Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

"Document 6000 Series "

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Lonnie Johnson Vol 2 1940 - 1942


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Lonnie Johnson Vol 3 1944 - 1947


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Charley Lincoln & Willie Baker 1927 - 1930


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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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Scrapper Blackwell Vol 1 1928 - 1932

BDCD-6029 Scrapper Blackwell Vol 1 1928 – 1932

Francis “Scrapper” Blackwell, vocal, guitar.

With contributions by;

Leroy Carr, piano.
Bertha “Chippie” Hill, vocal
Teddy Moss, vocal.
Jimmy Blythe, piano.
Black Bottom McPhail, vocal.

Genres; “Country Blues”, Blues Guitar, Blues Guitar/Piano.

Informative booklet notes by Howard Rye.
Detailed discography.

Scrapper Blackwell’s career and reputation lie under a shadow. Its name is Leroy Carr. As the co-authors of the best-loved piano and guitar duets in blues history, their names are indissolubly linked in most accounts. Blackwell will inevitably be remembered first for his uncanny rapport with the pianist, yet his solo career began at the same time as the duets and he continued to make solo recordings throughout the duo’s life. Continued...

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Scrapper Blackwell Vol 2 1934 - 1958

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Rev F W McGee Vol 1 1927 - 1929

Highlighted by Jonah in the Belly of the Whale and With His Stripes We Are Healed, which together combined for one of the biggest “race records” of its time, the first volume in this retrospective of the career of Rev. F.W. McGee assembles some of the finest gospel sides of the pre-war era. Opening with Lion of the Tribe of Judah, McGee’s lone recording for Okeh and a prime example of the sanctified tradition, the disc also includes The Crooked Made Straight and Rock of Ages, both of which are fascinating attempts to combine congregrational singing with impassioned preaching. - Jason Ankeny

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Rev F W McGee Vol 2 1929 - 1930

With the second volume in the series, Rev. F.W. McGee’s gospel style turns almost exclusively to straightahead preaching, with only minimal musical backing. It’s not that much of a stretch to suggest that this kind of gospel is a kind of early precursor to rap — the rhythms and patterns of McGee’s preaching are highly musical, and his wordplay on sides like Women’s Clothes (You Can’t Hide) and Testifyin’ Meeting is lyrical and imaginative. While these sermonizing records are by no means the place for new listeners to begin, for historians they offer fascinating insight into another of the many facets of the pre-war gospel sound. – Jason Ankeny

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Will Ezell 1927 - 1931

With the exception of some sessions accompanying other singers, the complete Will Ezell is on this single CD. A talented blues and boogie-woogie pianist, Ezell led four mostly instrumental solo sessions (resulting in 12 performances). In addition, his dates backing singers Marie Bradley, Ora Brown, Bertha Henderson, and Slim Tarpley are also included on this enjoyable and historic CD. Among the more rewarding selections are Barrel House Man, Mixed Up Rag, Heifer Dust, Playing the Dozen, and Pitchin’ Boogie. – Scott Yanow


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Little Brother Montgomery - Vocal Accompaniments & Early Post-War Recordings 1930 - 1954

Best known for the astonishing "Vicksburg Blues" and "No Special Rider Blues," the barrelhousing Little Brother Montgomery was a great writer and arguably the most versatile of all blues piano men. He grew up listening to ragtime, idolized Jelly Roll Morton, and absorbed stride and boogie into his early style; while his roots remained obvious, he stayed up-to-date until his 1985 death. Eleven tracks as accompanist, four fronting a jazz band, and nine postwar solo tracks on which he sounds like two men playing at once. - John Mothland


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Elder Curry & Elder Beck 1930 - 1939

Elder Curry and Elder Beck both were singing evangelists, solid instrumentalists (Curry on guitar, Beck on piano and trumpet), and with their fervent, stomping approach to a sort of blues-tinged gospel, they inadvertently prefigured rock & roll. Many have sited Curry’s 1930 recording of Memphis Flu (which features Elder Beck on piano) as the first glimmer of rock & roll, and with its relentless 4/4 drive and the energy of Curry’s clapping and foot-stomping congregation added in, it certainly rocks, although the message is a little sobering, as Curry tells his listeners in a fire-and-brimstone style that influenza is a manifestation of God’s wrath at sinners. Given that some 700,000 Americans died during the influenza outbreak of 1918/1919, the tone of Memphis Flu seems to lack any degree of compassion, but it is a fascinating song, full of an odd, contrary joy that seems to belie its intent, and it definitely gets your feet moving. This release from Document Records contains Memphis Flu as well as the rest of Curry’s recorded work, done for Okeh Records in 1930. Continued...

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Lucille Bogan Vol 1 1923 - 1930

14 track compilation split (21 tracks in total) evenly down the middle between Bogan and her main piano accompanist, Roland, who also doubles on guitar on some tracks. The Bogan sides are a particular delight, featuring a version of Barbecue Bess that is nothing short of sublime. As all of these tracks are rescued off highly battered 78s, the fidelity is about what you would expect. But that's no reason to deter you from enjoying this timeless music.

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