Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
Herschel Brown 1928 - 1929

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Herschel Brown

01 - Nobody loves me (take 1) Listen
02 - Nobody loves me (take 2) Listen
03 - Down yonder Listen
04 - Liberty (41958) Listen
05 - Shanghai rag Listen
06 - New talking blues Listen
07 - Talking nigger blues Listen
08 - Corn shucking party in Georgia Listen
09 - Home brew party Listen
10 - Soldier`s joy Listen
11 - I wish that gal was mine Listen
12 - Rockingham Listen
13 - Old time tune medley Listen
14 - Spanish rag Listen
15 - Kohalo rag Listen
16 - New talking blues no. 2 Listen
17 - Nigger talking blues no. 2 Listen
18 - Liberty (402372) Listen
19 - Alabama breakdown Listen
20 - Okeh washboard breakdown Listen
21 - County fair - part 1 Listen
22 - County fair - part 2 Listen
23 - Barbecue down in Georgia - part 2 Listen

His full discography will probably never be known -- under his own name, he recorded as part of Herschel Brown and His Washboard Band for Victor Records beginning in early 1928 in Atlanta, but it is possible that he was the "J. H. Brown" credited as leading the very similar sounding Spooney Five, who were cutting records in Atlanta for Victor four months earlier. By July of that year, he was cutting records for OKeh and it was with that label that the bulk of his extant legacy was made. It's a varied legacy as well -- in conjunction with guitarist L. K. Sentell, he also recorded what were essentially comedy sketches set to music, as well as dances and ostensible blues ("Talking Nigger Blues" etc.), and later worked with groups credited as Herschel Brown and His Happy Five (a very polished band by the standards of the era) and Herschel Brown and His Boys. After this late-'20s thrust at recording stardom -- almost certainly interrupted by the onset of the Great Depression -- he evidently disappeared from the recorded music scene, the only documentation some 75 minutes of raw and unaffected music aimed at the pleasure of the masses and the workingman. Potential listeners should also note that some of the material in Brown's legacy is almost certain to offend modern audiences, being pitched at the level of minstrel show-style racial stereotypes in both their lyrics and jokes; but his work is also an honest historical look at what was considered (for better or worse) acceptable entertainment in much of the country until the middle of this century. Additionally, the dances and instrumental rags that he recorded (which, as instrumentals, can't really offend anyone) are enjoyable and diverting even 70 years later, with "Old Time Tune Medley" standing out as a priceless array of patriotic and traditional tunes, mostly rooted south of the Mason-Dixon Line, and "Spanish Rag," showing off a unique, amazingly elegant virtuoso duet between Brown's spoons and Sentell's guitar.
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