Georgia White

Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1: 1930-1936)

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The first inkling that most people in the late 20th century had about Georgia White was an LP of reissued titles that appeared in the 1970s on the Rosetta label. Some of her party-oriented songs also resurfaced on various Stash collections, linking her in the minds of many listeners with that jolly substance abuse anthem "The Stuff Is Here." During the 1990s, Blues Collection issued a 25-track sampler and Document Records reissued every recording known to have been made by her during the 1930s and early '40s. The first of four volumes dedicated to this fine vocalist focuses mainly upon the earliest records released under her name. Her first recording was made in Chicago in May 1930 with New Orleans clarinetist Jimmie Noone and his Apex Club Orchestra. Having this tidbit at the beginning of her complete recorded works on Document constitutes a sweet treat, especially as the song she sings is a staple of Depression-era pop music at its most auto-suggestive; "When You're Smiling, the Whole World Smiles with You" is usually associated with vaudevillian Ted Lewis, Louis Armstrong when he sang in front of a big band in the early '30s, or that great interpreter of Tin Pan Alley love songs, Billie Holiday. When she began recording regularly for Decca in 1935, Georgia White distinguished herself with a refreshingly honest delivery that combined elements of blues, barrelhouse, and swing in a manner that was earthier, lustier, and less mainstream than had been possible or permissible with the confectionary "get happy" melody she sang with Noone in 1930. Throughout most of the performances reproduced here, White is heard accompanying herself on the piano and singing her own compositions with occasional covers like Victoria Spivey's "You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now" and the punchy "There Ain't Gonna Be No Doggone Afterwhile," a friction-inducing number attributed to Charlie Burse of the Memphis Jug Band and soon to be covered by Decca's Fats Waller emulator Bob Howard. The last four tracks of White's first volume on Document introduce three men who would stick around and accompany her for the next couple of years: pianist and composer Richard M. Jones and bassist John Lindsay (both of New Orleans, LA) and guitarist "Banjo" Ikey Robinson of Dublin, VA. To inaugurate their first session together, White chose to revisit her own "Dupree Blues" and Lil Johnson's "Hot Nuts," to premiere her own Fats Waller-like swing tune "It Must Be Love," and to grind out "Daddy Let Me Lay It on You" to the tune of "Baby Don't You Tear My Clothes."

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