Sunday, July 22, 2007

Baytop & Franklin's Duo Blues

My years with Rick Franklin go back to when we both were on the Board of Directors of the DC Blues Society in the late eighties and also I enjoyed when he performed with Neil Harpe and sometimes Rick Usilton, or by himself. I remember a Black History Program at Northern Virginia Community College where he shared the stage with Archie Edwards & John Jackson. Mike Baytop, head of the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation, and him have a new recording Searching For Frank, on Patuxent out of Rockville MD. The Frank on this CD is Frank Stokes and imagine an entire acoustic blues CD reviving tunes that deserved to be revived, not simply over familiar mediocre Robert Johnson covers. I have not heard the disc but they performed all the songs from it at a CD party at Paxtuxent's studios today and it was delightful to hear the two guitarists evoking the marvelous sound of Stokes who certainly should be something most of you should be familiar with. Not that was all there was. Baytop played mandolin on a nice Stop and Listen Blues, while harp and bones for other tracks, and on an encore of Jambalaya, Eleanor Ellis joined in on washboard. It was a wonderful evening and if the CD is half as good as the party I will be in for a treat.

While there I discovered Paxtuxent has two new CDs as well. Eleanor Ellis' Comin' a Time (again with no Robert Johnson covers, but plenty of Memphis Minnie and John Estes and others). Eleanor is as good as any acoustic blues woman out there and would be better known if she wasn't such an angel. She has recorded with the late Flora Molton and toured with her and Archie Edwards, putting their interests before her own. She produced the wonder movie Blues HouseParty which recently was issued on DVD. She was also one of the founders of the DC Blues Society and the Archie Edwards Foundation. I have been waiting for years for her to finally have an entire album by herself.

Finally there is a new Warner Williams and Jay Summerour disc, Down'N'Dirty by a most wonderful singer-guitarist, perhaps the word songster best describes Warner. Another DC treasure, but one who will not fly. Anyway, the website is and I would eventually expect to see some of this on

1 comment:

Jim said...

Excellent review. They may not be great crooners, but both are good singers. One thing especially nice about this album is that you hear them the way they sound live. The sound was not tricked out in the studio.