Barrelhouse Piano Blues & Stomps 1929 – 1933
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Barrelhouse Piano Blues and Stomps
Herve Duerson, Turner Parish, Kingfish Bill Tomlin
Complete Recorded Works (1929 1933)
Featuring the recordings of:
Alura Mack (as Sallie Taylor), vocal; accompanied by Herve Duerson, piano. Herve Duerson, piano solo. Teddy Moss (as James Piatt, Floyd Griffin, Tall Tom, Blue Boy), vocal; accompanied by Arnett Nelson clarinet on 8; Herve Duerson, piano. Teddy Moss as James Piatt, Floyd Griffin, Tall Tom, Blue Boy), vocal; accompanied possibly by Arnett Nelson cl; Turner Parrish, piano. Turner Parrish, vocal / piano; accompanied possibly by Arnett Nelson, clarinet. Harry Campbell, vocal; accompanied probably by Herve Duerson, piano. Turner Parrish, vocal / piano (17, 18); or piano solo. “Kingfish” Bill Tomlin, vocal; accompanied possibly by own or probably Lousie Johnson, piano.
Genres: Blues, Country Blues, Rural Blues, Barrelhouse Blues Piano, Blues Piano, Boogie-woogie, Ragtime Piano, Female Blues, Early Chicago Blues, Piano Solo,
Abridged from this albums original booklet. Herve Duerson, Turner Parrish and Teddy Moss recorded at the same session, at Gennett’s Richmond, Indiana, studios in August 1929 and are thought to have been based in Chicago. Unhappily, nothing else seems to be known about any of them. The title of Naptown Special suggests the possibility that Herve Duerson may have been from Indianapolis. His playing is among the rare examples on record of “country ragtime”, music which combines elements of blues, jazz, and ragtime and thus lies stylistically at the very heart of African-American music. His presence on the first three of Teddy Moss‘s recordings is unmistakeable. Moss himself impresses as a somewhat wayward spirit with an imaginative use of imagery:The wave rolled in the ocean, the wave rolled in the sea. My mind keeps a-rollin’ back to my sweet used-to-be.
A fine unidentified Blues clarinettist bridges the last of Duerson’s accompaniments to Moss and those by Turner Parrish, who is a more “conventional” blues pianist. Parrish himself is a shrill singer, with an evident feeling for trains. Even one of his issued vocals has a reference to the railroad, His intention to ride the B&O (Baltimore & Ohio) in Western Traveler Blues might relate to the artists personal experiences. However the verse of Graveyard Blues:Lord, it was early morning, babe, when I heard the Frisco blow boo-hoo. Lord, and it took my baby, left me standing here wondering what to do.
is reproduced with only minor changes from Teddy Moss‘s Back-Biter Blues of four years earlier. Turner Parrish‘s 1933 session and his recording career ended with two piano solos long revered by collectors, since Trenches was resisted for the collector market in Decca’s General series in 1941. It drew from the authors of The Jazz Record Book (1942) the intriguing comment that his “light staccato touch and speedy finger doubtless show the influences of the player-piano.” Well, maybe. Kingfish Bill Tomlin has no particular connection with the other two pianists in this album. It has been suggested at different times (by the same authorities!) that he came from Louisiana, on account of his “Kingfish” nickname, and that he came from Alabama, because of the associations of the intensifier “mamlish” which occurs twice in Hot Box. It has been persuasively argued that these four titles were made at two sessions and that only the first two are accompanied by Tomlin himself. It is certainly easy to believe that the “pub piano” player heard on Dupree Blues did not perform the delicate accompaniments heard on Hot Box and Mean And Unkind Blues, for which Louise Johnson has been suggested. Dupree Blues belongs to the Betty and Dupree ballad cycle, which has its origin in the fate of a murderer hanged in Atlanta in 1922. Reference to Decatur Street confirms the locale. Whether Tomlin’s persistent pronunciation, “Bertie”, is anything other than a dialect rendering of “Betty”, only he knew. Hot Box draws its sexual metaphor from railroad; the grunt chorus is unusual to say the least. In Mean And Unkind Blues the singer twice spells out the word ending the first line of a stanza, as Y-A-R-D, pronouncing it normally on repetition. This is the most effective means of giving emphasis. Performing this more personal material, Kingfish Bill Tomlin presses as an original and creative singer.Howard Rye Copyright 1993 & 2008 Document Records