FEATURED ARTIST / S
Frank Stokes vocal, guitar
Memphis, country blues.
Includes; Dan Sane, guitar; Will Batts, violin.
Informative booklet notes by Chris Smith
With nearly forty songs issued on record, some of them in two parts, Frank Stokes was one of the most extensively recorded of the Memphis blues singers of the 1920s; only Jim Jackson's total of recordings is comparable, and many of Jackson's were remakes of 'Kansas City Blues'ï¿½. Like Jackson, Stokes blends blues with songs from the medicine shows and from the ragtime days of his childhood. Not only was his repertoire one of the most interesting of its time, it was superbly sung, and backed, whether solo, in partnership with Dan Sane, or with Will Batts, by some of the most accomplished and appropriate blues and ragtime playing on record.
When Victor's field recording unit came to Memphis early in 1928, among the black musicians waiting for it was Frank Stokes. Not only was his repertoire one of the most interesting of its time, it was superbly sung, and backed, whether solo, in partnership or with Will Batts, by some of the most accomplished and appropriate blues and ragtime playing on record. He had already made records for Paramount with his regular partner, Dan Sane (see Document DOCD-5012), and it was probably with Sane that he cut his first session for Victor.
At this session, in February 1928, the emphasis was on blues, rather than the older songs that were also part of Stokes' repertoire; but when Victor returned in August, to record Stokes solo, he played I Got Mine, one of a body of pre-blues songs about gambling, stealing and living high. More up to date was Nehi Mamma Blues, which puns on the Nehi soft drink and the knee high skirts that were the fashion sensation of the jazz Age. Dan Sane rejoined Frank Stokes for the second day of the August 1928 session, and they produced a remarkable two-part version of Tain't Nobody's Business If I Do, a song well known in versions by Bessie Smith and Jimmy Witherspoon, but one which pre-dates blues recording.
For further recordings by Frank Stokes see: