Memphis Slim - The Come Back, Part 2
  • 14 Back Alley
  • 15 This Is My Lucky Day
  • 16 The Come Back
  • 17 Midnight
  • 18 St. Louis Woman
  • 19 5 O' Clock Blues (Alternate)
  • 20 She's Alright
  • 14 Back Alley
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:03) [7.94 MB]
  • 15 This Is My Lucky Day
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (02:41) [7.09 MB]
  • 16 The Come Back
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (02:46) [7.27 MB]
  • 17 Midnight
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:02) [7.9 MB]
  • 18 St. Louis Woman
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (02:53) [7.54 MB]
  • 19 5 O' Clock Blues (Alternate)
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (02:54) [7.59 MB]
  • 20 She's Alright
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (02:13) [6.01 MB]
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Memphis Slim And His House Rockers
The Come Back featuring Matt "Guitar" Murphy
Delmark DE-762

Memphis Slim’s United recordings deserve special acknowledgment because, to put it bluntly, they’re his best. Delmark 710, Memphis Slim U.S.A., presented the last two of his four United sessions. Now The Come Back brings listeners the complete first two sessions plus two auditions. There's much new to savor here including eleven previously unissued tracks containing two real revelations: super-guitarist Matt “Guitar” Murphy’s first recorded vocal “Cool Down Baby” also featuring a jaw-dropping guitar intro, and the initial ’52 version of “The Come Back” as a straight slow blues lacking the stop time arrangement. Piano blues at its best! Complete notes by Dick Shurman enclosed.

* 1. Only A Fool Has Fun 2:36 1169-6
* 2. The Come Back (alternate) 2:44 1170-2
* 3. Shuffleboard 2:34 1172-3
4. Living The Life I Love 2:43 1174-3
* 5. Cool Down Baby 2:33 1171-1
6. Nat Dee Special 2:47 1173-5
7. I Love My Baby 3:04 1341-1
* 8. Two Of A Kind (alternate) 2:37 1484-1
* 9. Smooth Sailin’ 3:01 1339-2
10. 5 O’Clock Blues 2:50 1336-2
*11. Stewball 2:11 audition
*12. The Cat Creeps 2:34 1342-2
13. Call Before You Go Home 3:07 1337-3
14. Back Alley 3:00 1168-5
15. This Is My Lucky Day 2:38 1338-5
16. The Come Back 2:43 1335-3
*17. Midnight 2:59 1167-4
*18. St. Louis Woman 2:50 1340-3
19. 5 O’Clock Blues (alternate)2:51 1336-1
*20. She’s Alright 2:13 audition

*previously unissued

Memphis Slim, vocals, piano
Matt "Guitar" Murphy, guitar, vocal 5, electric bass 14
Jim Conley, tenor saxophone (7-10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19)
Purcell Brockenborough, tenor sax (1-6, 14, 17)
Neil Green, tenor saxophone (1-6, 14, 17)
Henry Taylor, bass (1-6, 14, 17)
Curtis Mosley, bass (7-13, 15, 16, 18-20)
Otho Allen, drums
Fred Below, hand drum 11
Terry Timmons, 2nd vocal (17)

1100s recorded November 26, 1952;
1300s recorded June 29, 1953,
1484 recorded September 29, 1954

Tracks 1-6, 14, 17 recorded November 26, 1952.
Tracks 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19 recorded June 29, 1953.
Track 8 recorded September 29, 1954.
Tracks 11, 20 are auditions.

United Records was the first successful black-owned record company. Operated by Leonard Allen, tailor, retired policeman and obviously one of exceptionally wide taste in music, the two labels (United and States) issued some of the best performances in the jazz, blues, gospel and R&B idioms between 1951 and ’57. Delmark is proud to release this important body of masters, including many previously unissued, recorded in studios which pioneered high fidelity recording in the ’50s.

Send for a free catalog of jazz and blues:
Delmark Records
4121 N. Rockwell
Chicago, IL 60618
C P 2002 Delmark Records

1. Only A Fool Has Fun 0:00
(Peter Chatman, Sony/ATV Songs LLC, BMI)
2. The Come Back (alternate) 0:00
3. Shuffleboard 0:00
4. Living The Life I Love 0:00
(L.C. Frazier, Embassy Music Corp., BMI) U-138
5. Cool Down Baby 0:00
(Matthew Murphy, Embassy Music Corp., BMI)
6. Nat Dee Special 0:00
7. I Love My Baby 0:00
(L.C. Frazier, Embassy Music Corp., BMI) U-182
8. Two Of A Kind (alternate) 0:00
(L. C. Frazier, Embassy Music Corp., BMI)
9. Smooth Sailin’ 0:00
(Arnett Cobb, Wayne Music Publ. Co., BMI)
10. 5 O’Clock Blues 0:00
(L.C. Frazier, Embassy Music Corp., BMI) U-156
11. Stewball 0:00 (Peter Chatman, Arc Music Corp., BMI)
12. The Cat Creeps 0:00
13. Call Before You Go Home 0:00
(L.C. Frazier, Embassy Music Corp., BMI) U-166
14. Back Alley 0:00 (Matthew Murphy, Embassy Music Corp., BMI) U-138
15. This Is My Lucky Day 0:00
(L.C. Frazier, Embassy Music Corp., BMI) U-166
16. The Come Back 0:00
(L.C. Frazier, Embassy Music Corp., BMI) U-156
17. Midnight 0:00
18. St. Louis Woman 0:00
19. 5 O’Clock Blues (alternate) 0:00
20. She’s Alright 0:00
(L.C. Frazier, Embassy Music Corp., BMI)

Album Production: Robert G. Koester & Steve Wagner
Supervision: Leonard Allen
Cover Photo: courtesy Richard Reicheg collection
Design: Al Brandtner
Special thanks to Richard Reicheg for providing the 78s used to research the music enclosed.

Long ago this annotator opined in a review that “Slim’s United recordings deserve special acknowledgment because, to put it bluntly, they’re his best.” Delmark 710, Memphis Slim U.S.A., presented the last two of his four Chicago 1952-1954 United sessions. Now The Come Back brings listeners the complete first two sessions, a later alternate and an audition tape. Even those well versed in Slim’s United period will find much new to savor here. Eleven tracks are previously unissued, and two more made their only appearances recently on the Delmark anthology Blues Piano Orgy (Delmark 626). Among the newly heard cuts are two real revelations: super-guitarist Matt “Guitar” Murphy’s first recorded vocal “Cool Down Baby” also featuring a jaw-dropping guitar intro, and the initial ’52 version of “The Come Back” as a straight slow blues lacking the stop time arrangement claimed by Murphy (who also asserts that it was the basis of the “Hoochie Coochie Man” riff) which powered Slim’s ’53 remake and also the Count Basie-Joe Williams covers. Five strong instrumentals with plenty of room for smoking guitar and tenor sax complement Slim’s alternately rousing and contemplative piano and vocals and thoughtful lyrics, with many of the song credits assigned by Slim to his cousin L.C. Frazier.
Since everyone who enjoys this set should also have Memphis Slim U.S.A., we won’t repeat Jim O’Neal’s excellent notes which provided general background and some detail about the legendary Murphy, whose career has been sadly derailed by a late 2001 stroke (as has that of his guitarist brother Floyd). Slim, whose always intelligent music never lost its blend of smooth sophistication and gutbucket roots, passed on in his adopted home of Paris on February 24, 1988 after an illustrious and prolific career. O’Neal recounted Slim’s feeling that Lew Simpkins’ A & R work at the first session took him too far in a pop direction, though “Midnight” is the only real indication of that with Terry Timmons’ harmony vocal. But we want to spotlight briefly another accomplished musician who joined Slim beginning with the June 29, 1953 session and has made several other appearances on Delmark: saxophonist Jim Conley. Conley, whose association with Slim persisted into the 1970s, claims Illinois Jacquet, Sonny Stitt (who sat in with Slim’s band one fondly remembered night in Cleveland), Dexter Gordon and John Coltrane as influences. He was born near St. Louis in Alton, Illinois on October 1, 1931 and took up alto sax at age eleven. After sitting in with Jackie Brenston’s band in at Danceland in Decatur where he was attending Milliken University, he was hired and toured the south with Brenston for a couple years, sometimes in the company of Earl Hooker and tenor saxophonist Ed Wiley, and spent a month in Memphis with the Newborn family (including illustrious guitarist Calvin and his tortured genius brother pianist Phineas Jr., about whom Calvin has written a book) before returning home to work with his wife Jan (who was singing with Horace Heidt when she and Conley met) and altoist Charles Williams, and hang with the Ike Turner clique soon after Ike moved from Clarksdale to St. Louis. A promoter recommended Conley to Memphis Slim, who called him unheard the day before his intended wedding. Convincing Jan to wait a couple weeks, he went out for a short tour as part of Slim’s customary and influential two sax lineup. Shortly thereafter Slim, then based in St. Louis, took him to Chicago for the first United session under Slim’s own direction; Conley’s big sound and frequent solos were obvious assets. He also played on Slim’s next United session on March 16, 1954 and among his many statements of liking and respect for his former employer he recollects of the United session, “It was happy times. You’re young, you hear yourself played back.” He recalls Slim as “almost like a second father to me, ‘cause when I went with him I was young and green.” The pair worked together on and off through the 1950s before Slim moved to Paris in 1960, reuniting a decade later on Slim’s French OLD TIMES, NEW TIMES (Blue Star 80601). Conley stayed stateside and around 1961, following a stillborn Vee-Jay deal, waxed two 45s on Dempsey with a band including his cousin Phil Upchurch on guitar, pianist John Young, bassist Richard Evans and drummer Marshall Thompson. Tax troubles ended Dempsey Nelson’s activities and precipitated his move to Africa, and after a move to Milwaukee that may have led to an association with fellow resident Rice Miller recalled by fellow musicians, Conley put in stretches with Earl Hooker (retaining the usual anecdotes of amazing music and financial misdeeds) and notably Otis Rush. He toured Europe, occasionally playing two horns at once. He did sideman work on Delmark behind Luther Allison (DS-634) and Jimmy Dawkins (DS-634, alongside Rush) and with Eddie Boyd (FBS 101 and Jefferson 601) , and a session with Gerald Wilson’s big band. He recovered from a 1979 stroke to record his only LP as a leader, MY WOMAN, YOUR WORLD, GOD’S PEACE (magic angel MA5) in Germany with Ulli Kohsel and his band. After a lengthy time in Los Angeles, he is now back in Chicago.
Conley’s youthful prowess is one of the many joys of THE COME BACK. His showcase “Smooth Sailin’” was inspired by Ella Fitzgerald’s version of the Arnett Cobb original. “The Cat Creeps” is a Conley composition, named after his mother-in-law Kathleen. Its honking start evokes United’s biggest seller, Jimmy Forrest’s “Night Train,” reissued by Delmark on a CD of that title, DD-435. Later Conley sped up the tempo for Dempsey and the version he prefers was issued as “Really!!” Under that name he recut it for his LP. Murphy’s progressive, T-Bone Walker-based playing dazzles consistently throughout, and it’s difficult to discern what kept the first take COOL DOWN BABY unissued for almost half a century. His jazzy dexterity is in full cry on the hornless instrumental “Shuffleboard.” While Slim may have found “Midnight” maudlin, perhaps his romantic partnership with Timmons added depth to their vocal duet. “Only A Fool Has Fun” and “St. Louis Woman” are uptempo vocals with lots of solo space; the latter has been faded before the original flawed ending. The tracks issued as singles and alternates offer similar excellence and variety, ranging from the memorable second version of the title song to the swaggering Chicago shuffle “Back Alley.” Finally, two of the newly heard tracks have uncertain origins. “She’s Alright” appears to be a live recording, at a slower tempo than the studio version. “Stewball,” spliced together from three rehearsal takes, is a unique outing which begins with Slim coaxing Fred Below and includes mystery backup vocals.
Combining mystery, revelation and scintillating music featuring true blues immortals, especially as a bookend to a predecessor CD of similar stature, adds up to an irresistible package. Together and separately, Memphis Slim and Matt “Guitar” Murphy went on to many accomplishments and worldwide renown. Their 1958-59 Vee-Jay recordings together reprised the spirit and many of the songs from the United days, and became greatly influential in their own right. In 1985 they collaborated on record for the last time on TOGETHER ONE MORE TIME (Antone’s LP ANT0003), and a scintillating 1988 Chicago Blues Festival set capped their association. Murphy has his own album with his brother Floyd on Antone’s and two excellent CDs on Roesch. Now Slim is a fitting object of our remembrances and Murphy of our hopes and prayers. Together, with the help of standard-setting bands and Chicago’s best recording studio, they give us an hour of reiteration of why we should celebrate the immortality of recordings, especially these. Time has done nothing to diminish the reputation of these sessions, even before the full dimensions were revealed via the previously unissued material. Memphis Slim, Matt Murphy and jumping Chicago combo blues didn’t get much better than this essential CD.

Dick Shurman
June, 2002

(If I can, I’d like to dedicate those notes to Matt Murphy in friendship and admiration.)

Other Delmark albums in the United Series include:
Memphis Slim & His House Rockers featuring Matt "Guitar" Murphy,
Memphis Slim U.S.A. (710)
Junior Wells, Blues Hit Big Town (640) with Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Otis Spann...
Robert Nighthawk, Bricks In My Pillow (711)
Roosevelt Sykes, Raining In My Heart (642)
Big Walter Horton/Alfred "Blues King" Harris, Blues Harmonica Kings (712)
Jump ’n’ Shout (715) with Dave Bartholomew, Ernie K-Doe, Larry Darnell,
Erline Harris, Annie Laurie, Chubby "Hip Shakin" Newsome
Long Man Blues (717) with Eddie Boyd, Harold Burrage, Arbee Stidham...
Robert Anderson, Working The Road - The Golden Age of Chicago Gospel (702) with (Little) Lucy Smith Singers, Reverend Robert Ballinger...
J.T. Brown, Windy City Boogie (714) with Little Brother Montgomery
Morris Pejoe/Arthur "Big Boy" Spires, Wrapped In My Baby (716)
The Moroccos & Other Great Groups On United, Bang Goes My Heart (761) with The Answers, The Sheppards, The Pastels
The Danderliers & Other Great Groups On States, Chop Chop Boom
(703) with The Hornets, The Strollers, The Drakes...
The Four Blazes, Mary Jo (704) with Tommy Braden, Floyd McDaniel
Honkers And Bar Walkers, Volume Three (542) with Eddie Chamblee, J.T. Brown, Jim Conley, T.J. Fowler, Wild Bill Moore, Sax Kari, Floyd Taylor
Honkers And Bar Walkers, Volume One (438) with Jimmy Forrest, Tab Smith,
Paul Bascomb, Doc Sausage, Jimmy Coe, Cozy Eggleston...
Jimmy Forrest, Night Train (435)
Paul Bascomb, Bad Bascomb (431)
Tab Smith, Jump Time (447); Ace High (455); Top ’n’ Bottom (499)

Call or write for a free catalog of jazz and blues:
Delmark Records 1800 684 3480
4121 N. Rockwell
Chicago, IL 60618
C P 2002 Delmark Records

  • Members:
    Memphis Slim, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Fred Below, Curtis Mosley
  • Sounds Like:
    Chicago Blues
  • Influences:
    Delta Blues
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