Texas Black Country Dance Music 1927-1935
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Texas Black Country Dance Music
Complete Recorded Works 1927 1935
Featuring the recordings of:
Dallas String Band: Coley Jones, mandolin / vocal on 2; unknown, 2nd mandolin; probably Sam Harris, guitar; probably. Marco Washington, stand-up bass; three-voice chorus presumably by members of the group on 2. Dallas String Band With Coley Jones: three unknowns, vocal; accompanied by Coley Jones, mandolin; others probably same group as, or similar, to above. William McCoy, harmonica solo / speech. William McCoy, harmonica solo; accompanied possibly by Sam Harris, guitar. William McCoy, vocal / harmonica; possibly Jesse Hooker, clarinet on 13; possibly Sam Harris, guitar. Will Day, vocal; accompanied by unknown, guitar. Frenchys String Band: Frenchy Polite Christian, cornet; unknown, guitar; Percy Darensbourg, banjo; probably Octave Gaspard, stand-up bass (bowed); unknown, vocal on 18. Jake Jones, vocal; accompanied by the Gold Front Boys: unknown, clarinet unknown, banjo; unknown, guitar. Dallas Jamboree (Jug) Band: Carl Davis, vocal / vocal effects on 22 / swanee whistle / kazoo / guitar; unknown, 2nd guitar; Shorty, stand-up bass on 21, 23; unknown, brass bass on 22, 24; Charles Chicken Jackson, washboard on 21 / jug.
Genres: Blues, Country Blues, Texas Blues, Hokum, String Band, Jug Band, Country Blues Guitar, Blues Harmonica, Blues Mandolin, Hokum
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. Texas is the United States’ quintessential musical melting pot. Of course, the black population of Texas adds to its musical diversity. Such well known jazz musicians as Ornette Coleman and Sammy Price hail from Texas, as do more modern blues performers like T-Bone Walker, Zuzu Bollin, and Johnny Winters. The music found on this release, a delightful mixture of blues, dance tunes, hokum, and pop songs, provided these later musicians with some of their most important musical roots. The one musician whose vast recorded repertoire most clearly reflects this earlier era of black rural vernacular music in Texas is Huddie Leadbetter, more commonly known as Leadbelly, who spent parts of several years between 1908 and 1915 in and around Dallas, Kaufman County, and other sections of the “plains of West Texas”. His musical legacy is contained on another series issued by Document. Dallas, in fact, is the focus for this anthology. Perhaps the most delighted musician of the bunch is Coley Jones, the guitar and mandolin playing leader of the exuberant Dallas String Band. This string ensemble played on the streets of Dallas in the mid-to-late 1920s, charming listeners with its repertoire of turn-of-the century popular songs (Chasin’ Rainbows and I Used to Call Her Baby), ragtime (Dallas Rag), and blues songs (Sweet Mama Blues). Jones himself was an older songster whose own recorded repertoire included many song types found among late 19th and early 20th century songsters (DOCD 5161 and 5163). Harp blower and singer William McCoy is another performer recorded by Columbia about the same time. His versions of Mama Blues and Train Imitation And Fox Chase are similar to those found by many other Southern (both black and white) performers. This particular record, in fact, was released on the race and hillbilly series! The tough blues singer, Will Day, debuted shortly after Jones and Central Avenue Blues celebrated one of Dallas’ more notorious streets. The most recent selections, by the Dallas Jamboree Jug Band, incorporate several “semi-legitimate” instruments, including washboard and kazoo, with brass bass into a unique sound. Their version of Elm Street Woman Blues relates to its listeners something of life on the thoroughfare that formed the centre of Dallas’ black nightlife from the teens through the 1950s. The unissued Tyler Texas Blues implies that some members of the band may have hailed from that small city some 90 miles east of Dallas.Kip Lornell Smithsonian Institution Copyright 1993 Document Records