Various Artists

Jazzin' the Blues, Vol. 3 (1937-1941)

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The Document label, whose mission is to reissue every prewar blues recording not readily available elsewhere, moves into the swing era and jazz on this CD. All of the music is quite obscure with many of the groups having unknown personnel, but there are some excellent moments along the way. Lovin' Sam Theard was a pleasant jive singer who recorded during 1929-1934 and with pianist-singer Cow Cow Davenport. His 11 selections on this CD, which include two previously unreleased performances, date from 1937-1940 and find him joined by small swing groups and, on his trademark song "Spo-De-O-Dee," the quartet of Tiny Parham, a 1920s pianist who had recently switched to organ. Four selections from the vocal duo of Nora & Delle (Nora is Nora Lee King while Delle is unknown) are just OK examples of routine swing from 1941. However the completely forgotten Jean Brady is excellent on her two numbers, while Jewel Paige, who is featured on three selections, is a major find. She shows on "Give It Up," "I'm Left with a Broken Heart," and especially "I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None of This Jelly Roll" that she could have been a contender. Paige is backed by a first-rate group that includes altoist Don Stovall and pianist Hank Duncan. The final group, Black Cats and the Kitten, has three guitars (one electric), bass, and either an unidentified male vocalist who sounds a bit like Leo Watson or singer Valda Buggs for some mainstream, jivey swing jazz. While this CD is not essential, the music overall is enjoyable and swinging.

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