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Author Topic: Jazz Gillum  (Read 4457 times)

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Offline jharris

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Jazz Gillum
« on: March 11, 2006, 02:29:27 PM »
Jazz Gillum is usually treated with indifference among blues critics, lumped in as just another generic performer of Lester Melrose?s "Bluebird Beat." There may be some truth tot his but I?ve revised my thinking on him after listening to the four CD?s on Document that comprise the bulk of his recorded output. To be sure there?s a fair number of samey sounding songs but there?s also many exceptional ones. I?m not exactly sold on his harmonica skills - a kind of wheezy high-pitched sound - he was certainly no Sonny Boy Williamson and certainly no ?Harmonica King? as he proclaims in ?Gillum?s Windy Blues.? He was a very expressive, easygoing singer who, as Pail Oliver notes, bears a similarity to Washboard Sam. He also penned a number of very imaginative songs. Among my favorite Gillum sides are his late 40?s recordings found on the final Document CD. He?s joined here by several first-rate pianists (Big Maceo, James Clark, Eddie Boyd, Bob Call) plus the terrific electric guitar work of William Lacey. Highlights include: ?Fast Woman? (?But slow ponies and fast woman, have made a fool out of me?), ?Roll Dem Bones?, ?You Got to Run Me Down ? as Lacey delivers some jaw dropping solos, ?The Blues What I Am? as Gillum delivers a breathless litany of hoodoo superstitions, the graphically violent ?Gonna Take My Rap? (?But before I go I?m gonna kill my baby first/I?m gonna bury her/I?m gonna dig her up again/To tell her why I killed her was about her other men?), ?The Devil Blues? (the precursor to ?It Must Have Been The Devil??) and more violent imagery on ?Gonna Be Some Shooting.?

Gillum?s 1938 recordings with white electric guitarist George Barnes are very good including the aforementioned ?Gillum?s Windy Blues? and the knockout guitar of ?Boar Hog Blues.? Other early highlights include ?Don't Scandalize My Name?, the topical ?War Time Blues?( Gillum served in the Army from 1942 until 1945) and ?You're Tearing Your Playhouse Down.?

Here?s some audio:
Gonna Take My Rap:
Boar Hog Blues:
Roll Dem Bones:

There doesn?t seem to have been all that much written about Gillum. Here?s what Paul Oliver had to say (again this one I believe comes from our resident blues archeologist):

--------------------------------------------
Paul Oliver?s Blues Notes
SPIN. vol 4 no 5, Autumn 1966 (p 23-4)

THE BLUES WHAT AM
JAZZ GILLUM
Paul Oliver

Perhaps it isn?t necessary to suggest that the city is a good place to hunt down folk songs, at least in SPIN. For SPIN emanates from Liverpool way, and readers don?t need to be reminded of the rich folksong traditions which have flourished in that seaport, or indeed in others around our shores. But the fact remains that there is, a view of folk song, what I call the ?pastoral image?, which is held by many who feel that authentic folk song is found in rural areas and is somehow corrupted by the city and its ways. No doubt there is some truth in this if you trace the genealogy of a particular song, but if you consider the pressures of the urban environment and study the song forms that have thrived within it you have ample evidence that the city shapes its own folk idioms.

The pastoral image is popular among blues enthusiasts, many of whom considering that the blues is only at its purest (and only worth considering) when in a country setting. This is a blinkered conception of the blues, for the city has produced its idioms as appropriate to the rough-and-tumble, roar and rampage of the crude and unlovely Negro sectors as the rural villages and communities have shaped the country forms. This was a process that commenced before the First World War and by the end of it was already recognisable in Chicago, Cleveland, St. Louis or Harlem. In the twenties these areas and many more like them developed distinctive blues forms as the young men grew up and matured in totally urban surroundings. In common with the majority of Negroes in the Northern cities, large numbers of blues singers migrated from the country districts of the South and brought their music with them. But it was music that underwent a change occasioned by the change in their own circumstances, and was the more authentic for the process. The preservation of a purely Mississippi form of expression in the middle of Chicago?s south side is less convincing somehow, than is the re-shaping of it by the new ethos.

It was a process that continued throughout the thirties and which eventually bred the rhythm-and-blues forms of the post-war years. In the late thirties and the forties a number of singers and musicians evolved a form of music in Chicago which was instantly recognisable as an essentially city-formed tradition. The singers were usually backed by small groups ranging from two or three to five musicians and their format was often similar. Typically there would be a guitar, which was electric as the forties proceeded, a harmonica player, a drummer or washboard player, bass player and pianist. Among the harmonica players would be Sonny Boy Williamson and Jazz Gillum, Big Bill Broonzy and Willie Lacey on guitar, Joshua Altheimer, Blind John Davis, Bob Call or Horace Malcolm on piano, Judge Riley, Washboard Sam, Jump Jackson or Amanda Sorter on percussion and so on. Most of these players are to be found on one track or another of a new LP compilation Jazz Gillum 1938-1947 compiled for RCA Victor by Mike Vernon, Ewart Nevals and Neil Slaven and issued on RCA RD 7816.

Jazz Gillum is not a major artist but he is very typical of the blues
singers who formulated the Chicago music of the period. He played harmonica, not especially well, but with a shrill, often piercing tone which struck out above the rhythm background of his records. His voice, a little like Washboard Sam?s, had a ?corrugated? quality with a marked vibrato and clear texture. Many of his records were characterised by strongly rhythmic support, credit for which must go largely to Big Bill Broonzy, undoubtedly one of the formative musicians of the Chicago blues. His guitar is to be heard on nearly every track, except the couple of instances where his disciple, Willie Lacey, takes over, and much of the impetus is due to him. These were the years when boogie woogie became a commercial success at any rate for a brief period, and the piano players - Altheimer, Davis, Malcolm, Eddie Boyd, Roosevelt Sykes and Robert Call mostly use this powerful style in their accompaniments. A strong foundation is laid by the under-rated Blind John Davis on I Couldn?t Help It - a tune often associated with John Henry Barbee - and You?re Tearin Your Playhouse Down. I recall fifteen years ago chasing Big Bill Broonzy and Blind John Davis round France - when we all missed the opportunity of hearing the piano man in England. Broonzy?s justly
famed accompanist Joshua Altheimer is not heard especially well on Talking to Myself by What a Gal, a compulsive track which has been a favourite record of mine for a dozen years, rocks to the blues piano of Bob Call.

Washboard Sam?s swinging board playing is to be heard on Muddy Pond Blues, but Neil Slaven in an informative but slightly grudging sleeve note doesn?t seem to do Amanda Sortier justice for her playing on Maybe You?ll Love Me Too. There are some oddities - John Cameron?s tenor sax on Talking, or the historic electric guitar solos of George Barnes on Boar Hog Blues, among the first in blues ever recorded - and Barnes by the way was white. There are some blues vocals too, and some of those who are interested in the content of the lyrics, like War Time Blues with its naive proposition for the
conclusion of the Second World War or the remarkable succession of hoodoo superstitions to be heard in The Blues What Am. The boogie pianist on this rocker by the way, is Eddie Boyd, who has recently settled in France, joining Memphis Slim an Curtis Jones, other veterans of the same era.

Some recordings of Jazz Gillum have been available for some time in France but no adequate indication of his work has ever bee obtainable here. Now this useful compilation gives a good impression of the Chicago blues of the thirties and forties based on the work of one of its principle exponents.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Jazz Gillum
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2006, 05:39:13 AM »
There doesn?t seem to have been all that much written about Gillum. Here?s what Paul Oliver had to say (again this one I believe comes from our resident blues archeologist):
Indeed it was, that I can own up to.:)

Neil Slaven who compiled and wrote the notes to that RCA LP had written a lengthy two part feature for R&B Monthly the previous year. The second of which covered Gillum's final 1950 Victor session which was unissued but RCA in Britain had test pressings. Today they still remain unissued. Here's an extracted section which discusses them - R&B Monthly (22 Nov 1965 p. 7-9):

An Intimation of R&B Jazz Gillum: The Post War Records Part Two.
Neil Slaven

(cut)?Gillum?s last session, on March 21st 1950, was never issued, although the quality of the performances might also have had some influence on the decision. By now the whole process of Gillum's recordings had become mechanical, with hardly a trace of conviction to be found. Moreover, since his last session, Gillum?s voice had deteriorated into a pale shadow of its former power. Ironically enough, the first title on this final date was "I'm Still Going Down Slow", more or less a continuation of St. Louis Jimmy's original theme. The beat is plodding, and the musicians just 'go through the motions':

'Some people think that I'm dead, but it's all a sad mistake, x2
Some said they went to my funeral, some said they went to my wake.

I'm in ba-a-ad condition, and still I'm going down slow, x2
And the place that I'm goin', there is thousands others to go.

The doctor he told me I'm gettin' well some old day, x2
People, he may be right, then it may be the other way.

I used to run around, drink whiskey both day and night, x2
Always had good women, but I would not treat them right.

The same can be said of "Don't Think I'm Buster Brown", which is very reminiscent of ''I'm Not The Lad?, employing the same half-spoken, half-sung format of the latter. Strangely enough, the same title occurs on "The Yas Yas Girl's" last, and unissued session of 1949. On Gillum's version there are a few echoes of former successes, and Bob Call's piano provides a backing which the rest of the performance doesn't really deserve.

If further evidence were needed of Gillum's decline, then the next tune, "Floating Power", provides it. One is aware of the double-entendre implied in tho lyric, but the refinement of the words, together with Gillum's lack-lustre delivery, leaves the listener wondering whether he does in fact sing about a car, and not the sexual prowess of his girl! :

'My baby have got a car, drive(s) like a Cadillac machine, x2
It's got more floating power than any car that I've ever seen.

It's got a re-e-e-al neat action, and gear shift on the steering wheel, x2
But when she begin to use her floating power, gee, how good it makes me feel.

It's got a streamline body and a colour that I really like, x2
And her seat rides so easy, until it really won't hurt your back.

I'm gonna ride that car tonight, until her motor gets cold, x2
She have one of the best old motors, I believe that's ever been sold.'

The final tune that Jazz Gillum recorded for RCA Victor was yet another up-tempo boogie piece, "Broadcasting Mama". Gillum's breathless voice does not match the relative enthusiasm of Bob Call and the band, although his harmonica solos recall his 1947 records with Eddie Boyd:

'Baby why don't you quit broadcastin', and tend to nobody's business
but your own, x2
Consider your own affairs, and leave other folks' business alone.

You goin' around broadcastin' about the night I and you went out, x2
Baby you better quit broadcastin', I see you don't know what it's all about.

You broadcastin' so much, until you got ourselves in bad, x2
You told the whole world about me, until I lost every girl I had.

Baby, now you spread the news all over everywhere, x2
If you got to broadcast so much, why don't you get on the air.'

Altogether, this was an ignominious end to a long and successful recording career: Never during the whole sixteen years which this entailed would Gillum called a major blues singer. He was a man of average ability, both as a singer and harmonicist, who was really only as good as his accompanists. This is most evident on the many sides he made with Big Bill Broonzy. Here was another partnership of mutual inspiration which has gone unacknowledged in the shadow of some of the greater blues partnerships. Broonzy had a galvanising, even catalytic, effect on Gillum, which made the latter give just that little bit more of himself to a song, and it is Broonzy's virtuosity which is usually behind what are considered Gillum's finest recordings, the most famous being "Key To The Highway".

Offline uncle bud

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Jazz Gillum
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2006, 01:02:01 PM »
One of my all time favourite Jazz Gillum songs is called Sarah Jane....but won't cite any of the lyric for fear of causing offence.  I can hear it playing in my head as I type. >:D

I agree, BH. A favorite of mine as well. Sarah Jane seems to know it too. Welcome to WeenieCampbell, Sarah Jane!

Offline Bunker Hill

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Jazz Gillum
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2006, 11:39:18 PM »
I agree, BH. A favorite of mine as well. Sarah Jane seems to know it too. Welcome to WeenieCampbell, Sarah Jane!
I think it was Tony Russell in 1968 reviewing the LP which first reissued that song who commented that the root was in a white number called "I Was Born Ten Thousand Years Ago". Sarah Jane is on the Juke so anybody owning a version of Ten Thousand Years Ago may care to comment on this.

Offline jharris

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Jazz Gillum
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2006, 12:14:58 PM »
Good to see some positive comments on Jazz Gillum. Here's a profile I posted with audio feature:

www.baddogblues.com/essential.htm

-Jeff H

Offline Richard

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Re: Jazz Gillum
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2006, 08:13:19 AM »
Just posting some washboard examples and there is a J Gillum in there!

I have a spare copy of an extinct Jazz Gillum LP if anybody is interested.
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Jazz Gillum
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2006, 08:15:11 AM »
Just so no one gets disoriented: I've split off our emerging discussion of Jazz Gillum into a separate topic of its own. 

Thanks for the link to your article, Jeff. Those critics kept me away from Jazz Gillum for years. Then the first time I heard him, I went "wha'?"  Believe I've been misled, as Charley Patton would say. I really enjoy his singing and harp playing, he has some really tremendous songs, plus he worked with great musicians, most obviously Broonzy.


Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Jazz Gillum
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2006, 12:14:02 PM »
Here's a review by Paul Oliver of the first 12 inch Jazz Gillum LP from Spin magazine (vol 4, no 5 1966, p23-4). As Paul observes prior to this all that was available were two 10inchers and one EP released by French RCA during the late 50s/early 60s. Spin was a mag aimed at British folk music circles which I guess accounts for the lengthy, justifying preamble before actually discussing the record.

THE BLUES WHAT AM
JAZZ GILLUM
RCA RD 7816

Perhaps it isn't necessary to suggest that the city is a good place to hunt down folk songs, at least in SPIN. For SPIN emanates from Liverpool way, and readers don't need to be reminded of the rich folksong traditions which have flourished in that seaport, or indeed in others around our shores. But the fact remains that there is, a view of folk song, what I call the "pastoral image", which is held by many who feel that authentic folk song is found in rural areas and is somehow corrupted by the city and its ways. No doubt there is some truth in this if you trace the genealogy of a particular song, but if you consider the pressures of the urban environment and study the song forms that have thrived within it you have ample evidence that the city shapes its own folk idioms.

The pastoral image is popular among blues enthusiasts, many of whom considering that the blues is only at its purest (and only worth considering) when in a country setting. This is a blinkered conception of the blues, for the city has produced its idioms as appropriate to the rough-and-tumble, roar and rampage of the crude and unlovely Negro sectors as the rural villages and communities have shaped the country forms. This was a process that commenced before the First World War and by the end of it was already recognisable in Chicago, Cleveland, St. Louis or Harlem. In the twenties these areas and many more like them developed distinctive blues forms as the young men grew up and matured in totally urban surroundings. In common with the majority of Negroes in the Northern cities, large numbers of blues singers migrated from the country districts of the South and brought their music with them. But it was music that underwent a change occasioned by the change in their own circumstances, and was the more authentic for the process. The preservation of a purely Mississippi form of expression in the middle of Chicago's south side is less convincing somehow, than is the re-shaping of it by the new ethos.

It was a process that continued throughout the thirties and which eventually bred the rhythm-and-blues forms of the post-war years. In the late thirties and the forties a number of singers and musicians evolved a form of music in Chicago which was instantly recognisable as an essentially city-formed tradition. The singers were usually backed by small groups ranging from two or three to five musicians and their format was often similar. Typically there would be a guitar, which was electric as the forties proceeded, a harmonica player, a drummer or washboard player, bass player and pianist. Among the harmonica players would be Sonny Boy Williamson and Jazz Gillum, Big Bill Broonzy and Willie Lacey on guitar, Joshua Altheimer, Blind John Davis, Bob Call or Horace Malcolm on piano, Judge Riley, Washboard Sam, Jump Jackson or Amanda Sorter on percussion and so on. Most of these players are to be found on one track or another of a new LP compilation Jazz Gillum 1938-1947 compiled for RCA Victor by Mike Vernon, Ewart Nevals[see BH note] and Neil Slaven and issued on RCA RD 7816.

Jazz Gillum is not a major artist but he is very typical of the blues singers who formulated the Chicago music of the period. He played harmonica, not especially well, but with a shrill, often piercing tone which struck out above the rhythm background of his records. His voice, a little like Washboard Sam's, had a "corrugated" quality with a marked vibrato and clear texture. Many of his records were characterised by strongly rhythmic support, credit for which must go largely to Big Bill Broonzy, undoubtedly one of the formative musicians of the Chicago blues. His guitar is to be heard on nearly every track, except the couple of instances where his disciple, Willie Lacey, takes over, and much of the impetus is due to him. These were the years when boogie woogie became a commercial success at any rate for a brief period, and the piano players - Altheimer, Davis, Malcolm, Eddie Boyd, Roosevelt Sykes and Robert Call mostly use this powerful style in their accompaniments. A strong foundation is laid by the under-rated Blind John Davis on I Couldn't Help It - a tune often associated with John Henry Barbee - and You're Tearin' Your Playhouse Down. I recall fifteen years ago chasing Big Bill Broonzy and Blind John Davis round France - when we all missed the opportunity of hearing the piano man in England. Broonzy's justly famed accompanist Joshua Altheimer is not heard especially well on Talking to Myself but What a Gal, a compulsive track which has been a favourite record of mine for a dozen years, rocks to the blues piano of Bob Call.

Washboard Sam's swinging board playing is to be heard on Muddy Pond Blues, but Neil Slaven in an informative but slightly grudging sleeve note doesn't seem to do Amanda Sortier justice for her playing on Maybe You'll Love Me Too. There are some oddities - John Cameron's tenor sax on Talking, or the historic electric guitar solos of George Barnes on Boar Hog Blues, among the first in blues ever recorded - and Barnes by the way was white. There are some blues vocals too, and some of those who are interested in the content of the lyrics, like War Time Blues with its naive proposition for the conclusion of the Second World War or the remarkable succession of hoodoo superstitions to be heard in The Blues What Am. The boogie pianist on this rocker by the way, is Eddie Boyd, who has recently settled in France, joining Memphis Slim and Curtis Jones, other veterans of the same era.

Some recordings of Jazz Gillum have been available for some time in France but no adequate indication of his work has ever been obtainable here. Now this useful compilation gives a good impression of the Chicago blues of the thirties and forties based on the work of one of its principle exponents.

[Note:The surname Nevals is Slaven backwards! Very subtle, I don't think]

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Jazz Gillum
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2006, 12:55:20 PM »
...and inspired by the bibliography that accompanies Jeff Harris's piece here's another one cited there, from R&B Monthly 22 (Nov 1965). RCA in the States sent the UK division a tape of the final unissued Gillum session but it only got as far as being discussed in the magazine and never used by RCA. I suppose we should be grateful that Slaven is as candid as he is. I've extracted the relevant part of the feature:

An Intimation of R&B Jazz Gillum: The Post War Records Part Two. Neil Slaven

?Gillum?s last session, on March 21st 1950, was never issued, although the quality of the performances might also have had some influence on the decision. By now the whole process of Gillum's recordings had become mechanical, with hardly a trace of conviction to be found. Moreover, since his last session, Gillum?s voice had deteriorated into a pale shadow of its former power. Ironically enough, the first title on this final date was "I'm Still Going Down Slow", more or less a continuation of St. Louis Jimmy's original theme. The beat is plodding, and the musicians just 'go through the motions':

'Some people think that I'm dead, but it's all a sad mistake, x2
Some said they went to my funeral, some said they went to my wake.

I'm in ba-a-ad condition, and still I'm going down slow, x2
And the place that I'm goin', there is thousands others to go.

The doctor he told me I'm gettin' well some old day, x2
People, he may be right, then it may be the other way.

I used to run around, drink whiskey both day and night, x2
Always had good women, but I would not treat them right.

The same can be said of "Don't Think I'm Buster Brown", which is very reminiscent of ''I'm Not The Lad?, employing the same half-spoken, half-sung format of the latter. Strangely enough, the same title occurs on "The Yas Yas Girl's" last, and unissued session of 1949. On Gillum's version there are a few echoes of former successes, and Bob Call's piano provides a backing which the rest of the performance doesn't really deserve.

If further evidence were needed of Gillum's decline, then the next tune, "Floating Power", provides it. One is aware of the double-entendre implied in tho lyric, but the refinement of the words, together with Gillum's lack-lustre delivery, leaves the listener wondering whether he does in fact sing about a car, and not the sexual prowess of his girl! :

'My baby have got a car, drive(s) like a Cadillac machine, x2
It's got more floating power than any car that I've ever seen.

It's got a re-e-e-al neat action, and gear shift on the steering wheel, x2
But when she begin to use her floating power, gee, how good it makes me feel.

It's got a streamline body and a colour that I really like, x2
And her seat rides so easy, until it really won't hurt your back.

I'm gonna ride that car tonight, until her motor gets cold, x2
She have one of the best old motors, I believe that's ever been sold.'

The final tune that Jazz Gillum recorded for RCA Victor was yet another up-tempo boogie piece, "Broadcasting Mama". Gillum's breathless voice does not match the relative enthusiasm of Bob Call and the band, although his harmonica solos recall his 1947 records with Eddie Boyd:

'Baby why don't you quit broadcastin', and tend to nobody's business
but your own, x2
Consider your own affairs, and leave other folks' business alone.

You goin' around broadcastin' about the night I and you went out, x2
Baby you better quit broadcastin', I see you don't know what it's all about.

You broadcastin' so much, until you got ourselves in bad, x2
You told the whole world about me, until I lost every girl I had.

Baby, now you spread the news all over everywhere, x2
If you got to broadcast so much, why don't you get on the air.'

Altogether, this was an ignominious end to a long and successful recording career: Never during the whole sixteen years which this entailed would Gillum called a major blues singer. He was a man of average ability, both as a singer and harmonicist, who was really only as good as his accompanists. This is most evident on the many sides he made with Big Bill Broonzy. Here was another partnership of mutual inspiration which has gone unacknowledged in the shadow of some of the greater blues partnerships. Broonzy had a galvanising, even catalytic, effect on Gillum, which made the latter give just that little bit more of himself to a song, and it is Broonzy's virtuosity which is usually behind what are considered Gillum's finest recordings, the most famous being "Key To The Highway"?

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Jazz Gillum
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2006, 12:09:56 PM »
/edit/ Born Ten Thousand Years Ago?  Got a version of that by the Golden Gate Quartet circa 37 ...
So have I and located it on a super German RCA double LP of 1977. The "melody" is there but beyond that can't hear much resemblance.

Incidentally Tony Russell restated the "Thousand Years Ago" analogy in his 1970 booklet Blacks Whites & Blues (page 98) making a similar comparison to Charlie Poole's "I'm The Man That Rode The Mule Around The World"...

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Jazz Gillum
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2011, 10:38:09 AM »
I thought I'd bump this in light of the fact that Gillum died this day in 1966.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Jazz Gillum
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2011, 11:16:40 AM »
I agree, BH. A favorite of mine as well. Sarah Jane seems to know it too. Welcome to WeenieCampbell, Sarah Jane!
I think it was Tony Russell in 1968 reviewing the LP which first reissued that song who commented that the root was in a white number called "I Was Born Ten Thousand Years Ago". Sarah Jane is on the Juke so anybody owning a version of Ten Thousand Years Ago may care to comment on this.

Better late than never: The version I have of "I Was Born Ten Thousand Years Ago" by Kelly Harrell doesn't have Sarah Jane lyrics but it is related melodically to Uncle Dave Macon's "Man That Rode the Mule Around the World", which has a Sarah Jane verse in it. However, John Foster and and Leonard Rutherford recorded "My Sarah Jane" in January 1929, definitely a version of the song Jazz Gillum recorded later. Whether it was the model, I don't know, as there are some significant lyrical differences. I suspect there could have been many versions.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Jazz Gillum
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2011, 08:27:13 PM »
The Jazz Gillum / Bill Broonzy version of Key To the Highway is high on my list of the all time greatest ever blues recordings.

Offline dj

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Re: Jazz Gillum
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2011, 10:48:42 AM »
If you're interested and you missed it the first time around, click the Jazz Gillum tag at the bottom of the page, then click Key To The Highway for a discussion of all three versions of the song (Segar, Gillum, and Broonzy).

Offline Rivers

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Re: Jazz Gillum
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2011, 07:30:09 PM »
Thanks dj, very interesting. I haven't heard the Segar version but the Jazz Gillum / Broonzy version is, IMHO, superior to Bill's later version. Gillum was totally 'on' for the earlier recording.

 


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