Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
Papa Charlie Jackson Vol 1: August 1924 to February 1926

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Papa Charlie Jackson
Ida Cox


Papa Charlie Jackson
01 - Papa`s lawdy lawdy blues Listen
02 - Airy man's blues Listen
03 - Salt Lake City blues (take 2) Listen
04 - Salty dog blues (take 2) Listen
05 - The cats got the measles Listen
06 - I got what it takes but it breaks my heart to give it away (take 2) Listen
07 - Shave `em dry (take 2) Listen
08 - Coffee pot blues (take 1) Listen
09 - Mister man - part 1 (take 2)(duet with Ida Cox) Listen
10 - Mister man - part 2 (duet with Ida Cox) Listen
11 - Shake that thing (take 2) Listen
12 - The faking blues (take 2) Listen
13 - I`m Alabama bound Listen
14 - Drop that sack Listen
15 - Hot papa blues (take 2) Listen
16 - Take me back blues Listen
17 - Mama don`t allow it (and she ain`t gonna have it here) Listen
18 - Mama, don`t you think I know? (take 2) Listen
19 - How long daddy, how long (Ida Cox, vocal) Listen
20 - Maxwell Street blues Listen
21 - All I want is a spoonful Listen
22 - I`m going where the chilly winds don`t blow (take 2) Listen
23 - Texas blues (take 1) Listen
24 - Texas blues (take 2) Listen
25 - I`m tired of fooling around with you Listen
26 - Jackson`s blues Listen
27 - Let`s get along Listen

Papa Charlie Jackson, vocal, banjo, guitar.
2 tracks as by Ida Cox and Papa Charlie Jackson, vocal duet; accompanied by Charlie Jackson, banjo.
1 tracks as by Ida Cox, vocal; accompanied by Papa Charlie Jackson, banjo.

Review by Bruce Eder

The first 27 of Papa Charlie Jackson's recorded works is, on about ten counts, one of the most important blues documents you can find, dating all the way back to August of 1924, before there was even electrical recording or a true definition to "blues." Indeed, the popular highlight is a dance number called Shake That Thing, which fairly overwhelmed a lot of Jackson's truer blues records with its beat. The opening number, Papa's Lawdy Lawdy Blues, shows a kind of formative blues, with it and its B-side Airy Man (aka "Hairy Man") Blues closer in spirit to comic novelty numbers.

The hybrid banjo-guitar that Jackson played was an absolute necessity on these and his other early records, for it was more audible than any guitar of the era would have been, and serves to keep a beat as well as provide full accompaniment. Salt Lake City Blues is closer to our modern definition of blues, a romantic lament that's as honest and cheerful as it is sexist. Jackson's first version of Salty Dog Blues is here, along with what is probably the earliest reference to Chicago's outdoor blues Mecca in Maxwell Street Blues, dating from September of 1925. Other topical references to the future blues capital city can be heard in Jackson's Blues, dealing with a local politician, and also worth checking out in that regard is Mama Don't Allow It, telling of a country girl's descent into prostitution after coming to the big city. Also here is one of the earliest known source records for Willie Dixon's composition "Spoonful", entitled All I Want Is a Spoonful (though anyone only familiar with the versions by Cream won't really recognize it), and a primordial incarnation of "I'm Alabama Bound" (later immortalized by Leadbelly).

The audio quality is amazingly good throughout this disc (the only big exceptions, unfortunately, being the two duets with Ida Cox and the two takes of Texas Blues, which are really in rough shape), and the sessionography and annotation are reasonably thorough, given how little we actually know about Jackson.

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