From the Record Shelves #128

Tell Me Woman Blues

LP Historical HLP 27

This rare LP contains a lot of good jazz and blues, mostly with female singers with cornet or trumpet accompaniment. The best of them could have a job in a cabaret or tent show but also in bars and cafés, rather small places where they sadly would be replaced by jukeboxes later.

For the male artists like Texas Alexander it was another matter. He would enter as any stranger in a café with his accompanist, sometimes the great Lonnie Johnson, order a drink and then start to sing from his table. After a couple of songs money was collected and that was all.

Lonnie has told that it was the most difficult job he had to follow Alexander’s unpredictable blues lines. Sometimes it would be eleven bars or thirteen and a half and so on.

It’s evident, here too, that the musicians are surprised when he shortens a stanza. But they handle it. Texas had a good voice and good poetic blues lyrics and here we also have the fine guitar of Eddie Lang and the reliable Clarence Williams on piano. And then as is said on the record it “features the King (Joe Oliver, cornet). Hardly more need to be said”.