The Songs

Over the course of time between May of 1937, and December of 1938, more than 300 tracks were recorded for Bluebird in The Sky Club of the Leland Hotel in downtown Aurora, Illinois.

In time, a complete list of all the songs recorded will be contained within this page. In addition, the audio of a select groups of songs culled from that body of work will be made available for your listening pleasure. The songs have been selected in order to exemplify their influential significance and importance, as well as pointing out the vast array of artists involved in the sessions.

The first sessions took play on May 4, 1937. Tampa Red and The Chicago Five were first up to bat beginning their session at 9am … they were finished at about noon after having recorded eight songs. Here is a listing of the songs that they recorded:

She Said It
It’s Hard To Believe It’s True
When Love Come In
You Got To Learn To Do ItI
Give My Love To YouI
See You Can’t Take It
My Gal Is Gone
When The One You Love Is Gone

Washboard Sam and His Washboard Band were next up to bat. Their session began at noon and ended around quarter to 3 in the afternoon. They also recorded eight songs:

Easy Ridin’ Mama
The Big Boat
Back Door
We Gonna Move
Low Down Woman
I Drink Good Whiskey
Lowland Blues
I’m On My Way

The balance of the May 4 sessions had the State Street Swingers, John D. “Black Spider” Twitty, Merline Johnson (The Yas Yas Girl) and Charlie West contributing tracks. Here’s a listing of their songs that were recorded in the order that they were laid down:

State Street Swingers
Stingaree Man
Every Night
Get GoingI
Vouch For My Man
John D. Twitty
John D Blues
Sold It To The Devil
You Can’t Love Me (listed as being by “Little Bill”)
Camp Meeting In The Air
Death of a Gambler
Merline Johnson
New Muddy Water Blues
He Roars Like A Lion
I’m Leaving You
My Baby Left Me
Pallet On The Floor
Mean Mistreating Daddy
Charlie West
Rolling Stone Blues
Ethel Mae
Poor Boy Blues
Hobo Blues

The following day, a group of prominent St. Louis Blues artists, recruited by Walter Davis, who was working for Lester Melrose, recorded a total of 24 songs. The historic and Blues Hall of Fame “Good Morning, School Girl”, by John Lee Curtis “Sonny Boy” Williamson, was first recorded during the May 5 sessions. In addition to Sonny Boy, Walter Davis, Robert Lee McCoy (Robert Nighthawk) and Big Joe Williams all participated in the session. And, to a certain extent, each lead player sat in, or accompanied, one of the others on their recordings. Henry Townsend played guitar on most, if not all, of the songs attributed to Walter Davis.

Walter Davis
Angel Child
Fifth Avenue BluesI
Ain’t Got Any Changin’ Clothes
West Coast Blues
Shady Lane
What Else Can I Do
Nightmare Blues
Good Gal
Sonny Boy Williamson
Good Morning School Girl
Blue Bird Blues
Jackson Blues
Got The Bottle Up and Gone
Sugar Mama Blues
Skinny Woman
Robert Lee McCoy
Tough Luck
Lonesome World
G Man
Don’t Mistreat Your Woman
Prowling Night Hawk
Sweet Pepper Mama
Big Joe Williams
I Know You Gonna Miss Me
Rootin Ground Hog
Brother JamesI
Won’t Be In Hard Luck No More

It was a long five months between the first series of sessions and the next. The October 11 recordings were, for the most part, handled by a strong list of prominent Chicago Blues artists, with the only holdover from the May sessions being Tampa Red and The Chicago Five. New to the Sky Club recording was Bill “Jazz” Gillum and His Jazz Boys, Curtis Jones, Red Nelson, Sweet Peas (Addie) Spivey and Lee Green. A peculiar MIA was Washboard Sam.

Tampa Red and The Chicago Five
You’re More Than A Palace To Me
Harlem Swing
Oh Babe, Oh BabyI’m Gonna Get High
Delta Woman Blues
Deceitful Friend Blues
Wrong Idea
Whoopee Mama
Travel On
Seminole Blues
Bill Gillum & His Jazz Boys
My Old Lizzie
Alberta Blues
My Old Suit Case
Birmingham Blues
Curtis Jones
Drinking and Thinking Blues
Schoolmate Blues
Bad Avenue Blues
Good Old Easy Street
Red Nelson
Eva Mae Blues
Working Man Blues
Relief Blues
Back Home
Jailhouse Blues
Black Gal Stomp
Sweet Peas Spivey
I Got A Man In The ‘Bama Mines’
Cold In Hand
Ramblin Blues
Disgusted Blues
Blood Drippin’ Blues
Road Of Stone
Lee Green
My Best Friend
Looking Up to Down

November 11, 1937 Sessions

Sonny Boy Williamson
Up The Country Blues
Worried Me Blues
Black Gal Blues
Collector Man Blues
Frigidaire Blues
Suzanna Blues
Early In The Morning
Project Highway

Robert Lee McCoy
Danger Blues
My Friend Has Forsaken Me
Mean Black Cat
Mamie Lee
Take It Easy Baby
I Have Spent My Bones

Henry Townsend
Lose Your Man
All I Got’s Gone
Rambling Mind
Now I Stay Away

Washboard Sam & His Washboard Band
Washboard’s Barrel House Song
Want To Woogie Some More
Ladies Man
You Got To Take It
Beer Garden Blues
Where Were You Last Night
Somebody’s Got To Go
Lookin For My Ash Hauler
Gonna Be Some Walkin Done
Second Story Man

Walter Davis
Holiday Blues
Let Me Dig Your Basement
Streamline Woman
Let Me Meg Your Water
Big Jack Engine BluesGuiding Road
The Talk’s All Over
My Babe

March 13, 1938 Sessions

Walter Davis
If You Ever Get Lonesome
I Did Everything I Could
Million Dollar Baby
When The Nights Are Lonesome
Candy Man
If You Only Understand
I Hear My Baby Crying
Walking The Avenue
Easy Goin’ Mama
Friendless Blues

Sonny Boy Williamson
My Little Cornelius
Decoration Blues
You Can Lead Me
Miss Louisa Blues
Sunny Land
I’m Tired Truckin’ My Blues Away
Down South
Beauty Parlor
Until My Love Come Down

Elijah Jones
Katy Fly
Big Boat
The Only Boy Child
Lonesome Man
Mean Acting Mama
E Stuff Stomp

Yank Rachell
J.L. Dairy Blues
Rachel Blues
Lake Michigan Blues
I’m Wild And Crazy As I Can Be

March 14, 1938 Sessions

Tampa Red & The Chicago Five
The Most of Us Do
We Gonna Get High
Happidly Married
A Lie In My Heart
Heck Of A How-Do-You-Do-It
That May Get It Now
That Don’t Matter Now
Grouchy Hearted Woman
Why Should I Care?
Got To Leave My Woman

Washboard Sam & His Washboard Band
Don’t Leave Me Here
My Woman’s A Sender
Towboat Blues
Mountain Blues
Phantom Black Snake
Yellow, Black and Brown
It’s Too Late Now
Down At The Old Village Store
The Gal I Love

Sam Theard
Big Time Rose
You’re Gonna Be A Rascal Til You Die
You Turned Your Back On Me
You’re Solid With Me

Bill Gillum & His Jazz Boys
Just Like Jesse James
Reefer Head Woman
New Sail On Little Girl
Sweet Sweet Woman
Gillums Windy Blues
Boar Hog Blues

Lorraine Walton
Whiskey Blues
Freight Train Blues
You Can’t Take It With You
Down In My Heart

One Arm Slim
(Lovell Alexander)
Howling Man Blues

June 16, 1938 Sessions

Tampa Red & The Chicago Five
Now That You’ve Gone
Rock It In Rhythm
I Do
Sweetest Gal In Town
Crazy With The Blues
Love With A Feeling
When Bad Luck Is On You
When I Had A Good Woman

Washboard Sam & His Washboard Band
Bucket’s Got A Hole In It
Save It For Me
Serve It Right
Cruel Treatment
Jumpin Rooster
I’m Gonna Keep My Hair Parted
Sophisticated Mama
Policy Writer’s BluesI
‘m Gonna Pay
When My Love Change

Bill Gillum & His Jazz Boys
Worried And Bothered
I’m That Man Down In The Mine
Uncertain Blues
Good Old 51 Highway
You’re Laughing NowI
‘m Gonna Get It

St. Louis Red Mike Bailey
Red Mike Blues
Hell Ain’t But A Mile and a Quarter
Wash My Hands Nice and Clean
Chimney Higher
Gambling Man Blues
Just Around The Corner

George Jefferson with Monkey Joe
Blues For 6 Nights
Honey Bee

Lulu Scott with Monkey Joe
Baby Can I Holler
Everybody Do The Shag

June 17, 1938 Sessions

Walter Davis
Angel Child Pt. 2
Thirteen Highway
If You Treat Me Right
What Is Wrong With You
Love Will Kill You
Just Tell Me Your Trouble
Call Me Anytime

Sonny Boy Williamson
Honey Bee Blues
My Baby I’ve Been Your Slave
Whiskey Headed Blues
Lord, Oh Lord Blues
You Give An Account
Shannon Street Blues
You’ve Been Foolin Round Downtown
Deep Down In The Ground

Yank Rachell
When You Feel Down and Out
Texas Tommy
It’s All Over
My Mind Got Bad

“Jackson” Joe Williams
Get Your Head Trimmed Down
Peach Orchard Mama
Hav’nt Been No Whiskey
Goin Up On The Mountain

December 16, 1938 Sessions

Tampa Red & The Chicago Five
Mr. Rhythm Man
Just You And I Alone
Checkin Up On You
Oh Yes, My Darling
Forgive Me Please
Blues For My Baby
Helliah Old Feeling
She Got The Best In Town

Casey Bill Weldon
I Believe You’re Cheatin’ On Me
Way Down In Louisiana
You Gotta Do Your Duty
Midnight Blues

Washboard Sam & His Washboard Band
You Waited Too Long
Gonna Kill My Baby
Suspicious Blues
Walkin In My Sleep
Washboard Swing
Hand Reader Blues
Rack Em Back
I’ll Be Up Some Day
Warehouse Blues
C C C Blues

Bill Gillum
Mule Blues
Let Her Go
Get Away Old Woman
Staving Chain
She Won’t Treat Me Kind
I’ll Get Along Some How

December 17, 1938 Sessions

Speckled Red Trio
Welfare Blues
Down On The Levee
Do The Georgia
Early In The Morning
Take It Easy
Try Me One More Time
Louise Baltimore Blues
What Makes You Treat Me Mean?
St. Louis Stomp
You Got To Fix It

Sonny Boy Williamson
Number 5 Blues
Christmas Morning Blues
Bluebird Blues #2
Little Girl Blues
Low Down Ways
Goodbye Red
Right Kind Of Life
Insurance Man Blues
Rainy Day Blues

Willie Hatcher
They’re Mean To Me
So Unkind

December 18, 1938 Sessions

Robert Lee McCoy
Every Day & Night
Ol’ Mose
You’re All I’ve Got To Live For
She’s Got what It Take
Next Door Neighbor
Big Apple Blues (written by SBW)
Freight Train Blues
Good Gamblin’

December 19,1938 Sessions

Walter Davis
I Like The Way You Spread Your Wings
Cuttin’ Off My Days
You Don’t Know Right From Wrong
Bad Luck And Trouble
Smoky Mountain
Your Time Is Coming
Everything Is O.K.
Troubled And Weary
Early This Morning
Mercy Blues