Curtis Jones- Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 (1939-1940)
"The third volume in Document's complete reissued early works of singing blues pianist Curtis Jones contains 22 Vocalion, Okeh, and Bluebird recordings made in Chicago between June 1939 and September 1940. The first two tracks constitute the remaining titles from a session that featured vocalist Lillie Mae Kirkman, who made records with Memphis Slim & the House Rockers a few years later. The guitarist on "What Evil Have I Done?" and "It's a Hard Way to Travel," as well as tracks three through ten, was Hobson "Hot Box" Johnson, whose technique sometimes seems to be cross-threaded with the pianist's individualistic maneuverings. The drummer on most of these recordings was Bluebird's house percussionist Fred Williams; on tracks 15-22 (which also feature blues harpist Jazz Gillum) he is replaced by the venerable Judge Riley. Jones usually chose to sing about love, attraction, separation, and loneliness. Much of his material seems to have been cut out of the same fabric, woven directly from personal experience in his native Texas and up north in Chicago. One tune that stands out from the rest is "Solid Jive," a rare example of Jones adopting a jazzier swing style and mouthing "hepcat" lyrics. This lively number, as well as what appears to have been Jones' only known session involving a harmonica, makes Volume 3 a particularly interesting and texturally varied choice."
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