Piano Blues – Various Artists – Complete Recorded Works Vol 1 (1927-1936)
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Complete Recorded Works Vol. 1: 1927 – 1936
Featuring the recordings of:
Bert Mays, vocal / piano. Bert M. Mays, vocal / piano. Blind Clyde Church, vocal / piano. Dan Stewart, vocal / piano. Jim Clarke, piano solo / speech. Judson Brown, vocal / piano. Joe Dean, vocal / piano. James “Bat” Robinson, vocal / piano; Ed Hudson, banjo / humming on 15, 16; probably Alfred Bell, kazoo / washboard on 14 / comments. Pigmeat Terry, vocal; accompanied probably own or possibly Frank James, piano. Jesse James, vocal / piano; unknown, jug added on 22. James Bat “The Humming Bird” Robinson, vocal / piano.
Genres: Blues, Rural Blues, Country Blues, Blues Piano, Texas Blues, St. Louis Blues, Memphis Blues, Louisiana Blues, Piano Solo
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. BERT MAYS‘s 1927 recordings show stylistic affinities with Texan piano which are less evident in 1928. Geographical references in the titles of his unissued recordings mainly confuse, but Milwaukee Scrontch might indicate where he was living in 1928. The whereabouts of “Number Nine, where the women and men go to have a real good time,” are unknown but CLYDE CHURCH‘S gentle bouncy piano is a delight. So are his complaints against the woman who promised him, “midnight supper and my ‘fore day tea.” The single titles by DAN STEWART and JIM CLARKE were originally coupled. It is not certain Stewart accompanies himself, but the piano has obvious affinities with other New Orleans pianists. Jim Clarke‘s dance-call number was sub-titled Shake Your Fat Fanny in the files. British readers should remember that in America a woman’s fanny is at the rear of her body! JUDSON BROWN has been said to be “probably originally from Memphis”. JOE DEAN (From Bowling Green) did not come from Bowling Green. This sobriquet was invented by Brunswick. In 1977, he told Mike Rowe that he was born in St. Louis in 1908. He began playing for parties in his late teens and soon graduated to clubs. He got the idea to record from Roosevelt Sykes and travelled to Chicago to deal directly with Race A&R man Mayo Williams, who gave him a recording date after hearing his “21 Years Old”. Mexico Bound Blues also his own composition, was suggested by seeing a Santa Fe freight apparently bound for Mexico at Newton, Kansas. JAMES ROBINSON, called “Bat The Humming Bird” from his falsetto humming, as heard on Humming Blues, was born in Algiers, Louisiana, in 1903 and raised in Memphis. In Chicago after 1922 his associations included drumming with Louis Armstrong at the Sunset Cafe. His 1931 recordings form part of a State Street Ramblers session and he probably sang and played kazoo on some of their titles. Buddy Burton most likely plays the kazoo accompanying the humming on Humming Blues. After he moved to St. Louis he had a day job, but worked club dates and occasional tours with medicine shows. He died of tuberculosis in March 1957. He was already sick when Bob Koester and Ralph Hiett recorded the two titles which appeared on Erwin Heifer‘s Tone label. These are usually dated to 1957, but according to Berta Wood (Jazz Monthly, April 1958), they were made at Bob Koester‘s session with Speckled Red, which took place on 2 September 1956. PIGMEAT TERRY‘S real name may be indicated by the composer credits to “Terrio”. His moaning and rhythmic chording is extremely idiosyncratic. JESSE JAMES was known to collectors of the earlier generations. His playing reminded them of Cripple Clarence Lofton and as late as 1960 Lofton was being suggested as the accompanist, though it seems certain that in fact James accompanies himself. References in Lonesome Day Blues to “The Nation” and “The Territo”, referring to the Cherokee Nation and the Indian Territory, relate the song to the period before these were merged into the State of Oklahoma in 1907, but it is fanciful to see in this evidence that the singer had been cloistered from the world since then. The authors of The Jazz Record Book (1942) drew the different conclusion that, “This husky-voiced entertainer sounds like a survival from the old tent shows.” Sweet Patuni was thought too bawdy for issue and later bootlegged (presumably) by the party-record label Post, who credited it to “Hooker Joe“. The subject matter does not moderate the violence of the pianistic attack.Howard Rye Copyright 1993 Document Records.