From the Record Shelves #192

Mamie’s Blues

LP Commodore FL 30,000

Sometime last year, I came into a second-hand record shop and heard this. I’ve heard it many times before, but it was still magic, especially among young people in the present world we live in. I had to have it! After a short negotiation, I bought it. Again, I could say, since I already had the music on LP and CD. But maybe not with as good dynamic quality? The iconic numbers followed one after the other: “Buddy Bolden,” “Winin’ Boy,” and in the end Don’t You Leave Me Here. I imagined that it was the same situation at the little club where the great Jelly Roll Morton played at the end, with people around minding their own goddamn business.

The music of this tune is transcribed in the Alan Lomax book about Morton, and about fifty years ago, I made an attempt to learn it at the piano but gave up. Mr. Jelly is a one-man band with one musician in the left hand, another one with a different rhythm in the right, and then he is the third one singing.

I can’t play the whole LP here, but the fact is, as Charles Edward Smith points out in the comment: “There is not a tune in this album that wasn’t played in New Orleans before 1910”.