Jazz Gillum – Complete Recorded Works 1936 – 1949 Vol 4 (1946 – 1949)
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Complete Recorded Works 3rd April 1936 to 25th January 1949
Vol. 4: (18th February 1946 to 25th January 1949)
Featuring the recordings of:
Jazz Gillum, vocal / harmonica; Big Maceo Merriweather, piano; Leonard Caston, guitar; Alfred Elkins, stand-up bass. Jazz Gillum, vocal / harmonica (except on 9); James Clark, piano; Willie Lacey, guitar; Ransom Knowling, stand-up bass; Judge Riley, drums . Jazz Gillum, vocal / harmonica (except on 11); Eddie Boyd, piano; Willie Lacey, guitar; Ransom Knowling, stand-up bass; Judge Riley, drums. Jazz Gillum, vocal / harmonica; Bob Call, piano, Willie Lacey, guitar; Ransom Knowling, stand-up bass; Judge Riley, drums. Jazz Gillum, vocal / harmonica; Bob Call, piano, Pete Franklin, guitar; Ransom Knowling, stand-up bass; Judge Riley, drums.
Genres: Blues, Urban Blues, Early Chicago Blues, Mississippi Blues, Blues Guitar, Blues Harmonica, Blues Piano,
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. After their session with Roosevelt Sykes, Jazz Gillums studio association with Big Bill Broonzy seems to have come to an end and in February 1946 he was working with the great Big Maceo Merriweather on piano, Baby Doo Caston on guitar and Alfred Elkins on bass. All that was missing from the classic bar-band line-up of the early fifties was the drummer and at his next session in September of the same year Gillum introduced Judge Riley to fill the gap. Given the largely conservative attitude of RCA Victor one can only speculate as to what Gillum was actually playing in the clubs at this time. In the studio he continued to use this basic line-up up until his last, unissued, session for Victor in 1950. By this time the second southern invasion, led by Muddy Waters, had taken place and the writing was on the wall for Gillum’s generation of blues singers. Some, like Tampa Red had the adaptability to try to move along with the new trend while others, led by Big Bill, took a deliberate backward step for the benefit of the white folklorists. Others still either retired or just fell on tough times. Jazz Gillum seems to have been one of the latter and was forced to find means to support himself and his family outside music. In an interview with Paul Oliver in 1959 Muddy Waters remarked that he hadn’t seen Jazz Gillum in ten years. His reputation, coupled with the increased white interest in blues led to his recording along with Memphis Slim for the Folkways Label in 1961. He later worked at the folk club The Fickle Pickle and was poised to take a role in the “boom” of the 1960s when his death came on March 29th 1966. Fulfilling the prophecy of one of his last Victor recordings that there was Gonna Be Some Shooting he was shot in the head during an argument and was dead by the time he arrived at hospital. For the tastes of today’s, white, blues fan Jazz Gillum was never one of the leading lights on the blues scene of the thirties and forties but neither was he one to be ignored. He sold a lot of records. Although his harmonica style became outdated as soon as John Lee Williamson appeared, it did add a touch of country to balance the random clarinets, saxophones and trumpets that were coming to dominate the blues of the late thirties. Jazz continued to move with the times himself and by the end of his career was working with drummers and electric guitarists while using his heavy voice to good effect on songs that were as often as not written by Washboard Sam. His main objective as a performer was to entertain and in that he certainly succeeded.Keith Briggs Copyright 1993: Document Records