FEATURED ARTIST / S
|The Two Charlies|
Charley Jordan: vocal, guitar.
With contributions by; Peetie Wheatstraw, piano; Verdi Lee, vocal; Charlie Manson, guitar; Leroy Henderson, vocal; Casey Bill Weldon, slide guitar.
Genres: Country Blues, St Louis Blues, Country Blues Guitar. Blues Piano.
Charley Jordan was not the strongest of blues singers but his voice is not off-putting, in fact it has quite an unusual characteristic which one easily brings to mind when one returns to any of his records. The strengths of his recordings are in his guitar playing and his song writing. Steffan Grossman wrote; "The often whimsical songs recorded belie the violent world that he apparently lived". He was shot in 1928 during his bootlegging activities leaving him with a bullet lodged in his spine and having to use crutches.
There's a wry, gentle humour in Jordan's songs, a child-like delight in playing with words and imagery. His melodies, too, often evince a naive charm. Jordan's guitar picking masterfully combines an airy delicacy with punchy dynamics he may have gathered from such Mississippians as Big Joe Williams. Paul Oliver has praised Jordan's "uncorrupted country style of blues guitar with an effortless, light technique". Chris Smith observes in Jordan "an extraordinary sense of rhythm. The steady pulse that underlies his playing and singing is often a long way removed from the accenting of the guitar part."
Having switched from Vocalion to Decca in 1934 (see Document DOCD-5098), Charlie Jordan was on the move again the following year; in 1935 he was back with Vocalion. As leaves began to turn during the fall of that year the thoughts of Christmas was already in the mind of Charley or was it that of the record execs? Charley goes Seasonaltastic with four yuletide blues recorded within the same day. The first, Christmas Christmas Blues sung by Charley on his own finds him very pleased that Christmas "is here" but only because of the prospect of getting a decent meal for a change. At first, he would be grateful if he gets a little piece of chicken but then it starts getting a little out of hand; turtledoves, goose, biscuits, pie, fruitcake. And then things really start getting serious with demands for "eggnog, whiskey and gin". "Let''s have a good time", Charley says. "The fun is going to begin" (what with all of that inside you?) and there the record ends as if we have had the door closed on us just the party is about to really heat up.