Lucille Hegamin – Complete Recorded Works 1920 – 1932 Vol. 2 (1922-1923)
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Lucille Hegamin was one of the finest singers on records during the first half of the ’20s. Her strong voice and easy to take delivery resulted in her having a large recorded output in the period. This, the second of three Document albums dedicated to her complete recordings, prior to 1960, features Hegamin being backed by several unidentified bands (mostly the Dixie Daisies but also her Blue Flame Syncopators, her Bang-Up Six from Georgia, and Sam Wooding’s Society Entertainers) or just the piano of J. Russell Robinson or Cyril J. Fullerton. The recording quality is not bad for the time and the highlights, among the twenty-five songs, include I’ve Got What It Takes But It Breaks My Heart to Give It Away, Beale St. Mama, Aggravatin’ Papa, her third version of He May Be Your Man But He Comes to See Me Sometimes, Down Hearted Blues, Saint Louis Gal, and Dina
Following closely at the heels of Mamie Smith, Lucille Hegamin first recorded as early as October, 1920 for Victor but her ‘Dallas Blues’ was rejected and her recording career proper, initially for the East Coast Arto label, began the following month. Her first record, coupling The Jazz Me Blues and Everybody’s Blues, sold well and her second, Arkansas Blues / I’ll Be Good But I’ll Be Lonesome, was a big hit. By the time her recording career stalled, late in 1926, she had made over seventy-five sides. A single record for OKeh in 1932 was her pre-war swan-song and it was to be thirty years before she recorded again (for Prestige Bluesville). Lucille had been a regular on the vaudeville circuit since before World War One and her clear diction and smart presentation were marks of her professionalism. Her material was usually fairly strong, although saccharin sentiment did sometimes creep in on numbers like Mississippi Blues and ‘Land of Cotton Blues’. However, her approach was usually upbeat and light, in complete contrast to the deep, sombre blues of an Ida Cox.
She tended to avoid bawdy material and Mamma Whip! Mamma Spank! (If Her Daddy Don’t Come Home)is about as naughty as she gets, preferring the novelty value of I’ve Got The Wonder Where He Went (And When He’s Coming Back) Blues and I Had Someone Before I Had You (And I’ll Have Someone After You’re Gone’). Her strongest number in this vein being her very successful He May Be Your Man But He Comes To See Me Sometimes, one of six sides Lucille made for Paramount in 1922.
That year she started to record regularly for the Cameo label, producing persistently good couplings like ‘Beale Street Mama’/ ‘Aggravatin’ Papa’ and Sam Jones Blues’/ ‘St. Louis Gal’. Other outstanding Cameo sides Included ‘Syncopatin’ Mama’, and two titles that appeared to cover Ida Cox songs but were in fact quite different, ‘Chattanooga Man’ and ‘Rampart Street Blues’
If you’d like to sample a lighter shade of blue, why not try listening to the ‘Cameo Girl’, as Lucille was known at this time, and discover why this spirited performer was so popular in her day.