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You know, I want to write a book about my life... I don't want to tell you too much until I've got a chance to have it printed. Apart from my music, my main interests are fishing and making bicycle rides - Tampa Red's excuse to Jacques Demetre and Marcel Chauvard for not wanting to talk to them in any great detail, October 1959

Author Topic: Smokey Hogg: In Remembrance Of  (Read 3905 times)

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Smokey Hogg: In Remembrance Of
« on: November 02, 2007, 01:14:14 PM »
Smokey Hoggs.....
great R & B stuff with an influence from Big Bill and Wheatstraw..
the limited infor that I found on the internet seems to indicate he had trouble keeping a beat and was helped by a great background band.... But I like his stuff!!
The above was asked elsewhere on this forum. Aided by Robert Ford's Blues Bibliography and some archive delving on my part has turned up the following from Blues Unlimited 55 (July 1968 p 3-5). it's a bit lengthy but IMHO worth seeing through to the conclusion:

IN REMEMBRANCE OF SMOKEY HOGG - Gary Paulsen
The following was taken from an interview that I had during the first week of April with John Hogg who is, or was, Smokey Hogg's cousin. John is a very able musician in his own right, having played with Smokey, and recorded 'West Texas Blues' and 'Black Snake Blues' for the Octive label in the early fifties and then a decade later for Chris Strachwitz. But for more on John Hogg, see Chris's fine article in the May-June 1960 issue of 'Eureka'. "Smokey was born in 1914. I was born in 1912. We were born in Westconnie, Texas. Smokey and I were first cousins on my father's side. Both of our fathers were brothers. Smokey had four brothers and two sisters. His mother and father are now both dead, but his step-mother is still livin'. She's back in Texas. Her and one of Smokey's brothers are the only ones left back on the farm. That's about 36 miles from Henderson. Between Cushing and Henderson.

"Smokey must have been about five years old when I first discovered he could play guitar. We was livin' on the same farm back then. I knew Smokey's dad could play guitar, but I didn't know Smokey could play guitar. One day we were all out playin' and we came back to the farm for some water. Smokey went in and drug out his dad's guitar, set down on the steps, and started playin'. I was knocked off my toes 'cause I didn't know he could play guitar. I think Smokey picked up playing from his father. He would sit around watchin' and listenin' to his father play so much, that he finally just picked it up.

"Smokey done some recordin' when he was about 16. That was back in the days of Peetie Wheatstraw. They used to call him 'Little Peetie Wheatstraw'. He could play and sing every thing Peetie Wheatstraw ever recorded. They let Smokey record some of Peetie Wheatstraw's numbers in Peetie Wheatstraw's lifetime, and you couldn't really tell 'em apart.

"Back in Greenville, Texas, before he got into the recordin' business, Smokey and a guy they called Black Ace ('The' Black Ace) would play country dances. I'd carry Smokey on one side of town, he d play this dance over there and I'd take Black Ace on the other side of town to play. About the time the guys would be ready to wrap-up, I would run over and get Black Ace, double back and get Smokey. We would party together the rest of the night. I used to sing with Black Ace at them parties and dances. He played a guitar across his knees with a knife blade and he wanted me to sing. Smokey made his livin' doing that?playin' country dances. This was before he made any records ya know. There used to be a track back there in Dallas they call 'Central Track'. That was down in the coloured neighborhood. I used to take Smokey down there on a Saturday mornin'. He'd stand out there all day playin' and singin' for quarters and whatnot. I'd go back and get Smokey about 7 or 8 o'clock at night. He'd make himself anywhere from 50 to 75 dollars. In the cotton-picking time, Smokey would get out in the field and make himself a few bucks pickin' cotton. But he just fooled around. He didn't want to hurt himself or his fingers. Sometimes he'd get loose out in them fields playin' the blues on his guitar. The rest of the time, Smokey layed around, played country dances and suppers. Yeah, that's how he made his livin' like that.

Smokey was married twice. I didn't know Smokey's first wife. His second wife grew up back in Greenville, Texas, on a farm. Her name was Dorothy McMillan before they got married. He had one boy by her. I swear I don't know what that boy's name was, though. I never did see him. He had another child from the first wife too, but I don't know whether it was a boy or a girl. Smokey and his second wife stayed with me in Dallas. That was in the first of '41.

Smokey had made his first record for some company there in Dallas. Somehow or other, this company and Modern records got together and Modern records produced the record. It was a hit for Smokey. He was singin', 'Oh Babe, all your sparkplugs are gone and there's a crack in your cylinder head'. Somethin' about a car as I recall. It was either on Smokey's first or second session that there was a white group backing him up. There was a white girl on upright bass, a white boy backin' him on guitar and Smokey was playin' guitar with another white boy on drums. Smokey also played piano. But he was just a good down-home guitar player. He could play numbers of Big Bill, Peetie Wheatstraw and Leroy Carr.

I moved out here in 1942. Smokey came out here while I was livin' in the projects. That I think was his first time out here on the West Coast. He came out here to do some recording?to get with some company out here.

All the police in Dallas knew him. Whenever he'd be playin' North or East Dallas, walkin' around, the squad cars would stop and pick him up. They'd turn the radio on in the squad car there and call the Chief an' tell 'im to listen. 'We got Smokey Hogg here and we're gonna serenade ya'. Smokey had an old song that he made up, 'Oh Mister Police, Please Let Me Go!' He sang it to the Chief. They'd get a big laugh out of it ya know. Then they would drop him off at home.

"Smokey was a heavy drinker when he was recording. He'd tell Jules Bihari to go out and get him a drink. Jules would send out and get a fifth. That was for the whole band, but Smokey would turn it up and drink half of it. He'd set the rest of the fifth between his legs on the floor, and wouldn't share it with the rest of the band. He'd tell Jules to go out and get more for the guys. Smokey would sit there and record two sides. Then he'd drink the rest of the fifth and record two more sides. After the session was over, Smokey would get up, go to a grocery store, and buy himself some apple vinegar. He'd take three or four swigs to kill the whiskey.

"Smokey's been dead now for five years or more. I can't recall the exact year he died, but it was in the early '60's. You see, Smokey left me and went home. He said he was sick. His stomach was all swollen up. He went home and they operated on him in the Veteran's Hospital. I think that was in the city of Houston. I played at a club dance on Figueroa about a year after Smokey left here. The drummer said he saw Smokey in Chicago the previous week. He said he was there to do some recording (?) and he was pretty drunk. I knew Smokey had been operated on and that he shouldn't drink like that. About six or eight months later, my brother from Houston wrote and told me that Smokey died of cancer of the stomach from drinkin' so heavy. That's what got him down. That whiskey and stuff just ate out his intestines. He's buried down home there in Cushing, Texas. In Westconnie we'd say."

[edit, rivers: modified the topic title so it sorts better in the tag results]
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 07:41:03 PM by Rivers »

Offline dj

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Re: In Remembrance Of Smokey Hogg
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2007, 04:23:13 PM »
That was an absolutely wonderful interview.  Thanks for taking the time to rescue it from oblivion and share it with us.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: In Remembrance Of Smokey Hogg
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2007, 12:36:16 AM »
I dug further back and found in BU 30 (July 1966 p 19), the following snippett:
 
Information supplied by Jacques Demetre and taken from a Federal D.J. copy's label of a Hogg release.

"Smokey Hogg was born on January 27, 1914, in Cushing, Texas. He came from a musical family of 14 children. His constant companion during his childhood days, the same as now, was his guitar. Because his parents were financially unable to pay for guitar lessons for Smokey, he taught himself. He played at picnics and local taverns and sometimes strolled along the streets playing and singing."

[Hogg record only recorded two four song sessions for Federal, 23 October 1952 & 29 January 1953 - BH]


« Last Edit: November 03, 2007, 12:37:49 AM by Bunker Hill »

Offline dave stott

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Re: In Remembrance Of Smokey Hogg
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2007, 05:14:44 AM »
Listening to Smokey Hogg tunes, you are immediately struck by Big Bill Broonzy's influence on Smokey.

I am currently very much enjoying a CD issued by ACE records...

Smokey Hogg
Midnight Blues

it has 24 tracks on it, almost a dozen of which are listed as previously unissued, plus 2-3 alternate take tunes.

Does anyone have recommendations for other compilations of Smokey Hogg's music?

Dave

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: In Remembrance Of Smokey Hogg
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2007, 09:45:54 AM »
The 2002 "Serve It to the Right - Combo & Modern Recordings, 1947-52" (Ace CDCHD 866) is a good 'un. The title song is Broonzy's "Serve It To Me Right"!

If you want to go the whole hog (ouch) then the 2000 "Deep Ellum Rambler" (Ace CDCHD 780, three quarters unissued) has many echoes of Broonzy to be heard. If you can find the 1990 Mainstream Sittin' In With CD you'll darn near have the entire recorded output...but don't go out of your way looking for that.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2007, 09:55:08 AM by Bunker Hill »

Offline Stefan Wirz

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Re: In Remembrance Of Smokey Hogg
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2009, 10:14:10 AM »
even though the 78 rpm section isn't complete yet I dare announce the 'birth' of a Smokey Hogg discography as part of my 'American Music' site.
Add'l info regarding the LP and CD section is most welcome !
Stefan

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: In Remembrance Of Smokey Hogg
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2009, 11:48:29 AM »
even though the 78 rpm section isn't complete yet I dare announce the 'birth' of a Smokey Hogg discography as part of my 'American Music' site.
Add'l info regarding the LP and CD section is most welcome !
Stefan
Hey, there's even a link from your page to this. Nice one.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: In Remembrance Of Smokey Hogg
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2010, 09:51:53 AM »
Thought I'd give this a bump in light of today being the 50th anniversary of his death aged 46

 


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