Texas Blues Guitar (1929-1935)

Little Hat Jones

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Texas Blues Guitar (1929-1935) Review

by Scott Yanow

This CD features music from a pair of blues vocalist/guitarists from the 1930s who had unusual nicknames: Little Hat Jones and "Funny Paper" Smith (who was also known as the Howling Wolf, 15 years before the more famous Howlin' Wolf came to prominence). Jones' only ten recordings are on this set and are all unaccompanied performances, although a female vocalist helps out a little on "Little Hat Blues." Jones was an excellent guitarist but just appeared on three sessions in San Antonio, TX, during 1929-1930. Smith made more recordings than the ten included on this CD (they were put out on a Yazoo LP and later all of the music was combined on a Document disc). He is also heard on unaccompanied performances (including "Howling Wolf Blues, No. 3" and "Howling Wolf Blues, No. 4"), other than two songs in which he backs singer/pianist Bernice Edwards. Although this disc has been superseded by the much more extensive Document reissue program, the music is quite rewarding and these two underrated performers deserve more recognition.

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