Doctor Clayton

Complete Recorded Works (1935-1942)

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Peter "Doctor" Clayton was a regular in the Chicago blues scene of the late 1930s and early '40s. A fine singer who occasionally used his falsetto effectively, Clayton was also a superior lyricist. With the exception of his six titles from 1946, all of his recordings are on this single CD. Two numbers (including "Peter's Blues") are from 1935 while the remainder dates from 1941-1942. Clayton is heard at his best on such numbers as "'41 Blues," "Jitterbug Swing," "Love Is Gone," "On the Killin' Floor," and his topical "Pearl Harbor Blues," expanding beyond the usual good-time and lowdown topics of most blues from the time. The latter was recorded a little less than four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Clayton's vocal style was considered an early influence by both B.B. King and Professor Longhair. He is accompanied on most of the selections by pianist Blind John Davis, Big Bill Broonzy's guitar is on some of the numbers and, most intriguingly, bassist Ransom Knowling is heard on tuba during the final six selections. Knowling's tuba playing makes one wish that the unlikely combination of blues singer and forceful tuba was utilized much more during the era than just this rare occasion. Doctor Clayton died in 1947 when he was only 49 and, with the exception of his 1946 session, this CD collects his entire musical legacy.

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