Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

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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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Too Late Too Late Blues 1926 - 1944
DOCD-5150 Too Late Too Late Blues 1926 - 1944 Alternative takes and rare, late, discoveries. Various. The first Document CD appeared in 1990 with DOCD-5001 “Tommy Johnson”. Three years and 150 releases later the first volume of the “Too Late, Too Late” albums appeared. The unprecedented unleashing of such a fast growing bulk of blues and gospel recordings in such a “completist” fashion inspired both fans of the music and collectors alike. Once that the great river of releases had been flowing for a while collectors began to think again about what might be hidden in the corners of their collections or had until then been regarded of no real significance. In addition there were recent and continue to be, rare finds. A Big Bill Broonzy 78 had just recently been found, having been picked up in a lot that was saved from the street where it had been left for disposal. Then there was the box of Paramount tests that had been found several years ago which were made available. Collectors also began to revisit their records with more attention being paid to the recordings themselves and on many occasions found that takes that appeared on their records were not the takes that had thus far been re-issued.

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