Little Hat Jones

George "Little Hat" Jones, b. October 5, 1899 in Bowie County, TX, d. March 7, 1981 in Naples, TX, Texas blues musician. Active 1920s - 1930s.

George Jones was born in Bowie County, Texas, and was a street busker in the 1920s in San Antonio. Jones dropped out of school at the age of 13 to support the family farm after his father suffered from illnesses and crops were destroyed. The nickname "Little Hat" was acquired from a construction job in Garland, where Jones wore a hat that had some of the brims torn. He recorded two compositions, "New Two Sixteen Blues" and "Two String Blues", and released it as a single on Okeh Records on June 15, 1929. That same day, he played guitar on nine tracks by Alger "Texas" Alexander in the Okeh studio. On June 21, Okeh had Jones record four additional songs, and on June 14, 1930, Jones recorded six more. These three sessions represent the majority of Jones's recorded output: ten songs of his own and nine with "Texas" Alexander. He also has two tracks on Yazoo L-1010 (LP, 1968), "Hurry Blues" and "Rollin From Side to Side", both listed as recorded in 1929. Jones never recorded another song, and resided in Naples, Texas, where he would stay for the remainder of his lifetime with his second wife, while working in several professions. He died at the age of 81 in 1981. Jones's style is marked by his tendency to start off songs quickly and then slow down once he began to sing. Once a forgotten obscurity, Jones became better known later in the 20th century as historians began to explore the Okeh Records catalog, and his posthumous fame was boosted by the appearance of his song "Bye Bye Baby Blues" in the movie, Ghost World, in 2001.

by Steve Leggett
George "Little Hat" Jones was born October 5, 1899, in Bowie County, TX. He was a well-known street singer in San Antonio in the mid-'20s, and made his first recordings there on June 15, 1929, when he cut "New Two Sixteen Blues" and "Two String Blues" for OKeh Records. At the same session he sat in on guitar for an additional nine tracks by Texas Alexander. OKeh brought Jones back six days later to record four more tunes, which included "Rolled from Side to Side Blues," "Hurry Blues," "Little Hat Blues," and "Corpus Blues," and again a year later, on June 14, 1930, when he tracked "Kentucky Blues" (a wonderfully re-imagined version of "Lost John"), "Bye Bye Baby Blues," "Cross the Water Blues," and "Cherry Street Blues." For whatever reason, Jones never recorded again, leaving behind a legacy of ten songs, plus nine more as a sideman for Texas Alexander. He died in Naples, TX, in 1981. Little Hat Jones' trademark style of starting songs uptempo on guitar, only to slow down when he began singing, was oddly endearing, and he managed, either by accident or design, to turn what would be a distinct handicap for most musicians into a signature and an asset. One of his best songs, "Bye Bye Baby Blues," featured prominently in the soundtrack to the movie Ghost World in 2001.