Various Artists: Blues & Jazz Obscurities / Various

Various Artists: Blues & Jazz Obscurities / Various
Title: Blues & Jazz Obscurities / Various
Label: Document

When thirty seven year old Gertrude "Ma" Rainey first walked into a Chicago recording studio one winter day late in 1923, she brought with her over two decades of training and experience as a stage performer, spanning from the traditions of the nineteenth century black minstrel shows to the latest in vaudeville. She first heard and publicly performed blues songs in 1902 when she was sixteen. In the studio with her was the house pianist for both Paramount and the Monogram theatre, Lovie Austin. Lovie was well respected by many of the artists whom she accompanied. A competent musician, she often helped musicians like "Ma" and Alberta Hunter by writing out their song scores for copyright. Volume One in Document Records' series of the Complete Works of Ma Rainey is a highly rewarding experience, especially for those who've never had a chance to savour her earliest recorded performances. With "Her Blues Serenaders", Lovie introduced the first bars of 'Bad Luck Blues' a slow, mournful, solid blues which marked the beginning of five years of recordings by the earliest known professional blues artist to record. In this context it was fitting that Williams released two other titles from the session, 'Moonshine Blues' and 'Southern Blues', as her first record and gave her the title of "Mother Of The Blues". Rainey's wonderfully expressive voice is pitched noticeably higher than it is on her later recordings. Also to be heard is the marvellously expressive cornet playing of Tommy Ladnier, contemporaneous with that of Thomas Morris and a clear precedent for the style-setting techniques of Bubber Miley and Cootie Williams. In addition to Ladnier, the clarinettist on her first session was Jimmy O'Bryant, and the pianist was Lovie Austin. 'Lost Wandering Blues' and the magical 'Dream Blues' (which feels a bit like 19th century folk music) have banjo and guitar accompaniments by Miles and Milas Pruitt; the Pruitt Twins are also believed to have backed her on the gutsy 'Shave 'Em Dry Blues' and it's flipside 'Farewell, Daddy Blues.' Tracks 13-20 find her again supported by Lovie Austin's Blues Serenaders, now expanded to a quartet by the addition of alto saxophonist Charles Harris. The extra take of Lovie Austin's 'Ya-Da-Do' is a real treat, for this is one of the jazziest tunes that Ma Rainey ever took on.

1.1 Crazy Over Daddy - Sammie Lewis/Mandy Randolph
1.2 Cootie Crawl - Sammie Lewis/Mandy Randolph
1.3 I Got Another Lovin' Daddy - Sammie Lewis/Mandy Randolph
1.4 Whoa Tillie! Take Your Time - Sammie Lewis/Mandy Randolph
1.5 Breaking a Leg - Sammie Lewis/Mandy Randolph
1.6 Indiana Lou - Sammie Lewis/Mandy Randolph
1.7 Hen Pecked Man - Hezekiah ; Dorothy Jenkins
1.8 Mouth Organ Blues - Hezekiah ; Dorothy Jenkins
1.9 Sister, It's Too Bad - Hezekiah ; Dorothy Jenkins
1.10 Fare Thee Well - Hezekiah ; Dorothy Jenkins
1.11 The Panic Is on - Hezekiah ; Dorothy Jenkins
1.12 Shout You Cats - Hezekiah ; Dorothy Jenkins
1.13 'Taint a Cow in Texas - Margaret Whitmire/Arnold Wiley
1.14 That Thing's Done Been Put on Me - Margaret Whitmire/Arnold Wiley
1.15 The Dixie Drug Store Down on Missouri Street - Arnold ; Irene Wiley
1.16 You'd Better Not Go to 35th and State No More! - Arnold ; Irene Wiley
1.17 Windy City - Arnold ; Irene Wiley
1.18 Arnold Wiley Rag - Arnold ; Irene Wiley
1.19 Jumping Blues - Arnold ; Irene Wiley
1.20 Spider in Your Dumpling - Arnold ; Irene Wiley
1.21 Rootin' Bo' Hog Blues - Arnold ; Irene Wiley
1.22 Irene's Bakershop Blues - Arnold ; Irene Wiley
1.23 Jumpin' Judy Blues - Arnold ; Irene Wiley
1.24 This Sweet Reedie Brown - Arnold ; Irene Wiley
1.25 I'll Remember You - William Walker

Various Artists: Blues & Jazz Obscurities / Various

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