This a Serbian folk tune which is probably a traditional and has no one author, but through time has changed and evolved as generations of musicians have played it and sang it millions of times. “Nas Dva Brata” in the Serbian language is “Us Two Brothers” in English. Two piece vocal duo, guitar and accordion for accompaniment. I would call this a rustic, Balkan toe-tapper, and a great drinking song; and I just love the Italianesque, but very Balkan as well, guitar string work and dense, quick harmonies coming off the accordion against the vocals. Released on Chicago’s PERUN label in the late 1940s, I’m guessing.

 

Nas Dva Brata - Torbica & Velimirovic (PERUN) 78 rpm

This is from Hampton’s “New Movements in Be-Bop” album (1947) which is a real treasure of the initial be-bop storm that was happening in New York in the 40s. Featuring a young, hungry Charles Mingus on bass playing his own composition, the futuristic “Mingus Fingers”, Hamp’s orchestra is as spirited, and tight, as ever.

 

Lionel Hampton - Mingus Fingers

Such a great great jumpy blues, a hopper and a skipper for them alive ones; tappin’ away on repeat at home, too. Crudup outdoes Elvis by some 10 years. Made in Chicago.

Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, voice  & guitar

Melvin Draper, drums

December, 1944

Arthur %22Big Boy%22 Crudup - Who's Been Foolin You 78rpm

 

 

This is a Greek Decca, #4056. “O riQProE” is my English alphabet translation of the Greek title. I have no clue about any of the information on this label, unfortunately.

But the tune is a wonderful Greek folk-dance number, almost like a very sophisticated waltz; with harmonized vocals, compound rhythms and perfect string interplay.

Greek Decca 4056 - %22O riqproe%22 78rpm

Made in Chicago, this Magic Sam side, on the Cobra Record Corp. label, is a classic – this one has been haunting me for weeks now, and I just can’t get enough of this all-out soulful, electric blues sound. Late 50s cut; Magic Sam has a vocal delivery so reminiscent of the great Otis Rush at this time in his career (and they were Cobra label mates during these years, so); the guitar sounds like voltage being strummed.

Yes, this one is a tad scratchy because it has been loved to death in one jukebox or another for many years, years ago. I dug it out for free virtually at a favorite vinyl shop. I hope to have this one forever.

Magic Sam - Everything Gonna Be Alright

I really love this one.

Wildwood Flower is a timeless, classic, immortal, indispensable tune. I first heard Maybelle Carter, of the great Carter Family, do a version of it on The Johnny Cash Show sometime in the 70s. This is a solo guitar take on it, masterfully and playfully performed by one of the geniuses of the instrument: Chet Atkins.

Also, this a vinyl 78, which came about in the later years of the 78rpm era. Virtually all 78s, until about the early 1950s, were made of a combination material consisting of pitch and shellac ; shellac being the secretion of the female lac bug, which live in the forests of Thailand and India. During the WWII effort, shellac was recalled and collected by the government to be used for military materials, and vinyl became the standard. Vinyl, in fact, sounds fuller and is much quieter than shellac. Plus, you could fit many more grooves (micro grooves actually) on to the side of a vinyl than a shellac ; hence, the birth of long playing 33 and 45 rpm records.

This is also a rare, DJ only copy that RCA would send out to radio stations for promotional purposes. The melody will get stuck in your head.

Chet Atkins – Wildwood Flower << PLAY

Cliff Edwards (Ukulele Ike) was a hugely popular American singer and voice actor during the 1920s and 30s. His musical output was almost completely as a renditionist, scoring many hits on the pop and novelty charts of the day.

In 1929, Mr. Edwards landed a #1 with his version of “Singing in the Rain.” He also had a career in voice-overs, most famously as Jiminy Cricket in Disney’s Pinocchio (1940). I have chosen “After My Laughter Came Tears” – one of my favorite Ukulele Ike performances, because his feeling and sentiment goes so well with the lyric, which is itself a thing of beautiful economy and honesty.

The song itself has lived on for a long time and has been covered repeatedly and prominently. I will also eventually post another, much different, jump-spirited take of the tune which was performed by the Arnold Johnson Orchestra; and probably soon enough to have a timely comparison.

Ukulele Ike – After My Laughter Came Tears << PLAY