Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
Tampa Red Vol 1 1928 - 1929

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Madlyn Davis
Papa Too Sweet
Foster and Harris
Hokum Boys
Frankie 'Half-pint' Jaxon
State Street Stompers
Tampa Red
Hokum Jug Band


Tampa Red
01 - Through train blues Listen

Foster and Harris
02 - The alley crap game Listen

Tampa Red and Georgia Tom
03 - It`s tight like that Listen

Madlyn (Red Hot Shakin') Davis
04 - Gold tooth papa blues Listen
05 - Death bell blues Listen
06 - It`s red hot Listen
07 - Too black bad Listen

Tampa Red's Hokum Jug Band
08 - Good Gordon gin Listen
09 - Down the alley Listen
10 - It`s tight like that Listen
11 - How long how long blues Listen
12 - You can`t come in Listen

Tampa Red "The Guitar Wizard"
13 - It`s tight like that no. 2 Listen

Papa Too Sweet
14 - (Honey) it`s tight like that Listen
15 - Big fat mama Listen

Hokum Boys
16 - Selling that stuff (21035-3) Listen
17 - Beedle um bum (tk. 3) Listen

State Street Stompers
18 - Rolling mill stomp (tk. 1) Listen
19 - Rolling mill stomp (tk. 2) Listen
20 - Panama blues Listen

Tampa Red "The Guitar Waizard" with Georgia Tom
21 - Juicy lemon blues Listen
22 - Chicago moan blues Listen
23 - Strange woman blues Listen
24 - Jelly whippin` blues Listen
25 - Train time blues (c-2782) Listen

Tampa Red, vocal, bottleneck slide guitar

With contributions by: “Georgia Tom” (Thomas A. Dorsey) vocal, piano; Forster & Harris, vocal; Madlyn (Red Hot Shakin’) Davis, vocal; Frankie “Half-Pint” Jaxon, vocal; Martell Pettiford, guitar; Herman Brown, kazoo, washboard; Carl Reid, jazzhorn, jug.

Genres; Country blues, Pre-war Chicago blues, hokum, blues guitar, blues piano, bottleneck slide guitar.

Informative booklet notes by Teddy Doering.
Includes detailed discography.

From this CDs booklet notes.
Through Train Blues was a strange one to kick off a recording career with and one cannot help but wonder if the gentle huffing and puffing of a tuba to fill out a bass rhythm was Tampa’s idea or that of someone else trying to be creative at the recording session for Paramount records. Either way, it kind of works, depending on one’s mood and at least it gets Tampa off the mark with some characteristic slide guitar playing and a song.

For the moment, that was it…, one side and no more! The recording was issued as a flip side to Blind Lemon Jefferson “How Long How Long” (Document DOCD-5019) maybe as a ploy to encourage the market to listen to Tampa. After four months Tampa was in the recording studio again but this time only as a session man for Foster And Harris (Ma Rainey’s Boys) as they played out The Alley Crap Game a performance which would be taken up by the two blues brothers from Georgia Robert “Barbecue Bob” Hicks and Charlie “Laughing Charlie” Hicks in 1930 with their “Dark Town Gamblin’ – Part 1 (The Crap Game)” (Document DOCD-5048). Dodging the ricocheting dices, Tampa provides a gentle slide guitar accompaniment and keeps out of the arguing between the two gamblers.

A month later, in September 1928, Tampa arrived at the Vocalian studios with a piano player called “Georgia Tom” (Thomas A. Dorsey). In the same month, like Tampa, Tom had been on the fringe of trying to make recording part of his musical career having had two sessions for the Vocalion label. Of six sides cut only one was released coupled with a single recording made for the label later that year.

Their first recording of Tampa and “Georgia Tom” which took place in 1928 was a bawdy ragtime number, It’s Tight Like That. It was an instant and massive hit with record sales catapulting into the hundreds of thousands. It has been reported that the sales breached the million mark and went much higher.

The sessions on this CD see two revisits to the “Tight Like That” theme but there are other recordings which added greatly to their success including the lively Selling That Stuff and Beedle Um Bum both of which were subsequently covered by many other blues, jazz and hokum artists.

The duo are found in accompanying role providing backing for recordings with vocalists Madylyn (Red Hot Shakin’) Davis, Frankie “Half-Pint” Jaxon as lead vocalist for Tampa Red’s Hokum Jug Band, Papa Too Sweet, and Junie Cobb as vocalist for the State Street Stompers.

Many of the recordings are “good time”, raucous performances and it doesn’t take much of the imagination to think of them being the dance music of parties and in particular the rent parties of the time as described by Big Bill Bronnzy in his autobiography.

The last five of the twenty five tracks presented here are solid blues performed by Tampa with his partner, Georgia Tom.  Having had something of an uncertain start to their recording careers, they are assured and confident in their performances, having already been established by their first recording together as one of the most successful piano / guitar duos from the “pre-war blues” era.


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