I'm pleased to announce my new album, Delta Harvest, is now available. If you would like a copy (only £5) just send me an email. It was recorded in Duncan, Mississippi by Bill Abel at the Big Toe Studio in October.

The photos on the cover are ones I took myself, trying to capture the atmosphere of The Delta at harvest time

Here's the track list

Delta Harvest

 

 1.  Boogaloosa Woman (Tommy Johnson)

 2.  Diggin’ My Potatoes (Washboard Sam)

 3.  Peavine (Charley Patton)

 4.  Miss Mae Belle (RL Burnside)

 5.  Slidin’ Delta (Tommy Johnson)

 6.  Can’t Get That Stuff No More (Tampa Red)

 7.  Bye And Bye (Tommy Johnson)

 8.  Aunt Caroline Dye (Will Shade )

 9.  Canned Heat (Tommy Johnson)

10. Milkcow’s Calf (Robert Johnson)

11. Lonesome Home (Tommy Johnson)

12. Last Chance (Gus Cannon)

13. Screamin’ And Hollerin’ (Charley Patton)

 

The Songs On This Album

 

1. Boogaloosa Woman is a Tommy Johnson number, recorded in 1929 but unissued. It relates to Tommy returning to Boogaloosa after lengthy ramblings and finding his girlfriend in a poor condition.

Boogaloosa Woman Tommy_Johnson

 

2. Diggin’ My Potatoes is a Washboard Sam (Robert Brown) song, recorded with Big Bill Broonzy in Chicago in the 1940s and covered by Lonnie Donegan in the early 1950s. It was considered to be too sexually explicit and banned by the BBC in 1954.

 

3. Peavine is a Charley Patton song about the Delta railroad that ran from Rosedale to Dockery’s by a tortuous route. The lyrics include a reference to the Delta flood of 1927….”the levee is sinking, you know I can’t stay here long….” This desperate situation was very nearly repeated in May 2011.

 

4. Miss Mae Belle is a mono-chordal Hill Country song from RL Burnside about lustful pursuit of a beautiful woman….

 

5. Slidin’ Delta. A Tommy Johnson classic about the Delta flood of 1927

 

6. Can’t Get That Stuff No More is a Tampa Red song from the Prohibition days, recorded in Chicago in 1932

 

7. Bye And Bye is a Tommy Johnson song about ending a relationship which is both sad and philosophical. In the first verse I have used the lyrics preferred by his younger brother, Mager, because they make more sense.

 

8. Aunt Caroline Dye was a hoodoo lady who lived in Newport, Arkansas. She was the grandmother of the composer, Will Shade of The Memphis Jug Band. In this song, she gives her grandson some advice….

 

9. Canned Heat. A Tommy Johnson classic recorded in 1928. Tommy confronts the inevitability of his death from drinking Sterno (cooking fuel), admits to his helpless alcoholism and praises the drink’s short-term effects. He must have been tough; he survived to the age of 60!

 

10. Milkcow’s Calf. A collection of Delta blues would be lacking if it didn’t include a song from Robert Johnson. I like the elaborately crafted and consistent double entendre.

 

11. Lonesome Home. One of three Tommy Johnson songs with the same name! I think you can hear a little of Blind Lemon Jefferson’s influence in the guitar in Tommy’s version.

 

12. Last Chance is a Gus Cannon song which he recorded both with and without Noah Lewis in the late 1920s. This is about a relationship which seems doomed to failure. I love the lyric “you’re just a trifling woman, don’t mean me no good no how”.

 

13. Screamin’ And Hollerin’ is a Charley Patton song which I consider to be one of the Delta blues classics and which has inspired countless re-interpretations. I love it. Here is yet another….