Cow Cow Davenport Vol. 1 (1925-1929)
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Cow Cow Davenport
Complete Recorded Works (1 October 1925 – 1945)
Vol. 1: 1st October 1925 to 1st May 1929
Featuring the recordings of:
Dora Carr, vocal; accompanied by Charles “Cow Cow” Davenport, piano. Davenport And Carr: Dora Carr, Cow Cow Davenport, vocal duet; accompanied by Cow Cow Davenport or Eddie Heywood, piano. Cow Cow Davenport, piano / vocal on 3,4; B. T. Wingfield, cornet (except on 6); Leroy Pickett, violin on 6. Cow Cow Davenport, piano solo; Ivy Smith, speech on 9,10, 11, 12 added. Cow Cow Davenport, piano / vocal. Cow Cow Davenport, vocal on 17 / piano solo on 15, 16, 18; accompanied by Buster Johnson, guitar on 17. Cow Cow Davenport And Sam Theard: Cow Cow Davenport, piano / vocal; Sam Theard, scat vocal; Tampa Red, guitar. Sam Theard (Lovin’ Sam From Down In ‘Bam), vocal; accompanied by Cow Cow Davenport, piano. Cow Cow Davenport, piano solo / speech on 24
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Boogie-woogie, Alabama Blues, Country Blues, Blues Piano, Female Blue, Blues Violin, Blues Guitar, Country Blues Guitar, Bottleneck-slide Guitar, Piano Solo,
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. Through the efforts of early jazz enthusiasts we know more about Charles “Cow Cow” Davenport than any of the pioneer blues and boogie pianists. Born in 1894 in Anniston, Alabama into a religious and musical family, he taught himself on the church organ. A brief sojourn at the Theological Seminary, Selma was terminated in 1910 when he played piano too freely for a function where the students marched (dancing was not allowed) and “the girls got so frisky they couldn’t march in time”. This incident was to inspire his most popular and enduring song, Mama Don’t Allow No Music Playing Here while the general disapproval of church people for the music he wanted to play led to his coining the term “boogie woogie”. As badly behaved children would be threatened with the “boogie man” (“bogey man”) Davenport said, “I called my music ‘Boogie’ music”. Note that in Davenport’s dictionary the phrase covered all the music “in the honky tonks, joints where nice people did not go”.
A short-lived (one year) marriage to a blues singer pianist Helen Rivers led to Cow Cow Blues (Railroad Blues) his most famous song: “I was so blue I commenced to get drunk. I went from honky tonk to honky tonk drinking everything I could get my hands on. When I walked out on stage that night I could hardly stand up straight. But I had sense enough to pretend like it was part of the act. I made up some words right there on the spot and began to sing my sadness:Lord I woke up this morning, my gal was gone Fell out my bedside, hung my head and moaned Went down to state and I couldnt be satisfied Had those Railroad Blues I just too mean to cry
His despair was short-lived too for he met singer Dora Carr who “pestered” him until they teamed up and worked the T.O.B.A. circuit as Davenport And Carr. Laid off in New Orleans they met Ralph Peer who sent them to New York and the first recordings as a vocal duo for Okeh followed in 1924 with Clarence Williams on piano and it was to be a year before Cow Cow Davenport was to play piano on record. Even then the session for Gennett went unissued (possibly because of the Okeh contract?) and it was later that year that Williams allowed him to accompany Dora on Cow Cow Blues. One more Davenport And Carr duo the next year (see BDCD-6040) and the relationship with Dora and, it seems, Okeh broke up. A Paramount session in 1927 with new partner Ivy Smith had violin accompaniment from Leroy Pickett and cornet by B. T. Wingfield who was in Pickett’s band at the Apollo Theatre, Chicago but 1928 and ’29 were the boom years with over twenty sessions for Vocalion and Gennett with Ivy Smith, novelty numbers with his new discovery Sam Theard, accompaniments to Hound Head Henry, probably Jim Towel and Memphis Joe (BDCD-6041) and brilliant solo sessions in a rich variety of styles. Along the definitive Cow Cow Blues and State Street Jive, great classics of Blues piano, Alabama Strut and Atlanta Rag were consummate ragtime while Mootch Piddle hinted at his vaudeville comedy routines. Cow Cow Blues was his most influential number but Dirty Ground Hog was even recalled by John Lee Hooker at his 1952 Chess session. Constantly in demand Cow Cow Davenport must have thought the good times were going to last for ever.Mike Rowe Copyright 1993 Document Records