Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sam Jones (Stovepipe No. 1) on Harmony

Sam Jones was the real name of the musician known professionally as Stovepipe No. 1.  That unusual name came from his trademark stovepipe hat, his kazoo made from an actual stovepipe, and his effort to distinguish himself from the similarly-named performer Daddy Stovepipe.  Jones, from Cincinnati, was an interesting, somewhat primitive musician whose style spanned blues, gospel, and country.  He billed himself as a "one-man band," and often played guitar, harmonica, and stovepipe kazoo in the course of the same song.  Jones, who was born sometime in the late 19th century, recorded for several labels between 1924 and 1930.

Harmony was a Columbia subsidiary, formed in 1925 to make good on a Columbia investment.  About a year before all the major record companies began recording electrically, Columbia had installed state-of-the-art acoustic recording equipment in its New York studio.  The records that resulted were some of the best-sounding acoustic recordings made.  But with the advent of the electric recording process, Columbia's new acoustic equipment instantly became obsolete.  Rather than scrap it, the company began using it to record material for a budget label, Harmony.  The original Harmony label lasted until 1932, but the brand was revived in the 1940s, and remained in existence as a Columbia-owned budget label at least until the 1970s.

Here is the country side of Sam Jones - Harmony 5100-H, recorded in New York on August 20, 1924.  These sides were first issued on Columbia as by "Stove Pipe No. 1 (Sam Jones)" and reissued on Harmony using only his real name.  Enjoy Sam Jones on guitar, harmonica, and stovepipe.

Cripple Creek and Sourwood Mountain:




Turkey in the Straw:





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