Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
Monette Moore Vol 2 1923 - 1932

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Monette Moore

01 - Salt water blues
02 - Rainy weather blues
03 - The bye bye blues
04 - Weeping willow blues
05 - Meat man pete
06 - Nobody knows the way I feel dis mornin`
07 - Sore bunion blues
08 - Put me in the alley blues
09 - How can I miss you?
10 - You ain`t nothin` to me
11 - Black hearse blues
12 - Scandal blues
13 - Memphis blues
14 - Texas special blues
15 - All alone
16 - Undertaker`s blues
17 - Black sheep blues
18 - Take it easy
19 - Get it fixed
20 - If you don`t like potatoes
21 - Somebody`s been lovin` my baby
22 - Moaning sinner-blues
23 - Hard hearted papa (take 1)
24 - Hard hearted papa (take 2)
25 - Shine on your shoes
26 - Louisiana Hayride note: see also JPCD-1512-2 and JPCD-1528-2.

DOCD-5339 Monette Moore Vol 2; Nov. 1924 to 28th Sept 1932triplate27

Female “Classic†Blues / Jazz.

Includes; Fats Waller, Bubber Miley, Rex Stewart, Louis Hooper and others…

Extensive, detailed booklet notes by John Henry Vanco.

Detailed discography.


At first glance, Monette Moore’s handful of pre-war recordings, collected on the two volumes of her recorded works, seem to be standard issue “classic†blues singing in front of jazz hands; yet under further scrutiny they reveal great stylistic variety. Though she taught herself piano as a young teenager and briefly earned a living accompanying silent films (see note to DOCD-5338 for an account of her life and career), Moore never accompanied herself on piano on record during the pre-war period. She plays kazoo on “Graveyard Bound Bluesâ€, (DOCD-5338) but never piano.

Moore’s singing is front and centre on all of these cuts. Her voice is consistently delicate and always very controlled. Her diction is perfect, her timing precise. Especially in her early records (“Sugar Blues†DOCD-5338), her voice flutters and rises to vibrato on her long and unaccompanied notes. Sometimes she sounds almost too urbane for the blues idiom - as if her voice betrayed the signs of classical training. Though her elegant singing style later went out of vogue in favour of the gritty, impassioned, gutbucket sound of Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey, Moore’s style was part of a popular and distinct school of 1920s blues singing that included Lucille Hegamin and Edith Wilson.

Moore was fortunate to have Bob Fuller in the studio when the Ajax label put together the Choo Choo Jazzers to accompany her. Fuller’s playing on harmonica, alto sax, and most often, clarinet was uniformly creative and accomplished, especially on “Salt Water Bluesâ€, “Meat Man Pete†and “Black Sheep Bluesâ€. The Texas Trio, credited as accompanying Moore on “Memphis Blues†and “Texas Special Blues†was made up, strangely enough, of banjo, ukulele and Bob Fuller’s harmonica. Compared with the very urbane, jazzy nature of most of Moore’s other material, these two titles feel very country, sounding like a citified Southern string band.

As one reads over her titles, then listens to the lyrics, a definite preponderance of death imagery in Moore’s songs becomes evident. Some of the lyrics are facetious, while some are straight. The former are more fun, as in “Black Hearse Blues†where Moore pleads, “Old death wagon don’t you dare stop at my door - you took my first three daddies- you can’t have number four...Smallpox got my first man, blues killed number two, I wore out the last one...â€

Moore spent much of her life on the stage of Broadway, Harlem and black vaudeville across America. We get a flavour of what her stage persona may have been like with the charming pair of vocal duets with Billy Higgins from January 1925. While most of her previous lyrics ran along the standard line of my-man-is-gone-and-he-was-bad-but-I-miss-him-so. In “How Can l Miss You?†and “You Ain’t Nothin’ To Me†Moore is much more assertive and independent. The battle-of-the-sexes exchange between them is often hilarious.

Another successful, comic effort by Moore was “Sore Bunion Blues†her bizarre ode to aching feet (?!). She starts off with a spoken, a cappella “Lord, Lord what’s the matter with these dogs of mine!†then sings, “Right foot left foot that’s poor me and my heavy load. Red hot bunions bother me as I travel down the road. There’s no parking, dogs keep barking... My hot puppies, got to cool them off, ventilation keeps them nice and soft.â€

The unissued “Shine On Your Shoes/Louisiana Hayride†from late 1932 was made during the peak of Moore’s stage and club career in New York, and this cut is the peak of her recordings, as well. Fats Waller contributes an inspired, rollicking accompaniment, along with a few wonderful solos, but Moore more than holds her own. Her voice is totally under control, but she uses it much more imaginatively than she had allowed herself previously. She maintains her precise diction, but now she swings and vamps shamelessly. She even adds a Louis Armstrong-esque gravelly, bass effect to her singing that works to great effect. This joyful finale pays glorious tribute to the talent of Monette Moore amid makes one wish that more of her performances - especially her later, more mature work - could have been captured on record.




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