The Hokum Boys

Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2: 1930-1931

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Volume 2 of the complete recorded works of the Famous Hokum Boys picks up where the previous installment left off, with 17 sides cut in mid-September 1930 by guitarist Big Bill Broonzy, pianist Georgia Tom Dorsey, and guitarist Bill Williams. "Mr. Conductor Man" and "No Good Buddy" are the only titles known to have been issued under Williams' name: these were duets with Broonzy, who was billed as Sammy Lampson. The female singer heard from time to time on this collection is identified as Jane Lucas, and may have been the same individual who recorded with the group a little earlier as Hannah May. Lucas is also featured on the "Hokum Stomp" and "Hip Shakin' Strut," which date from November 1930. Tracks 20-24 are believed to have been made in January 1931, probably by the same musicians who were now pegged as the Harum Scarums. Most of these records were intended as entertainments for people engaged in pleasure-seeking activities like drinking, smoking, gambling, and cutting loose. The hokum formula was never complex or profound, and two-dozen examples in a row may seem excessive unless you bear in mind that these songs originally existed on 78 rpm platters, and the average household didn't own more than a handful at one time. Having this much hokum on tap enables the listener to pig out and truly appreciate the gritty humor of vintage good time blues. In addition to Wolf's two volumes devoted to this group, Document has covered the original Hokum Boys of 1929 and a reunited Famous Hokum Boys that featured vocalist Bob Robinson during 1935-1937. Taken together the four collections add up to a total of 98 tracks, which is one hell of a load of hokum.

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