Thursday, October 17, 2013

Show 63 - Drink Brands



Some blues singers were clearly paid to advertise products. In later years, b.b. king sang songs to famously sold peptikon and sonny boy williamson king biscuit flour. Were gonna take a look at some early songs that may be ads or may just be folks singing about products they enjoy.


J.T "Funny Paper" Smith's 1930 Vocalion recording Good Coffee Blues talks about brands in some interesting ways in classic blues double entendre song:

I Heard you say this morning, mama, that your head was throbbing through and through
Heard you say this morning that your head was throbbing through and through
Come on let me make you some coffee, let me show you what my coffee will do
Pull off your house shoes, mama and lay down on the bed
Pull off your house shoes, mama lay down on the bed
I won't be but a few minutes but I will kill that old headache dead.
Don't rush, take your time lady, go down easy and slow
Don't rush, take your time lady, go down easy and slow
Then when you have a headache again, come back to me, baby, and I'll give you some more.
Your coffee-grinding papa's in town, Lord that good coffee

Now Folger makes coffee, Maxwell makes coffee, White Swan makes coffee, Arbuckle he makes coffee
But I make coffee so good, it will make you bite your tongue
Been all over the world grinding coffee mama, come on let me grind you some
Now when your friend want coffee, please send all your friends to me
When your friend want coffee, send your friends to me
I swear I give them good coffee and won't give them no rotten tea
Memphis Minnie sang about a place to get coffee and something to eat in what sure sounds like a paid advertisement from 1930. North Memphis Blues:
I tell all you people, you can rest and eat You don't have to worry about cooking, go to North Memphis Cafe and eat I tell all you people, you can rest and eat Because the North Memphis Cafe got everything that you really need
I don't buy no wood, even buy no coal
I go to North Memphis cafe and eat and don't be a dope
I tell all you people, you can rest and eat
You don't have to worry about cooking, go to North Memphis cafe and eat
I will tell y'all something, I don't change like the wind
If you go to North Memphis Cafe, eat, you'll go back again
I tell all you people, you can rest and eat
Because the North Memphis cafe got everything that you really need
Now listen to me, good people, I don't aim to make you mad
You go to North Memphis Cafe and get something you never had
I tell all you people, you can rest and eat
Because the North Memphis Cafe got everything that you really need
The Nugrape Twins were Georgia natives Mark and Matthew Little. They recorded a few blues and gospel records and also hosted a radio show sponsored by Nugrape soda. They recorded two songs about that sweet drink including I Got Your Ice Cold Nugrape in 1926:
I got a NuGrape nice and fine
The rings around the bottle is a ginger wine
I got your ice-cold NuGrape
I got a NuGrape nice and fine
There’s plenty imitation but there’s none like mine
I got your ice cold NuGrape
Way down yonder in the Promised Land
Oh, run and tell you mama, “Here the NuGrape man”
I got your ice cold NuGrape
Little children in the backyard playing in the sand
Oh, run and tell you mama, “Here the NuGrape man”
I got your ice cold NuGrape
When you feeling kind of blue, do not know what ailing you
Get a NuGrape from the store, then you’ll have the blues no more
I got your ice cold NuGrape
What’s that makes your lips go flippity flop?
When you drink a NuGrape you don’t know when to stop
I got your ice cold NuGrape
If from work you come home late, rolling pin waits at the gate
Smile and bribe her with NuGrape
Then you see you're in good shape
I got your ice cold NuGrape
Sister Mary has a beau, says he’s crazy and love her so
Buys a NuGrape every day, know he bound to win that way
I got your ice cold NuGrape
Tampa Red's Hokum Jazz Band recorded Good Gordon Gin. The musicians seem to be having a great time and singer Frankie "Hal-fpint" Jaxon seems to be singing about a product he loves when he starts chanting: "A little more of the Gordon gin, I’m talking about good Gordon gin." Big Bill Broonzy also pronounced himself a fan of Gordon Gin in his 1941 song I Feel So Good:
I got a letter, it come to me by mail
My baby says she’s coming home
And I hope that she don’t fail
You know I feel so good
Yes I feel so good
Now I feel so good
Baby, I feel like balling the jack
I feel so good, I hope I always will
I feel just like a Jack out with a Jenny
Well behind the hill
I feel so good
Yes, I feel so good
I feel so good
Baby, I feel like balling the jack
I’m going down to the station, just to meet a train
I'd like to see my baby
You know I’ve got dead aim
You know I feel so good
Yes, I feel so good
I feel so good
I just feel like balling the jack
I love my tea, crazy about my Gordon gin
When I get high now baby
Feel like floating around in the wind
You know I feel so good
Yes, I feel so good
I feel so good baby
I feel like balling the jack
Memphis Slim's Old Taylor probably wasn't a paid ad for the bourbon, but the folks at the distillery were probably pretty glad to hear the song:
Now I love to sing that good Old Taylor blues I love to sing that good Old Taylor blues When we want another drink I swear we just can't lose
Now you see, Mr. Melrose, standing in the floor Oh, I see that man that's standing in the floor He gonna give us a little drink Now, just before he goes
Now we want Old Taylor, Lord We want, Old Taylor now We want, Old Taylor now We want, Old Taylor now We want, Old Taylor Bring it on, bring it on, bring it on
Now, you'll say what's fine and mellow You'll say what's fine and mellow Oh, you'll say what's fine and mellow You'll say, what's fine and mellow Now, you'll say what's fine and mellow Bring it on, bring it on, bring it on
You'll say, was twenty years old You'll say, was twenty years old Now you'll say, was twenty years old You'll say, was twenty years old Now, you'll say was twenty years old Bring it on, bring it on, bring it on
Now, is he popping? Yeah, man Now, is he popping? Yeah, man I believe he's popping Yeah, man I believe he's popping Yeah, man I believe he's popping Yeah, man Pop on, pop on, pop on
Memphis Slim singing mentions Mr. Melrose’s is gonna give him a drink referring to Lester Melrose who ran Bluebird Records. It’s one of many songs where a blues singer sang about a brand he liked. That one’s probably not a paid endorsement, but I’m sure the folks at the Old Taylor distillery would have been thrilled to hear it. Musical inspiration can come from many sources including products on the shelf. Whether a cup or coffee or a glass of bourbon it resulted in some pretty good blues songs.

Songs:
Good Coffee Blues - Funny Paper Smith
North Memphis Blues - Memphis Minnie
I Got Your Ice Cold Nugrape - Nugrape Twins
Good Gordon Gin - Tampa Red's Hokum Jazz Band
I Feel So Good - Big Bill Broonzy
Old Taylor Blues - Memphis Slim

Robert Johnson and Records

If you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support the audio element Robert Johnson was both a consumer and creator...