Butterbeans & Susie

Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1926-1927)

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In 1997 the Viennese Document label reissued the first 48 Okeh recordings made during the 1920s by the archetypal "Ma and Pa Vaudeville" blues duo Butterbeans & Susie. Since this came out at a time when Document was stubbornly refusing to employ noise reduction technology, sound quality varies from pretty good to good. Volume two covers the time period between March 1926 and September 1927. Most of these humorous numbers toy around with marital discord, often resorting to violent imagery that might seem startling even if it can be found in most every musical genre from Italian opera to hip-hop. What these songs speak to is the endless play between egos that characterize most human relationships, an interpersonal tug o' war that they manage to send up with a brusque and earthy humor that can and will grow on you. If Jodie "Butterbeans" Edwards' colorfully abusive threats raise a few eyebrows (especially during "Your Folks Will Start Wearing Black"), Susie Hawthorne seems to maintain the upper hand, especially with language like "You're a No 'Count Triflin' Man," "Let the Doorknob Hit You in the Back," "Daddy's Got the Mojo, But I Got the Say-So," and the very precise "Love Me and the World is Mine (Hit Me and the Jail is Yours)." Although most of these recordings were made in New York City, on June 18, 1926 Butterbeans & Susie cut two sides in Chicago; Lovie Austin is the pianist on "I Can't Do That," and Louis Armstrong's Hot Five are heard on the flip side, "He Likes It Slow." Other than that, all of the piano accompaniments are by Eddie Heywood, Sr. Additionally, trumpeter Robert Cheek pipes up on tracks 13 and 14, and the great Louis Metcalf blows his cornet on tracks 19 and 20. But the most unique instrumentation in this collection occurs on the most outrageous recording this duo ever made. One-string fiddler Tosh Hammond saws away during the notoriously sexualized (and originally unissued) "I Wanna Hot Dog for My Roll." Sounding at first like an innocent encounter between a hungry citizen and a street vendor, this routine quickly escalates into an hysterically funny erotic comedy routine as Susie demands a dog that's got "lotsa juice" and is "fulla mustard" while Butterbeans (who insists that "my dog's never cold!") exclaims "sister, that roll you got will hold a half a hog!."

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:57
2
3:07
3
2:47
4
2:42
5
3:09
6 2:59
7
3:07
8
2:56
9
3:35
10
3:09
11
2:55
12
2:42
13
3:12
14
3:08
15
3:01
16
3:04
17 3:21
18
3:02
19
3:14
20
3:06
21
2:52
22
3:23
23
2:59
24
2:41
blue highlight denotes track pick