70 “Expressman Blues” by Sleepy John Estes

10

March 19, 2013 by gadaya

“Expressman Blues”, recorded in Memphis, TN, on may 17, 1930

with Sleepy John Estes on guitar, Yank Rachell on vocal and mandolin and Jab Jones on piano.

I said expressman, expressman, lord, 
You have parked your wagon wrong.
Lord, you have parked your wagon wrong.
You took and moved my good gal, 
When I was a long long way from home.

Don’t a woman make a man do things, 
And she know darn well that’s wrong.
Lord, she know darn well that’s wrong.
Lord that’s why you hear poor James,
Singin’ these lonesome song.

Babe if you never, 
You never hear me any more.
Lord, hear me any more.
Lord you can ‘member one morning baby, 
When I walked up on your porch.

Well I’ll sing this song. 
Jim ain’t gon’ sing no more.
Lord, ain’t gon’ sing no more.
I’m gonna put this mandolin under my arm, 
To the North Memphis Cafe I’ll go

The unique and exciting sound of “Expressman Blues”, with its mandolin/piano/guitar combo and plaintive vocals is the result of the meeting of three great Tennessee Blues musicians, “Sleepy” John Estes, Yank Rachell and Jab Jones (called themselves the “Three J’s”). John Estes had a long career as a Blues guitarist and singer, starting at the end of the 1920’s and kept on playing and performing until his death in 1977. (

The unique and exciting sound of “Expressman Blues”, with its mandolin/piano/guitar combo and plaintive vocals is the result of the meeting of three great Tennessee Blues musicians, “Sleepy” John Estes, Yank Rachell and Jab Jones (called themselves the “Three J’s”). John Estes had a long career as a Blues guitarist and singer, starting at the end of the 1920’s and kept on playing and performing until his death in 1977. (Full bio here). Yank Rachell (1910-1997) was one of the greatest mandolin Blues player and, like his friend John Estes, with whom he recorded a lot, had one of the longest career in the Blues world. (Go and read more on this tribute page). He was the singer on “Expressman Blues”. Jab Jones, piano and jug player for the Memphis Jug Band, played piano with them for a few recording sessions in 1929 and 1930.

-“Illustred Discographies” of “Sleepy” John Estes and Yank Rachell.

A nice article about Sleepy John

Here are the early recordings of “Sleepy” John Estes and Yank Rachell, from 1929 and 1930. (You’ll find them and plenty of other great recordings on a 4cd box set from JPS records)

  1. Sleepy+John+Estes+and+Yank+Rachell+Sleepy+John++YankThe Girl I Love, She Got Long Curly Hair
  2. Broken-Hearted, Ragged And Dirty Too
  3. Divin’ Duck Blues
  4. Little Sarah
  5. Black Mattie Blues
  6. T-Bone Steak Blues
  7. Milk Cow Blues
  8. Street Car Blues
  9. Expressman Blues
  10. Watcha Doin?Sleepy-John-Estes
  11. Poor John Blues
  12. Stack O’Dollars 
  13. My Black Gal Blues
  14. Sweet Mama

Click on Harry!

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10 thoughts on “70 “Expressman Blues” by Sleepy John Estes

  1. inthealley says:

    Hello Gadaya – thanks again for the latest – always a happy occasion when it arrives! Feels like just the right time for another donation!!

  2. Shadonoz says:

    Thanks for another great post, Gadaya!

  3. El Changuito says:

    So glad to have you back! Looking forward to your work on the final disc of the Anthology.

  4. Barbad J says:

    Interesting blog, wished you’d gone into a bit more detail than that though

    Especially considering how Estes was a hugely influential musician and lived an interesting life

  5. ignatzz says:

    Hello, sir. The older music files no longer seem to be there. I just looked at Kong Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki Me Oh and Dick Justice, and:

    “Invalid or Deleted File.

    The key you provided for file download was invalid. This is usually caused because the file is no longer stored on MediaFire. This occurs when the file is removed by the originating user or MediaFire.”

    Have these been moved elsewhere.

    I’m astounded by this blog, by the way.

    • gadaya says:

      Yes mediafire erased all my files so I have to repost them somewhere else when I get the time to do it…

  6. Chris says:

    Thank you so much for your continued work on this fantastic project. I thoroughly enjoy both thee music and your commentary. I always learn something, and that’s a good thing!

  7. Richard Summer says:

    I have a question. I saw no way to contact Gadaya directly-hope he sees this. A long while back on this site I saw info on several versions of “Frankie and Johnny”. I am not having success in searching for it. Help please. Thanks, Richard Summer

  8. Studio Paul says:

    I have tried many times to listen to this entire box set and always failed to get going. After I found your site I went and played ‘Henry Lee’ on my guitar and I’m beginning to think I might make an album of my own versions. Fabulous!

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