Saturday Single No. 742

Blame it on Amazon Prime.

I had plans for a post today, one that would require a little time and thought, but last evening, we dined out, then came home and watched a couple of episodes of The Killing, a series on Amazon Prime. Add another hour-long show and the necessary tasks prior to retiring for the night, and we got to bed very, very, late. (Cue “Around Here” by Counting Crows.)

So I wound up sleeping late, having odd dreams as I did. The one salient detail I remember from the last dream was a sign on the wall that said, “For help, call Boogie Boy 28.” And today’s partly planned post will wait for another day.

But the RealPlayer will bail me out, somewhat. It tells me that on this date – June 26 – in 1939 in Chicago, Roy Shaffer recorded “The Matchbox Blues,” later released as the B-side of Bluebird 8234. His version is one of eight tracks with similar titles on the digital shelves here, ranging in time from Blind Lemon Jefferson’s 1927 version to Bob Dylan’s 1970 take on the version of the song called simply “Matchbox.”

(The website Second Hand Songs lists Jefferson’s “Matchbox Blues” and “Matchbox” as two different tunes, crediting Carl Perkins with authorship of the latter. That surprises me, and I may look into it next week. If they’re not the same song, they’re at least cousins.)

As to Shaffer, discogs tells me he was a cowboy singer born in Mathiston, Mississippi, in 1906 who was active from the 1930s into the 1950s. recording for Decca and Bluebird in the mid- to late 1930s. He died in 1974 in Greenville, Mississippi, and is buried in nearby Cleveland, Mississippi.

Here’s Shaffer’s version of “The Matchbox Blues.” It came my way via the tenth disc – East Virginia Blues – of the eleven-disc series When The Sun Goes Down: The Secret History of Rock & Roll released in the early 2000s by Bluebird and RCA. And it’s today’s Saturday single.


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