Boogie Woogie & Barrelhouse Piano Vol 1 1928-1932
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Boogie-Woogie & Barrelhouse Piano
Complete Recorded Works Vol. 1: 1928 1930
Featuring the recordings of:
Pinetop Smith, vocal on1, 2/ speech on 3, 4/ piano. Pine Top Smith, vocal / piano; poss. Mayo Williams, speech on 6, 7, 8, 9. Charles Avery, piano solo. Freddie Redd Nicholson, vocal; acc. J. H. Shayne, piano. Freddie Redd Nicholson, vocal; acc. Charles Avery, piano. Jabo Williams, vocal / piano; or: piano solo (21,24).
Genres: Blues, Country Blues, Blues Piano, Boogie-Woogie, Piano Solo
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. More is known about Pine Top Smith than the rest of the pianists here put together, so its ironic there should have been so many conflicting accounts of his life and death. According to Sarah Horton, whom he married in 1924, it was in Pittsburgh he first started playing Pine Tops Boogie Woogie. Cow Cow Davenport claimed to have originated the term, boogie woogie, when he met Pine Top in a joint in Pittsburghs Sachem Alley and told him, You sure have got a mean boogie woogie. Davenport, acting as talent scout, recommended Pine Top to J. Mayo Williams of Brunswick / Vocalion records and Smith moved to Chicago in the summer of 1928. Possibly Williams wasnt sure how best to present his new artist – the first unissued sessions had him accompanied by jug and kazoo and teamed in a vocal duet but his first issued sides were two impeccable watershed performances. This was the first time boogie woogie appeared on record and seems to be a dance or step. Certainly the limpid grace of Pine Tops rolling bass and the suspense of the breaks makes it eminently danceable. On his quick return to the studio another six sides mainly focused on his vaudeville repertoire – apart from the precise Jump Steady while Im Sober Now combined both sides of his background in the serio-comic dialogue and musical mixture of Blues and sentimental stuff. One more recording, the unissued Driving Wheel Blues, and Pine Top was gone; a stray bullet in a dance-hall brawl ended his life just two days later, 15 March 1929. Pine Tops seminal recordings ushered in a very brief but exciting Golden Age of Blues piano recordings of mostly new artists. Charles Avery is a total unknown with one solo, Dearborn Street Breakdown a driving, up-tempo boogie, from October 1929 to his name. He is known, if at all, for his backing Lucille Bogan on one session and his storming accompaniments to Lil Johnson and, perhaps, Willie Harris and, here, to Freddie Redd Nicholson another totally unknown singer. From the first Nicholson session Averys 63rd Street Stomp was unissued but the titles and his style place him firmly in the mainstream of Chicago piano blues and boogie. Jabo Williams is the odd man out. From his only session in 1932 one title, Pratt City, refers to his Birmingham, Alabama origins as do Fat Mama and House Lady two songs later recorded by Birminghams Walter Roland while Polock Town celebrates a section of East St Louis. Jabs music is barrelhouse piano blues of a very high order – rolling basses and attacking treble, melodic themes and even one semi-ragtime piece in Pratt City. The double-sided Kokomo is interesting as the earliest (1932) mature version of the theme that would provide James Kokomo Arnold with a recording sobriquet and Robert Johnson with the basis for Sweet Home Chicago.Mike Rowe 1992 & 2008 Document Records