Texas Blues 1927-1935
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Complete Recorded Works (1927-1935)
Featuring the recordings of:
Coley Jones, vocal / guitar. Bo Jones, vocal / guitar. Little Hat Jones, vocal / guitar. Little Hat Jones, vocal / guitar; unknown female, vocal interjections on 12. Little Hat Jones, vocal / guitar. Oak Cliff T-Bone: Aaron T-Bone Walker, vocal; accompanied probably by own or possibly Carl Davis, guitar; Douglas Fernell (or Finnell), piano. Willie Reed, vocal / guitar.
Genres: Blues, Country Blues, Texas Blues, Country Blues Guitar, Blues Piano,
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. This excellent and broad collection highlights many aspects of the Texas blues, from its ballad and folkloric components (Coley Jones‘ Drunkard’s Special, Little Hat Jones‘ Kentucky Blues) to its tent show strands (Coley Jones‘ Army Mule In No Man’s Land and Travelling Man), all combining to create the coarser weave of the Texas blues. The most familiar performer on this set is T-Bone Walker, represented by his first record, recorded under the name of Oak Cliff T-Bone. No less intriguing, but certainly more unknown is Dennis “Little Hat” Jones, an unusual and remarkable guitarist. His approach to the guitar was distinctive and several of his solos, for example, on Cross The Water Blues and Hurry Blues, are almost bizarre. His Kentucky Blues is a version of W C. Handy and Chris Smith‘s Long Gone (1920), itself based on a bad man ballad from Kentucky, and the same piece was recorded a few years later by a Texas pianist named Andy Boy. For the fan of down-home guitar blues, the 12 pieces by Little Hat Jones and Bo Jones, along with those by Willie Reed, will be the high spots of this album. Bo Jones has a sombre and mournful approach to his pieces that is reminiscent of Alabama’s Barefoot Bill. Reed has a less differentiated approach, but he’s a dynamic performer, and it’s interesting to note that along with many of the performers here, Reed at one time accompanied the legendary and prolific Texas Alexander. So did Little Hat Jones and Carl Davis. Goin’ Back To My Baby, recorded from an unissued test pressing, appears here for the first time anywhere. The diverse musicianship of Coley Jones is worthy of comment. At home as an accompanist to a down-home blues performance or as the leader of a string band with a varied repertoire consisting of blues, dance tunes and pop songs, he was also at home performing vaudeville or tent show numbers that were as reminiscent of the minstrel stage as they were of blues. Such musicianship was often a necessary concomitant of survival, and we will not be surprised to learn the T-Bone Walker cut his teeth playing in Jones’ Dallas String Band (see DOCD 5162). On this album, each of Jones’ numbers derives from a tent show or folklore source. Army Mule In No Man’s Land takes an ironic and sardonic look at blacks in the armed force, while The Elder’s He’s My Man parodies the church and the minister. Drunkard’s Special is based on a child ballad called Our Goodman and was also recorded by Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) in 1958 as Wake Up Baby. Travelling Man, also known as The Travelling Coon, was widely recorded and has affinities with the lore and tales of Shine And The Titanic and other bad man or hero songs of black folklore.Paul Garon Copyright 1993 Document Records.