sadness of her situation. And on songs with sexual overtones (which is really innuendo, never blatant), she sounds extremely sensual. My husband, upon first hearing her voice, thought that Ma “sounded like a hot woman” and was really suprised to find that she was actually overweight and had terrible teeth! This was no pop-tart, to be sure!

Of course, as I mentioned, there’s some plagarism. Like much blues, jazz, and R&B music, there was a lot of it. The reason many in this genre got away with this is because if you were black in those days, you had little to no rights, no residuals, you were basically ripped off by those around you, and it was considered okay to “borrow” from others, whether intentionally or not. Also, nobody, except for maybe Bessie Smith, made much money as a singer or musician. They did it because they had a passion for music, not to make a buck.

I love most of the songs on these five CDs, but this set is not without it’s flaws. I wish they had only included one version of each song, for the most part. There are many songs here that have two versions, and with the possible exception of Mountain Jack Blues, they are almost identical-sounding. Usually one version is a lot better than the other. I wish they had only included one version. I do not know why they chose to include both; I guess that since Ma’s recording career only lasted five years, they had to fill five CDs somehow. Also, on the second CD (B), there are no less than seven songs (or maybe I should say five, since two are “different” versions of the same song), that all sound identical. I don’t mean that they sound similar, I mean that they sound identical. In fact, if they didn’t have spaces between them you’d swear that it was the same song. This particular CD is my least favorite despite having some great songs on it, like Shave ‘Em Dry and Toad Frog Blues. The best songs IMO are found on the CD E, the final years. Here Ma is aided by excellent and (then) innovative musicians like Georgia Tom Dorsey on piano and Tampa Red on guitar. Unfortunately, times change. Paramount decided to end her contract (more on Paramount later), her sister and mother became terminally ill and Ma decided to tend to them, and classic female blues singers were starting to become passe. Instead of finding another record company and changing her style like Bessie Smith tried to do, Ma decided to retire. A shame for fans!

Now, speaking of Paramount Records (not to be confused with the movie and TV company of the same name), what a travesty this company was. Their talent scouts were adept, but they used terrible methods! They used cheap recording materials, scrimped on every level of production, and when they went out of business in the early 1930’s, they scrapped all of their master recordings! This is why much of the material sounds “primitive’, even “dated”. In order to transfer her recordings from 78s to vinyl then to CD, searches have had to be made to find the least worn copies, because the masters were destroyed! That this and other Paramount artists’ recordings exist at all is nothing short of a miracle. I feel that if Ma had recorded for a better label (like Columbia, for example), she could have become just as legendary as Bessie Smith was. Think of it: she only recorded for five years and the recording techniques were primitive and bad, yet she IS considered a legend in blues. I can only imagine how even more successful and legendary she’d be if she’d been with a better label! Unfortunately, the sound on these CDs cannot be turned up full blast because that results in distortion for many of the songs. Still, I would rather listen to talented artists with subpar recording techniques than any untalented artist with state-of-the-art recording techniques!
By M.A. Casey.
**
Gertrude “Ma” Rainey (1886-1939):
Gertrude Pridgett was born in Columbus, Georgia on April 26, 1886. At age 14 she began performing with her family in minstrel shows. When she was 16 she heard her first blues song and copied the style in her performances.
Ma & Pa Rainey:
At age 18 Gertrude married entertainer Will “Pa” Rainey. The two began performing together and were known as Ma and Pa Rainey and the Assassinators of the Blues.
Mother of the Blues:
Although Ma Rainey was not the first Black woman to sing the Blues, she has been credited with its rise in popularity. She performed both with Pa Rainey and as a solo act. She signed a record deal with Paramount Records in 1923 and was one of the first performers to record the Blues. Her band included jazz stars Louis Armstrong, Thomas Dorsey and Coleman Hawkins.
Lover of Women:
Even though she was married to Pa Rainey, Ma Rainey did nothing to hide her love of women. In 1928 she recorded “Prove it on Me Blues,” which makes no secret of her relationships with women.
**
Cd 1
01. Bad Luck Blues – Ma Rainey
02. Bo-Weavil Blues – Ma Rainey
03. Bo-Weavil Blues – Ma Rainey
04. Barrel House Blues – Ma Rainey
05. Those All Night Long Blues – Ma Rainey
06. Those All Night Long Blues – Ma Rainey
07. Moonshine Blues – Ma Rainey
08. Last Minute Blues – Ma Rainey
09. Southern Blues – Ma Rainey
10. Walking Blues – Ma Rainey
11. Lost Wondering Blues – Ma Rainey
12. Dream Blues – Ma Rainey
13. Honey Where You Been So Long – Ma Rainey
14. Ya Da Do – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
15. Ya Da Do – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
16. Those Dogs Of Mine – Ma Rainey
17. Lucky Rock Blues – Ma Rainey
18. South Bound Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
19. Lawd Send Me a Man Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
20. Ma Rainey’s Mystery Record – Ma Rainey

Cd 2
01. Shave ‘Em Dry Blues – Ma Rainey
02. Farewell Daddy Blues – Ma Rainey
03. Booze And Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
04. Toad Frog Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
05. Jealous Hearted Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
06. See See Rider Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
07. See See Rider Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
08. Jelly Bean Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
09. Countin’ the Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
10. Countin’ the Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
11. Cell Bound Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
12. Army Camp Harmony Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
13. Army Camp Harmony Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
14. Explaining the Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
15. Explaining the Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
16. Louisiana Hoo-Doo Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
17. Goodbye Daddy Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
18. Stormy Sea Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
19. Rough And Tumble Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
20. Night Time Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
21. Night Time Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
22. Levee Camp Moan – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
23. Four Day Honorary Scat – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
24. Four Day Honorary Scat – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
25. Memphis Bound Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band

Cd 3
01. Slave To the Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
02. Yonder Comes the Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
03. Titanic Man Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
04. Titanic Man Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
05. Chain Gang Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
06. Bessemer Bound Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
07. Bessemer Bound Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
08. Oh My Babe Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
09. Wring And Twisting Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
10. Stack O’Lee Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
11. Broken Hearted Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
12. Jealousy Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
13. Seeking Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
14. Seeking Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
15. Mountain Jack Blues – Ma Rainey
16. Mountain Jack Blues – Ma Rainey
17. Down In the Basement – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
18. Sissy Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
19. Broken Soul Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
20. Trust No Man – Ma Rainey

Cd 4
01. Morning Hour Blues – Ma Rainey
02. Weeping Woman Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
03. Soon This Morning – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
04. Little Low Mama Blues – Ma Rainey
05. Grievin’ Hearted Blues – Ma Rainey
06. Don’t Fish In My Sea – Ma Rainey
07. Big Boy Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
08. Blues Oh Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
09. Damper Down Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
10. Gone Daddy Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
11. Oh Papa Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
12. Misery Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
13. Dead Drunk Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
14. Slow Driving Moan – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
15. Blues the World Forgot – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
16. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
17. Blues the World Forgot – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
18. Hellish Rag – Ma Rainey’s Georga Band
19. Georgia Cake Walk – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
20. New Bo Weavil Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
21. Moonshine Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band
22. Ice Bag Papa – Ma Rainey’s Georga Band

Cd 5
01. Black Cat Hoot Owl Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Tub Washboard Band
02. Log Camp Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Tub Washboard Band
03. Hear Me Talking To You – Ma Rainey & Her Tub Washboard Band
04. Hustlin’ Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Tub Washboard Band
05. Prove It To Me Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Tub Washboard Band
06. Victim Of the Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Tub Washboard Band
07. Traveling Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Tub Washboard Band
08. Traveling Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Tub Washboard Band
09. Deep Moaning Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Tub Washboard Band
10. Deep Moaning Blues – Ma Rainey & Her Tub Washboard Band
11. Daddy Goodbye Blues – Ma Rainey
12. Sleep Talking Blues – Ma Rainey
13. Sleep Talking Blues – Ma Rainey
14. Tough Luck Blues – Ma Rainey
15. Blame It On the Blues – Ma Rainey
16. Sweet Rough Man – Ma Rainey
17. Runaway Blues – Ma Rainey
18. Screech Owl Blues – Ma Rainey
19. Black Dust Blues – Ma Rainey
20. Leaving This Morning – Ma Rainey
21. Black Eye Blues – Ma Rainey
22. Black Eye Blues – Ma Rainey
23. Ma And Pa Poorhouse Blues – Ma Rainey
24. Big Feeling Blues – Ma Rainey
**

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