Okeh 4296 – Mamie Smith’s Jazz Hounds – 1921

It seems fitting that my first real record post on this site (not counting the introductory one) is the one that inspired the name; Old Time Blues, by Mamie Smith’s Jazz Hounds, an early black jazz record, and a pretty fine one at that.

This record, recorded February 21, 1921 in New York City for Okeh records, interestingly does not feature Mamie Smith herself, instead her backing group, the Jazz Hounds, play a pair of instrumental tunes.  Rust lists the personnel as being Johnny Dunn on cornet, Buster Bailey on clarinet, Leroy Parker on violin, Phil Worde on piano, and Chink Johnson on tuba.  See below for speculation on the identity of the xylophone player.

The first side is a composition by trumpeter Johnny Dunn, who also plays in the recording along with Buster Bailey on clarinet.  Perhaps one could consider this the theme song of this site.

Old Time Blues, recorded February 21, 1921 by Mamie Smith’s Jazz Hounds.

The flip-side of that record is an instrumental version of Mamie Smith’s first recording, “That Thing Called Love”, composed by Perry Bradford, which heavily features an unidentified xylophonist.  Brian Rust specifically notes “not Mort Perry” on xylophone, yet Perry Bradford himself states in his autobiography, “on this date, we used Mort Perry on the xylophone.”  Alternatively, perhaps it could be the famous Green Brothers, Joe and George Hamilton, as suggested in the comments by Uncle Dave Lewis.

That Thing Called Love, recorded February 1, 1921 by Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds.

That Thing Called Love, recorded February 21, 1921 by Mamie Smith’s Jazz Hounds.

Updated on June 24 and November 24, 2016.

2 thoughts on “Okeh 4296 – Mamie Smith’s Jazz Hounds – 1921

  1. This sounds like two xylophones, and I’m pretty sure that it’s the Green Brothers; Joe and George Hamilton Green. This is mx. S7790; the Mamie Smith Jazz Hounds sides continue up through S7795 and S7796 is by the Green Brothers.

    • That would indeed stand to reason, given the matrices. It certainly is an intriguing prospect, as it would make it one of the earliest racially integrated recording sessions, over two years prior to the New Orleans Rhythm Kings session with Jelly Roll Morton that is sometimes credited as the first integrated jazz music session.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *