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SENTENCE BLIND MUSICIAN FOR ASSAULT - Columbia, S. C., July 17. - (A. N. P.): Simmie Dooley, blind musician, has been sentenced to serve two months in the State penitentiary having been found guilty of a charge of assault and battery. Dooley's chief instrument is a guitar which he plays so well that while being brought to jail he earned nearly ten dollars from people along the way - Norfolk Journal and Guide, July 19, 1924

Author Topic: Georgia White  (Read 2716 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Georgia White
« on: September 07, 2006, 02:37:05 PM »
The Juke has just finished playing Georgia White doing "Trouble in Mind", one of the best versions of this song I have ever heard, and it reminds me that I've been meaning to post about this singer who's rarely, if ever, been mentioned in the Weenie forum. She is mostly new to me, with two of her complete recorded works on Document just recently added to the Juke, and I have to say she has very quickly become on of my favourite female blues singers. She was popular in her day judging from her recorded output but you don't see her name mentioned much anywhere anymore as far as I know. I in fact know very little about her, though believe she accompanied herself on piano for her early sessions at least. She does a great Dupree Blues, and some of you may know her from the bawdy song, Hot Nuts. Not much more to say than that since I know nothing else (am willing to be enlightened), but check her out. She is tremendous.

Offline Richard

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Re: Georgia White
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2006, 02:00:29 AM »
Couldn't agree more... I have a couple of the document cd's and have been listening to her for ages... it's  Ikey Robinson on guitar that makes it, I believe he was a banjo player first so to speak. I think Lonnie Johnson did some backings as well from memory.
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline dj

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Re: Georgia White
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2006, 02:47:11 AM »
Thanks for bringing up Georgia White, Uncle Bud.  I've been meaning to mention her in the "Favorite Singers" thread for ages, but have never gotten around to it.  I don't know much more about her than you do.  She was born in 1903 just outside of Macon, Georgia, moved to Chicago at some point in the 1920s.  She worked at first with various bands, including Jimmie Noone's Apex Club Orchestra, with whom she cut her first record, a version of "When You're Smiling".  She then worked on her own in the Chicago clubs.  She started her recording career in earnest in 1935, and from then through the start of the war she was apparently Decca's best selling female "race" artist.  The piano on her records was usually played either by herself or by Richard M. Jones.  There's some disagreement between the discographies on the Document disks and those in Blues And Gospel Records, but her guitar accompanists included Ikey Robinson, Lonnie Johnson, Teddy Bunn, and possibly Les Paul, Charlie McCoy, and Willie B. James - a pretty impressive lineup.  She was often accompanied on bass by John Lindsay.  He was either an unusually powerful bass player or the Decca engineers took a lot of care when recording him, as his bass parts really stand out on a lot of Georgia's records, and they're excellent - check out "Black Rider" for an example.  World War II ended Georgia White's recording career, which is surprising considering her talent, her pre-war popularity, and the fact that she stayed in the music business at least through 1950.  In 1949 she worked in Big Bill Broonzy's band, then in 1950 co-led an all-female band "in a small town just east of Chicago", then she disappears from the history books, or at least the books I've seen.

One thing that impresses me about Georgia White is her versatility.  She could belt out a tune like a blues shouter from the 1920s, but she could also croon, and could do a pretty convincing growl when she felt like it.  She could sell a pop love song and a racy number like "Hot Nuts" equally well.  And she got the opportunity to record a fairly broad repertoire, which is unusual for a Chicago artist stuck in the "race" pigeonhole in the late 1930s.  She's one of my favorites.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Georgia White
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2006, 07:42:56 AM »
Thanks for the info, guys. Here's the entry from the All Music Guide, which doesn't say much more:

Barrelhouse blues vocalist Georgia White recorded mildly risqu? blues songs from the mid-30s through the early '40s including "I'll Keep Sitting on It," "Take Me for a Buggy Ride," "Mama Knows What Papa Wants When Papa's Feeling Blue," and "Hot Nuts." She reportedly moved to Chicago in the 1920s and began working as a singer in the nightclubs during the late '20s. Georgia White first recorded in May 1930 for the Vocalion label with Jimmie Noone's Apex Club Orchestra when she sang just one song, "When You're Smiling, the Whole World Smiles With You." White didn't return to the studios until 1935, but recorded regularly from then on through the early '40s for the Decca label. In 1935, she also recorded a couple of songs, including "Your Worries Ain't Like Mine," under the alias Georgia Lawson. From her first sessions until the late '30s, White was accompanied by pianist Richard Jones. The late '30s found White accompanied by blues guitarist Lonnie Johnson. In the late '40s, Georgia White formed an all-women band. She also worked with Big Bill Broonzy from 1949-50, and returned to singing in the clubs during the 1950s. Georgia White's last known public performance was in 1959, after which she retired from the music business. ~ Joslyn Layne, All Music Guide


Offline waxwing

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Re: Georgia White
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2006, 08:08:14 AM »
She could belt out a tune like a blues shouter from the 1920s, but she could also croon, and could do a pretty convincing growl when she felt like it.  She could sell a pop love song and a racy number like "Hot Nuts" equally well.
Another great singer someone forgot to tell that she should only sing in her own voice, thankfully.-G-

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Georgia White
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2006, 10:37:15 AM »
Rosetta Reitz produced a wonderful GW compilation LP in 1982. The gatefold sleeve of which, imho, has one of the best pieces of writing on White I've yet read. It was drawn from a chapter of her proposed book Blues Women 1920-1950, which never came to fruition yet apparently - at the age of 82 - is still working on it! Two years later, the magazine Whiskey, Women And... reprinted the article in full, but should anybody be interested the gatefold text it's scanable.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Georgia White
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2006, 11:30:39 AM »
I'd only ever heard her "Blues Ain't Nothing But" on a 1964 budget British Ace Of Hearts compilation  (Out Came The Blues). Then I read Paul Oliver's short entry on her in Jazz On Record: A Critical Guide to The First 60 Years (1968). Apart from the AoH LP Paul also cited a French 10 incher. T-h-a-t I just had to hear. A visit to Dave Carey's Swing Shop in Streatham, South London to find that he still had stocks from 8 years previous.

Offline Richard

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Re: Georgia White
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2006, 12:09:13 PM »
Ace of Hearts... fantastic label a quid each as I recall   :)  I have lots, they did a great early jazz selection as well.
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Georgia White
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2006, 12:38:43 PM »
Ace of Hearts... fantastic label a quid each as I recall   :)  I have lots, they did a great early jazz selection as well.
Yes the brain child of Decca label product manager Geoff Milne. Nobody was more surprised than Geoff when Out Came The Blues managed to go straight in at 19 of the UK pop top 20 LP chart week ending 15 May 1964. Mind you it soon dropped in to obscurity again, but it meant that Decca "kept the faith" with AoH a lot longer than they might normally have done. Just think Georgia White, Memphis Minnie, Trixie Smith, Kokomo Arnold, Peetie Wheastraw, Jesse James and all others present on the LP in the UK pop top 20? And the LP was only a straight UK release of an American Decca album compiled by Stanley Dance and Yannick Bruynoghe. There was a volume two that Geoff compiled in 1966 but all a bit too late to cash in on "the boom", the US parent company didn't even bother.

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Georgia White
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2006, 02:55:52 AM »
Out Came the Blues Vols 1 and 2 - along with Lonnie and Eddie's Blue Guitars and Blind Blake - Blues in Chicago, this was my record collection in 1967 or thereabouts. I still go back to all these albums regularly. Returning to Georgia White - there are three Document CDs available on emusic and they're all superb. Apart form the great voice, piano and bass, she just somehow managed to attract to all her sessions the best guitar players. There just isn't a dud track anywhere. Highly recommended!

Offline Richard

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Re: Georgia White
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2006, 05:48:37 AM »
Yes, I bought my Out Came the Blues when first issued and I guess they were responsible for my real foray into counry\prewar blues which I am happily still listening to today :)
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline dj

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Re: Georgia White
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2006, 10:25:36 AM »
Just thought I'd mention that I took Bunker Hill up on his offer to supply a scan of Rosetta Reitz's Georgia White liner notes, and that, having read them, I'd recommend them to anyone else interested in Ms. White.  The notes really are the best writing on Georgia White that you'll ever read, though there's unfortunately not much competition.  There's a good summation of the known facts of White's life (though apparently about 50% of the "facts" come from the notoriously unreliable Big Bill Broonzy, so do we really know as much as we think we do?), and then a perceptive and sympathetic discussion of 16 of White's songs.  At 5,000 words, it's a somewhat lengthy but definitely worthwhile read.

And just thought I'd mention that I love to read the British Weenies reminiscing about the early LPs that led them to the blues.  Over on this side of the Atlantic, it was a whole different set of records that my friends and I discovered - things on the OJL and Blues Classics labels and those early Yazoos - but your comments remind me of the excitement of discovery that we had as we found those LPs, and 35 - 40 years later the special place those records hold for us is undoubtedly the same.

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Re: Georgia White
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2006, 02:47:55 AM »
That's really neat you brought up Georgia White.
I discovered her just this year. I love the way she does "The blues ain't nothin but a woman cryin for her man...."

The guitar playing on her songs is noticeble (even for a non-guitar playing person)...On "Hellish Ways" it sorta sounds like that could be Les Paul??. That's fun to know that Lonnie Johnson and big Bill Broonzy played on some of those songs.

thanks for all the interesting notes
roz
« Last Edit: September 10, 2006, 11:41:13 AM by Rosalyn »

 


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