Category Archives: Victoria Spivey

A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS: LONGEVITY HAS ITS PLACE

Hello all. Lately I can’t seem to peel myself away from some other projects I’ve got going so I’ve got to hold off a little longer on posting up part 2 to my mix, EL AMBIENTE BIEN BABES Y BEAN DE URUGUAY. But, I’ll be posting some other mixtapes for you to bump through this fading summer, and I’ve got something else here for you today. So, I present to you—collecting much of what we have heard thus far here in these pages, and then some—a MixTape processed and sequenced for your consumption: Longevity Has It’s Place.

You can listen to the same ol’ feel-good-hit-of-the-summer rolling out your radio, or you can listen to something other spit from A Mouthful of Pennies! —Enjoy yourself!

A Mouthful of Pennies Presents: Longevity Has Its Place

——————————————————–(COME AND GET IT!)

If you download it, the playlist is listed under the “Lyrics” tab.

ENJOY YOURSELF!

LONGEVITY HAS ITS PLACE

by A Mouthful Of Pennies (Bobby Calero)

Cover art layout and design by Keri Kroboth-Calero

1) “Longevity Has Its Place” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Mason Temple, Memphis,TN

on April 3, 1968)

2) By The Time I Get To Arizona – Public Enemy (’91)

3) Two Sisters Of Mystery – Mandrill (’73)

4) If Somebody Told You – Anna King (’63) (Produced by James Brown)

5) I Don’t Know – Ruth Brown (’59)

6) Have you seen her – The Chi-lites (’71)

7) Turn On the Light of Your Love – Four Tops (’72)

8) “Tarantulas Suffocating” – Jack Kerouac (circa late ’50s) (mixed by A Mouthful Of

 Pennies)

9) Dope Head Blues – Victoria Spivey (’27)

10) What Would I Do Without You – Ray Charles (’56)

11) Curse of the Poppies – Wicked Witch of the West (’39) (portrayed by Margaret

Hamilton)

12) Needle and Spoon – Savoy Brown (’69)

13) Happiness Is a Warm Gun (Lennon/McCartney) – Bobby Bryant (’69)

14) Sam Stone (John Prine ) – Swamp Dogg (’73)

15) Stalkin’ – Duane Eddy (’58)

16) Feio/“As You Walk In Forever” – Miles Davis/Charles Manson (’69/95’)

 (mixed by A Mouthful Of Pennies)

17) Serpiente (viaje por la sal) – Pescado Rabioso (’72)

18) Shake Sugaree (Elizabeth Cotten) – Devendra Banhart (live at at The Knitting

Factory, circa ’04)

19) I’m Going Away – Elizabeth Cotten (’65)

20) I Have A Dream” – Martin Luther King, Jr. (Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, ’63.)

21) I Shall Be Released – Elvis Presley (May 20, ’71)

22) Robertson Soundcheck Riff – Robbie Robertson (’66 Dylan Tour)

23) It’s Alright, Ma – Bob Dylan (J.Period Remix)

—————————————Bobby Calero——————

P.S. By & by, Fifty years ago today, 250,000 people crowded onto the National Mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial. They came from all across the country for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and to see Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech. You can revisit my post on Dr. King from January 14th 2012 over here: BREAK THE SILENCE OF THE NIGHT.

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I BELIEVE IN TAKING MY TIME

Few can deliver a song quite like Victoria Spivey. Whether it be a song concerned with the circumstances of hard-living or one about the bawdy delights of intercourse, Spivey wrote them with a sly intelligence, hip attitude, and then got them across in her distinctive “tiger moan,” which, in the case of “Toothache Blues,” could make even dental work sound sultry. Born on October 15, 1906, in Houston, Texas, Queen Victoria Spivey’s personal style was honed as a young teenager playing regularly in local bordellos and music halls after her father was killed in an accident and it became financially necessary for her to utilize her musical talents for more than mere entertainment and pocket money. Moving to St. Louis in 1926, Spivey signed to the Okeh label, and recorded her signature hit “Black Snake Blues.” Over the next two years she would record roughly once a month, often accompanied by Jazz greats like Lonnie Johnson, King Oliver, Clarence Williams, and Louis Armstrong.

Moving to Chicago as the record business collapsed along with all other industry during the Depression of the 1930s, Spivey expanded her career by playing vaudeville musical revues, such as the Hellzapoppin’ Revue in New York City, and she even appeared as “Missy Rose” in director King Vidor’s first sound film—and one of the first all-black films by a major studio: Hallelujah!

Retiring from the stage in 1952—becoming an organist for a church in Brooklyn—Spivey would return to her career in the ’50s and ’60s during the folk and blues revival of that era, and she would even set up her own record label. She died at the age of 69 on October 3rd, 1976 in New York City.

The last time Victoria Spivey was featured in these pages it was with the tale of drug-induced delusions of grandeur that is “Dope Head Blues.” That track was recorded in New York City on October 28, 1927 for the Okeh label. Spivey returns today with a side recorded a decade later on March 12, 1937, now for the Vocalion label.

One Hour Mama” is likewise swollen with braggadocio, however, here the listener gets the distinct impression that she is not lying; she is just a woman who knows what she wants, and what she does not. The woman is simply hard to please.

In my mind’s eye, when listening to this song, this is pretty much what I see—

————————————————(CLICK TO LISTEN)

Like it? Buy it.

I’ve always heard that haste makes waste

So I believe in taking my time

The highest mountain can’t be raced

It’s something you must slowly climb

I want a slow and easy man

He needn’t ever take the lead

Cause I work on that long time plan

And I ain’t a-looking for no speed

I’m a one hour mama, so no one minute papa

Ain’t the kind of man for me.

Set your alarm clock, papa; one hour that’s proper

Then love me like I want to be

I don’t want no lame excuses ’bout my lovin’ bein’ so good

That you couldn’t wait no longer; now, I hope I’m understood

I’m a one hour mama, so no one minute papa

Ain’t the kind of man for me.

Why don’t want no greenhorned lover, like a rookie goin’ to war

With a load of big artillery, but don’t know what it’s for.

He’s got to bring me reference, with great long pedigree,

And must prove he’s got endurance, or he don’t mean that to me.

I can’t stand no crowin’ rooster, what just hits a lick or two

Action is the only booster of just what my man can do.

I don’t want no imitations, my requirement ain’t no joke,

and I get full indignation for a guy that’s lost his stroke.

I’m a one hour mama, so no one minute papa

Ain’t the kind of man for me.

Set your alarm clock, papa; one hour that’s proper

Then love me like I want to be

Why I may want love for one hour, then decide to make it two

It takes an hour ‘fore I get started, may be three hours ‘fore I’m through

I’m a one hour mama, so no one minute papa

Ain’t the kind of man for me.

——————————————–Bobby Calero

Ref:

Commire, A. (Ed.) (2002). Spivey, Victoria (1906–1976). Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. pps. 655-657. Detroit: Yorkin Publications. Retrieved February 6th, 2012 from http://go.galegroup.com.queens.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CCX2591308746&v=2.1&u=cuny_queens&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w

Spivey, V. (1937). One Hour Mama. [recorded by Victoria Spivey] On Victoria Spivey Volume 4: 1936-1937. [CD] Vocalion. (1937). Document. (2000)

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THE NARCOTIC WRECK QUINTET—PART 1: FEEL LIKE A FIGHTING ROOSTER, FEEL BETTER THAN I EVER FELT

            Victoria Spivey was born on October 15, 1906, in Houston, Texas, and died at the age of 69 on October 3rd, 1976 in New York City. She was one of eight children born to part-time musician and flagman for the railroad, Grant Spivey, and nurse, Addie Smith Spivey; they themselves both being the children of ex-slaves. After Victoria’s father was killed in an accident, it became financially necessary for her to utilize her musical talents for more than mere entertainment and pocket money, and so as a young teenager she and a brother began playing regularly in local bordellos and music halls. Throughout the 1920s, she would also occasionally perform alongside “Father of the Texas Blues,” the incredible Blind Lemon Jefferson.

Moving to St. Louis in 1926, Spivey signed to the Okeh label, and recorded her signature hit “Black Snake Blues.” Over the next two years she would record roughly once a month, often accompanied by Jazz greats like Lonnie Johnson, Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, and Clarence Williams. Moving to Chicago as the record business collapsed along with all other industry during the Depression of the 1930s, Spivey expanded her career by playing vaudeville musical revues, such as the Hellzapoppin’ Revue in New York City, and she even appeared as “Missy Rose” in director King Vidor’s first sound film, Hallelujah!

Retiring from the stage in 1952—becoming an organist for a church in Brooklyn—Spivey would return to her career in the ’50s and ’60s during the folk and blues revival of that era, and she would even set up her own record label.

—In fact, if any of you ever wondered who’s that woman seated at a piano alongside a baby-faced Bob Dylan on the back cover of his 1970 album New Morning, it’s Ms. Spivey herself! In March 1962 (just a few days prior to the release of his eponymous debut) Dylan contributed harmonica and back-up vocals for Spivey Records’ Three Kings And The Queen, which featured Roosevelt Sykes, Big Joe Williams, Lonnie Johnson, and “The Queen” Victoria Spivey. In a 2001 interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Dylan said of the experience: “I think one of the best records that I’ve ever been a part of was the record made with Big Joe Williams and Victoria Spivey. Now that’s a record that I hear from time to time and I don’t mind listening to it. It amazes me that I was there and had done that.”—

Whether it be a song that was concerned with the circumstances of hard-living or one about the bawdy delights of intercourse, Spivey would write them with a sly intelligence, hip attitude, and deliver them in her distinctive “tiger moan.” A fine example is “Dope Head Blues” recorded on October 28, 1927 in New York City. With a fine and insightful wit this song tackles the paranoia and “top-of-the-world” delusions that come with drug addiction (which was brilliantly expressed by Christian Bale’s performance as has-been boxer Dicky Eklund in a film I just saw yesterday—David O. Russell’s The Fighter).

Perfectly put over by Lonnie Johnson’s drowsy, bumbling guitar work, here’s Victoria Spivey with “Dope Head Blues.”

Like it? Buy it.

Dope Head Blues

Just give me one more sniff of, another sniff of that dope

Just give me one more sniff of, another sniff of that dope

I’ll catch a cow like a cowboy, and throw a bull without a rope

Doggone, I’ve got more money than Henry Ford or John D. ever had

Doggone, got more money than Henry Ford or John D. ever had

I bit a dog last Monday and forty doggone dogs went mad

Feel like a fighting rooster, feeling better than I ever felt

Feel like a fighting rooster, feel better than I ever felt

Got double pneumonia and still I think I got the best health

Say, Sam

Go get my airplane and drive it up to my door

Aw, Sam, go get my airplane and drive it to my door

I think I’ll fly to London, these monkey men makes mama sore

The president sent for me, the Prince of Wales is on my trail

The president sent for me, the Prince of Wales is on my trail

They worry me so much, I’ll take another sniff and put them both in jail

——————————————–Bobby Calero

Ref:

Commire, A. (Ed.) (2002). Spivey, Victoria (1906–1976). Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. pps. 655-657. Detroit: Yorkin Publications. Retrieved February 6th, 2012 from http://go.galegroup.com.queens.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CCX2591308746&v=2.1&u=cuny_queens&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w

Spivey, V. (1927). Dope Head Blues. [recorded by Victoria Spivey & Lonnie Johnson] On Victoria Spivey Volume 1: 1926-1927. [CD] Okeh. (1927). Document. (2000)

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