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Blind Willie Johnson - Complete Recorded Titles Volume 1-2  

2016-02-27 00:38:00|  分类: Ethnic/Folk/Blue |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Blind Willie Johnson -  Complete Recorded Titles Volume 1-2 - neurosis01 - Puzzle
Artist: Blind Willie Johnson
Album: Complete Recorded Titles Volume 1-2
Genre: Blues, Gospel Blues, Gospel
Label: Document Records
Quality: FLAC
Size: 236  MB

Volume 1 - 1927 to 10th December 1929

"Extracts abridged from this CD's booklet notes:
"The most soulful, transcendent piece in all American Music" - was Ry Cooder's description of "Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground". Whether this judgement is excessive or not, it certainly cements the guitar evangelist and street singer, Blind Willie Johnson's position as one of the greatest of all American slide guitarists. In his short recording career from December 1927 to April 1930, a little under two and a half years, he would produce music that would have an immense influence on his contemporaries and later generations and cultures.
The recordings were released on the Columbia label - one of the best selling 'race' labels - and he was in the company of Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Barbecue Bob and others. It is highly likely that Willie's records were well known by all his near and later contemporaries across all of the Southern States.
I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole was pressed in numbers approaching 10,000 - even more than a Bessie Smith record of the same period. His fast melodic slide lines and characteristically fierce, rasping vocal instantly imprint his unique style on the listener. The rhythm is propelled along with an alternating thumb pattern against the delicate melody line. This vocal 'sound', not unlike the Hell and Damnation vocal of a Baptist preacher such as a fired-up Rev. A.W. Nix, was an affectation that Willie used for dramatic effect – yet, it was often supplanted, when needed, by a clear, precise tenor voice. The B side of this first recording was Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed. It reinforces the idea that Willie was already an assured, accomplished performer in that it concludes with an entirely instrumental verse! It's Nobody's Fault But Mine has become a standard of generations of 'blues singers' and Gospel singers alike. Another classic Gospel theme, this song shows Willie's use of the guitar as an addition to his singing. He often plays instead of singing and completes unfinished vocal lines with a guitar phrase. It demonstrates how his melodies run the complete length of the guitar neck, mostly up one string. Mother's Children Have A Hard Time is one of the greats. Again it is propelled by a rock steady rhythm. Dark Was The Night - Cold Was The Ground, as hinted at in the opening paragraph, is heart-stopping in its unique emotion. Nothing else like this exists in the 'race' catalogue of Black America. The last song produced on this first recording session was completely different. If I Had My Way, I'd Tear The Building Down insistently drones with a repeat flatpicked pattern. The staccato pattern underpins the long 'wordy' verses. This is the first of the songs in the 'other' Willie Johnson style. Simple, chordal, almost church congregation flatpicked, sing-alongs, they still retain an enormous rhythmic and almost hypnotic power.
Willie was brought back to the studio almost exactly one year later in December 1928 by Columbia, anxious to repeat the initial success of the first Johnson recordings. This time he came with Willie B. Richardson, his first wife. Obviously, she was sensitive and familiar with the material and her background vocals gel effectively with Willie's gravelly voice.
Gonna Run To The City Of Refuge and Jesus Is Coming Soon are both executed in the rhythmic flatpicking style with Willie B providing the background vocals. The latter song is the first of Willie's three narrative storylines - this one is about the 1918 Influenza outbreak that killed millions in Europe and the USA. He returns to using a slide for Lord I Just Can't Keep From Crying, again with an instrumental final verse. Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning features his virtuoso slide solo in the middle that again duplicates the high string lead line but in the lower register.
Again, almost exactly twelve months later in December 1929, Columbia had him in the studio - this time in New Orleans, Louisiana. Let Your Light Shine On Me breaks some new ground in Willie's style. It starts as a mournful and soulful hymn sung in his rather delicate tenor voice, then it adds some simple strumming rhythms for two verses. Then, the percussive guitar banging and the trademark fierce vocal growl drive it up a gear. This rolls along until the end with a reversal back to the delicate tenor voice for the final ....."shine on me". God Don't Never Change was the next slide piece recorded. Bye And Bye I'm Goin' To See The King is interesting for his use of the ‘smooth tenor’ voice over his slide playing and a double time instrumental piece as the last verse.
The last song on this first New Orleans day was the extraordinary Sweeter As The Years Roll By. It is a strummed and flat-picked 'dum-ching' sort of song which is powered along by the use of his most 'gravelly' voice of all."-- Document

Blind Willie Johnson
01 - I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole
02 - Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed
03 - It's Nobody's Fault But Mine
04 - Mother's Children Have A Hard Time
05 - Dark Was The Night - Cold Was The Ground
06 - If I Had My Way I'd Tear The Building Down
Blind Willie Johnson with Willie B. Harris
07 - Gonna Run To The City Of Refuge
08 - Jesus Is Coming Soon
09 - Lord I Just Can't Keep From Crying
10 - Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning
Blind Willie Johnson
11 - Let Your Light Shine On Me
12 - God Don't Never Change
13 - Bye And Bye I'm Goin' To See The King
14 - Sweeter As The Years Roll By

Volume 2 - 11th December 1929 to 20th April 1930

"Abridged booklet notes
By the end of the 1920s, Blind Willie Johnson had probably already heavily influenced many of the performing blues and gospel singers of Black America. It is possible to see his influence in many artists at the time, such as Ramblin’ Thomas and Blind Willie McTell, who became a friend of Johnson’s. McTell’s songs such as “Ain’t It Grand To Be A Christian” and “Dying Gambler” recorded in the mid 30s show a heavy Willie Johnson influence.
When Willie returned to the New Orleans studio on the second day in 1929, he had a female singer with him. She is not named but she certainly sounds more insistent and uncontrolled compared to the restrained and precise Willie B. Richardson. Interestingly, the first song he recorded was You’ll Need Somebody On Your Bond – interesting because it is the only song that he returned to at a later date to try a second version. The first version recorded at this session, is a driving, up-tempo rendering. When The War Was On was recorded next and sees Willie back in his staccato strumming and flat picking style. It is the second narrative piece that he recorded. This time it is an appraisal of the privations and hard times caused by World War 1. Praise God I’m Satisfied remains in the same vein with a strong strumming theme accented by link phrases on the bass line. Take Your Burden To The Lord And Leave It There, is again similar. This song probably falls into the category of one of Willie’s half dozen ‘great performances’. The female singer seems more exuberant and complementary to the structure of his singing and much stronger flat picked melody pattern and the whole seems to drive along effortlessly. Take Your Stand has that insistent ‘Dum-Ching’ rhythm that characterised Sweeter As The Years Roll By. The performance is scrappier than usual. Willie’s voice is very raspy and his background vocal assistant is all over the place. Despite the title, Willie sings “Take A Stand”... all through the song. His last song recorded in this session was the memorable epic narrative story (his third and final) about the sinking of the Titanic in April of 1912 - God Moves On The Water. This was still a very raw recollection to many people despite the intervening 18 years since the event. Willie makes quite a detailed story of it.
In six months time, Columbia again brought him to the recording studio. Willie B. accompanied him this time – whether this was Willie’s choice or the record company’s request is not known. They appeared at Columbia’s studio in Atlanta, Georgia on 20th April 1930. They must have worked particularly hard as ten releases came from this last session. Willie B. is higher in the mix than on previous Dallas recordings. The first recording, Can’t Nobody Hide From God, seems to have been well rehearsed between the two of them. If It Had Not Been For Jesus, is an unusual 3:4 time waltz and Go With Me To That Land, which follows it, is from white country music sources. Both these last two pieces seem to have Willie singing and playing much more tentatively as if he were unfamiliar with the style. Apparently though, despite it being the depths of the Great Depression, Willie was still selling records in high numbers and even these discs were pressed in numbers approaching 2-2500.
His next two songs are again using his flat picked style. The Rain Don’t Fall On Me, and Trouble Will Soon Be Over, seem to be much more assured than the previous two hesitant performances. These would be followed by the ‘iconic’ The Soul Of A Man. This song has become well known and well copied by performers like Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Everybody Ought To Treat A Stranger Right followed in much the same vein and then they came to another change in style. Church I’m Fully Saved Today. This is now extremely close to the world of the congregation and the preacher but without the hand clapping and tambourines. Technically, it is almost a version of “When I Lay My Burden Down”. John The Revelator is the last song that Willie would record in this sing-along vein and the session would conclude with, rather prophetically, a re-working of You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond It is rather satisfying that the last thing that we hear from Blind Willie Johnson is one of his unique and haunting, delicate slide solos."-- Document

Blind Willie Johnson with Willie B. Harris
01 - You'll Need Somebody On Your Bond
02 - When The War Was On
03 - Praise God I'm Satisfied
04 - Take Your Burden To The Lord And Leave It There
05 - Take Your Stand
Blind Willie Johnson
06 - God Moves On The Water
Blind Willie Johnson with Willie B. Harris
07 - Can't Nobody Hide From God
08 - If It Had Not Been For Jesus
09 - Go With Me To That Land
10 - The Rain Don't Fall On Me
11 - Trouble Will Soon Be Over
12 - The Soul Of A Man
13 - Everybody Ought To Treat A Stranger Right
14 - Church, I'm Fully Saved Today
15 - John The Revelator
16 - You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond

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