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Memphis Harp & Jug Blowers 1927 - 1939
It just might be that Memphis invented the harmonica blues or at least that they grew up in the city and environs considering the number of major harp players living there. Will Shade, Jed Davenport of neighbouring Tennessee, Noah Lewis from Ripley, Hammie Nixon from Brownsville and later John Lee (Sonny Boy Wiliamson No. 1) Williamson from Jackson, Tennessee. As an indication of the Memphis areas pre-eminence in affairs of the harp we could look at the record company's field trips. For example with over 30 trips each to Atalnta and Texas (compared to just 12 to Memphis) only a hand full of harmonica players were discovered. Atlanta could only muster Palmer McAbee (who may have been white). De Ford Bailey (from Nashville). Birmingham's Jaybird Coleman and a Buddy Moss accompaniment While Texas produced one William McCoy and an unknown accompanist to Hattie Hyde! But more important than mere superiority of numbers is the difference in style; while the other harmonica players were fox-chasing and playing trains (see DOCD-5100) the Memphis men were playing hard blues.
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