Lonnie Johnson – Complete Recorded Works 1925 – 1932 Vol. 3 (1927-1928)
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Complete Recorded Works 4 November 1925 2 August 1932
Vol. 3: 3rd October 1927 to 21st February 1928
Featuring the recordings of:
Lonnie Johnson, vocal / guitar; Porter Grainger, piano. Lonnie Johnson, vocal on 2 / guitar; poss. John Erby, piano. Lonnie Johnson, vocal / guitar. Lonnie Johnson, (under the pseudonyms Duke Owens, Willie Woods, Bud Wilson, George Jefferson), vocal on 10, 13 / guitar; Jimmy Blythe, piano. Lonnie Johnson, vocal / guitar; prob. De Loise Searcy, piano. Lonnie Johnson, vocal on 19 / violin; Nap Hayes, guitar; Matthew Prater, mandolin. Keghouse, vocal; acc. Jaybird, piano / vocal on 21/speech on 20; Lonnie Johnson, guitar. Lonnie Johnson, guitar solo.
Genres: Blues, Country Blues, Country Blues Guitar, Jazz Guitar, Blues Piano, Blues Violin, Blues Mandolin, Louisiana Blues, New Orleans Blues, Guitar Solo
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. When Lonnie Johnson returned to Okehs New York studio in October 1927, he began with an account of the cyclone that had just struck St. Louis, where he had until recently been living. Elzadie Robinson recorded the same song that November, but Lonnies version was made a mere four days after the storm, which took 84 lives in five minutes, and caused immense damage. In a very different mood was Bedbug Blues Part 2, a sequel to the popular Mean Old Bed Bug Blues that hed cut in August (see DOCD-5064). October and November found Johnson cutting more of his elegant instrumentals, and Okeh still reluctant to issue them, apparently preferring his imaginative stories in song like Life Saver Blues and Blue Ghost Blues (and, in Bitin Fleas Blues, yet another attempt to exploit the craze for blues about parasites). It may have been frustration with Okeh that led Lonnie Johnson to make extra contractual recordings for Gennett in December, with the pianist Jimmy Blythe. He was careful to do deep disguise; the record labels credited him as Bud Wilson or George Jefferson (and Blythe as Duke Owens or Willie Woods), while the company files noted that Wilson / Jefferson was one James OBrien! The masquerade is transparent, though, as Lonnie spans his range; from blues, both homiletic and narrative, to hot instrumental, to sentimental ballad. Less than a week after the Gennett sessions, Johnson was back on Okeh, guesting with Louis Armstrongs Hot Five, and furthering his campaign to define the role of the guitar as a soloing instrument in jazz. The same day, he made Sweet Potato Blues, lyrically a foretaste of the hokum duets on which he was shortly to collaborate with Spencer Williams; its unfair, perhaps, to compare it with Im Not Rough and Savoy Blues. The two part Kansas City Blues, evidently recorded at Okehs behest in the wake of Jim Jacksons success for Vocalion, starts with Lonnie sounding unenthusiastic, but he can be heard to warm to the songs possibilities as it goes on. Lonnie Johnson adopts a rougher, countrified violin sound on Memphis Stomp, but is his more usual suave self on Violin Blues. More firmly blues orientated than Hayes & Prater were the vocalist Keghouse (possibly Gordon Keghouse) and his piano playing partner, Thomas Jaybird Jones, who were joined by Lonnies guitar (and, on an unissued title, violin). From Memphis, the unit travelled to San Antonio, where Johnson was reunited with Texas Alexander. Before recording 11 superb accompaniments to Alexander, however, he made four glorious guitar solos, very different from his work with Alexander, but equally fine; perhaps in the wake of his guest appearances with the Hot Five, Okeh seem finally to have committed themselves to Lonnie Johnson in this role, issuing all four.Chris Smith Copyright 1991 Document Records