Texas Alexander

Texas Alexander, Vol. 2: 1928-1930

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Document's second volume in the complete reissued works of Alger "Texas" Alexander opens with six titles recorded in New York City in November 1928, presents his complete output for the year 1929, and closes with the first two sides he waxed in collaboration with the Mississippi Sheiks in April 1934. Curiously, Volumes 2 and 3 make erroneous references to 1930, even though this singer made no recordings during that year. Volume 2 is worth having just for the first six tracks, which have backing by guitarists Lonnie Johnson and Eddie Lang; a trio of Lang, pianist Clarence Williams, and cornetist Joe "King" Oliver, and then by Lang alone. Okeh issued "'Frisco Train Blues" as by Texas Alexander & His Black Tams -- a name that would pop up again some five years later. Alexander's next 15 recordings were made in San Antonio, TX in June and November 1929 with authentic old-style Texas guitar accompaniments by Little Hat Jones and Carl Davis. Coming on the heels of Lang's dazzling technique, the straightforward strumming and picking of Jones and Davis seem to focus even greater attention on Alexander's passionate singing, which sounds to some extent like a premonition of Kansas City's singing bartender Big Joe Turner. Cut in 1934, "Days Is Lonesome" and "Seen Better Days" brought on violinist Bo Chatmon and guitarists Sam Chatmon and (possibly) Walter Vinson, cardinal members of the Mississippi Sheiks, who did in fact record in San Antonio in 1930, but not with Texas Alexander.

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