Lowell Fulson – Classic Cuts 1946-1953 – 4CD
A founding father of West Coast blues who would later master soul.
Lowell Fulson recorded Reconsider Baby - the archetypal modern Texas blues - but there’s more to him than that. He wrote one of B.B. King’s biggest hits - Three O’Clock Blues, and Tramp, co-written with Jimmy McCracklin, was a minor hit for him but a nationwide pop success for Otis Redding and Carla Thomas.
He was smart and warm-hearted, his style unique and identifiable in one of music’s most demanding fields.
1. Crying Blues (Crying Won’t Make Me Stay) 2. You’re Gonna Miss Me (When I’m Gone) 3. Miss Katy Lee Blues 4. Rambling Blues 5. Fulson Blues 6. San Francisco Blues 7. Crying Blues 8. You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone 9. Miss Katie Lee Blues 10. Rambling Blues 11. Fulson’s Blues 12. San Francisco Blues 13. Trouble Blues 14. I Want To See My Baby 15. Black Widow Spider Blues 16. Don’t Be So Evil 17. I Want To See My Baby (Alt) 18. Don’t Be So Evil (Alt) 19. Scotty’s Blues 20. The Train Is Leaving 21. Jelly, Jelly 22. Mean Woman Blues 23. 9.30 Shuffle 24. Thinkin’ Blues 25. Fulson Boogie 26. Mean Woman Blues 27. Thinkin’ Blues 28. Tryin’ To Find My Baby
1. Let’s Throw A Boogie Woogie 2. Highway 99 3. Whiskey Blues 4. Tell Me Baby 5. Fulson Boogie 6. Highway ‘99’ 7. Trying To Find My Baby 8. Midnight Showers Of Rain 9. So Long, So Long 10. Wee Hours In The Morning 11. My Gal At Eight 12. The Blues Got Me Down 13. Black Cat Blues 14. Just A Poor Boy 15. Sweet Jenny Lee 16. My Baby 17. Television Blues 18. Don’t You Hear Me Calling You 19. Demon Woman 20. Tears At Sunrise 21. Jam That Boogie 22. Blues And Misery 23. My Woman Can’t Be Found 24. Three O’Clock Blues 25. Wild About You Baby 26. Prison Bound 27. My Baby Left Me
1. Night And Day 2. Double Trouble Blues 3. Stormin’ And Rainin’ 4. Good Woman Blues 5. Western Union Blues 6. Lazy Woman Blues 7. River Blues Pt 1 8. River Blues Pt 2 9. I Walked All Night 10. Between Midnight And Day 11. The Blues Is Killing Me 12. Did You Ever Feel Lucky 13. Ain’t Nobody’s Business 14. Jimmy’s Blues (I’ve Got A Mind To Ramble) 15. Every Day I Have The Blues 16. Rocking After Midnight 17. Rock This House (Alt) 18. Cold Hearted Mama 19. Mama Bring Your Clothes Back Home 20. Low Society Blues 21. Blue Shadows 22. Back Home Blues 23. Baby Won’t You Jump With Me 24. Come Back Baby 25. Country Boy 26. Rainy Day Blues 27. Miss Lillie Brown 28. Sinner’s Prayer
1. Sinner’s Prayer 2. Blues With A Feelin’ 3. Why Can’t You Cry For Me 4. Let Me Ride In Your Little Automobile 5. Lonesome Christmas Pt 1 6. Lonesome Christmas Pt 2 7. I’m A Night Owl Pt 1 8. I’m A Night Owl Pt 2 9. Fillmore Mess Around 10. Let’s Live Right 11. Guitar Shuffle 12. Mean Old Lonesome Song 13. The Day Is Slowly Passing (Alt) 14. The Highway Is My Home 15.Upstairs 16. I Love My Baby 17. I’ve Been Mistreated 18. You’re Going To Miss Me When I’m Gone (Alt) 19. I’ve Been Mistreated 20. It’s Hard To Believe 21. Ride Until The Sun Goes Down 22. Christmas Party Shuffle 23. The Blues Come Rollin’ In 24. My Daily Prayer 25. Juke Box Shuffle 26. Is Your Friend Really Your Friend 27. Let Me Love You Baby 28. Cash Box Boogie 29.Market Street Blues 30. Best Wishes
His isn’t a rags-to-riches story, even though travelling the world and entertaining millions during a fifty-year career would be a solid foundation for it to be. Like his fellow innovators T-Bone Walker and B.B. King, Lowell Fulson was an intelligent, warm-hearted individual, proud of his achievements but not immodest. Although he lacked B.B. King’s worldwide success, his voice and guitar were just as unique and identifiable.
The story begins in Tulsa, Oklahoma in March 1921. He was born in Choctaw Indian country. His father was killed while working at an oil mill before Lowell’s fifth birthday and his mother Mamie (Wilson) raised him and his brother Martin on her own. Later, she remarried.
The Fulsons were musical clan: “We had guitars, mandolins, violins. That was on my daddy's side. And on my mother’s side they all played a little, my uncles. I had about four or five of them, they all played something.” Most of it was ‘hoedown music’. “First blues artist I heard in person was a fellow called Martin, great big fellow, statue of a man, and he played the prettiest blues violin I ever heard in my life. He was around Stringtown, out from Atoka up in there, around Boggy Bend.” Then there were the Hadley brothers, Clarence and Frank, guitar and mandolin players from Coalgate, some fifteen miles north-east of Atoka. “I was tap dancin’ then. I had a couple of cousins, my uncles, they all danced. I was about eight or nine.”
Despite the cost of strings and his uncles’ attempts at dissuasion, young Lowell learned his chords and occasionally played at picnics and parties. But he played for dancing - not the songs by Blind Lemon, Peetie Wheatstraw and Texas Alexander that he preferred. He left home at eighteen and moved 50 miles to Ada, OK, where he joined Dan Wright’s eighteen-strong band. “We played for dances, mostly white people, you know. Something like country and western, ‘cause that’s all Dan Wright played, he played a banjo. He didn’t play nothing but ofay music.”
To play blues, Lowell moved to Foggy Bottom. There in the autumn of 1939 he met Texas Alexander. The older man’s recording career had ended five years previously but he was still popular in the small communities of Oklahoma and Texas and he needed an accompanist. There was a brief discussion about the rules of employment and the pair set off to Western Oklahoma. He’d married Adena back in May and now he left her, saying he’d be back after a while. “I was gone a year.”
When he did return, his wife insisted that he give up music and he went to work for Swift Packing, a job of which he quickly tired. Meanwhile, his mother had remarried as was living in Gainesville, Texas, so he and Adena moved there and he got a job washing dishes in a cafe. Soon he was head chef. He stayed until he was drafted in September 1943. After boot camp in Cambridge, Maryland, he was sent to Alameda Naval Air camp in Oakland, Cal. Weekends he’d take his guitar to town and party. On V-J Day he was en route to Guam on the USS Wayne. On Guam, he worked as a cook - and joined up with a piano player and a few white boys to play for troops and islanders, performing a mixture of dance favourites and the occasional blues.
He returned to America in November 1945, being eventually discharged on December 5th. He worked for a month in the Wade Hotel, Duncan but he was wary of the Jody man and his feet were itchy. After six months, he set off back to California, where he stayed with his stepfather and reacquainted himself with the places he’d worked as a musician. He re-established contact with Bob Geddins, a one-man record industry who’d promised him a session if he came back from the war. And that’s where the recording story starts…
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