Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
Josephine Baker 1926 - 1927

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Josephine Baker


Josephine Baker
01 - Who? Listen
02 - That certain feeling Listen
03 - Dinah Listen
04 - Sleepy time gal Listen
05 - I wonder where my baby is tonight Listen
06 - Bam bam bamy shore Listen
07 - I want to yodel Listen
08 - You are the only one for me Listen
09 - Feelin` kind of blue Listen
10 - Brown eyes why are you blue? Listen
11 - I love my baby Listen
12 - I've found a new baby Listen
13 - Skeedle um Listen
14 - Always Listen
15 - Pretty Little Baby Listen
16 - Where'd you get those eyes? Listen
17 - After I say I'm sorry Listen
18 - Then I'll be happy Listen
19 - Bye bye blackbird Listen
20 - Lonesome lovesick blues Listen
21 - I love dancing Listen
22 - Breezing along with the breeze Listen
23 - Hello bluebird Listen
24 - Blue skies Listen
25 - He's the last word Listen
26 - I'm leaving for Albany Listen


Josephine Baker 1926 - 1927

Josephine Baker (Mademmoiselle Joséphine Baker) vocal, accompanied by various Jazz Bands.

Genres; Jazz, Blues, Pre-war Parisian cabaret.


Informative booklet notes by Howard Rye.

Includes detailed discography.


Josephine Baker was and still is controversial in more profound ways than her mere inclusion in a discography. Many observers still find her stage persona, with its exploitation of stereotypes of the primitive, including impossible to take, and remain impervious to the sheer quality of her dancing, as it is preserved in her few films. Her singing career took her from the material heard here eventually to overblown and bombastic star vehicles far removed from her roots. The complexities of her life and character have been the subject of several biographies and much obfuscation, but when all is said and done the music remains to be assessed on its own merits.


The band recruited to accompany her on her initial recordings is thought by French discographers to have comprised members of Olivier's Jazz Boys.  She had sung “Dinah” as Ethel Waters's understudy back at the ‘Plantation’; this introduces her distinctive scatting. Like it or loathe it, it is her very own. Throughout though, it is entirely clear where she was coming from. Though the repertoire draws more heavily on Tin Pan Alley, which is hardly surprising given the intended audience, she uses many of the devices of the vaudeville singers who spanned blues and jazz in this era and there are echoes of many contemporaries to be heard.


For her second session, she accompanied herself on the ukulele. The discography; Blues & Gospel Records, 1890-1943, lists the second title from this session as issued only on English Parlophone and the third as unissued. Even Brard and Nevers's Le Jazz en France is unaware that this coupling was also issued and this CD is the first documentation as well as the first reissue. These solo efforts are utterly charming. The third session features a wild hot fiddler, whose identity is undetermined, and three standard songs of the vaudeville blues idiom. It was  “Skeedle Um”  that clinched her inclusion in B&G. Always, on the other hand, is an unwelcome foretaste of the chansonniére who was evidently already in the making.


In autumn 1926, Josephine began to double in Parisian cabarets and in January 1927 the first Chez Josephine opened in the rue Fontaine. She now needed her own band and the choice fell on a mainly Belgian group, Le Jacob's Jazz, formed by trumpeter Leon Jacobs, born in Liege in 1903, who had been working in the band at the Moulin Rouge. They are heard on both the remaining recording sessions, except for two titles accompanied by two pianos. They also account for the missing matrices (1244/5) on which they recorded Deep Henderson and Tampeekoe Stomp. Thisse and Raskin went on to respectable careers on the Belgian jazz scene. They provide at least an approximation of jazz rhythms and their arrangements are far superior to Olivier's.



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