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If you've ever been hurt by your main squeeze, deceived by your best friend, or down to your last dime and ready to call it quits, Albert King has the solution if you have the time to listen. - Deanie Parker, "Born Under A Bad Sign" liner notes, 1967

Author Topic: Jim Jackson's Affinity  (Read 1515 times)

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Jim Jackson's Affinity
« on: February 15, 2008, 10:06:04 AM »
As mentioned elsewhere here's the lowdown on Jim Jackson's Affinity, from Blues & Rhythm 79 (May 1993 p21)

"Jim Jackson?s Vaudeville Sketch"
Guido van Rijn

The late Max Vreede (1927-1991) had a collection of preblues records, perhaps best described as rare records from the period before "official" blues was recorded. Max allowed me to tape most of these recordings during our record playing evenings and I have sent details to Bob Dixon for inclusion in the fourth edition of Blues & Gospel Records.

One of the most interesting is a "Negro Vaudeville Sketch" titled "Jim Jackson's Affinity". It not only gives a good idea of a minstrel show sketch, it also features Jim Jackson himself in an undated recording made years before his first commercial 1927 recordings. The record on the Oxford label is itself one sided. It is difficult to fix a date, but perhaps circa 1918 would be a good guess.

After a trumpet call a Mr. Green (Silas Green??) urges people at Miss Lucy's ball to take partners for the two-step. Miss Lucy tells Mr. Green that Jim Jackson is her "affinity". When Jim appears on the scene he dances with Lucy. He wears the clothes she has bought him. When Mr. Green urges the dancers to take partners for the rag, Jim and Lucy kiss. In comes Jim's wife who becomes mad at her husband for kissing "that pale faced yellow gal". Lucy does not know that Jackson is married and asks him to give back the clothes she bought him. When Jim protests that he can't take them off now, Mr. Green suggests that he go home in a barrel! A roar of laughter is the result. When Jim wants to leave her for his wife, Lucy begs him to come back. When Mr. Green can't understand why she still loves "that deceivin' nigger" Lucy sings her reply: "I want him for my affinity". The music is performed by a ragtime orchestra and Jim Jackson's voice is unmistakeable.

NEGRO VAUDEVILLE SKETCH
"Jim Jackson's Affinity"
(Oxford 5193 - A)

Green: Partners, for the two-step! You're certainly having a swell ball Miss Lucy!

Lucy: Sure am, Mr. Green!

Green: I could just die there and then.

Lucy: Well, I'll die if I don't hit the floor once in a while. You're slidin' all over my new white shoes!

Green: White shoes? I thought I was playin' it light on your feet

Lucy: Mmmm, just let my affinity hear you say that and you?on your head. Oh there's my Jim now. Hello!

Jim: Hello, little gal! Please can I have the next dance?

Lucy: Oh, you make me feel sad when you're actin' to please

Jim: Why?

Lucy: If you'd love me, you'd court me.

Jim: Course I love you! Ain't I a-wearin' the clothes you bought me?

Green: Partners, for the rag!

Jim: Come close to me baby.

Lucy: Hold me close while I'm....I'm afraid I will slip!

Jim: Hey baby let me have one of them (he kisses her). Oh, think that was a soul kiss!

Wife: Oh stop that you great big black....Go away from that pale faced yellow gal!

Lucy: How dare you talk to that way to my affinity?

Wife: Affinity? Go along, I got work for that man's bosom. I'd jump out of that fair bosom he's got on.

Lucy: His wife! Jim, you never told me you were married,

Jim: What? Where, you, you never did ask me!

Lucy: Oh. you deceived me, Jim! Give me back those presents I done give you!

Jim: Well, I can't take them off here!

Green: Go home in a barrel! (laughter)

Lucy: No, Jimmy, I gave you many things you that-a-way.

Jim: No, Goodbye! Come on, wife!

Lucy: Oh, Jimmy, please come back!

Green: Let him go, he's no good for you Lucy! What you want him for?

Lucy:   I want him:
For my affinity,
He was so good to me.
I cannot live without him
Without my Jim I'll die
He left his wife you see.
And did it all for me.

Green: You used to love that deceivin' nigger?

Lucy: Love him? I sure do Mr. Green!
Cause I:
Can't help it man,
It's my affinity!

I sent the above transcription to Memphis Blues expert Bengt Olsson and his reaction was "Quite amazing - I had no idea whatsoever that such a record ever existed!". Details of Jim Jackson's Medicine Show experience are to be found in the notes to "Kansas City Blues". the first Jim Jackson reissue album (see review in BU 141, Autumn/Winter 1981). A chapter on the "Songsters of the Road Shows" is to be found in Paul Oliver's "Songsters and Saints: Vocal Traditions on Race Records". Jim Jackson's "complete recorded works in chronological order" have now been issued on Document DOCD 5114 and 5115 (review in B&R 73, October 1992).

Up to now we were acquainted with Jim Jackson's Medicine Show sketches by his September, 1929 recordings with "Liza Brown and Ann Johnson" (probably Ozie McPherson and Leola B. Wilson), but it is great to finally have the real stuff on a rare recording from the road show years before his massive 1927 hit, "Jim Jackson's Kansas City Blues Parts One and Two" (Vocalion 1144).
« Last Edit: February 15, 2008, 10:08:19 AM by Bunker Hill »

Offline dj

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Re: Jim Jackson's Affinity
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2008, 10:53:12 AM »
Quote
Jim Jackson's "complete recorded works in chronological order" have now been issued on Document DOCD 5114 and 5115

Lest anyone fail to notice the irony implicit in the quotation marks, it should be noted that "Jim Jackson's Affinity" is not on either of the "complete" disks but rather on DOCD 5216, Too Late, Too Late Volume 2.

And, as always, thanks for posting that, BH!

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Jim Jackson's Affinity
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2008, 11:45:34 AM »
Quote
Jim Jackson's "complete recorded works in chronological order" have now been issued on Document DOCD 5114 and 5115

Lest anyone fail to notice the irony implicit in the quotation marks, it should be noted that "Jim Jackson's Affinity" is not on either of the "complete" disks but rather on DOCD 5216, Too Late, Too Late Volume 2.

And, as always, thanks for posting that, BH!
What I should have added was that four years later the compilers of B&GR4 disputed that the same Jim Jackson was responsible for the recording "...there is no known evidence for the identification, and there is a possibility these may be white performers".
« Last Edit: February 15, 2008, 02:19:09 PM by Johnm »

Offline Dom Boggs

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Re: Jim Jackson's Affinity
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2008, 03:53:48 PM »
That has to be Jackson. That was a great read by the way. thanks

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