RLP 12-134
EARLY and RARE

Classic Jazz ‘Collectors Items’

Jazz Archives #100(12”) 

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SIDE 1

MEADE LUX LEWIS: Honky Tonk Train Blues (3:12)

   Piano solo

   Originally on Paramount 12896 (master number 20246); Chicago; 1929

MA RAINEY: Wringing and Twisting Blues (2:55)

   Ma Rainey accompanied by the “Georgia Band” Joe Smith (tp) Charlie Green (tb) Buster Bailey (cl) Fletcher Henderson (p) Charlie Dixon (bj)

   Originally on Paramount 12338 (mx.no.2375; Chicago; August, 1926

TOMMY LADNIER: Mojo Blues (3:03)

   Lovie Austin’s Blues Serenaders: Ladnier (cnt) Jimmy O’Bryant (cl) Harris (ts) Lovie Austin (p) unknown (drs)

   Originally on Paramount 12283 (mx.no. 2098-2); Chicago; probably May, 1925

CRIPPLE CLARENCE LOFTON: More Motion (2:52)

   Piano solo.

   Solo Art (first issued on Riverside 10” RLP 1037); Chicago; 1939

BIG BILL BROONZY: Mr. Conductor Man (3:02)

   Blues singer, accompanying himself on guitar

   Originally on Champion 16426 (mx.no. GN 18392) as by “Big Bill Johnson.”; Richmond , Indiana; February, 1932

SCOTT JOPLIN: Maple Leaf Rag (2:25)

   Piano solo

   Originally on an early (probably pre-1920) player-piano roll bearing the statement “played by Scott Joplin.)

   No other information available

SIDE 2

JELLY ROLL MORTON: King Porter Stomp(2:12)

   Piano solo

   Originally on Vocalstyle Piano Roll 50487; probably Cincinnati, Ohio; September, 1924

FATS WALLER: Trixie Blues (2:50)

   Piano accompaniment to vocal by Anna Jones

   Originally on Paramount 12052 (mx.no. 1468); 1923

BLIND LEMON JEFFERSON: Jack o’ Diamonds Blues (2:45)

   Blues singer, accompaniment himself on guitar

   Originally Paramount 12373 (mx.no. 2557-2); Chicago; 1926

IKE RODGERS: Screamin’ the Blues (3:09)

   Rodgers (tb) Henry Brown (p)

   Originally on Paramount 12816 (mx.no.GE 15451); Richmond, Indiana; August, 1929; recorded for Paramount at the Gennett studios

JOE SMITH / TRIXIE SMITH: Everybody’s Doin’ the Charleston Now (3:07)

   Trixie Smith (vcl); accompaniment by Fletcher Henderson Orchestra: Joe Sith (tp) Charlie Green (tb) Buster Bailey (cl) Henderson (p) Charlie Dixon (bj)

   Originally on Paramount 12330 (mx.no. 2362-2); Chicago; August, 1926

TURNER PARRISH: Trenches (3:07)

   Piano solo

   Originally on Champion 16645 (mx.no. GN 18968); Richmond, Indiana; January, 1933


   The heritage of recorded classic jazz consists only in part of the celebrated milestones of traditional jazz. In addition to such varied but essential landmarks as the discs of King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, or Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers, or the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, or Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five, there also exists a vast body of extremely valuable and enjoyable jazz collectively described as “collectors items.”

   Exists is probably too strong a word to use in connection with most such records. Like icebergs, “collectors items” are largely submerged – by definition, the original copies are recordings that comparatively few people have seen, let alone heard, and that are highly prized by their zealous owners, who have often gone through much painstaking digging and intricate maneuvering in order to secure them.

   When Riverside first inaugurated its program of jazz reissues in 1952, thereby bringing many such rarities within earshot of a much wider audience, some collectors felt that we were depreciating the value of their rare coins by making multiple copies of them. However, to most devoted fans of traditional jazz it was immediately (or at least soon) evident that it was more important to spread the gospel than to hoard. (Besides, the publication of paperbound reprints of Shakespear's play doesn’t rally lower either the market value or the thrill of ownership of a first folio.)

   The present album offers a varied sampling of material warranting collectors-item status and also deserving wide listening. It has been noted that collectors’ items can either be “born” or “made.” Born if, as was often the case with the independent labels of the 1920s, only a relatively small number of copies were originally pressed. Made if, more infuriatingly, no particular value was placed on a selection until long after it had been issued and all too often casually discarded.  In this LP, similarly, are included records that are classifiable as collectors’ items for a variety of reasons:

   Meade Lux Lewis’ 1929 Honky Tonk Train Blues is his first of several recordings of this celebrated number; it meant little until its creator was rescued from obscurity a decade later to become the spearhead of the boogie-woogie craze, and by that time this version was so rare that one copy of it is known to have been auctioned off for $75. Fats Waller’s brilliant early accompaniment to an undistinguished blues singer obviously had no impact at all on the world when it was new. The Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton treatments of their respective masterpieces are rare because they were created for long-obsolete mechanism: the player piano.

   The selections by Ma Rainey, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Tommy Ladnier are not in themselves specifically “items.” They were rather arbitrarily selected for their superior musical values, on the valid theory that any performances by these one-time headliners, who are by now comparatively neglected giants of classic jazz and blues, are far rarer and less known than they should be. Similarly, the rich horn of Joe Smith, which was largely recorded in blues accompaniments and as part of Fletcher Henderson’s band, is too rarely heard; the Trixie Smith selection included here not only displays his fine lead horn but also gives him 55 seconds of solo.

   The rough-hewn but compelling trombone of Ike Rodgers and the remarkable fast-blues piano of Turner Parrish are excellent examples of the work of totally obscured jazzmen who were never popular enough to avoid ‘rarity.’ The solo piece by Cripple Clarence Lofton, a formidable but infrequently recorded South side Chicago pianist, gained added rarely by being one of a group of legendary ‘lost’ masters first issued by Riverside. Finally, still another kind of elusiveness is that of the occasional early work of Big Bill Broonzy, who did not achieve any real recognition until the ‘50s.


   Many of the notable jazz artists heard here are also featured on other albums in Riverside’s distinguished “Jazz Archives” series, including –

Giants of BOOGIE WOOGIE: MEADE LUX LEWIS, ALBERT AMMONS, PETE JOHNSON (RLP 12-106)

MAR RAINEY: Classic Blues (RLP 12-108)

Classics of RAGTIME: SCOTT JOPLIN, KAMES SCOTT, others (RLP 12-126)

JELLY ROLL MORTON: Classic Piano Solos (RLP 12-111)

The Incomparable JELLY ROLL MORTON (RLP 12-128)

Mr. Jelly Lord: piano solos from the JELLY ROLL MORTON library of Congress recordings (RLP 12-132)

JELLY ROLL MORTON Sings and Plays: from the Library of Congress recordings (RLP 12-133)

Young FATS WALLER (RLP 12-103)

The Amazing MR.WALLER (RLP 12-109)

BLIND LEMON JEFFERSON (RLP 12-125)

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   (the surface noise audible on this LP is due to the limitations of early recording processes highest fidelity possible and to give more faithful reproduction of original tone qualities.)


LP produced and notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS

Paramount selections reissued by special arrangement with Paramount Records and John Steiner

Cover designed by PAUL BACON – KEN BRAREN – HARRIS LEWINE

Remastered, 1960, by JACK MATTHEWS (Components Corp.) on HYDROFEED lathe


RIVERSIDE RECORDS are produced by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS Inc.

235 West 46th Street New York 36, N.Y.