Elmore James discography

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Elmore James discography
Compilation albums 8+[a]
Singles 45
Singles as accompanist 5

Elmore James was an American blues slide guitarist and singer who recorded from 1951 until 1963. His most famous song, "Dust My Broom", an electrified adaptation of a Robert Johnson tune, was his first hit and features one of the most identifiable slide guitar figures in blues.[2] James' composition "The Sky Is Crying" (which became a blues standard) and his rendition of "It Hurts Me Too" were among his most successful singles on the record charts.[3] Other popular James' songs, such as "I Can't Hold Out", ""Madison Blues", "Shake Your Moneymaker", "Bleeding Heart", and "One Way Out", have been recorded by several other artists, including Fleetwood Mac, Jimi Hendrix, and the Allman Brothers Band.[4][5]

As with most blues artists in the 1950s and early 1960s, James' recordings were originally issued on two-song record singles.[6][7] "Dust My Broom" was first issued by the small Trumpet Records label in 1951.[2] Shortly thereafter, James began recording for several larger companies.[8] From 1952 to 1956, he recorded for the Bihari brothers, who issued singles on their Meteor, Flair, and Modern labels.[9] In 1957, he recorded for Mel London's Chief Records[10] and from 1959 to 1963, for Bobby Robinson's Fire Records.[7] In 1953 and again in 1960, James also recorded some songs that appeared on Checker/Chess Records.[11] He also played guitar on several recordings by other artists, including J. T. Brown, Big Joe Turner, Little Johnny Jones, and Junior Wells.[12][13][14]

In 1960, the Biharis released the compilation, Blues After Hours, on their budget Crown label, which was the only album released during James' career.[15] After his death in 1963, his former companies began re-issuing a number of his singles on subsidiaries and leasing them out to other companies.[16] These various labels also began releasing numerous compilation albums, often with significant overlap in song selection.[1] With the advent of compact discs, this trend continued.[1] However, some box sets have appeared that collect most or all of James' recordings for a particular label or time period.[17] The Chess,[18] Capricorn,[19] and Virgin America/Flair[20] collections also include some previously unreleased material and alternate takes.

Releases 1951–1963

On record releases, Elmore James is sometimes listed as "Elmo James", "Elmore James and the Broomdusters", and "Elmore James and His Broomdusters".[21]


List of singles with notes, labels, and peak chart positions
Year Title
A-side / B-side
Label Peak chart
position US[3]
1951 "Dust My Broom" / "Catfish Blues" Bobo Thomas performs B-side without James; re-released in 1966 by Jewel 764 Trumpet 146 9
1952 "I Believe" / "I Held My Baby Last Night" Meteor 5000 9
1953 "Baby, What's Wrong" / "Sinful Women" Meteor 5003
"Early in the Morning" / "Hawaiian Boogie" Flair 1011
"Country Boogie" / "She Just Won't Do Right" Checker 777
"Can't Stop Lovin" / "Make a Little Love" Flair 1014
"Please Find My Baby" / "Strange Kinda Feeling" Flair 1022
1954 "Hand in Hand" / "Make My Dreams Come True" Flair 1031
"Sho' Nuff I Do" / "1839 Blues" Flair 1039
"Dark and Dreary" / "Rock My Baby Right" Flair 1048
"Standing at the Crossroads" / "Sunny Land" Re-released in 1964 by Kent 433 Flair 1057
1955 "Late Hours at Midnight" / "The Way You Treat Me" Flair 1062
"Happy Home" / "No Love in My Heart" Flair 1011
"Dust My Blues" / "I Was a Fool" Flair 1074
"I Believe My Time Ain't Long" / "I Wish I Was a Catfish" Re-titled re-release of Trumpet 146 Ace 508
"Blues Before Sunrise" / "Goodbye Baby" Flair 1079
1956 "Wild About You" / "Long Tall Woman" Modern 983
1957 "Coming Home" / "The 12 Year Old Boy" Also released by Vee-Jay 249 Chief 7001
"It Hurts Me Too" / "Elmore's Contribution to Jazz" Also released by Vee-Jay 259 Chief 7004
"Cry for Me Baby" / "Take Me Where You Go" Also released by Vee-Jay 269, USA 815, and S&M 101 Chief 7006
1959 "Bobby's Rock" / "Make My Dreams Come True" Re-release of Flair 1031 B-side Fire 1011
1960 "Dust My Blues"/ "Happy Home" Re-release of Flair 1074 A-side with Flair 1069 A-side; re-released in 1963 by Kent 394 and Sue UK WI–335 Kent 331
"The Sky Is Crying" / "Held My Baby Last Night" Fire 1016 15
"I Can't Hold Out" / "The Sun Is Shining" Chess 1756
"Rollin' and Tumblin'" / "I'm Worried" Fire 1024
"Knocking at Your Door" / "Calling All Blues" Earl Hooker performs B-side without James; also released by Sue UK WI-392 Chief 7020
"Done Somebody Wrong" / "Fine Little Mama" Fire 1031
1961 "Shake Your Moneymaker" / "Look on Yonder Wall" Also released by Enjoy 2022 Fire 504
1962 "Stranger Blues" / "Anna Lee" Also released by Bell 719 Fire 1503
"—" denotes a release that did not chart

Compilation albums

Only one album by Elmore James was released during his lifetime. The compilation album, titled Blues After Hours, was issued by the Bihari budget Crown label in 1960.[15] A second compilation album in 1960 by Fire Records featuring 1959–1960 Fire singles was planned, but was never issued.[26][b]

List of compilation albums with notes, labels, and peak chart positions
Year Title Notes Label Peak chart
position US
1960 Blues After Hours[15] 10 Flair tracks released as singles in 1954 and 1955; re-released as The Blues in My Heart – The Rhythm in My Soul by Custom CS 1054 and The Late Fantastically Great by Ember UK 3397[28] Crown 5168
"—" denotes a release that did not chart

Posthumous releases (after 1963)


List of posthumous singles with notes, labels, and peak chart positions
Year Title
A-side / B-side
Label Peak chart
position US[3]
1965 "It Hurts Me Too" / "Bleeding Heart" The Enjoy release of "It Hurts Me Too" was recorded in 1962–1963; also released by Sue UK WI–383 Enjoy 2015 (1st. pressing) 25[c]
"It Hurts Me Too"/ "Pickin' the Blues" Re-released by Fire in 1969 (2020) and 1976 (5000) Enjoy 2015 (2nd. pressing)
"Cry for Me Baby"/ "It Hurts Me Too" Re-release of Chief 7006 A-side with re-release of Chief 7004 A-side (1957 recording) Mel 201–1
"Bleeding Heart" / "Mean Mistreatin' Mama" Enjoy 2020
"My Bleeding Heart"/ "One Way Out" Re-release of Enjoy 2020 B-side as A-side with new B-side Sphere Sound 702
"The Sky Is Crying" / "Standing at the Crossroads" Re-release of Fire 1016 A-side with B-side recorded in 1960–1961 Flashback 15
"Everyday I Have the Blues" / "Dust My Broom" The Enjoy release of "Dust My Broom" was recorded in 1959 Enjoy 2027
1966 "Shake Your Moneymaker"/ "I Need You" Re-release of Fire 504 A-side with new B-side Sphere Sound 708
"Sunny Land" / "Goodbye Baby" Re-release of Flair 1057 B-side with re-release of Flair 1079 B-side Kent 465
"Dust My Broom"/ "Rollin' and Tumblin'" Re-release of Enjoy 2027 B-side with re-release of Fire 1024 A-side Sphere Sound 712
"Something Inside of Me" / "She Done Move" Sphere Sound 713
"I Need You"/ "Mean Mistreating Mama" Re-release of Sphere Sound 708 B-side with re-release of Enjoy 2020 B-side Sue UK WI–4007
1967 "Make a Little Love"/ "Catfish Blues" Re-release of Flair 1014 B-side; Bobo Thomas performs B-side without James Jewel 783
1968 "I Believe"/ "1839 Blues" Re-release of Meteor 5000 A-side with re-release of Flair 1039 B-side Kent 508
1972 "Everyday I Have the Blues"/ "Up Jumped Elmore" Re-release of Enjoy 2027 A-side with new B-side Fury 2000
"Something Inside of Me"/"Fine Little Mama" Re-release of Sphere Sound 713 A-side with re-release of Fire 1031 B-side Fire 5001
"—" denotes a release that did not chart

Selected compilation albums

Numerous Elmore James compilation albums issued by a number of record companies have been released over the years.[1] The following lists some of the more notable and current releases, including box sets:[8]

List of selected posthumous compilation albums with notes, labels, and peak chart positions
Year Title Notes Label Peak chart
position US
1969 Whose Muddy Shoes[17] All Checker/Chess recordings; also includes songs by John Brim[30] Chess 1537
1975 Street Talkin'[31] All Chief recordings; also includes songs by Eddie Taylor[31] Muse MCD 5087
1992 Elmore James: King of the Slide Guitar[17] All Fire/Fury Records/Enjoy recordings[32] Capricorn 9 42006–2
1993 Elmore James: The Classic Early Records 1951–1956[17] All Meteor/Flair/Modern recordings[33] Virgin America/Flair 7243 8 39632 2 5
The Sky Is Crying: The History of Elmore James[17] 21 tracks from various labels[17] Rhino R2 71190
1995 The Best of Elmore James: The Early Years[17] 28 Meteor/Flair/Modern tracks[17] Ace CDCHD 583
2001 Shake Your Money Maker: The Best of the Fire Sessions[34] 16 Fire/Fury/Enjoy tracks[34] Buddha 99781
"—" denotes a release that did not chart

Elmore James as an accompanist

Although it is documented that Elmore James performed with Sonny Boy Williamson II, it is unclear which, if any, of Williamson's early recordings include James as a sideman.[35] It is unknown if James performed on additional recordings by Big Joe Turner[36] and Junior Wells.[14]


List of singles as an accompanist with notes, labels, and peak chart positions
Year Title
Notes Label Peak chart
position US
1952 "Round House Boogie" / "Kickin' the Blues Around"[12] with J. T. Brown as Bep Brown Orchestra[12] Meteor 5001
"Sax-ony Boogie" / "Dumb Woman Blues"[12] with J. T. Brown as Saxman Brown (A-side) and J. T. (Big Boy) Brown (B-side)[12] Meteor 5016
1953 "TV Mama" / "Oke-She-Moke-She-Pop"[13] with Big Joe Turner as Joe Turner and His Blues Kings[13] Atlantic 1016 6[37]
"Sweet Little Woman" / "I May Be Wrong"[12] with Little Johnny Jones as Little Johnny Jones and the Chicago Hound Dogs[12] Flair 1010
"Somebody Done Hoodooed the Hoodoo Man"[14][d] / "Junior's Wail" with Junior Wells as Junior Wells and His Eagle Rockers; Wells performs "Junior's Wail" without James[14] States 134
"—" denotes a release that did not chart



  1. ^ Over 100 James compilation albums have been released;[1] eight of the more notable and current releases are included in this discography
  2. ^ Robinson's later Sphere Sound Records issued The Sky Is Crying in 1965 with nearly the same track listing[27]
  3. ^ "It Hurts Me Too" also reached number 106 on Billboard magazine's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart[3]
  4. ^ Sometimes titled "Hodo Man" on States Records singles; for album releases it was retitled "Hoodoo Man"


  1. ^ a b c d AllMusic. "Elmore James: Discography – compilations". AllMusic. Retrieved April 10, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Koda 1996, p. 132.
  3. ^ a b c d Whitburn 1988, p. 216.
  4. ^ Unterberger 1996, p. 86.
  5. ^ Haig & Morris 1992, p. 1.
  6. ^ a b c d e Topping 1993, p. 33.
  7. ^ a b c Haig & Morris 1992, pp. 12–13.
  8. ^ a b Koda 1996, pp. 132–133.
  9. ^ Topping 1993, pp. 12–15.
  10. ^ Topping 1993, p. 17.
  11. ^ Snowden & Welding 1991, pp. 1, 5–6.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Topping 1993, p. 30.
  13. ^ a b c Shurman 1986, pp. 2–3.
  14. ^ a b c d Koester 1998, p. 2.
  15. ^ a b c Leggett, Steve. "Elmore James and the Broom Dusters: Blues After Hours". AllMusic. Retrieved April 10, 2016. 
  16. ^ Topping 1993, pp. 16–17.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h Koda 1996, p. 133.
  18. ^ Koda, Cub. "Elmore James/John Brim: Whose Muddy Shoes". AllMusic. Retrieved April 30, 2016. 
  19. ^ Koda, Cub. "Elmore James: King of the Slide Guitar: The Fire/Fury/Enjoy Recordings". AllMusic. Retrieved April 30, 2016. 
  20. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Elmore James: The Classic Early Recordings: 51-56 [Box]". AllMusic. Retrieved April 30, 2016. 
  21. ^ Topping 1993, pp. 29–32.
  22. ^ Snowden & Welding 1991, pp. 5–6.
  23. ^ Welding 1975, Back cover.
  24. ^ a b Hoppula, Pete (October 8, 2014). "Chief Records – Discography". wangdangdula.com. Retrieved April 10, 2016. 
  25. ^ a b c Hoppula, Pete (June 7, 2008). "Enjoy Records (Bobby & Danny Robinson) – Singles". wangdangdula.com. Retrieved May 2, 2016. 
  26. ^ a b c Hoppula, Pete (July 5, 2011). "Fury Records/Fire Records – Discography". wangdangdula.com. Retrieved April 10, 2016. 
  27. ^ The Sky Is Crying (Album notes). Elmo James. Sphere Sound Records. 1965. LP 7002. 
  28. ^ Topping 1993, p. 36.
  29. ^ Cry For Me Baby / It Hurts Me (Single label). Elmore James. Mel Records. 379 201-1. 
  30. ^ Snowden & Welding 1991, pp. 1–2.
  31. ^ a b Welding 1975, pp. 1–2.
  32. ^ Haig & Morris 1992, pp. 5.
  33. ^ Topping 1993, pp. 26–28.
  34. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Elmore James: Shake Your Money Maker: The Best of the Fire Sessions". AllMusic. Retrieved April 10, 2016. 
  35. ^ Topping 1993, p. 11.
  36. ^ Shurman 1986, pp. 5–6.
  37. ^ Whitburn 1988, p. 419.


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