Texas Alexander, Texas Alexander Vol. 1 (1927-1928)

John Morthland

By John Morthland

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Some of the most unlikely blues ever recorded.

Herein resides some of the most unlikely blues ever recorded. This Dallas street singer is one of the only vocalists to record versions of the field hollers that preceded blues. He sang in a cavernous, melismatic tenor that paid little attention to such niceties as meter, rhyme, melody or key. And he didn't play an instrument. So who did his label pair this most primitive of singers with? Why, none other than Lonnie Johnson, one of history's most technically advanced blues guitarists. Lonnie rises to the occasion, following and embellishing Alexander boldly and beautifully on such hollers as "Section Gang Blues" and "Leevee Camp Moan Blues." On other occasions, Alexander was backed by the great jazz guitarist Eddie Lang, jazz cornetist King Oliver and black string band the Mississippi Sheiks, with varying but always worthwhile results.