Charlie Johnson p, dir / Jabbo Smith, Leonard Davis c / Charlie Irvis tb / Benny Carter cl, ss, as, a / Edgar Sampson vn, as / Benny Waters cl, ts, a / Bobby Johnson bj / Cyrus St. Clair bb / George Stafford d.
Recorded in New York on January 24, 1928.
Lloyd Scott d, dir / Kenneth Roane t, a / Gus McClung t / Dicky Wells tb / Fletcher Allen, John Williams cl, as / Cecil Scott cl, ts, bar / Don Frye p, a / Hubert Mann bj / Chester Campbell bb.
[Henry Thomas (1874–1930?) was an American country blues singer, songster and musician, who had a brief recording career in the late 1920s which has latterly been influential. He was often billed as "Ragtime Texas". His style is an early example of what later became known as Texas blues guitar.
Thomas was born into a family of freed slaves in Big Sandy, Texas in 1874. He began traveling the Texas railroad lines as a hobo after leaving home in his teens. He eventually earned his way as an itinerant songster, entertaining local populaces as well as railway employees.
He recorded 24 sides for Vocalion Records between 1927 and 1929, 23 of which were released. They include reels, gospel songs, minstrel songs, ragtime numbers, and blues. Besides guitar, Thomas accompanied himself on quills, a folk instrument fabricated from cane reeds whose sound is similar to the zampona played by musicians in Peru and Bolivia. His style of playing guitar was probably derived from banjo-picking styles.
His life and career after his last recordings in 1929 have not been chronicled. Although the blues researcher Mack McCormick stated that he saw a man in Houston in 1949 who met Thomas's description, most biographers indicate that Thomas died in 1930, when he would have been 55 or 56 years old.]
Save for one track she recorded in 1932 with Fletcher Henderson, Katherine Handy, W. C. Handy's daughter, made this lone 78 accompanied by her father's band. She recorded a test each for Victor (1923) and Edison (1924) but neither were issued.
Not sure what the celebration might have been, but here's a photograph I just received from the estate of a jazz collector showing Katherine Henderson standing over her father, W. C. Handy.
Early Every Morn: Katherine Handy v and possibly on piano. Loveless Love: Katherine Handy v / Handy's Memphis Blues Orchestra: probably including Johnny Dunn c / George Williams tb / James Osborne cl, as / Bobby Lee p.
Lockwood Lewis v, dir / R. Q. Dickerson, Lammar Wright t / De Priest Wheeler tb / unknown, George Scott cl, as / Andrew Brown cl, ts / Earres Prince p / Morris White bj / Jimmy Smith bb / Leroy Maxey d.
Wilbur Sweatman made his first recording, in Minneapolis, on cylinder just after the turn of the century. These were promotional items and apparently none have survived to the present day.
It would be over a decade later before he would record again. In December of 1916, he recorded two versions of My Hawaiian Sunshine for Emerson. The first of the recordings was issued on a five and a half inch disc while the second was on a seven inch.
["Arizona" Juanita Dranes (May 4, 1889 or 1891–1963) was one of the first gospel artists to bring the musical styles of Holiness churches' religious music to the public in her records for Okeh and performances in the 1920s. She was also one of the first professional woman gospel singers. Her distinctive, nasal vocal style and piano playing that incorporated boogie and ragtime influenced later gospel artists.
Juanita Drane (or possibly Drain) was born blind in 1889 or 1891 in Sherman, Texas. Drane attended the Texas Institute for Deaf, Dumb and Blind Colored Youth in Austin from 1896 to 1910. She learned to play piano in her early teens.
Her correct last name is "Drane", as listed in the official enrollment record for the 1896–1897 school year at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Her name was spelled "Drane" at school, though she was billed as "Dranes" later in life. Because both parents were illiterate, the surname was written down as it was pronounced. Corcoran's research found a probable cousin named "Doran," which would be pronounced "Drane" in the black southern dialect of the time.
After graduating from the Texas Institute, she returned to Sherman for ten years. Around 1922, Dranes joined the Church of God in Christ Church in Wichita Falls. She soon became a favored singer-pianist of the founder, Bishop Charles Mason and was well utilized in the COGIC circles. She incorporated a syncopated, ragtime style in her gospel accompaniment and soon established the songs I Shall Wear A Crown, My Soul's a Witness for the Lord, and Lamb's Blood Has Washed Me Clean as COGIC standards.
Dranes introduced piano accompaniment to Holiness music, which had previously been largely a cappella, and accompanied herself in the barrelhouse and ragtime styles popular at the time. She began recording in 1926 with Okeh Records, first as a solo artist and later with choirs and various other artists and groups. She was one of the first professional women gospel singers and sang at COGIC meetings in the Bible Belt, touring Texas, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.
Although she last recorded in 1928, she continued touring through the 1940s. She moved to Los Angeles in 1948 and died there on July 27, 1963.]
Here is the complete run of the Jeter-Pillars outfit.
This group was made up of several sidemen from Alphonse Trent's earlier hot territory band.
On another note, This seems to complete the recordings of John Orange who had recorded with Jimmie Gunn's orchestra a year earlier.
James Jeter, Charles Pillars as, dir / Ralph Porter, Walter Stanley, George Hudson t / Ike Covington, John "Bones" Orange tb / Hayes Pillars ts, v / Chester Lang p / Floyd Smith g / Vernon King sb / Henry Ross d / Ted Smith v.