Today’s show features some of my favorite 78s from my collection. I thought it would be fun to feature hokum blues and jazz records from the pre-war era. A subcategory of the blues, hokum was popular in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Hokum songs were often uptempo, funny, and on the raw to often raunchy side. The origins of this style of blues can be traced back to the vaudeville and minstrel show era of the late 19th Century, where songs of this type were performed with a touch of innuendo and comedy. This genre became wildly popular with adult audiences during the 20s and 30s. In the early days, common performers surfaced in jug bands that performed in the beer joints and brothels found up and down Beale Street, in Memphis, Tennessee.
Jug bands like the Memphis Jug Band and Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers played good-time, upbeat music on assorted instruments like washboards, fiddles, triangles, harmonicas, guitars and banjos, all anchored by bass notes of an empty jug. Later on, duets featuring the piano and guitar would become popular as well. I’ve always found these types of records entertaining and I thought it would make for a good show to combine these types of hokum records along with some early pre-war jazz records and a few piano stomps thrown in for good measure.
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Clarence Williams’ Jug Band. “You Ain’t Too Old” 1933
Lil Johnson “My Stove’s In Good Condition” 1936
Jelly Roll Morton “Mr. Jelly Lord” 1924
Hokum Boys “Keep Your Mind On It” 1936
Duke Ellington and His Cotton Club Orchestra “When A Black Man’s Blue” 1931
Sweet Violet Boys “Sweet Violets” 1936
Sidney “Pops” Bechet with Noble Sissle’s Swingers “Viper Mad” 1938
Eddie Lang (Blind Willie Dunn) and Lonnie Johnson 1929
Django Reinhardt Hot Club of France “Paramount Stomp” 1937
Pigmeat Pete and Catjuice Charlie “Get Your Mind Out The Gutter” 1929
Lonnie Johnson and Clarence Williams “Wipe It Off” 1930
Fats Waller “Serenade For A Wealthy Widow” 1934
Georgia Tom and Hannah May “What’s That I Smell?” 1934
Red Nichols and His Five Pennies “Boneyard Shuffle” 1927
Stuff Smith and His Onyx Club Boys “Old Joe’s Hittin’ The Jug” 1936
Smokehouse Charley “Pig Meat Blues” 1929
Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five “West End Blues” 1928