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Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 (1935-1937) by Charley Jordan

Label: Document Records.
Release Date: August 15, 1992.
Recording Time: 68 minutes.
Release Info: Compilation Studio Recording.
Recording Date: October 31, 1935 - November 2, 1937.

Styles: Acoustic Memphis Blues, Regional Blues, St. Louis Blues, Pre-War Country Blues, Acoustic Blues.

This volume is somewhat less compelling than the other two in the series, if only because even the producers themselves acknowledge that eight of the 23 songs here, credited to "The Two Charlies," probably don't feature the St. Louis-based Charley Jordan at all, but another artist of the same name, while four others, credited to Leroy Henderson, may feature Jordan. On other songs, Jordan sings duets with Verdi Lee and Mary Harris (possibly also Verdi Lee working under a pseudonym), and those are great tracks, to be recommended without reservation, except perhaps for the fact that the guitar is a bit muted on these numbers, compared with Jordan's solo stuff. "Signifying at You" is a great piece of female-sung blues, raw, angry, defiant and funny. The Two Charlies tracks, featuring a Charley Jordan working with a guitarist/singer named Charlie Manson, are fine acoustic blues, all good songs (especially "Don't Put Your Dirty Hands On Me") and even better guitar duets, including the surprisingly dissonant "Pork Chop Blues," but they sound much more like Atlanta blues than St. Louis material -- their inclusion here adds nothing to the St. Louis Charley Jordan's reputation, but they make an enjoyable interlude. - Review by Bruce Eder.

Informative notes by Chris Smith. Detailed discography.

Charley Jordan was not the strongest of blues singers but his voice is not off-putting, in fact it has quite an unusual characteristic which one easily brings to mind when one returns to any of his records. The strengths of his recordings are in his guitar playing and his song writing. Steffan Grossman wrote; "The often whimsical songs recorded belie the violent world that he apparently lived". He was shot in 1928 during his bootlegging activities leaving him with a bullet lodged in his spine and having to use crutches. There's a wry, gentle humour in Jordan's songs, a child-like delight in playing with words and imagery. His melodies, too, often evince a naive charm. Jordan's guitar picking masterfully combines an airy delicacy with punchy dynamics he may have gathered from such Mississippians as Big Joe Williams. Paul Oliver has praised Jordan's "uncorrupted country style of blues guitar with an effortless, light technique". Chris Smith observes in Jordan "an extraordinary sense of rhythm. The steady pulse that underlies his playing and singing is often a long way removed from the accenting of the guitar part." - Document Records (DOCD 5099).

Personnel: Charley Jordan (as by Charlie Jordan), vocals / guitar; Peetie Wheatstraw, piano. Verdi Lee And Charlie Jordan, vocals duet on 2, 3/or Verdi Lee, vocals on 4; accompanied by Peetie Wheatstraw, piano; Charley Jordan, guitar. Mary Harris (probably a pseudonym for Verdi Lee), vocals; accompanied by Peetie Wheatstraw, piano; Charley Jordan, guitar. The Two Charlies: Charley Jordan, vocals / guitar on 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14; Charlie Manson, vocals / guitar on 7, 8, 11, 12, 13. Charlie Manson, vocals / guitar. Uncle Skipper: Charley Jordan, vocals / guitar; Peetie Wheatstraw, piano; unknown, stand-up bass. Leroy Henderson, vocals; accompanied by Peetie Wheatstraw, piano; Casey Bill Weldon, guitar; possibly Charley Jordan or probably Teddy Darby, 2nd guitar.

Credits: Charley Jordan - guitar, primary artist, vocals.
With contributions by: Peetie Wheatstraw - piano; Verdi Lee - vocals; Charlie Manson - guitar; Leroy Henderson - vocals; Casey Bill Weldon - slide guitar.

Tracks: 1) Christmas Christmas Blues - Charley Jordan; 2) Christmas Tree Blues - Verdi Lee And Charlie Jordan; 3) Get It If You Can - Verdi Lee And Charlie Jordan; 4) Signifying At You - Verdi Lee And Charlie Jordan; 5) No Christmas Blues - Mary Harris (probably a pseudonym for Verdi Lee); 6) Happy New Year Blues - Mary Harris (probably a pseudonym for Verdi Lee); 7) I Couldn't Stay Here - The Two Charlies (Not the same Charley Jordan / Charlie Manson); 8) Bad Feeling Blues - The Two Charlies (Not the same Charley Jordan / Charlie Manson); 9) Got Your Water On - The Two Charlies (Not the same Charley Jordan / Charlie Manson); 10) Don't Put Your Dirty Hands On Me - The Two Charlies (Not the same Charley Jordan / Charlie Manson); 11) Pork Chop Blues - The Two Charlies (Not the same Charley Jordan / Charlie Manson); 12) Tired Feelin' Blues - The Two Charlies (Not the same Charley Jordan / Charlie Manson); 13) Low Moan Blues - The Two Charlies (Not the same Charley Jordan / Charlie Manson); 14) Hard Time Papa - The Two Charlies (Not the same Charley Jordan / Charlie Manson); 15) Nineteen Women Blues - Charlie Manson; 16) Twee Twee Twa - Uncle Skipper (Charlie Jordan); 17) Cutting My ABC's - Uncle Skipper (Charlie Jordan); 18) Chifferobe - Uncle Skipper (Charlie Jordan); 19) Look What A Shape I'm In (Bonus Blues) - Uncle Skipper (Charlie Jordan); 20) Deep Sea Diver - Leroy Henderson; 21) Good Scuffler Blues - Leroy Henderson; 22) Low Mellow Man Blues - Leroy Henderson; 23) Good Grinder Blues - Leroy Henderson.