Alphonso (Al or Fonnie) Trent
b. Fort Smith, AR, USA.
d. 1959
Alphonse Trent led one of the most fabled of the territory bands, an outfit that barely recorded (just eight titles) but was quite legendary during the 1930's. Trent learned piano as a child, played with local bands in Arkansas and started leading his own bands as early as 1923. After working with Eugene Crook's Synco Six in 1924, he became its leader. The orchestra lasted for ten years, mostly working in the South and the Midwest but also appearing at the Savoy Ballroom in New York in the late 1920's and playing on steamboats.
After a few years out of music, Trent put together a small band in 1938 that toured throughout the Midwest before he eventually retired. Among his many notable sidemen through the years were Stuff Smith, Snub Mosley, Charlie Christian (in 1938), Harry "Sweets" Edison, Mouse Randolph and Peanuts Holland. Alphonse Trent's Orchestra recorded four selections in 1928 and two apiece in 1930 and 1933 that hint at the power and vitality of the band's infectious music.
~ Scott Yanow

Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, C&W vocals
b. Forest, MS, USA, d. March 28, 1974.
né: Arthur William Crudup
Arthur Crudup may well have been Elvis Presley's favorite bluesman. The swivel-hipped rock god recorded no less than three of "Big Boy's" Victor classics during his seminal rockabilly heyday: "That's All Right Mama" (Elvis' Sun debut in 1954), "So Glad You're Mine," and "My Baby Left Me." Often lost in all the hubbub surrounding Presley's classic covers are Crudup's own contributions to the blues lexicon. He didn't sound much like anyone else, and that makes him an innovator, albeit a rather rudimentary guitarist (he didn't even pick up the instrument until he was 30 years old).
Around 1940, Crudup migrated to Chicago from Mississippi. Times were tough at first; he was playing for spare change on the streets and living in a packing crate underneath an elevated train track when powerful RCA/Bluebird producer Lester Melrose dropped a few coins in Crudup's hat. Melrose hired Crudup to play a party that 1941 night at Tampa Red's house attended by the cream of Melrose's stable: Big Bill Broonzy, Lonnie Johnson, Lil Green. A decidedly tough crowd to impress -- but Crudup overcame his nervousness with flying colors. By September of 1941, he was himself an RCA artist.
Crudup pierced the uppermost reaches of the R&B lists during the mid-'40s with "Rock Me Mama," "Who's Been Foolin' You," "Keep Your Arms Around Me," "So Glad You're Mine," and "Ethel Mae." He cut the original "That's All Right" in 1946 backed by his usual rhythm section of bassist Ransom Knowling and drummer Judge Riley, but it wasn't a national hit at the time. Crudup remained a loyal and prolific employee of Victor until 1954, when a lack of tangible rewards for his efforts soured Crudup on Nipper (he had already cut singles in 1952 for Trumpet disguised as Elmer James and for Checker as Percy Lee Crudup).
In 1961, Crudup surfaced after a long layoff with an album for Bobby Robinson's Harlem-based Fire logo dominated by remakes of his Bluebird hits. Another lengthy hiatus preceded Delmark boss Bob Koester's following the tip of Big Joe Williams to track down the elusive legend (Crudup had drifted into contract farm labor work in the interim). Happily, the guitarist's sound hadn't been dimmed by Father Time: his late-'60s work for Delmark rang true as he was reunited with Knowling (Willie Dixon also handled bass duties on some of his sides). Finally, Crudup began to make some decent money, playing various blues and folk festivals for appreciative crowds for a few years prior to his 1974 death.
~ Bill Dahl

Wynonie Harris, Vocals
b. Omaha, NB, USA.
d. April 4, 1969 
Tag: "Mr. Blues".
Claude Hopkins, Piano/Leader
b. Alexandria, VA, USA.
d. Feb. 19, 1984, New York, NY, USA.
Age 80.
Over Claude's career, he worked with the Wilbur Sweatman orchestra and then with such other musicians as trumpeter Henry "Red" Allen; Ovie Alston; Fernando Arbello; Herman Autrey; Buster Bailey; Floyd Brady; Bill Challis; Shirley Clay; Vic Dickenson; Pee Wee Erwin; Edmond Hall; Arville Harris; Chauncey Haughton; Pete Jacobs; Eugene Johnson; Walter Jones; Sylvester Lewis; Lincoln Mills; Fred Norman; Belle Powell; Bobby Sands;Ben Smith; Jabbo Smith; Orlando Smith; Russell "Pops" Smith; Henry Turner; Sol Yaged;Earl Warren; and Dickie Wells
A talented stride pianist, Claude Hopkins never became as famous as he deserved. He was a bandleader early on, and toured Europe in the mid-'20s as the musical director for Josephine Baker. Hopkins returned to the U.S. in 1926, led his own groups, and in 1930 took over Charlie Skeete's band. Between 1932-1935, he recorded steadily with his big band (all of the music has been reissued on three Classics CDs), which featured Jimmy Mundy arrangements and such fine soloists as trumpeter/vocalist Ovie Alston, trombonist Fernando Arbello, a young Edmond Hall on clarinet, and baritone and tenorman Bobby Sands, along with the popular high-note vocals of Orlando Roberson. The orchestra's recordings are a bit erratic, with more than their share of mistakes from the ensembles and a difficulty in integrating Hopkins' powerhouse piano with the full group, but they are generally quite enjoyable.
Mundy's eccentric "Mush Mouth" is a classic, and Hopkins introduced his best-known original, "I Would Do Anything for You." Although they played regularly at Roseland (1931-1935) and the Cotton Club (1935-1936), and there were further sessions in 1937 and 1940, the Claude Hopkins big band never really caught on and ended up breaking up at the height of the swing era. Hopkins did lead a later, unrecorded big band (1944-1947), but mostly worked with small groups for the remainder of his career.
He played with Red Allen's group during the second half of the 1950s, led his own band during 1960-1966, and in 1968 was in the Jazz Giants with Wild Bill Davison. Claude Hopkins led an obscure record for 20th Century Fox (1958) and three Swingville albums (1960-1963), but his best later work were solo stride dates for Chiaroscuro and Sackville (both in 1972), and a trio session for Black & Blue in 1974; it is surprising that his piano skills were not more extensively documented.
~ Scott Yanow
Earl Johnson
C&W fiddler/session musician
b. Gwinnet County, GA, USA.
Robert Earl Johnson (August 24, 1886 in Gwinnett County, Georgia - May 31, 1965) was an old time fiddler who was influenced by the music of Gid Tanner and his Skillet Lickers.

Johnson learned to play the fiddle at an early age with some assistance from his father. When he was young, he used to practise with his two brothers, Albert on banjo and Ester on guitar. Between 1920 and 1934, he was a regular participant at the Atlanta Fiddlers' Convention. In 1923, Albert and Ester were victims of an epidemic. The same year, Johnson joined Fiddlin' John Carson's Virginia Reelers and within two years made his first recordings on Paramount Records. Initially, he recorded with the Dixie String Band and Arthur Tanner. He became the Georgia state fiddle champion of 1926 in Atlanta.

Johnson formed the Dixie Entertainers with guitarist Byrd Moore and banjoist Emmett Bankston and they made their first recordings for Okeh Records on February 21, 1927. When Byrd Moore left, Johnson added guitarist Lee "Red" Henderson and formed The Clodhoppers. The new band became successful recording for Okeh Records in October 1927.
Although he made his last recordings in 1931, Johnson continued to perform on radio and at fiddlers' conventions for the remainder of his life. His last performance was on May 24, 1965 at the Stone Mountain Fiddlers' Convention in Georgia. He died of a heart attack a week later.
Al Philburn, Trombone
b. Newark, NJ, USA.
d. 1972
In this case the "you can call me Al" action resulted as a trimming of Aloysius, actually the middle name of the trombonist who was born Michael Philburn. Al Philburn's career as a low brass man was largely confined to the American east coast, despite his presence on many recordings by a group known as the California Ramblers. His trombone case was lugged to a wide variety of engagements during his lengthy career, beginning with dance bands and continuing through studio sessions and eventually Dixieland at New York City clubs such as Eddie Condon's.
Philburn was playing professionally in the Newark area in his late teens. At 22 he signed on with the Eddie Elkins Band at the so-called Club Richman, the name perhaps an attempt to lure wealthy customers since the musicians certainly weren't getting rich. Through the Roaring Twenties the trombonist continued working with Paul Specht, Red Nichols, Cass Hagen and Ed Kirkeby. It was Kirkeby who brought Philburn's talents into the shifting instrumental recording combinations which were collectively known as the California Ramblers. 

During the '30s and '40s Philburn played trombone on a large number of studio recordings, usually uncredited. Jazz was a deep background interest in these decades but in the '50s Philburn at least blew sporadically on the New York City Dixieland scene. In the '60s he had his own band playing in this style and also gigged with Tony Parenti, Paul Lavalle and Lester Lanin.
~ Eugene Chadbourne

Fred Rose
d. Dec. 1, 1954
Name me a song that everybody knows/And I'll bet you it belongs to Acuff-Rose" sings Uncle Tupelo's Jeff Tweedy in his 1994 tribute "Acuff-Rose," and it's not much of an overstatement. In tandem with publishing partner Roy Acuff, composer Fred Rose contributed some of the most enduring songs in the annals of country and popular music, in the process nurturing the careers of numerous aspiring writers and performers, including the legendary Hank Williams.
Born in Evansville, IN, on August 24, 1897, Rose studied piano as a child and was playing professionally by the age of ten; five years later, he traveled to Chicago to pursue a singing career, performing in nightclubs and recording player-piano rolls for the QRS company alongside future jazz titan Fats Waller. Making his debut recordings for Brunswick during the 1920s, Rose also launched his career as a songwriter, scoring early success with "'Deed I Do," "Honest and Truly," and "Doo Dah Blues." He briefly played piano behind Paul Whiteman before returning to Chicago to form the Tune Peddlers with singer/whistler Elmo Tanner; the duo soon landed a regular radio spot on WKYW and with Tanner's departure, Rose hosted his own weekday program, Fred Rose's Song Show. 
After moving on to CBS affiliate WBBM, Rose -- smarting from the breakup of his second marriage -- relocated to Nashville in 1933, bringing the Song Show with him to local station WSM. His stay in Music City lasted less than a year, however, and he bounced around from Chicago to New York before finally settling in Hollywood and writing songs for Gene Autry, netting an Academy Award nomination for his "Be Honest With Me" from 1941's Ridin' on a Rainbow. Around that time, Rose returned to Nashville and WSM, becoming the station's staff pianist; in the fall of 1942, he teamed with Grand Ole Opry star Roy Acuff to form Acuff-Rose Publishing, the first music publishing firm centered in Nashville and the first devoted to country songs.
As administrative duties began eating away at Rose's creative energies, in 1945 he relinquished day-to-day operations to son Wesley and returned to songwriting, reeling off a string of hits, including "Pins and Needles," "No One Will Ever Know," "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," "Roly Poly," "It's a Sin," "Texarkana Baby," "Waltz of the Wind," "We Live in Two Different Worlds," and "Afraid."
In 1946, Hank Williams arrived at the Acuff-Rose offices and after a brief audition, Rose signed the singer on the spot, initially adding him to a stable of staff writers that included Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart. A pair of singles for the Sterling label soon followed and when Williams signed to MGM in 1947, Rose became his manager and producer, also co-writing classics including "A Mansion on the Hill," "Kaw-Liga," "Crazy Heart," "Settin' the Woods on Fire," "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive," and "Take These Chains From My Heart." Rose also possessed an extraordinary gift for placing Acuff-Rose material with pop singers and among the crossover hits the company administered were "You Belong to Me," "Tennessee Waltz," "Your Cheatin' Heart," "Slow Poke," and "Hey Good Lookin'."
Rose died of a heart attack on December 1, 1954, at the age of 57; in 1961, he was posthumously honored (along with Williams and Jimmie Rodgers) as one of the first three inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame. ~ Jason Ankeny

Henry "Buster" Smith
Alto Sax/Clarinet
b. Ennis, TX, USA
d. Aug. 10, 1991, Dallas, TX, USA.
A talented alto saxophonist and an arranger/composer who probably wrote "One O'Clock Jump" (although Count Basie received the credit), Buster Smith's contributions to jazz are difficult to assess because he was under-recorded throughout his career. Charlie Parker often acknowledged Smith's influence on his tone, and the few early recordings of the older altoist do show some similarity (although Bird's style would become much more advanced); Parker played in Smith's band in 1937.
Buster Smith was a fixture in Kansas City for the bulk of his most significant years. He was with Walter Page's Blue Devils from 1925-1933 (the band only made two recordings) and Bennie Moten's orchestra during its last period (1933-1935), and co-led the Barons of Rhythm with Count Basie. Unfortunately, he chose not to accompany Basie to New York. When Smith finally went East, he contributed arrangements to several orchestras (including those led by Gene Krupa, Count Basie, and Benny Carter) and had short stints with Don Redman, Hot Lips Page, Eddie Durham, and Snub Mosley. Buster Smith returned first to Kansas City and then finally to Texas for the remainder of his life. He recorded one very obscure (and long out-of-print) Atlantic album in 1959.

Harry Van Walls
C&W vocals/guitar
b. Millersboro, KY, USA.
Member: Nite Riders.

Paul Webster and Milt, Harlem, New York City, c. 1941.
Paul Webster
b. Kansas City, MO, USA
d. 1966 USA
The Jimmie Lunceford band became known for some of the notes Paul Webster hit on his trumpet; documentation of his close to a decade as a featured soloist on the Lunceford bandstand is encyclopedic. Listeners who praise high-note trumpet blasters by endowing them with the power to raise the dead should be advised that Webster was actually gainfully employed as an undertaker in Kansas City prior to making it on the jazz scene. This artist should not be confused with a songwriter prolific enough to make this trumpeter's published accomplishments seem like scraps of papyrus in the wind. Both men are coincidentally named Paul Francis Webster, although the songwriter seems to have made the most use of the middle name in credits. Both men also died in New York, although in different decades. The trumpeter's life was nearly 20 years shorter, Webster riffing past the respiratory illness that finally brought him down with a regular schedule of live gigs and recording.
His uncle Sam Ford started Webster off on trumpet, and by the mid-'20s the lad was gigging in an amorous-sounding outfit fronted by Clarence Lover. During college he was part of a Memphis-based combo that identified itself as the Boston Serenaders. Embalming was Webster's initial choice of careers after graduating from Fisk University, yet his choice of Kansas City to begin that career led to employment as a trumpeter with George E. Lee, Bennie Moten, and many others. He was in and out of Moten's groups during the early '30s and also began his initial collaborations with Lunceford during that period. The trumpeter was finally finished with the latter big band come 1944, then began working with the entertaining Cab Calloway, once again a source for attention-getting solos well into the '50s. Webster also stocked the pages of his datebook courtesy of bandleaders Charlie Barnet, Count Basie, Sy Oliver, and Pérez Prado. In his later years Webster combined his gigging with a position in the United States immigration service.
~ Eugene Chadbourne
Herbert Yates, Label owner
(American Records Corp.)
b. New York (Brooklyn), NY, USA.
Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

Famed Trumpeter Louis Prima
died in New Orleans, LA, USA
Age: 66.
(following an operation for a brain tumour)
"Washboard Willie"
Hensley, washboard/drums
died in Detroit, MI, USA.
Age: 82.
Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Edna Hicksn - Squawkin' The Blues


Ted Weems and his Orchestra

Ted Weems and his Orchestra - Marvelous - Vocal refrain by Dusty Roades and Parker Gibbs

Ted Weems and his Orchestra - Roam On, My Little Gypsy Sweetheart - Vocal refrain by Dusty Roades

Ted Weems and his Orchestra - She'll Never Find a Fellow Like Me - Vocal refrain by Parker Gibbs


Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith - Poorman's Blues


Ted Lewis and his Band - Lonely Troubadour


Mary Johnson
Black Gal Blues

Devils Gonna Git You

It's a long, long lane that has no turning
And it's a fire that always keeps on burning
Mister devil down below
Pitchfork in his hand
And that's where you are going to go
Do you understand?
Devil's gonna git you
Devil's gonna git you
Oh, the devil's gonna git you
Man, just as sure as you's born
Devil's gonna git you,
Devil's gonna git you,
Oh, the devil's gonna git you,
The way you're carryin' on
You go away, stay for weeks
On your doggone spree
Come back home, get in my bed
And turn your back on me
Oh the devil's gonna git you
I mean the devil's gonna git you
Man the devil' sgonna git you
Sure as you's born
Dirty two-timer, dirty two-timer,
Dirty two-timer, you ain't coming clean
Oh the devil's gonna git you
I mean the devil's gonna git you
Oh the devil's gonna git you
You know what I mean
I don't want no two-time stuff
From my regular man
Don't want nothing that's been used
'Cause it's second-hand
The devil's gonna git you
Oh the devil's gonna git you
Man the devil's gonna git you
Sure as you're born to die

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