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Thread: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #9

  1. #1
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Mar 2017
    Ottawa, Canada

    Default Blues, Stomps, & Rags #9

    I couldn't find much information about the mandolin player, Matthew Prater (1883-19--?), other than that he was born in New Albany, Mississippi in 1893, and teamed up with guitar player Nap Hayes in Vicksburg, Mississippi. They recorded under the name, The Blue Boys, with Prater playing lead and Hayes rhythm. They also recorded as The Johnson Boys, with the singer, guitarist, and violin player, Lonnie Johnson.

    "Prater Blues" is a great tune by Matthew Prater. However, though it's posted on YouTube, as recorded by The Johnson Boys, it's "unavailable" to me. You may have better luck. Other musicians do play it on YouTube. Steve James teaches the first part of "Prater Blues" on his DVD Learn To Play Blues Mandolin 2, and both parts in his book with MP3's, Roots and Mandolin Blues, under the title, "Blues in A."

    According to a Wikipedia entry, Prater & Hayes were the first to record Scott Joplin's ragtime classic, The Entertainer, under the title, Easy Winner. The Wikipedia entry says that they combine it with Creole Belles by J. Bodewalt Lampe, though I don't hear it. If you do, please let me know where it begins on the counter. Joplin also wrote a tune called, "The Easy Winners," but the Johnson Boys' "Easy Winner" is clearly "The Entertainer." Perhaps Prater & Hayes or their record company mixed up the titles.*

    Here is the recording made by The Blue Boys in 1928. If the links don't work, search for "Easy Winner -- Prater and Hayes" on YouTube.

    * For those who are curious, here's "Creole Belles" by the Edison Concert Band (You'll hear "Rubber Dolly" in this tune):

    and "Easy Winner" by Scott Joplin.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Default Re: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #9

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    Registered User maudlin mandolin's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #9

    Matthew Prater appears in the Godrich and Dixon discography under T C Johnson Groups. They think Johnson played guitar on The Blue Boys sides. Here is one definitely by Prater and Hayes though: "Something Doing"

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  7. #4

    Default Re: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #9

    Great tune! Matthew Prater was an incredible mandolin player.

    I play "Prater Blues" darn near every of my favorites to play.
    Great phrasing and good tremolo practice!

  8. #5
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Apr 2014
    Alvarado/Mansfield, Texas

    Default Re: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #9

    Quote Originally Posted by oliverkollar View Post
    Great tune! Matthew Prater was an incredible mandolin player.
    Amen to that!
    "Life is short. Play hard." - AlanN

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