Okeh 4296 – Mamie Smith’s Jazz Hounds – 1921

It seems fitting that the first record posted on this site (the introductory one notwithstanding) is the one that inspired the name: Old Time Blues, played by Mamie Smith’s Jazz Hounds; an early black jazz record, and a pretty fine one at that.

This disc, 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.  Brian Rust explicitly 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.

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 the  unidentified xylophonist.

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, with with improved audio on June 26, 2018.