Various Artists - Memphis Harp And Jug Blowers 1927-1939 (Music CD)

Release Date: 11 January 2010
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During the 1920s and early '30s, the harmonica and the jug permeated Memphis music, emerging in blues and hokum material, as well as in some religious performances by sanctified musicians. This set documents the presence of one or both of these instruments in the careers of a handful of Memphis secular musicians, most notably the multi-talented and highly distinctive Jed Davenport. Davenport transforms the standard "How Long How Long Blues" into a brilliant harmonica solo, which builds steadily into a harp-choking frenzy, the instrument seemingly sucked inside out in characteristic Davenport fashion. As well as a soloist, Davenport was the leader of the Beale Street Jug Band, whose six recorded songs are also included here. On most selections, the group unimaginatively provides quiet and disappointing backing to Davenport's playing; their "Beale Street Breakdown," however, is a classic, stomping instrumental in which jug, fiddle, and mandolin descend into a frantic, masterful madness alongside Davenport's screeching harmonica. The group again demonstrates its full capabilities in "You Ought to Move Out of Town," engaging jug and harmonica in a lively call-and-response coupled with infectious vocals. Another minor Memphis legend, Minnie Wallace delivers four low-down hokum blues to the accompaniment of her Night Hawks, a loose ensemble featuring the Memphis Jug Band's Will Shade on harmonica. Little Buddy Doyle concludes the set with a solid string of blues, backed by an unidentified harmonica player. For serious followers of the Memphis legends or of early harmonica styles, this album is a welcome collection with a few standout tracks; like many of Document's excellent compilations, however, its focus is too specialized for the average listener, and beginners would be better off first pursuing the Memphis Jug Band, Cannon's Jug Stompers, or Yazoo's more generalized Memphis Masters collection. ~ Burgin Mathews
Release Date: 11 January 2010
  • 1. Memphis Jug Blues - Memphis Jug Band
  • 2. I Want It Awful Bad - Davenport, Jed
  • 3. Mr. Devil Blues - Davenport, Jed
  • 4. How Long, How Long Blues - Davenport, Jed
  • 5. Cow Cow Blues - Davenport, Jed
  • 6. Beale Street Breakdown - Davenport, Jed
  • 7. You Ought to Move Out of Town - Davenport, Jed
  • 8. The Dirty Dozen - Davenport, Jed
  • 9. Jug Blues - Davenport, Jed
  • 10. Save Me Some - Davenport, Jed
  • 11. Piccolo Blues - Davenport, Jed
  • 12. Sitting on Top of the World - Davenport, Jed
  • 13. Talking 'Bout Yo-Yo - Davenport, Jed
  • 14. The Cockeyed World - Wallace, Minnie
  • 15. Field Mouse Stomp - Wallace, Minnie
  • 16. Let's All Do That Thing - Wallace, Minnie
  • 17. Pick 'Em Up and Put 'Em Down - Wallace, Minnie
  • 18. Hard Scufflin' Blues - Doyle, Charlie "Little Buddy"
  • 19. Grief Will Kill You - Doyle, Charlie "Little Buddy"
  • 20. Renewed Love Blues - Doyle, Charlie "Little Buddy"
  • 21. Bad in Mind Blues - Doyle, Charlie "Little Buddy"
  • 22. Three-Sixty-Nine Blues
  • 23. She's Got Good Dry Goods
  • 24. Lost Baby Blues
  • 25. Sweet Man Blues

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Catalogue No: BDCD6028