HAPPY BIRTHDAY SKIP JAMES!!
"Skip" James, Jazz guitar/pianob. Yazoo City, MS, USA.
*Wikipedia lists Skip James as being born on June 9th, 1902 - however, most of the other sources I have found on-line say his date of birth was June 21st 1902.
Nehemiah Curtis "Skip" James (June 21, 1902 – October 3, 1969) was an American Delta blues singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter. Born in Bentonia, Mississippi, United States, he died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
He first learned to play guitar from another bluesman from the area, Henry Stuckey. His guitar playing is noted for its dark, minor sound, played in an open D-minor tuning with an intricate fingerpicking technique. James first recorded for Paramount Records in 1931, but these recordings sold poorly due to the Great Depression, and he drifted into obscurity. After a long absence from the public eye, James was "rediscovered" in 1964 by three blues enthusiasts, helping further the blues and folk music revival of the 1950s and early 1960s. During this period, James appeared at several folk and blues festivals and gave live concerts around the country, also recording several albums for various record labels.
His songs have influenced several generations of musicians, being adapted or covered by Kansas Joe McCoy, Robert Johnson, Alan Wilson, Cream, Deep Purple, Chris Thomas King, Alvin Youngblood Hart, The Derek Trucks Band, Beck, Big Sugar, Eric Clapton, John Martyn, Lucinda Williams and Rory Block. He is hailed as "one of the seminal figures of the blues."
James was born near Bentonia, Mississippi. His father was a converted bootlegger turned preacher. As a youth, James heard local musicians such as Henry Stuckey and brothers Charlie and Jesse Sims and began playing the organ in his teens. He worked on road construction and levee-building crews in his native Mississippi in the early 1920s, and wrote what is perhaps his earliest song, "Illinois Blues", about his experiences as a laborer.
He began playing guitar in open D-minor tuning.
1920s and 1930s
In early 1931, James auditioned for Jackson, Mississippi, record shop owner and talent scout H. C. Speir, who placed blues performers with a variety of record labels including Paramount Records. On the strength of this audition, James traveled to Grafton, Wisconsin to record for Paramount. James's 1931 work is considered idiosyncratic among pre-war blues recordings, and formed the basis of his reputation as a musician.
As is typical of his era, James recorded a variety of material – blues and spirituals, cover versions and original compositions – frequently blurring the lines between genres and sources. For example, "I'm So Glad" was derived from a 1927 song by Art Sizemore and George A. Little entitled "So Tired", which had been recorded in 1928 by both Gene Austin and Lonnie Johnson (the latter under the title "I'm So Tired of Livin' All Alone"). Biographer Stephen Calt, echoing the opinion of several critics, considered the finished product totally original, "one of the most extraordinary examples of fingerpicking found in guitar music".
Several of the Grafton recordings, such as "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues", "Devil Got My Woman", "Jesus Is A Mighty Good Leader", and "22-20 Blues" (the basis for Robert Johnson's better-known "32-20 Blues", and the band name for the English group 22-20s), have proven similarly influential. Very few original copies of James's Paramount 78 RPMs have survived.
The Great Depression struck just as James' recordings were hitting the market. Sales were poor as a result, and James gave up performing the blues to become the choir director in his father's church. James himself was later ordained as a minister in both the Baptist and Methodist denominations, but the extent of his involvement in religious activities is unknown.
Disappearance, rediscovery, and legacy
For the next thirty years, James recorded nothing and drifted in and out of music. He was virtually unknown to listeners until about 1960. In 1964 blues enthusiasts John Fahey, Bill Barth, and Henry Vestine found him in a hospital in Tunica, Mississippi. According to Calt, the "rediscovery" of both James and of Son House at virtually the same moment was the start of the "blues revival" in the US. In July 1964 James, along with other rediscovered performers, appeared at the Newport Folk Festival. Several photographs by Dick Waterman captured this first performance in over 30 years. Throughout the remainder of the decade, he recorded for the Takoma, Melodeon, and Vanguard labels and played various engagements until his death in Philadelphia from cancer in 1969.
Although James was not initially covered as frequently as other rediscovered musicians, British rock band Cream recorded "I'm So Glad" (a studio version and a live version), providing James with the only windfall of his career. Deep Purple also covered "I'm So Glad," on Shades of Deep Purple. John Martyn covered "Devil Got My Woman", titled as "I'd Rather be the Devil" on his album Solid Air and played it live throughout his career. English blues rock band 22-20s named themselves after "22-20 Blues."
Since his death, James's music has become more available and prevalent than during his lifetime – his 1931 recordings, along with several rediscovery recordings and concerts, have found their way onto numerous compact discs, drifting in and out of print. His influence is still felt among contemporary bluesmen. Gregg Allman recorded 'Devil Got My Woman' on his 2011 "Low Country Blues". James also left a mark on Hollywood, as well, with Chris Thomas King's cover of "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues" on O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and the 1931 "Devil Got My Woman" featured in the plot and soundtrack of Ghost World. In recent times, British post-rock band Hope of the States released a song partially focused on the life of Skip James entitled "Nehemiah", which charted at number 30 in the UK Singles Chart. "He's a Mighty Good Leader" was also covered by Beck on his 1994 album One Foot in the Grave.
In 2004, Wim Wenders directed the film The Soul of a Man (the second part of The Blues, a series produced by Martin Scorsese), focusing on the music of Blind Willie Johnson, J.B. Lenoir and Skip James. Skip James was not filmed before the 1960s. Keith B. Brown took the part of young Skip James in the scenes about his youth in the documentary. Wenders used many songs from James, some performed by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Beck, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, James 'Blood' Ulmer, T-Bone Burnett, Eagle Eye Cherry, Shemekia Copeland, Garland Jeffreys, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Los Lobos, Bonnie Raitt, Lou Reed, Marc Ribot, Lucinda Williams, and Cassandra Wilson.
Booker Collins, Bass
b. Roswell, NM, USA
b. Roswell, NM, USA
The role of a jazz bassist has evolved through the history of the music and could be generalized as an increase in input into the music above and beyond just timekeeping. It is true that perhaps some bassists get carried away, hiring other bassists to back them up while they play solos. Or perhaps that's what they all should be doing. Listeners who agree with the latter musical dogma, or simply enjoy a lively bassist, can count in Booker Collins as an early example of mucho rather than macho bass. By the mid-'30s, when he was keeping very good company indeed in the groups of the fine pianist Mary Lou Williams, a typical Collins performance would have a remarkable stature when contrasted with what other bassists were playing in similar groups. In fact, considering that the bassist in question hailed from Roswell, NM, it is no doubt acceptable to describe him as an alien among his contemporary rhythm section players.
Collins was indeed a westerner, emerging from the New Mexico Military Institute to play in Bat Brown's Band, an aptly named territorial band for a territory whose night skies were dotted with the creatures. Trombonist Bert Johnson was another playing partner of Collins, both of them going for a fattened midsection as if preparing for film roles as bouncers.
He was only 16 when he was cutting sides with Williams, part of a busy and sometimes even thriving Chicago recording scene in which jazz, rhythm & blues, and just plain blues players mingled and collaborated for independent label releases. In 1934, his break came when he got into the band of Andy Kirk and he stayed in this active group for the next decade, often playing alongside his old pal Williams in the rhythm section. Kirk was actually adding an instrument to his lineup as well as a player: The hiring represented the bandleader's decision to add double bass to the rhythm section, leaving the tuba in the closet to collect whatever tubas collect. Most bassists of Collins' generation doubled on the horn and he was no exception. Knowing what tubas collect firsthand, he was probably happy to leave it behind when the Kirk band hit the road.
The bassist's final job of note was with Chicago guitarist and drummer Floyd Smith's trio, a stint that lasted from 1946 until the early '50s, when this great bass man finally laid his big instrument down in terms of full-time playing; he made a few appearances at festival occasions in the ensuing decades and was also in Chicago recording studios in the late '50s cutting sides for independent labels. Perhaps figuring that it was insane to stay out of the music business, he joined a combo called the Shades of Rhythm to backup blues singer Mad Man Jones on the demanding "Come Here." Collins had been involved with this group, whose personnel shifted like the tide along the Chicago lakeside, since 1952 when he was part of a version that took the risk of cutting sides for the Chance label.
~ Eugene Chadbourne
Henry S. Creamer
African American lyricist/vaudevillian
b. Richmond, VA, USA
d. Oct. 14, 1930
~ From WikipediaHenry Creamer (June 21, 1879 – October 14, 1930) was an American popular song lyricist. He was born in Richmond, Virginia and died in New York. He co-wrote many popular songs in the years from 1900 to 1929, often collaborating with Turner Layton, with whom he also appeared in Vaudeville. Creamer was a co-founder with James Reese Europe of the Clef Club, an important early African American musicians & entertainers organization in New York City.
Some Famous Works:
"Alabama Stomp" w. Henry Creamer m. James P. Johnson (1926)
"'Way Down Yonder In New Orleans" w. Henry Creamer m. Turner Layton (1922)
"Dear Old Southland" w. Henry Creamer m. Turner Layton (1921)
"Strut Miss Lizzie" w. Henry Creamer m. Turner Layton (1921)
"After You've Gone" w. Henry Creamer m. Turner Layton (1918)
"Ev'rybody's Crazy 'bout the Doggone Blues, But I'm Happy" by Henry Creamer and Turner Layton (1918)
"The Bombo-Shay" by Henry Creamer (1917)
"Sweet Emalina My Gal" w.m. Henry Creamer & Turner Layton (1917)
"That's A Plenty" w. Henry Creamer m. Bert A. Williams (1909)
Harry Goodman, bass
Brother of Benny Goodman
b. Chicago, IL, USA
Mack Gordon, Lyricist
b. Warsaw, Poland
d. Feb. 28, 1959, New York, NY, USA.
né: Morris Gittler.
Gordon worked with Harry Revel 1931-'39; with Harry Warren '39-50.
His family emigrated to New York, NY, ca 1908. Mack first started acting in vaudeville and then turned lyricist. He teamed with the UK emigre pianist Harry Revel writing music for the 1931 edition of the Ziegfeld Follies, and the team was then signed by Paramount Pictures. He divorced his first wife - Rose - in 1936, and remarried Elizabeth Cook (1939-'48). co-owner of Arc Music Corp.
Dewey Jackson, Trumpet
b. St.Louis, MO, USA, d. 1994
Biography ~by Scott Yanow
It seems strange that Dewey Jackson made so few recordings because he was one of the biggest names in St. Louis jazz of the 1920's and was considered a legend for decades. Jackson played early on with the Odd Fellows Boys' Band (1912), Tommy Evans (1916-17) and George Reynolds' Keystone Band. After working on riverboats with Charles Creath, Jackson led his Golden Melody band (1920-23).
During 1924-41 the trumpeter was a fixture on the riverboats, either heading his own groups (including the St. Louis Peacock Charleston Orchestra) or working as a sideman with Fate Marable and Charlie Creath. The one exception was a four-month stretch in 1926 when Jackson was with Andrew Preer's Orchestra at New York's Cotton Club. He was only a part-time player in the 1940's, having a day job, but then worked fairly frequently in the 1950's including with Singleton Palmer and Don Ewell's Trio (1951).
Jackson was active into the 1960's. Dewey Jackson recorded just four titles as a leader (in 1926 including a classic "She's Cryin' For Me"), in 1927 he recorded with Charlie Creath and in 1950 appeared on a Singleton Palmer record. Among Jackson's sidemen through the years were Pops Foster, Willie Humphrey, Don Stovall and Clark Terry (1937).
tenor & baritone saxes/clarinet/leaderb. El Paso, Texas, USA (raised in Los Angeles)
d. July 19, 1977.His professional career began working with Charlie Echols, and he later enjoyed a long association with Johnny Otis. Wynn was a sideman on hundreds of West Coast recordings. From 1945 to 1959, he recorded sporadically with many labels including '4 Star/Gilt Edge' (perhaps his best-known side, "Ee-Bobaliba"), 'Supreme', 'Mercury', 'Modern', and 'Specialty'. He continued working as a sideman well into the 1970s, switching to baritone sax late in his career.
Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:
On This Date Include:
Ragtime pianist Ford T. Dabney
died in New York, NY, USA.
Ford T. Dabney
Ford T. Dabney
John Lee Hooker
died in California.
On This Date Include:
Club Royal Orchestra - Who'll Take My Place When I'm Gone?
- If You Don't Know Who Will? -Fletcher Henderson at the Piano
Art Landry and His Orchestra
- I'm A Lonesome Little Mama (Looking For Somebody To Love)
Dewy Jackson's Peacock Orchestra - Capitol Blues
- She's Crying For Me
- What Do You Want Poor Me To Do?
Arthur Sims and his Creole Roof Orchestra
- How Do You Like It Blues
- Soapstick Blues
- Breezin' Along With The Breeze
- When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Along
St. Louis Levee Band
- Soap Suds
Red McKenzie and his Music Box
- My Syncopated Melody Man
- There'll Be Some Changes Made
Red Nichols and his Orchestra
- Five Pennies
- Harlem Twist
Troy Floyd and his Shadowland Orchestra - Dreamland Blues (Part 1)
Dreamland Blues (Part 2)
Ted Weems and his Orchestra in 1929
Ted Weems and his Orchestra
- I Don't Want Your Kisses (If I Can't Have Your Love) - (From Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer picture "So This Is College") Vocal refrain by Parker Gibbs
There'll Be Some Changes Made
They say don't change the old for the new,
But I've found out this will never do
When you grow old you don't last long
You're here today and then tomorrow you're gone,
I loved a man(gal) for many years gone by,
I tho't his(her) love for me would never die,
He(She) made some changes that would never do
From now on I'm goin' to make some changs too.
For there's a change in the weather
There's a change in the sea
So from now on there'll be a change in me
My walk will be diff'rent my talk and my name
Nothin' about me is goin' to be the same,
I'm goin' to change my way of livin' if that ain't enough,
Then I'll change the way that I strut my stuff,
'cause nobody wants you when you're old and gray
Ther'll be some change made.
They say the old time things are the best,
That may be very good for all the rest
But I'm goin' to let the old things be
'Cause they are certainly not suited for me,
There was a time when I thought that way,
That's why I'm all alone here today
Since ev'ry one of these days seeks something new
From now on I'm goin' to seek some new things too.
For there's a change in the fashions,
Ask the fiminine folks
Even Jack Benny has been changing jokes,
I must make some changes from old to the new
I must do things just the same as others do,
I'm goin' to change my long, tall Mamma
(Daddy) for a ittle short Fat,
(Daddy) for a ittle short Fat,
Goin' to change the number where I live at.
I must have some lovin' or I'll fade away,
There'll be some changes made.