[Blues-l] LP covers: Madcat, Spivey, Little Walter

John Kristoff jtk@depaul.edu
Mon Jul 27 12:21:39 EDT 2020

Hi again blues-l,

I don't seem to get a whole lot of reaction out of my weekly list
postings, but I did get a non-zero number from last week's
vinyl-related posting so I'll include a few probably lesser known LPs I
happen to have this time.

First up, Peter "Madcat" Ruth.  He may have been one of the first live
performers that might be considered blues, or at least distinctly blues
adjacent.  I saw him with a friend in a small place called the Coffee
Kingdom in Worcester, MA sometime in the 1980's.  This coffee house
was often home to act you might expect in such a place, mostly folk
acoustic players.  The place probably barely sat 25 people if that.  I
don't think it exists in its original form any longer.

His closing bit was something he called Sonny Terry Meets Jimi
Hendrix.  You can imagine what that sounds like.  I think I saw him a
second time in another town when I picked up his album.  Specifics are
lost to a fading memory.

I believe this is his first full LP.  Having heard him live and
purchased it there he gladly autographed it.  Looking on his web site
now, this may or may not be available.  A link not found off his home
page suggests he may few left at a cost of US $150.  Not sure his store
link is still valid so you better check first if you decide to purchase
anything.  I imagine I probably paid $10 or so at the time for it.


Next is Spivey LP 1005, The Bluesmen of the Muddy Waters Chicago Blues


Victoria Spivey was a singer, but also a record producer in the 60s and
70s.  Most of the album covers look like a plain bill posted for a live
show surrounded by black and white pictures of Victoria and the
performers. The back looks more like a newspaper clipping of album and
artist details. You can probably find a few copies of these things
online. I'm not sure they are worth a whole lot, but I'd say they are
at least historically interesting for blues fans.


Last is one of the seemingly lowest quality LP covers in my small
collection.  No idea where I got this Little Walter "import" from, but
my sense is the album cover was a cheap photo copy of an original front
and back album, stuck on the cardboard sleeve and sold for US $7.49
according to the tag.  The vinyl itself looks like a legit Red
Lightning print.

Perhaps if this odd mix of LPs says anything is that you took what you
could get at the time.  My first "real" blues album was the Super Blues
album combo of Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, and Little Walter.  Why that
was the first?  I wanted something with harp, and that was one of the
few available that had some "big" names so I figured, this can't be
worst one of the handful in the bin.  Based on that purchase I bought a
Little Walter LP next.  Discovered Big Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson
II, and so on.  Found I liked Robert Nighthawk and Earl Hooker for
guitar, and just kept picking up the occasional thing that seemed
interesting from there.


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