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Perry Bradford (1893-1970)

Perry BradfordPerry Bradford was a singer, songwriter, pianist and vaudeville and minstrel performer who forever changed the sound of American popular music by convincing Okeh Records to release the first Blues record in 1920.

Bradford was sure that there was a market for African-American music aimed at African-American consumers. He had a hard time convincing the record companies in New York of this, but he kept at it and managed to get Okeh records interested in the idea in 1920. He felt that singer Mamie Smith a star of the musical revue “Maid of Harlem” had the right stuff to reach the African-American audience. Their first try was a couple of Perry Bradford pop songs with a slight Jazz and Blues feel “That Thing Called Love” and “You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down“. It sold well enough that Okeh was willing to be a little more adventurous and record some real contemporary African-American music on their next release.

Perry Bradford Jeanette TaylorThe songs were “Crazy Blues“, and “It’ s Right Here for You” but this time Okeh played up that fact that this was an African-American singer and band in their advertising and sheet music sales that accompanied the record. The record was a smash hit and some say it ended up selling over a million copies.

After the success of this record almost all other record companies then jumped on the band wagon and started recording African-American Blues and Jazz musicians. Bradford led several sessions in the 1920s that featured Jazz luminaries such as Louis ArmstrongJames P. JohnsonJohnny Dunn, and Alberta Hunter. Strangely enough, Bradford was also an influence on rock music. Rock n’ Roll musician Little Richard (who had a big hit with Bradford’s song “Keep A Knockin'” in 1957) had this to say about him, “Everything happens for a reason. Who knew that the style Perry was developing in the Twenties would lead to Rock and Roll.”

Further Reading:

In 1920 Mamie Smith’s Crazy Blues paved the way for Black Music

Perry Bradford, Fred Hager, and Mamie Smith’s Crazy Blues

Perry Bradford (1893-1970)

Perry Bradford and his Gang Perry Bradford’s Jazz Phools
The Gulf Coast Seven Georgia Strutters
Howell, Horsley And Bradford

Perry Bradford (1893-1970)

Born With The Blues, by Perry Bradford, Oak Publications, 1965

Downloads courtesy of Jazz-On-Line.com

Artist title, Place , Date, Performers matrix label, record download
Johnny Dunn’s Original Jazz Hounds Hallelujah Blues NY, Feb 14, 1923
Johnny Dunn (cnt) Earl Granstaff (tb) Herschel Brassfield (cl,sop,as,arr) Rollen Smith (ts) George Rickson (p) Sam Speed (bj) Harry Hull (tu) Perry Bradford, + another (vcl)
80859-3 Columbia A3839 MP3
Perry Bradford’s Jazz Phools Hoola Boola Dance NY, Feb, 1924
Johnny Dunn, Bubber Miley (cnt) Herb Flemming (tb,ldr) Garvin Bushell, Herschel Brassfield (cl,as) prob Leroy Tibbs (p) Sam Speed (bj) prob Harry Hull (tu)
1669-1 Paramount 20309 MP3
Perry Bradford’s Jazz Phools I Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle NY, Nov 2, 1925
Louis Armstrong (cnt) Charlie Green (tb) Buster Bailey (cl) Don Redman (as) James P. Johnson (p) prob. Sam Speed (bj) Kaiser Marshall (d) Perry Bradford (vcl)
E-1437 Vocalion 15165 MP3
Perry Bradford’s Jazz Phools Lucy Long NY, Nov 2, 1925
Louis Armstrong (cnt) Charlie Green (tb) Buster Bailey (cl) Don Redman (as) James P. Johnson (p) prob. Sam Speed (bj) Kaiser Marshall (d)
E1580/2 Vocalion 15165 MP3
Perry Bradford And His Gang Original Black Bottom Dance NY, Dec, 1926
Jimmy Wade (cnt) Bill Dover (tb) Arnett Nelson (cl,as) Antonio Spaulding (p) Stanley Wilson (bj) unknown (bj) unknown (d) Perry Bradford (vcl)
74428-A OKeh 8416 MP3
Original Jazz Hounds All That I Had Is Gone NY, Mar 15, 1927
Louis Metcalf-C, Jake Frazier-Tb, Bob Fuller-Cl, James P. Johnson-P, Bj-?, Harry Hull-Bb, ?-D-Chimes, Perry Bradford-Voc
143657-2 Columbia 14207-D MP3
FLAC
Original Jazz Hounds Lucy Long NY, Mar 15, 1927
Louis Metcalf-C, Jake Frazier-Tb, Bob Fuller-Cl, James P. Johnson-P, Bj-?, Harry Hull-Bb, ?-D-Chimes, Perry Bradford-Voc
143658-3 Columbia 14207-D MP3
Georgia Strutters Rock, Jenny, Rock NY, May 23, 1927
Jabbo Smith (cnt) poss. Tommy Ladnier (tp) Jimmy Harrison (tb) Herschel Brassfield (cl) Edgar Sampson (as,vln) Willie “The Lion” Smith (p) Gus Horsley (bj) Harry Hull (tu) unknown (d) Perry Bradford (vcl,dir)
144203-3 Harmony 468-H MP3
Georgia Strutters It’s Right Here For You NY, May 23, 1927
Jabbo Smith (cnt) poss. Tommy Ladnier (tp) Jimmy Harrison (tb) Herschel Brassfield (cl) Edgar Sampson (as,vln) Willie “The Lion” Smith (p) Gus Horsley (bj) Harry Hull (tu) unknown (d) Perry Bradford (vcl,dir)
144203-3 Harmony 468-H MP3
Johnson’s Jazzers Skiddle-De-Scow NY, Sep 2, 1927
Louis Metcalf (cnt) James P. Johnson (p) Perry Bradford (vcl)
144621-2 Columbia 14247-D MP3
FLAC
Johnson’s Jazzers Can I Get It Now? NY, Sep 2, 1927
Louis Metcalf (cnt) James P. Johnson (p) Perry Bradford (vcl)
144622-2 Columbia 14247-D MP3
FLAC
Jimmie Johnson And His Orchestra Chicago Blues NY, Jun 18, 1928
Cootie Williams, Ward Pinkett (tp) unknown (tb) poss Charlie Holmes (cl,sop,as) unknown (cl/ts), James P. Johnson, Fats Waller (p) Joe Watts (b) Perry Bradford (speech)
146539-3 Columbia 14334-D MP3
FLAC
Gulf Coast Seven Georgia Sweet Thing (Georgia’s Always On My Mind) NY, Oct 19, 1928
Louis Metcalf (cnt) prob. Joe “Tricky Sam” Nanton (tb) prob. Johnny Hodges (as,sop) prob. Barney Bigard (cl,ts) James P. Johnson (p) prob. Sonny Greer (d) Perry Bradford (vcl)
147152-1 Columbia 14373-D MP3
FLAC
Jimmy Johnson And His Band Put Your Mind Right On It NY, Mar 5, 1929
Louis Metcalf (cnt) unknown (tb) Ernest Elliott (cl) unknown (cl/ts) James P. Johnson (p) Perry Bradford, Gus Horsley (vcl)
148015-1 Columbia 14417-D MP3
FLAC
Jimmy Johnson And His Band Fare Thee Honey Blues NY, Mar 20, 1929
Louis Metcalf (cnt) prob Geechie Fields (tb) Ernest Elliott (cl) James P. Johnson (p) Perry Bradford (vcl)
148108-3 Columbia 14417-D MP3
FLAC

 

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