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Thread: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #37

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Mar 2017
    Ottawa, Canada

    Default Blues, Stomps, & Rags #37

    Duncan (Maudlin Mandolin) and I both enjoy the recordings of Al Miller, but Miller may have played guitar, not mandolin, on his records. He likely came from St. Louis, but "Al Miller and His Market Street Boys" were Chicago based. Terry Zwigoff says that Miller played guitar on three-dozen recordings, using three different mandolin players. Still, Richard Cherry credits Miller with being a mandolinist. According to Cherry, "Miller provided fine, prominent mandolin on all his recordings and non(sic) better then on {Somebody's Been Using That Thing} where his swinging delivery is further advanced by an excellent pianist…". Two of Miller's mandolin players were Edward Hill and "Rodgers", but it's unclear whether Al Miller or someone else is playing on the following pieces. But does it matter? It's exciting mandolin playing, and Al Miller, as band leader, deserves credit for arranging the music so effectively. (Information from Cherry, Dr. Richard, liner notes to Rags, Breakdowns, Stomps & Blues (Document) and Zwigoff, Terry, liner notes to Early Mandolin Classics, Volume 1 (Rounder).

    Here's an enjoyable hokum record from 1929. If the links don't work, search YouTube for "Somebody's Been Using That Thing -- Al Miller and His Market Street Boys".

    This jumpy piece is from 1927. If the links don't work, search YouTube for "I Found A Four-Leaf Clover -- Al Miller".

    Last edited by Ranald; Jan-19-2019 at 9:53pm. Reason: the usual
    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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