Papa Charlie Jackson – Complete Recorded Works 1924 – 1934 Vol 2 (1926-1928)
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Papa Charlie Jackson
Complete Recorded Works c. August 1924 – c. November 1934
Vol. 2: (February 1926 to September 1928)
Featuring the recordings of:
Papa Charlie Jackson, vocal / banjo. Papa Charlie Jackson, vocal / banjo / guitar. .Freddie Keppard’s Jazz Cardinals: Freddie Keppard, cornet; Eddie Vincent, trombone; Johnny Dodds, clarinet; Arthur Campbell, piano; Jasper Taylor, woodblocks; Papa Charlie Jackson, vocal. Papa Charlie Jackson, vocal / banjo; unknown, 2nd banjo / shouting on 13.
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Songster, New Orleans Blues, Louisiana Blues, Chicago Blues, Country Blues, Blues Banjo, Early Chicago Blues,
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. Papa Charlie Jackson‘s recordings often have the magpie eclecticism of the songster generation. Mumsy Mumsy Blues, for instance, owes something melodically to the composed blues “Beale Street Papa”, quotes “Careless Love” in the break, and puts together traditional verses, including a line usually associated with Blind Lemon Jefferson. Butter And Egg Man Blues, composed by Everett Murphy, is more routine; a butter and egg man is the same thing as a sugar daddy. Mumsy Mumsy Blues was coupled on disc with The Judge Cliff Davis Blues, with writer credits to Harry – Philwin. The song has some fun with Memphis Police Commissioner Clifford Davis’s law and order crackdown in that city, pointedly announcing the first case as “City of Memphis against Mr. Crow” – which wasn’t going to happen – and obliquely commenting on Southern standards of evidence: “After every case was tried, the prisoners were let inside.” On Up The Way Bound, Jackson plays euphonious guitar, reverting to banjo to accompany a song about policy, titled after a favourite play, 4-11-44, associated in dream books with the phallus. Composer Ezra Shelton uses an unusual structure of three eight-bar segments, comprising verse, chorus and reprised chorus. Your Baby Ain’t Sweet Like Mine is a vaudevillian number, and a showcase for Jackson’s flatpicking, and his fast bass runs. Bad Luck Woman Blues was written by Paramount staffer Aletha Dickerson, but Papa Charlie‘s interpretation sounds quite impassioned. There is a witty reference to sympathetic magic: “She keeps a rat’s foot in her hand at night when she goes to sleep, To keep me with her, so I don’t make no midnight creep.” Charlie Jackson was one of Paramount’s major record stars, and in mid-1926, the company brought him in to a session by Freddie Keppard’s Jazz Cardinals, to do the vocal duties on a re-recording of one of his hits, “Salty Dog”. Take 2 is included on this album, and if the disc has been most celebrated for the presence of the great Johnny Dodds on clarinet, Jackson’s contribution shouldn’t be overlooked; like him, Keppard and Dodds were New Orleanians transplanted to Chicago, and Jackson was clearly at ease in their company. It was back to solo blues for “Gay Cattin'”, an eight-bar celebration of having a good time till the money runs out; despite the original label’s ‘assertion of guitar accompaniment, Jackson plays banjo both here and on the flipside, “Fat Mouth Blues”. For his next disc – which was his first electrically recorded one – Jackson was joined by a second banjoist. This individual sounds to me like the same player who had earlier appeared on I’m Alabama Bound and Drop That Sack (see DOCD-5CI87), but with electric recording, the two instruments are much better balanced, and their excellent interplay can be more readily heard; the quadruple time instrumental break on She Belongs To Me Blues is simply astonishing. Coal Man Blues makes one wonder if Papa Charlie really operated a coal cart as his day job, so circumstantial is his account of the work. Skoodle Um Skoo, perhaps an attempt to repeat the success of Shake That Thing, reverts to solo banjo; Jackson conducts both sides of the conversation at the beginning of the performance. The record seems to have sold quite well; Jackson remade it in 1934 (see DOCD-5089). Look Out Papa Don’t Tear Your Pants, with guitar accompaniment, is a cultural ragout, mixing black comic song with a “Hawaiian” intro and a snatch of “Spanish Flangdang” in the break. Baby Don’t You Be So Mean is another vaudevillian piece, with engaging falsetto passages; as so often with Jackson, it refers to Chicago locations, and also to trouble among pimps, their women, and the police. Very much less expected is Bright Eyes; accompanied, like its flip, by some splendid guitar (contrary to the original label information). The playing on Blue Monday Morning Blues shows a clear influence from Jackson’s label mate Blind Blake, and one which was to persist on his later recordings. I’m Looking For A Woman Who Knows How To Treat Me Right was the A-side of Paramount 12602, but Long Gone Lost John is the title of more interest to historians of folk music, being the most complete recorded version of this tale of a Kentucky trickster. Very different is the sentimental Ash Tray Blues, which deploys a rather obscure, possibly sexual metaphor. Different again is the cante-fable No Need Of Knockin’ On The Blind which has been collected from white American singers and British gypsies. I Like To Love My Baby is less startling; with its bouncy chords, cheerful, pop-tinged vocals and passages of scat and stoptime, it’s typical Papa Charlie Jackson, although it may be wondered if there is such a thing: the man who could record Bright Eyes, No Need Of Knocking On The Blind, Long Gone Lost John and The Judge Cliff Davis Blues within about 12 months was predictable only in his unpredictability.
Baby – Papa Needs His Lovin, proclaimed Papa Charlie Jackson, in a wistful little song that owed quite a bit to the vocal delivery of Blind Blake, whose guitar playing also seems to have been much admired by Jackson. On Lexington Kentucky Blues, though, he was his unmistakable self, cheerily recounting his trip to the Kentucky State Fair; “here’s a blues that’s quite different, and it’s based on a true story,” said Paramount in their advertising, accompanying the text with a drawing of Jackson performing in a fairground setting.Chris Smith Copyright 1991 Document Records