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Good for What Ails You

Album: Good for What Ails You: Music of the Medicine Shows, 1926 - 1937 [Digipak]
# Song Title   Time
1)    Spasm, The - Daddy Stovepipe/Mississippi Sarah & Daddy Stovepipe/Mississippi Sarah
2)    Tanner's Boarding House - Gid Tanner/Riley Puckett
3)    Don't Think I'm Santa Claus - Lil McClintock
4)    Hokum Blues - Coley Jones/Dallas String Band
5)    Jimbo Jambo Land - Shorty Godwin
6)    Gonna Swing on the Golden Gate - Fiddlin' John Carson & His Virginia Reelers
7)    Papa's 'Bout to Get Mad - Pink Anderson/Simmie Dooley
8)    Man Who Wrote Home Sweet Home Never Was a Married Man, The - Mack Woolbright/Charlie Parker
9)    Bye, Bye Policeman - Jim Jackson
10)    Bald-Headed End of a Broom, The - Walter "Kid" Smith
11)    Bow Wow Blues - Allen Brothers
12)    Beans - Beans Hambone/El Morrow
13)    Chicken Can Waltz the Gravy Around, A - Stovepipe No. 1/David Crockett
14)    Tell It to Me - Grant Brothers & Their Music
15)    Ain't No Use Working So Hard - The Carolina Tar Heels
16)    Mama Keep Your Yes Ma'am Clean - Walter Cole
17)    C-H-I-C-K-E-N Spells Chicken - Kirk McGee/Blythe Poteet
18)    My Money Never Runs Out - Banjo Joe
19)    Railroadin' Some - Henry Thomas
20)    Traveling Man - Prince Albert Hunt's Texas Ramblers
21)    G. Burns Is Gonna Rise Again - Johnson/Nelson/Johnson-Nelson-Porkchop
22)    Baby All Night Long - Blue Ridge Mountain Entertainers
23)    Born in Hard Luck - Chris Bouchillon
24)    He's in the Jailhouse Now - Memphis Sheiks
1)    Gonna Tip Out Tonight - Pink Anderson/Simmie Dooley
2)    Chevrolet Car - Sam McGee
3)    It Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo' - Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers
4)    Bring It with You When You Come - Cannon's Jug Stompers
5)    Atlanta Strut - Blind Sammie
6)    Go Along Mule - Uncle Macon Dave & His Fruit Jar Guzzlers
7)    Casey Bill - Earl McDonald's Original Louisville Jug Band
8)    I Got Mine - Frank Stokes
9)    Hannah - Chris Bouchillon
10)    Adam & Eve in the Garden - Ben Covington
11)    Mysterious Coon - Alec Johnson
12)    Her Name Was Hula Lou - The Carolina Tar Heels
13)    Reno Blues - Three Tobacco Tags
14)    Scoodle Um Skoo - Papa Charlie Jackson
15)    Stackalee - Frank Hutchison
16)    Cat's Got the Measles, The Dog's Got the Whooping Cough, The - Walter Smith
17)    Shout You Cats - Hezekiah Jenkins
18)    Nobody's Business If I Do - Tommie Bradley
19)    Sweet Sixteen - North Carolina Ramblers/Charlie Poole
20)    Ticklish Reuben - Mack Woolbright/Charlie Parker
21)    I Heard the Voice of a Porkchop - Jim Jackson
22)    Shine - Coley Jones/Dallas String Band
23)    Gypsy, The - Emmett Miller
24)    Kiss Me Candy - J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Sam McGee (vocals, guitar, banjo); Henry Thomas (vocals, guitar, reed pipe); Frank Hutchison, Gwen Foster (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Hosea Woods, Frank Stokes, James "Beans Hambone" Albert, Claude Grant, Tom Ashley, Jim Jackson, Lil McClintock, Pink Anderson, Riley Puckett, Simmie Dooley, Tommie Bradley, Blind Willie McTell, Charlie Burse, Shorty Godwin, Blythe Poteet, Charlie Parker , George Morris (vocals, guitar); Ben Covington (vocals, banjo, harmonica); Doc Walsh, Gus Cannon, Uncle Dave Macon, Charlie Poole, Mack Woolbright (vocals, banjo); Austin Allen (vocals, tenor banjo); Coley Jones, Jack Grant (vocals, mandolin); Clayton McMichen, Earl Johnson & His Dixie Entertainers , Fiddlin' John Carson, Gid Tanner, Jack Pierce, Kirk McGee, Prince Albert Hunt's Texas Ramblers (vocals, fiddle); T.M. Brewer, Sam "Stovepipe No. 1" Jones, Emmett Miller , Hezekiah Jenkins, Walter "Kid" Smith, Chris Bouchillon, Earl McDonald, Walter Cole, Charlie "Bozo" Nickerson (vocals); David Crockett (guitar, harmonica); Lee Allen & His Band (guitar, kazoo); Uris Bouchillon, Norman Woodlieff, Roy Harvey, Sam Harris , Bayless Rose, Blind Blake (guitar); Fate Norris, Claude Slagle, Snuffy Jenkins, Cal Smith (banjo); Benny Calvin, Vol Stevens (mandolin); James Robinson (violin); Mazy Todd, Clarence Greene, Charley Bouchillon, Odell Smith, Posey Rorer, J.E. Mainer, Lowe Stokes (fiddle); Noah Lewis (harmonica); Lucien Brown (alto saxophone); Ralph Miller (piano).
  • Liner Note Authors: Bengt Olsson; Marshall Wyatt.
  • Recording information: Atlanta, GA (11/04/1926-08/05/1937); Charlotte, NC (11/04/1926-08/05/1937); Chicago, IL (11/04/1926-08/05/1937); Dallas, TX (11/04/1926-08/05/1937); Johnson, City, TN (11/04/1926-08/05/1937); Memphis, TN (11/04/1926-08/05/1937); New York, NY (11/04/1926-08/05/1937); Richmond, IN (11/04/1926-08/05/1937); San Antonio, TX (11/04/1926-08/05/1937); St. Louis, MO (11/04/1926-08/05/1937).
  • Authors: Richard K. Spottswood; Chris Frazer Smith; Bengt Olsson; Kinney Rorrer; Nick Tosches ; Charles Wolfe; Lee Allen & His Band; Paul Oliver.
  • Photographers: Jim Bollman; Charles K. Wolfe; Philip Gura; William H. Helfand; Bengt Olsson; Robert Kerwin; Todd Brashear ; Kip Lornell; Marshall Wyatt; Samuel Charters; Christopher C. King.
  • Unknown Contributor Roles: Rosa Lee Carson; Sam "Stovepipe No. 1" Jones.
  • The American medicine show came into its own shortly after the Civil War with the rise of so-called patent medicines and the almost complete lack of regulations concerning the ingredients that went into them, and any number of noxious tonics, elixirs, and nostrums with trumpeted healing powers were hawked by silver-tongued pitch doctors to the audiences who flocked to see the various acrobats, dancers, fire-eaters, snake handlers, comedians and musicians who entertained at these free extravaganzas. As a cost efficient way of merging entertainment with merchandising (and where manufacturing meant mixing ingredients in a bathtub), these medicine shows successfully traveled the so-called "kerosene circuit" of rural and small town America until the dawn of the 20th century, when the rise of radio and movies, and the passage of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, combined to render them obsolete. The medicine show blueprint of offering free entertainment to attract audiences and then using intermissions to push products on them has hardly gone away, however, and is still the driving force behind radio and television in the 21st century. The musicians featured in these colorful traveling medicine shows were professionals, at least professional enough to leave their home communities and take to the road, and luckily several of these musicians were still active in the 1920s and early '30s when the fledgling recording industry was just getting off the ground, and numerous commercial 78s by former medicine show entertainers were issued in the prewar era. Two discs' worth of these 78s have been assembled here by Old Hat Records, an independent label out of North Carolina dedicated to the preservation of American vernacular and regional music, and if listening to these tracks isn't exactly like standing out under those kerosene lights, it's the next best thing. Among the gems on Good for What Ails You are the version of "I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal, You" by Daddy Stovepipe (Johnny Watson) and Mississippi Sarah (Sarah Watson) called "The Spasm" that opens the set; the bizarre "Beans" by Beans Hambone (James Albert) and El Morrow, a record so odd it is remarkable that it was ever considered for commercial release (a rambling, half-improvised monologue on beans, it rides over a maddening single-string guitar riff that seems always on the edge of breaking down completely); the delightful "Railroadin' Some" by Henry Thomas, which recalls a train trip across Texas and north to Chicago in an impressive litany of towns and train stops, and Jim Jackson's 1928 recording of "I Heard the Voice of a Porkchop," a surreal parody of the Scottish hymn "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say." Mixed in are an engaging assortment of blues, rags, re-formatted minstrel tunes, jug and string band pieces that continually surprise and delight. Old Hat is to be commended for the obvious care in which this collection is assembled, and fans of Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music may well find that this one is even wilder. ~ Steve Leggett
Professional Reviews
Mojo (Publisher) (p.128) - 5 stars out of 5 - "GOOD FOR WHAT AILS YOU supplants the Harry Smith collections by surveying the people's music of the day, some of which sounds like nothing you have heard before."
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