CHICAGO/ The Blues Yesterday Volume 12
Les amateurs de blues connaissent le saxophoniste, pianiste et chef d'orchestre Menard Rogers (4 février 1929 à Duncan (Ms) - 16 décembre 2006 à Chicago) essentiellement pour avoir constitué l'ossature du blues band de Johnny Littlejohn, notamment dans le
Blue Smitty opens this 12th volume of our ever popular "Chicago/The blues Yesterday" series. Smitty born Claude Smith on November, 10th 1924 in Marianna (Arkansas) learned to play blues guitar with the records of Arthur Crudup and Tampa Red but began to switch towards jazz when drafted during the war years. He befriended with several jazz guitarists who showed him how to play like Charlie Christian or Floyd Smith. When he settled in Chicago around 1947, Smitty began to play in blues and jazz clubs altogether. When he auditioned for Chess in 1952, he recorded four blues with a much jazzier and modern touch than the usual Chicago's blues sessions of this time. He recorded unfortunately only four excellent titles. After he went to live in Joliet, Smitty played during the 1950's and 60's in many Illinois towns. He was rediscovered and interviewed in length by the indefatigable Jim O'Neal and George Paulus but he wasn't interested to restart a musical career. Smitty died in Herrin (Illinois) on May, 5th 2009.
Poor Bob Woodfork hailed also from Lake Village, Arkansas where he was born on March 13th, 1925. He recorded and played with many major Chicago blues acts like Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Rogers, George Smith or Otis Rush but he recorded only one session as a leader. A great moment anyway produced by Willie Dixon and featuring his soulful vocals backed by the stinging guitars of Buddy Guy and Mighty Joe Young. Despite great hopes to record again and tour Europe, Woodfork did not and died in Chicago on June 10th, 1988.
The blues buffs know saxophonist, pianist and bandleader Menard Rogers (born in Duncan, Ms on February 4th, 1929 - † on December 16th, 2006 in Chicago, Ill) for backing Johnny Littlejohn on his 1968 Arhoolie LP masterpiece. But Menard and his band (probably featuring Littlejohn) also recorded a handful of good 45s under his name largely unreissued. We are featuring here some of his most blues oriented tracks. Menard also recorded a full LP (and hard to find) in 1981.
CHICAGO/ The Blues Yesterday
BLUE SMITTY (Claude Smith), vcl/g; Malron Jeff, pno; Bob Stewart, bs; Ike Smith, dms. Chicago, Ill. 11 juillet 1952
02. Sad story
03. Elgin movements
04. Date bait
POOR BOB WOODFORK, vcl/g; Henry Gray, pno; Buddy Guy, g; Mighty Joe Young, g; Willie Dixon, bs; Clifton James, dms. Chicago, Ill. 25 juin 1965
05. Ain't got a lousy dime
06. Lousy dime
07. The sun is rising!
08. I won't be happy
09. I wanna school you pretty baby
MENARD ROGERS, vcl/t-sax/pno; Douglas Fagan, t-sax; Allan Batts, og; Jesse Williams, g; poss. Johnny Littlejohn, g; Aron Burton, bs; Herbert White, dms. Chicago, Ill. 1968-72
10. How sweet it is
11. To be in love with someone
12. Ain't nothing but a titty
13. Good food, I am for you
14. I found someone to love me