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You know, folks, there's just seventeen of us kids. There's eight boys, seven girls, and two other children - Lonnie Glosson, Arkansas Hard Luck Blues

Author Topic: Paramount All-Stars, Hometown Skiffle Parts 1 & 2  (Read 5795 times)

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Offline CF

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Paramount All-Stars, Hometown Skiffle Parts 1 & 2
« on: October 17, 2007, 11:28:38 AM »
I came across these 2 tracks recently . . . & was surprised a Weenie search found no mention of them at all. These recordings were probably done by Paramount records as a sort of advertisement for some of their artists. Each artist plays a snippet of a song including a little dialogue. The artists are the Hokum Boys, Charlie Spand, Will Ezell, Papa Charlie Jackson and . . . BLIND BLAKE & BLIND LEMON JEFFERSON! (Can you tell I really like these last two?).
[edited june 2017]
Blake is on Part 1 & jams out in C# as the record ends (C position capoed at first fret) . . . Part 2 starts with Lemon also playing at C#, C position and playing a riff he usually played out of a G position & which I don't think I've heard him transpose elsewhere. What's also interesting is that his name isn't mentioned at all but while he is playing is introduced with a 'Now folks you can guess who this is.' Kinda strange that Blake & Lemon both are playing out of C#. Maybe they were jamming in the studio!! Papa Charlie is on Part 2 as well plays a verse & chorus of 'Shake That Thing' in the key of D. The record ends with a policeman knocking on the door breaking up the Hometown Skiffle. The Hokum Boys do 'Shake That Thing' & 'Selling That Stuff', Will Ezell plays 'Mixed Up Rag' & Spand plays 'Soon This Morning' with, I think, the Hokum Boys MCing (which version of the boys would this be?). Anybody know anything about this rare & interesting record? I also wonder who played the policeman? Anyway this seems to be a rare recording with a lot of historical value if not even a little musical value.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2017, 06:53:02 PM by CF »
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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Paramount All-Stars, Hometown Skiffle Parts 1 & 2
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2007, 12:21:32 PM »
FWIW B&GR4 prefaces their entry thus:

THE PARAMOUNT ALL STARS
This artist credit was not used on the Paramount label, which merely reads Descriptive Novelty: Featuring Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Blake, Will Ezell, Charlie Spand, The Hokum Boys, Papa Charlie Jackson. The credit Paramount All Stars was apparently used only in some Paramount catalogues and on reissue labels. The record was made by Paramount as a kind of 'sampler' of some of the blues singers who were recording for them during this period. The artists performed excerpt from some of their recorded titles. The titles performed by the individual artists do not appear on the labels. Only a few choruses of each number are played.

Following the session details there's a footnote which reads:

"It is possible that Blind Blake impersonates Blind Lemon Jefferson, but there is no clear evidence in support of this theory."

which is a reference to a debate that was raging in the 60s based upon there being no mention of BLJ on the recording!

Offline CF

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Re: Paramount All-Stars, Hometown Skiffle Parts 1 & 2
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2007, 12:30:58 PM »
Well isn't that something . . . I was thinking maybe someone was impersonating Lemon too . . . & like I said both played their pieces out of C# . . . man, relistening to it, you know, that could be Blake playing, ooo, this is some neat stuff! 
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Offline dj

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Re: Paramount All-Stars, Hometown Skiffle Parts 1 & 2
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2007, 01:19:25 PM »
It's on Document CD 5277, Rare Paramount Blues 1926 - 1929

Offline CF

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Re: Paramount All-Stars, Hometown Skiffle Parts 1 & 2
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2007, 02:03:12 PM »
I'm pretty convinced it's Blake impersonating Lemon, the bends at one point sound like him . . . here's an mp3 of part 2.
What do you guys think?
I can't believe I haven't heard of this before . . .
« Last Edit: October 17, 2007, 02:04:46 PM by cheapfeet »
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Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Paramount All-Stars, Hometown Skiffle Parts 1 & 2
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2007, 02:12:28 PM »
I have a vague memory of reading that the recording date for these tracks was in fact shortly after BLJ's death and that the recording company didn't want the truth to get out!  Bunker Hill will no doubt cast light on this. Fact or fantasy?

Offline dj

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Re: Paramount All-Stars, Hometown Skiffle Parts 1 & 2
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2007, 03:11:19 PM »
The fourth edition of Blues & Gospel Records gives a recording date of "c. October 1929" for "Hometown Skiffle".  Until proven otherwise, I'd assume that's a guess based on the fact that Lemon was last in the studio on September 24, 1929.

Offline banjochris

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Re: Paramount All-Stars, Hometown Skiffle Parts 1 & 2
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2007, 06:58:32 PM »
These two tracks are also on the Yazoo LP/CD "Please Warm My Wiener."
Chris

Cooljack

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Re: Paramount All-Stars, Hometown Skiffle Parts 1 & 2
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2007, 11:10:21 PM »
Just given them a little listen and im quite impressed :)

Am i right in thinking they're playing "Shake that Thing" in the first part and the hokum boys a similar tune in the second part? (including the part where Papa Charlie actually plays Shake that thing)
« Last Edit: October 17, 2007, 11:11:57 PM by Cooljack »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Paramount All-Stars, Hometown Skiffle Parts 1 & 2
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2007, 01:25:12 AM »
It's on Document CD 5277, Rare Paramount Blues 1926 - 1929
Here's what Chris Smith speculates in his notes:

I have some doubts about the identification of Georgia Tom as the pianist with these particular Hokum Boys; are they not Alex Hill, vocal/piano, and Bob Robinson, second vocal? More intriguingly we are invited by Hill to guess that Blind Lemon Jefferson opens Part II; but he's not among those who come through the door of the supposed house rent party, and Bob Groom's suggestion that Blind Blake is here standing in for the absent Lemon is convincing. The playing of one of Lemon's trademark runs, doesn't have quite the same touch as usual. We also hear brief contributions from pianists Will Ezell, playing "one of those old fast rags", and "Charlie Spand from Detroit", with a blistering extract from "Soon This Morning!". Papa Charlie Jackson breaks into "Shake That Thing", but policeman "Johnny Nab" breaks up the party PC Nab seems to be played by the same man heard speaking on Paramount records by Big Bill Broonzy ("House Rent Stomp"), Blind Blake ("Doggin' Me Mama Blues" and "Hot Potatoes") and William Moore ("Barbershop Rag"); all of which seems to support John Newman's theory that the speaker is none other than J. Mayo Williams.

The debate I cited earlier wasn't in the 60s, as I thought, but in 1970 when  Saydisc first reissued the 78. Chris's reference to Bob Groom and John Newman refer to their speculations in the pages of blues Blues World magazine.

Offline CF

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Re: Paramount All-Stars, Hometown Skiffle Parts 1 & 2
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2007, 07:00:24 AM »
Well i'm sold now Bunker. Blind Blake playing Blind Lemon Jefferson, go figure.
Any chance you would have any of those Groom speculations on hand?
« Last Edit: October 18, 2007, 07:02:06 AM by cheapfeet »
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Offline dj

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Re: Paramount All-Stars, Hometown Skiffle Parts 1 & 2
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2007, 10:33:18 AM »
These two tracks are also on Black Swan BSCD-30, which is appropriately entitled "Hometown Skiffle - From The Paramount Label".

mississippijohnhurt1928

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Re: Paramount All-Stars, Hometown Skiffle Parts 1 & 2
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2007, 10:55:48 AM »
It's on Document CD 5277, Rare Paramount Blues 1926 - 1929

I must have it!!

The only time I've heard Hometown Skiffle mentioned is on the opening track* of the Charlie Spand compilation "Dreaming The Blues"



*Entitled "Introduction From Hometown Skiffle"

bobo

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Re: Paramount All-Stars, Hometown Skiffle Parts 1 & 2
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2007, 05:30:01 PM »
There are other takes of Hometown Skiffle out there. Wonder when they will appear on cd.

Offline dj

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Re: Paramount All-Stars, Hometown Skiffle Parts 1 & 2
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2007, 03:38:27 AM »
Quote
There are other takes of Hometown Skiffle out there.

There aren't any others listed in the latest edition of Blues & Gospel Records.  What do you know about them?


 


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