Thursday, May 8, 2014

Lillian Glinn - Texas Blues

Lillian Glinn, a tough Texas blueswoman, was born in Hillsboro, Texas in 1902.  She recorded four sides for Columbia in December, 1927, when one of that company's field recording units stopped in Dallas to record local talent.  The results of that session were good enough, and presumably sold well enough, that she was invited to record 18 more sides for Columbia over the next two years.

I found her first issued record in a box of 78s in Chattanooga, Tennessee a few years ago, and it quickly became one of my favorite blues records.  Like many old blues records found "in the wild," it is well-worn.  (Blues and old-time country 78s tend to be very worn, while early classical records are often found in near-pristine condition.  Folks who bought classical records could afford to change needles frequently; rural record buyers often couldn't.)  In any case, I used more noise reduction than usual in my transfer of this disc.

Part of what I love about this record is the connection to the earliest days of jazz in New Orleans, via the presence of Octave Gaspard on tuba on "Doggin' Me Blues."  "Oak" Gaspard was born in New Orleans around 1870, and played bass and tuba with bands such as John Robichaux's at the time jazz was being born.  He moved to Texas during the depression, and showed up on several blues records made there in the 1920s.  He is thought to have died in Texas, but nobody seems to know when.

Gaspard is replaced on the other side, "Brown Skin Blues," by an anonymous guitarist, playing a twelve-string guitar, it sounds like.  Oddly, this side ends not with a vocal chorus or any kind of big finish, but with two fairly low-key instrumental choruses.  Pianist Willie Tyson plays on both sides.

At some point, probably in the 1930s, Lillian Glinn moved to California, married a preacher, and turned her back on the blues, performing only spiritual music thereafter.  But here is her first record, recorded on December 2, 1927 in Dallas.

Doggin' Me Blues

Brown Skin Blues

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