Frenchy’s String Band, “Sunshine Special”

Before Ford Motor Company created the Sunshine Special, and before it was FDR’s official Presidential limousine, Frenchy’s String Band recorded “Sunshine Special” for the Columbia Records label. This is a vary rare mp3 from a band that has little by way of documented history. Recorded in Texas 1928-ish, Sunshine Special’s rhythm slowly oozes along like an armadillo crossing the scorching highway pavement in the hot Texas sun.

Sunshine Special (play/download mp3)

Johnny Dodds, “Blue Piano Stomp”

Johnny Dodds was one of the greatest clarinetist of the turn of the 20th century. The list of musicians that he played with are an who’s-who of jazz legends, and after playing with Louis Armstrong’s ensamble, Dodds moved to Chicago and started his own band, the Johnny Dodds’ Trio. “Blue Piano Stomp” one of their earlier recordings from 1928. This number has some blues-y elements and swings with elegant improvisation as the trio plays notes that dance with each other like they’re at a Chicago formal.

Blue Piano Stomp (play/download mp3)

Jaybird Coleman, “Mistreatin’ Mama”

Mistreatin’ Mama” is one of the templates of the modern blues sound, and it was covered by a litany of blues legends like: Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, and Leadbelly. Jaybird Coleman, armed with only a harmonica and a mono microphone – you can feel him pouring his soul into every note of “Mistreatin’ Mama.” Remastered from the original 78, there still remains a slow turning crackle that adds authenticity to this iconic mp3.

Mistreatin’ Mama (play/download mp3)

William Moore, “One Way Gal”

William Moore’s 78s are collector items. His music has been covered by a linty of modern blues and rock groups. And his music has been sampled by hip-hop and electronic producers. “One Way Gal” – a song that was sampled in hip-hop – is a gentle tune that William sings with the up-most sincerity. Recorded in Chicago late January 1928.

“One Way Gal” (play/download mp3)

Pink Anderson & Simmie Dooley, “Every Day In The Week Blues”

In the early 1960s Syd Barrett decided to juxtapose Pink Anderson’s first name with another obscure bluesman (Floyd Council), to form the name of his band Pink Floyd. Two decades before Barrett was born, Columbia Records recorded two 78s with Pink Anderson & Simmie Dooley in 1928. After releasing “Every Day In The Week Blues” (the ‘A’ side of the second 78), Pink Anderson toured and didn’t record again until the 1950s. “Every Day In The Week Blues” is an upbeat number with both Pink Anderson and Simmie Dooley playing guitar and singing verses. This is a beautiful tune that deserves to be heard.

Every Day in the Week Blues (play/download mp3)

Butterbeans and Susie w/King Oliver, “Kiss Me Sweet”

Butterbeans and Susie were never a household name in the middle and upper class, however they were one of the most successful comedic music acts on the black vaudeville circuit. Part of the couple’s (they were given $50 and married on stage as part of a comic bit) popularity came because they recorded and toured with many early-jazz greats, such as King Oliver. “Kiss Me Sweet” is an amorous tune about longing for a kiss from your lover, and baby, Susie sings it so sweet.

Kiss Me Sweet (play/download mp3)

Alberta Hunter, “Nobody Knows the Way I Feel This Morning”

Alberta Hunter was a pioneering African-American singer, the first woman to erase the lines between soul, jazz, and pop music. “Nobody Knows the Way I Feel This Morning” recorded in 1921, is a sermon giving agency to women all over the world who are stuck with no good cheating men. “Nobody Knows the Way I Feel This Morning” has been covered by many great female African-American singers such as Dinah Washington and Aretha Franklin.

Nobody Knows the Way I Feel This Morning (play/download mp3)

Nick Lucas, “Teasin’ the Frets”

Nick Lucas is known in jazz-guitarist circles as: “The Grandfather of jazz guitar.” In 1922 he cut 2 sides, “Teasin’ the Frets” and “Pickin’ The Guitar.” These are the first solo jazz guitar instrumentals ever recorded. You can hear Nick’s inventiveness as he teases the frets of his guitar, telling a story through song that will light up your imagination with child-like glee.

Teasin’ the Frets (play/download mp3)

Noble Sissle & Eubie Blake, “Watin’ For The Evening Mail”

Noble Sissle & Eubie Blake were both born in the North. However like other black musicians in the 1920s, they faced obstacles while trying to perform in white-owned theaters. “Waitin’ For The Evening Mail,” recorded in 1923, is a catchy, ragtime-y song written from the perspective of a jailbird. The inmate is howling innocence, and the piece of mail he is waiting for is notice of bail. Spoiler: He never makes bail.

Watin For The Evening Mail (play/download mp3)