FEATURED ARTIST / S
|Papa Too Sweet|
|Foster and Harris|
|Frankie 'Half-pint' Jaxon|
|State Street Stompers|
|Hokum Jug Band|
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.