Frank "Springback" James

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Chicago blues pianist Frank "Springback" James made records with four different companies during the 1930s, playing and singing in a style that revealed a strong Leroy Carr influence and placed…
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Chicago blues pianist Frank "Springback" James made records with four different companies during the 1930s, playing and singing in a style that revealed a strong Leroy Carr influence and placed him in league with bluesmen Jimmie Gordon, Walter Davis, Jesse Coleman, Curtis Jones, Walter Roland, Ollie Shepard, Little Brother Montgomery, and Bumble Bee Slim. Blues historian Chris Smith has advanced conjectural theories that Frank's musical roots were in St. Louis, that he may have been born in Alabama, and that his given name was James Hairston. "Springback" was a sexualized nickname similar to Jelly Roll Morton's "Winin' Boy" ("Winding Boy"). Both handles implied that the bearer of the name was a tireless stud. The hottest of James' 18 known recordings, "Springback Papa" is a boogie-woogie charged with stamina that fits well with the copulative connotation. Aside from a handful of unissued sides cut for the Gennett label in 1932, James' complete works (1934-1938) were rescued from oblivion and reissued by Document in 1994. On that collection, James is heard with guitarists Willie B. James and Hobson "Hop" Johnson, drummer Fred Williams, and vocalist George Curry.