MP3 Andy Cohen & Jack Radcliffe - Four Hands, No Waiting
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13 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Traditional Folk, BLUES: Piano Blues
Andy Cohen and "Ragtime" Jack Radcliffe were strong-armed into
conducting a piano "duel" at a folk music convention in New York in
November, 2003, and the joint was positively jumpin'! Since then, the two
have collaborated (and traded musical and verbal insults) on a number of occasions. The recording was done at Sounds Interesting Studios in Middleboro, MA, and features piano and guitar duets as well as some four-hand, two-piano work. The title comes from the old classic sign in barber shop windows:"Two barbers, no waiting."
Andy grew up in a house with a piano and a lot of Dixieland Jazz records, amplified
after a while by a cornet that his dad got him. At about fifteen, he got bitten by the Folk
Music bug, and soon got to hear records by Big Bill Broonzy and the Jim Kweskin Jug Band,
both of which reminded him of the music he grew up to. At sixteen, he saw Rev. Gary Davis, and
his course was set. He knew he had it in him to follow, study, perform and promote the music of
the southeast quadrant,America's musical mother lode.
A list of Andy's musical friends and acquaintances would fill several pages. He has studied the music
of hundreds of blues guitar players and piano players. Here is a list that hits the high points:
Willie Walker, Lemon Jefferson, Lead Belly, Davis, Broonzy, Skip James, Bukka White, Rev. Robert Wilkins,
Brownie McGhee, the list goes on. He's been "lead boy" for Jim Brewer, Rev. Dan Smith, and Brother Daniel
Womack and briefly, Rev, Davis himself; hung out with John Jackson, Phil Wiggins, John Cephas, Hank
Duncan, Honeyboy Edwards, Mad Dog Lester, Big Joe Duskin, Pigmeat Jarrett, Howard Armstrong, Carl
Martin,Ted Bogan, Elizabeth Cotten, Etta Baker, John Dee Holeman, Fris Holloway, Larry Johnson, Eugene
Powell, Johnnie Shines,Will Dukes and many others. He has given support when he could to deserving
players, and arranged work for many more, organized festivals and small venues for them and others
to play in, written about several of the old guys and studied their work in a systematic way,
and taught a couple of dozen players who are now professionals.
Andy salutes Tony Piedade, who sold him his first fiddle half a lifetime ago.
This one's for you,Tony!
'RAGTIME' JACK RADCLIFFE:
Jack also grew up in a house with a piano and a lot of
Dixieland Jazz https://www.tradebit.comther barber shop figured prominently in
Jack's early musical development. Next door to Romie's Barber Shop on
Mechanics Lane in New Bedford was the Windsor Music Store. After every haircut,
Jack would take a few quarters into the music store and buy sheet music,
mostly Dixieland arrangements for small combos. Matt Perry, who occasionally
subbed on piano for the late great Frankie Carl, was Jack's piano teacher and
between the Bartok and the Brahms he'd slip Jack some pointers on boogie woogie
and big https://www.tradebit.com folk music revival of the 50s came along just in time, as well, and
by the time Jack ran into Larry Johnson he had a pretty good understanding of
country blues. At that time Larry was being touted as the next generation of country
blues players. Prestige even released an album titled "Blues:The Next Generation,"
produced by Sam Charters. Jack and Larry worked at a few gigs doing a Leroy Carr
and Scrapper Blackwell kind of thing.
After hitting the road on the folk music circuit during the coffeehouse surge of the
60s, Jack settled in very musical Newport, R.I. Jack's band,"The New Viper Revue"
roared and stomped throughout the Northeast in the early and mid-70s, preaching the
joyful gospel of the fusion of New Orleans Jazz, Rhythm and Blues and Piedmont Blues.
But it was his 15-year, 2,500-plus-gig partnership with the late clarinetist Al Oliveira where
Jack sprouted his own roots in traditional American jazz and blues.
And the funny thing about this new partnership with Andy Cohen is that Tony Piedade and
his barber shop were the cause of it all. It was time for Andy to get back to New Bedford and
pick up another of Tony's wonderful instruments ... and Jack just happened to have moved
back to his native city.
So thanks Tony, for being the catalyst that made this project happen. Oh, and Tony, thanks
for letting me sit in with your gang that Tuesday in May!
1. Four Hands, No Waiting (Andy Cohen & Jack Radcliffe)
This is more a cooperative effort than a cutting contest, although we both have our
moments. Andy got the inspiration to make it the title tune for the CD, and provide
another salute to Tony Piedade and his musical barber chair. It's mostly your basic boogiewoogie
in G, played on two pianos. Andy stayed closer to the middle of the keyboard,
while Jack ventured out deep to the left and high to the right. Erik Lindgren, our man-ofall-
mikes, was able to balance the pianos perfectly, even if the players were a little off
kilter. Aficionados of the genre will detect a few Willie "The Lion" Smith quotes toward
the end, as well as some James P. Johnson and Albert Ammons licks. Ask us to play it
again when you see us https://www.tradebit.com promise not to duplicate it!
2. Midnight Hour Blues (Traditional)
Midnight Hour Blues is the folk process at work at its
best. It ultimately derives from Leroy Carr and Scrapper
Blackwell's original recording, issued March 16th, 1932
on Vocalion, a subsidiary label of Columbia. Since we
learned this from different sources, our
version is a compromise between Jack's way, learned
from Larry Johnson, and Andy's, which owes much
to William Lee Ellis. Bill, in turn, stole it from Willie
McTell and Curley Weaver, who in their own turn,
copped it from Leroy and https://www.tradebit.comone can
relate to the lyrics, and the melody is classic, it
ain't just some riff.
3. Cincinnati Flow Rag (Traditional)
OK, there's definitely an argument worth having here. Andy calls this "Slow Drag."
Jack says "Slow Drag" has a third section, so this is a hybrid and deserves the name
Willie Walker, from whom Davis learned it, gave it - "Cincinnati Flow Rag."Whatever
the case, it's fun to have this rag, adapted by Walker and Davis from the piano to the
guitar, re-interpreted on the piano, even as Andy's guitar echoes Davis' strong and
sensitive take on the guitar https://www.tradebit.com A and B sections use almost identical chord
structures (The B section uses G9 and C6, rather than G7 and C major). Riffing on
the subtle difference is part of the fun of playing and listening to this deceptively
4. It's Too Short (Dorsey & Carr)
Another, pretty animated Leroy Carr-tune. On the original (Vocalion 02875),
Scrapper's on the git-box and a very young Josh White was shouting encouragement
from the https://www.tradebit.comious recordings have credited Blackwell and Carr,
Georgia Tom Dorsey and (probably simply an attempt at a copyright grab)
5. Organ Grinder Swing (Clarence Williams)
Organ Grinder Swing is by Clarence Williams the First (not the Third). Clarence
Williams III is the actor who played Linc on Mod Squad. His grandfather, from
New Orleans, used to eat sugar sandwiches, and was famous as a bandleader in
the Moldy Fig https://www.tradebit.com Blues & Gospel Discography ("D G & R") has it issued
with a vocal by Eva Taylor, by Clarence Williams Jug Band And Lowland
Singers, August 7th, 1933 on Columbia (2863-D).
Andy's friend Al Diamondstein
wrote the words to this opus,
but the tune is pretty twenties. It's the one
that goes "My gal's a corker, she's a New Yorker."
Write your own verse and send it in.
Andy's always looking for new material.
7. Furry's Blues (Furry Lewis)
Furry Lewis recorded this one in 1928, at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, for Victor
(VI V38519, 8/28/28). "I believe I'll buy me a graveyard of my own, kill everybody
ever done me harm."This song foreshadows Gangsta rap in a way the rappers will
likely never know. Its subject is murder, but it's so hyperbolic as to be strictly braggadocio
(which is a town just up the line from Memphis).
8. Miss New Orleans (Alter & DeLange)
This is a classic tune by Lou Alter & Eddy De Lange. It's been covered by everyone
from Harry Connick Jr. to Billie Holiday, but the version Jack prefers is the Louis
Armstrong original. Over Jack's left shoulder at his piano at home is an autographed
photo of old "Red Beans and Rice" himself. Armstrong
debuted this song as part of a radio broadcast on October 19,
1938 on WNEW. Fortunately, the session was recorded.
9. Cold In Hand Blues (Cohen,Traditional)
Andy quilted this together from several sources (Bessie Smith,
Dave Van Ronk, some licks of his own).The haunting repeat binds
it all together and and the result demonstrates that country blues is a living art
form, not yet ready to be consigned to music museums.
10. Cow Cow Blues (Cow Cow Davenport)
Jack rips out this finger-twister as a solo. Gennett recorded Cow-Cow Davenport
and Dora Carr doing it with a guy named Billy Smith playing piano for some reason,
on May 26, 1925, but never issued it; it was recorded by someone reputed to be
'Talking' Billy Anderson, on November 5, 1927 (Columbia 14274-D); Millie Austin
recorded it for Supertone at the Gennett studios with an unknown trumpet and
piano, June 2, 1928, but it was issued as by 'Lillian Jackson.'Then Cow Cow did it again
on July 16, 1928, with Ivy Smith singing. Finally, Charlie Segar ("The Keyboard Wizard
Supreme") recorded it for Decca (De 7075) on a cold day in January of https://www.tradebit.com
turn-around has been used over and over again in blues and old time music, for
instance, in Muscle Shoals Blues, by harmonica whiz DeFord Bailey.
11. Florida Blues (Traditional)
This is not the Dixieliner's version of the tune, it's the Dixieland Jug Blower's version.
Clifford Hayes and Johnny Dodds played on it (Victor 20403). Rev. Davis apparently
learned this off one of their 78s, many years ago. According to Andy, "My buddy Joe,
from Kent, Ohio, has that very 78, and we used to play it in our band. Actually, it was
the only tune we knew, so..."
12. If I Could Be With You (Henry Creamer & James P. Johnson)
James P. Johnson wrote this exquisite melody to go with the clear and simple lyrics by
Harry Creamer. Andy's guitar is all the rhythm section you need on this, although it
was a favorite as an instrumental for many of the big bands of the '20s and '30s. Jack's
piano accompaniment echoes Johnson's "horn section" style in the right hand, using
close clusters and accidentals to accent the tune.
13. Honey, It Must Be Love (Traditional)
Willie McTell did this one, but he didn't write it. Neither did Charlie Poole, who also
did it. It's on a wax cylinder somewhere. But the verse about King Edward, scion of
the Stewart family, caused Willie to rename it on those John Lomax Library of
Congress recordings (LC Melodeon P7323) when he recorded it in 1940.
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