Coot Grant

Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1925-1928)

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Coot Grant and Kid Wilson were nearly exact contemporaries of Butterbeans & Susie. Both couples were enormously popular with Afro-American audiences before, during and after the First World War. The Document historical reissue label achieved the near-impossible by compiling most of Grant and Wilson's known recordings into three volumes, each packed with complete discographical information and insightful liner notes. Vol. 1 covers a time line from March 1925 to November 1928, a period when Grant and Wilson's records were issued by the Paramount label. "Come On, Coot Do That Thing" is the most famous number in this part of the discography, as it is one of five recordings made in October 1925 with accompaniments by Fletcher Henderson's six-piece "orchestra," an ensemble sparked by the presence of young cornetist Louis Armstrong. "You Dirty Mistreater" typifies the cheerfully brutal repertoire used in Afro-American vaudeville; the endlessly creative threats of physical violence prefigure some of the speech used in late 20th century hip-hop. Both manifestations are part of a long continuum based in the Afro-American tradition of the artful putdown, immortalized on many a blues and boogie-woogie record as "The Dirty Dozens." During the year 1926, Coot Grant made a series of records backed by ragtime and blues guitarist Blind Blake; these were his very first recordings. One of 15 children, Coot Grant was born Leola B. Pettigrew in Birmingham, AL in 1893. "Coot" or "Cootie" was derived from "Cutie," which is what her mother liked to call her. Coot is said to have begun performing in vaudeville in Atlanta, GA in the year 1900. The following year she joined Mayme Remington's Pickaninnies, a troupe that toured North America, Europe and South Africa. In 1913, Coot married vocalist Isiah I. Grant; they worked together as Grant & Grant with C.W. Park's Musical Comedy Company, Tolliver's Big Show (where they shared the bill with Trixie Smith, Ma Rainey and Butterbeans & Susie) and Wooden's Bon Tons. Six months after the death of Isiah I. Grant in 1920, Coot married Jacksonville, FL-born pianist Wesley Wilson. Document's three-volume survey of their combined careers includes all of the records they made together and separately between 1925 and 1938.

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