Archive for Papa Charlie Jackson

Tiny Parham

Posted in Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's, Recording Artists of the 1930's and 1940's with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Tiny Parham

From Wikipedia

Hartzell Strathdene “Tiny” Parham (February 25, 1900– April 4, 1943) was a Canadian-born American jazz bandleader and pianist of African-American descent.

Life and career

Parham was born in WinnipegManitobaCanada but grew up in Kansas City. He worked as a pianist at The Eblon Theatre being mentored by the ragtime pianist and composerJames Scott, and later touring with territory bands in the Southwestern United States before moving to Chicago in 1926. He is best remembered for the recordings he made in Chicago between 1927 and 1930, as an accompanist for Johnny Dodds and several female blues singers as well as with his own band. Most of the musicians Parham played with are not well known in their own right, though cornetist Punch Millerbanjoist Papa Charlie Jacksonsaxophone player Junie Cobb and bassist Milt Hinton are exceptions.

His entire recorded output for Victor are highly collected and appreciated as prime examples of late 1920s jazz. Parham favored the violin and many of his records have a surprisingly sophisticated violin solos, along with the typical upfront tuba, horns and reeds.

After 1930 Parham found work in theater houses, especially as an organist; his last recordings were made in 1940. His entire recorded output fits on two compact discs.

The cartoonist R. Crumb included a drawing of Parham in his classic 1982 collection of trading cards and later book “Early Jazz Greats”. Parham was the only non-American born so included. The book also includes a bonus cd which has a Parham track.

Parham died April 4, 1943, MilwaukeeWisconsin.

Blind Blake

Posted in Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's with tags , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Blind Blake

From Wikipedia
Blind Blake
Blind Blake.jpg
The only known photograph of Blind Blake, circa 1927
Background information
Birth name Arthur Blake
Born 1896
Jacksonville, Florida or Newport News, Virginia, United States (uncertain)
Died December 1, 1934 (aged 38)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Genres Piedmont bluesragtimecountry blues
Instruments Guitar, Vocals
Associated acts Irene Scruggs

“Blind” Blake (born Arthur Blake; 1896, Newport News, Virginia – December 1, 1934, Milwaukee, Wisconsin)  was an Americanblues and ragtime singer and guitarist.


Blind Blake recorded about 80 tracks for Paramount Records from 1926 to 1932.  He was one of the most accomplished guitarists of his genre with a surprisingly diverse range of material. He is best known for his distinct guitar sound that was comparable in sound and style to a ragtime piano.

Little is known about his life. His birthplace was listed as Jacksonville, Florida by Paramount Records in The Paramount Book of the Blues, a publicity publication, but a recently acquired 1934 death certificate from the Milwaukee, WI area lists Newport News as his 1896 birthplace. On one recording he slipped into a Geechee or Gullah dialect, prompting speculation that he was from the Georgia Sea Island region. According to one source, his real name was Arthur Phelps, although concrete evidence for this claim is lacking. The “Phelps” name theory was entirely based on a response given by Blind Willie McTell in an interview conducted in 1955 in Atlanta, who likely met Blake when he passed through McTell’s hometown of Statesboro, GA. Recent research has discovered that many of Blind Blake’s recordings were copyrighted under the name ‘Arthur Blake’, and in his two-part recording with Papa Charlie Jackson, “Papa Charlie and Blind Blake Talk About It”, the following dialogue is heard:

Jackson: What is your right name?

Blake: My right name is Arthur Blake!

There is only one surviving photograph of him in existence.

Allegedly, Blind Blake was drinking heavily in his final years. It is likely that this led to his early death at only 38 years old. The exact circumstances of his death are not known; Reverend Gary Davis said in an interview that he had heard Blake was killed by astreetcar.

A death certificate for “Arthur Blake” is listed by the Milwaukee County Courthouse (John La Fave, Register of Deeds, 901 N. 9th Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin). It indicated the cause of death as pulmonary tuberculosis. Arthur Blake’s grave is in Glendale, Wisconsin, listed as Evergreen Cemetery (now Glen Oaks Cemetery) in a single grave #72, Range #115. The grave remained unmarked until October 2012 when one was donated by a company that creates grave markers.

His music

His first recordings were made in 1926 and his records sold very well. His first solo record was “Early Morning Blues” with “West Coast Blues” on the B-side. Both are considered excellent examples of his ragtime-based guitar style and are prototypes for the burgeoning Piedmont blues. Blake made his last recordings in 1932, the end of his career aided by Paramount’s bankruptcy. Stefan Grossman and Gayle Dean Wardlow think its possible that only one side of Blake’s last record is actually by him. “Champagne Charlie Is My Name” does not actually sound like Blake’s playing or singing. His complex and intricate finger picking has inspired Reverend Gary DavisJorma KaukonenRy CooderJohn FaheyRalph McTellLeon Redbone and many others. French singer-songwriter Francis Cabrel refers to Blind Blake in the song “Cent Ans de Plus” on the 1999 album Hors-Saison.

Other people who used the same name

On a few records where white jazz guitarist Eddie Lang sat in with African American groups, the record companies listed Lang as “Blind Blake”. Most of those recordings, principally with Lonnie Johnson, gave Lang the name “Blind Willy Dunn”.

There is also a different artist who recorded multiple LPs under the name “Blind Blake”. Alphonso “Blind Blake” Higgs was one of the most popular singers in The Bahamas in the 1950s, leading the house band at the Royal Victoria Hotel. His records were spread all over the U.S. by tourist fans, and several of his songs became folk standards.


Several original recordings of Blind Blake singing and playing are available at The Archive.

Papa Charlie Jackson

Posted in Recording Artist's of the 1920's and 1930's with tags , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2013 by the78rpmrecordspins

Papa Charlie Jackson

From Wikipedia

Papa Charlie Jackson (c. 1885 – 1938)  was an early American bluesman and songster who accompanied himself variously with a hybrid banjo guitar, a guitar, or a ukulele. Hisrecording career began in 1924.  Much of his life remains a mystery, but it is probable that he was born in New OrleansLouisiana, and died in ChicagoIllinois in 1938.


Born William Henry Jackson,  he originally performed in minstrel and medicine shows. From the early 1920s into the 1930s, Jackson played frequent club dates in Chicago, and was noted for busking at Chicago’s Maxwell Street Market.  In August 1924, for Paramount Records, he recorded “Papa’s Lawdy Lawdy Blues” and “Airy Man Blues”, the first commercially successful, self-accompanied recordings by a male singer of the blues. One of his following tracks, “Salty Dog Blues“, became his most famous song. Among his recordings are several in which he accompanied classic female blues singers such as Ida CoxHattie McDaniel, and Ma Rainey.

Blues writer Bruce Eder says that Jackson achieved “a musical peak of sorts in September of 1929 when he got to record with his longtime idol, Blind (Arthur) Blake, often known as the king of ragtime guitar during this period. ‘Papa Charlie and Blind Blake Talk About It’ parts one and two are among the most unusual sides of the late ’20s, containing elements of blues jam session, hokum recording, and ragtime”.  A few more recordings for the for Paramount label followed in 1929 and 1930.  In 1934 he recorded for Okeh Records, and the following year he recorded with Big Bill Broonzy. Altogether, Jackson recorded 66 sides during his career.


Jackson was an influential figure in the history of the blues, notable as “the first male singer/guitarist who played the blues to get to record”  and as “one of the creators of ‘Hokum'”,  a song genre featuring comic, often sexually suggestive lyrics and lively, danceable rhythms.  He wrote, or was the first to record, several songs that became blues standards, including “Spoonful” and “Salty Dog”.  Nonetheless, he has received little attention from blues historians,  perhaps because the fast tempos and humorous lyrics he usually favored lie outside the category of the traditional blues, and because the banjo is not generally regarded a a blues instrument.

Jackson’s “Shake That Thing” was covered by Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions in 1964. “Loan Me Your Heart” appeared on The Wildparty Sheiks eponymous album in 2002. The Carolina Chocolate Drops recorded “Your Baby Ain’t Sweet Like Mine” on their Grammy Award winning 2010 album, Genuine Negro Jig, and often played the song in interviews after its release.

In 1973 Jackson’s song “Shake That Thing” was briefly featured in the Sanford and Son episode, “The Blind Mellow Jelly Collection”. Fred, played by Redd Foxx, could be seen dancing and singing to it at the beginning of the episode.

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