Mississippi Sheiks, “I’ll Be Gone, Long Gone”

This is an absolutely beautiful recording of the The Mississippi Sheiks’ song to agency, “I’ll Be Gone, Long Gone!” Recorded at the hight of their popularity, this cut’s fidelity lets The Sheiks’ unique blend of country and fiddle music really shine.

I’ll Be Gone, Long Gone (play/download mp3)

Fiddlin Frank Nelson, “Buck Creek Gal”

Fiddlin Frank Nelson was a moniker used by the great southern fiddler, Doc Roberts. Doc was a farmer first and a musician in his spare time. Although he only played and recorded on weekends, he cut over 70 sides. “Buck Creek Gal” is an upbeat number, and you can hear how his style influenced early country music.

Buck Creek Gal (play/download mp3)

Gus Cannon, “Madison Street Rag”

You can trace most of American popular music back to the blues. Rock n’ roll is the obvious one. But with “Madison Street Rag,” a different American music’s roots can be heard: hip-hop’s. Hip-hop is born and bred from the streets. Released on the Paramount label in 1927, Gus Cannon’s gravelly voice sounds like he’s freestlying on the street corner as passersby look on in amazement. Sounds a lot like how hip-hop got its start. Enjoy!

Madison Street Rag (play/download mp3)

Blind Lemon Jefferson, “One Dime Blues”

Although the subject matter of “One Dime Blues” may be cliche in the world of blues, no other artist has such a powerful cadence as the great Blind Lemon Jefferson. Jefferson’s quick-chords and toe-tapping rhythm is sharp juxtaposition with the song’s subject matter, each verse tackling the plight of poor African Americans in the 1920s.

One Dime Blues (play/download mp3)

Alger “Texas” Alexander, “Range In My Kitchen Blues”

Alger “Texas” Alexander was a blues singer from, as his name suggests, Texas. Although he never played an instrument, his unique vocal stylings influenced a wide range of bluesmen. Recording sides for the Okeh and Vocation labels, “Texas” Alexander sung with some of the greatest blues guitar legends such as Lightnin’ Hopkins. “Range In My Kitchen Blues” was recorded in 1927 in New York and tells the tail of Alexander’s guest to find a “decent” woman while recording in The Big Apple.

Range In My Kitchen Blues (play/download mp3)

Kansas City Kitty and Georgia Tom, “How Can You Have The Blues?”

From Kansas City Kitty & Georgia Tom we get this upbeat blues number, “How Can You Have the Blues,” a flirty duet about a woman who appears to have it all, but is continually bogged down by depression. The name Kansas City Kitty may not ring any bells with the most enthusiastic American blues aficionados. It could be because there is a mystery behind the true identity of this sexy voiced blues woman, but what we do know is that this track, recorded in 1930, features Thomas A. Dorsey on piano and vocals, playing under his popular pseudonym Georgia Tom. With its fantastic melody and conversational blues style, this number lends truth to the idea that money can’t buy you happiness.

How Can You Have The Blues? (play/download mp3)

“Bumble Bee Slim” Easton, “Chain Gang Bound”

“Bumble Bee Slim” Easton was a prolific singer and songwriter whose relaxed, upbeat style and often humorous lyrics made him one of the most-recorded and best-selling blues artists of the 1930s. His work exemplifies the beginnings of what came to be known as the Chicago style, retaining elements of earlier country blues while anticipating the more polished urban sounds of the postwar period. “Chain Gang Bound” shows off Bumble Bee Slim’s complex chord structures, and it is easy to see why rock ‘n roll legends like Keith Richards studied his style.

Chain Gang Bound (play/download mp3)