(1950s 'Atomic H') (62:18/23) Eddy Clearwaters Onkel, Pfarrer H.H. Harrington, betrieb in den 50ern in seiner Kirche ein Aufnahmestudio und Label. Spannendes Album mit teils wildem Zeug, vieles davon unveröffentlicht
With Eddy Clearwater, Sunnyland Slim, Morris Pejoe, Henry Gray, Jo Jo Williams, Little Mack Simmons and others. An explosion of nuclear-powered Chicago blues from 1958-'60 Atomic-H masters including many previously unissued recordings! A full hour containing 23 songs, most of which are not on the LP version. Atomic-H Records was a tiny label that recorded blues and gospel but only issued a few 45s. It was owned and operated by Rev. Houston H. Harrington who was also Eddy Clearwater's uncle and was responsible for Eddy making his way to Chicago from Alabama. The CD of Chicago Ain't Nothin' But A Blues Band features new descriptive notes containing additional information about Atomic-H and personnels.
Let's Us Do The Recording
So stated the sign adorning the window of Rev. Houston H. Harrington's church at 4314 W. 16th St on Chicago's West Side. The reverend issued his share of gospel material during his long tenure as owner of Atomic-H. but the label's fame resides in its blues activ-ities of the late 1950s. Rev. Harrington. you see. was a gentleman of wide-ranging musical interests. Born in Macon, Mississippi on March 3. 1924. Harrington dabbled in home recording down south but never issued anything on wax until well after he arrived in Chicago during the mid-1940s. The first Atomic sin-gle (the H came later), cut in late 1953 in Harrington's basement studio at 1651 S. Trumbull and likely issued sometime in '55. was credited to *lick & His Trio" (act-ually Homesick James). Harrington made countless demos for aspiring artists during the '50s: legend has it that Chuck Berry, Magic Sam (it's been suggested that the previously unissued and unidentified "Why Did We Have To Part?" on this album just may be Magic Sam), and the Staple Singers all utilized his facilities. Around 1958. Harrington grew more serious about his enterprise, releasing singles over the next few years by Jo Jo Williams, Eddy Clearwater. Morris Pejoe, Mighty Joe Young. Johnny Rogers. Tall Paul Hankins, and other Windy City blues artists on Atomic-H. He also issued a few of his own sermons, sometimes billing himself as
"Rev. H.H. Harrington, God's Star:' The versatile preach-er also played violin and dreamed up unusual inven-tions—he drew up blueprints for a "Vertical Rising Jet Air Craft" and held a patent on "The World's First Flying Submarine." Delmark compiled an anthology of Atomic-H materi-al in 1972, but even if you own Chicago Ain't Nothin' But a Blues Band in its vinyl incarnation, this digital ver sion boasts more than its share of revelations—its pro-gramming has been changed and expanded. Many tracks are previously unissued: others haven't seen light of day since Harrington pressed up his standard run of 500 copies on each single (ensuring instant collector's item status for all). Rev. Harrington was a musical inspiration to his nephew Eddy even before the lean and lanky teen moved to Chicago in 1950. He bought Eddy an acoustic guitar when the youth was still living in Birmingham, Alabama. Billed initially on the West Side as Guitar Eddy, the southpaw adopted a new handle in 1957 when drummer Jump Jackson officially dubbed him Clear Waters as a takeoff on Muddy's distinctive moniker. "My uncle was a big encouragement," says Clear-water, long a Windy City blues mainstay. "He was the cause of me coming to Chicago, as a matter of fact. He was here already, and he had met people like Howlin' Wolf. Elmore James. Little Walter. Little Mack Simmons. Muddy Waters. So he wrote me a letter saying, 'If you come to Chicago. you'll get a chance to meet these peo-ple, and you could possibly broaden your horizons:
I said. 'Send me a ticket!' So he did. Sent me a ticket on a Greyhound bus, and I was on my way." Eddy's first two Atomic-H singles were credited to Clear Waters. In '58 he entered Balkan Studios in suburban Berwyn to cut the jumping "Boogie Woogie Baby" (Lazy Bill Lucas pounds out some storming piano) and the rollicking Chuck Berry-tinged rocker "Hillbilly Blues." His 1959 encore coupled the slashing West Side minor-key instrumental -A-Minor Cha-Cha" with a bouncy "I Don't Know Why:' They're joined by two unissued Clearwater outings: "Neck-bones Everyday" salutes a downhome culinary delight, while the instrumental "Jumpin' At Charley's" borrows a piece of the melody from "The Hucklebuck." Vocalist Johnny Rogers, who cut the jumping "I Am A Lucky Lucky Man" in 1958 or '59, was the brother of Clearwater's drummer, Richard Rogers (Atomic-H slightly altered the spelling of Johnny's surname to Rodgers on the 45). "He sounded a lot like Johnny Ace," says Clearwater. "He played the West Side a lot. He used to sing with my band. That's before I really started singing. I would play and he would sing, and his brother was playing drums: Rogers, who had waxed a single for Ronel in 1955. ended up joining the ministry and preaching on the West Side. Born in Coahoma, Mississippi in 1920. Jo Jo Williams spent considerable time around Memphis before relocat-ing to Chicago during the early '50s. The guitarist hooked up with harpist Mojo Buford, guitarist David Members, and drummer Cadillac Sam Burton to play South Side clubs. When Muddy would hit the road, the eager aggre-gation held down his slot at Smitty's Corner at 35th and
Indiana. For the 1959 date that produced Williams' Atomic-H debut. "All Pretty Women"/ "Rock 'n' Roll Boogie: pianist Lazy Bill Lucas augmented the lineup: it was Mojo's first trip to the studio. If Buford is aboard the pre-viously unreleased Bo Diddley-beat instrumental "Davy Crockett's Jingle Bells" (PT. Hayes replaced him for another Atomic-H Williams session), he no longer recalls it. "You Can't Live In This Big World By Yourself" and "A Woman's World: also unissued until now, are more traditional in scope, boasting sturdy ensemble playing bolstered by either P.T. Hayes or Alex "Easy Baby" Randle on harmonica. Mississippi sired the lion's share of Chicago blues immortals. but guitarist Morris Pejoe and pianist Henry Gray were Louisiana natives and frequent musical cohorts. Pejoe first cut the raucous "Let's Get High" for Leonard Allen's United logo in 1954. but the company shelved it—leaving him free to recut it for Atomic-H (where it met the same fate). Pejoe arrived in Chicago in 1951, enjoying local success with his debut single for Checker. "Tired Of Crying Over You," the next year. His 1960 single for Atomic-H ("She Walked Right In"/"You Gone Away") was on the original vinyl version of this set: both sides are now available on Wrapped In My Baby (Delmark DD-716). Pejoe's rocker "Baby I'm Lonely" is a new discovery. while Gray—a frequent Atomic-H visitor according to Clearwater—rips into a driving "How Can You Do It?" with endearing vocal assurance. Venerable piano patriarch Sunnyland Slim recorded for virtually every blues label in Chicago during the post-war era, Atomic-H being no exception. With dazzling guitarist
Matt Murphy. saxist J.T. Brown. and drummer S.P. Leary in tow. the towering 88s ace romped through "Every-thing's Gonna Be Alright" and got serious for "Recession Blues" in 1960. but Harrington never got around to releasing them. Aberdeen. Mississippi was originally home to Harmonica George Robinson (he was born there June 12. 1934).
Arriving in Chicago in 1952, Robinson gigged around the West and South Sides during the second half of the decade, notably at Sylvio's and the Happy Home. His only Atomic-H session commenced in the summer of '59. when the harpist strolled into Balkan to lay down a mournful "Sad And Blue" and the soaring "Sputnik Music" (Clearwater and Willie Johnson shared guitar duties). They went unissued at the time, and George had to wait a full decade before Toddlin' Town released his debut 45. the sizzling soul workout "Get Some Order (About Yourself)." Harpist Little Mack Simmons was another familiar presence at Atomic-H headquarters: he leads the instrumental "Blues For Atomic-H" on this anthology.
Thanks to Jim O'Neal, we now know that George & His House Rockers were led by George Corner (or Conner), who also answered to the handle of Birming-ham George and now resides in Alabama. His "Morning Love Blues" was issued on Atomic-H in 1972. a good decade or more after he cut it. His two cuts derive from different dates. "You Know You Don't Love Me" having been done in a more professional studio setting than the demo-quality "Morning Love Blues." Eddy