Eddie Morgan

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While it seems perfectly reasonable that there might be a blues musician named Eddie Morgan, in reality the only known use of that name in the genre is a phony. There were real jazz horn players named…
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While it seems perfectly reasonable that there might be a blues musician named Eddie Morgan, in reality the only known use of that name in the genre is a phony. There were real jazz horn players named Eddie Morgan, including a trombonist who recorded in the Dixieland style, but the Eddie Morgan credited with several blues records in the Chicago piano style did not actually exist. The question of who was responsible for building the solid "Rock House Blues," sending a romantic message to "My Gal Blues," and maybe even making "Whoopie" is a hot topic among the creatures who gather in the night to discuss essential boogie-woogie piano stylists.

There are two schools of thought here as to who played these piano solos, available for perusal on several different piano blues compilations: the Eddie Miller theory and the John Oscar theory. In either case the performer being put forward was also active in Chicago in the same time period, between the late '20s and early '30s. Miller was also considered a St. Louis piano stylist and managed to snare a copyright on "I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water" as a blues standard song title. Oscar filled about half an egg carton with recordings under his own name, in a style similar enough to Miller and/or Morgan to justify the confusion over identities. His most famous side is a version of "Mama Don't Allow," but the list also includes the finger-pointing "Other Man Blues" and fussing "Mistreatment Blues."

"Whoopie," also known as "Whoopee Mama," is a track from the period that has been reissued under both the names Eddie Miller and Eddie Morgan. Like everything involved with this debate, this fact is used to argue the veracity of both positions in the debate. Motivation is constantly under discussion when Chicago piano fans attempt to pin down the details of Morgan's existence, one obvious question being why would someone with a name as dull as Eddie Miller choose another one as dull as Eddie Morgan when finally getting a chance to use another name? Following the same argument, why would someone named John Oscar want to use the name of, or wind up confused with, either Miller or Morgan? Aliases such as these were often used to get around recording contract stipulations. Another of Oscar's recordings, "In the Gutter," may represent the final and most cynical comment on the situation -- that's where many performers wind up no matter what name they sign on the dotted line.