Ida May Mack and Bessie Tucker

John Irving
Sun Jun 28 00:23:51 EDT 1998

At 10:11 PM 6/27/98 -0400, you wrote:

>Bessie Tucker and Ida May Mack are great!! So is their piano
>player "Mr. 49", whose name may have been K.D. Johnson.
>I believe there are a couple collections of their work on
>Document. Big voices, deep voices! Some think their main
>line of work was in the red light districts. They were from
>Texas, I belive, but recorded in Memphis. I like the
>"Penetentiary Blues" and The "Frying Pan Skillet Blues".

On this compilation Tucker performs:

Fort Worth and Denver Blues
Better Boot that Thing
Bogey Man Blues
Whistling Woman Blues

Ida May Mack performs:

Wrong Doin' Daddy
Elm Street Blues
When You Lose Your Daddy
Mr. Forty-nine Blues
Goodbye Rider

Penitentiary Blues is incredibly powerful.  No "Frying Pan Blues," but I'll
keep my eyes open for it.  As you said Bonnie, they're crediting K.D.
Johnson on the piano for both Tucker and Mack...(Is he the subject of "Mr.
49?")  Remarkably, the voices are always crystal clear but the piano, not
being miked, has that eerie far-off vaudville sound...which is kind of a
cool sound anyway.

It's great stuff...I distinctly remember Alberta Hunter's comeback in the
late seventies, early eighties...she was everywhere at once, including at
the White House to play for President Carter.  She was eighty-something at
the time but didn't look it at all.

John Irving
Visit the Larry Johnson Blues Pages

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