Deep Ellum Blues


click to zoomclick to zoom


Details: Audio Cassette, 1988, Produced by Alan Govenar, Digitally Mastered by David and Nancy Lamb
Track Listing: Deep Ellum Blues - Bill Neely; Kansas City - Heat Waves of Swing; Hurry Down - Robert Shaw; Matchbox Blues - Bill Neely; Monkey Jump - Heat Waves of Swing; How Long - Lavada Durst; Graveyard Blues - Bill Neely; Central Track Blues - Alex Moore; Walkin' to New Orleans - Heat Waves of Swing; Santa Fe - Robert Shaw; At the Jazz Band Ball - Hal Baker and the Gloomchasers; Pinetop Boogie - Lavada Durst

Features the musical styles that rose to prominence during the heyday of the Deep Ellum area of Dallas in the 1920s and 1930s, including country blues, jump blues, swing jazz, Dixieland and barrelhouse piano. Most of the musicians on this tape began their careers in Deep Ellum, but were forced to find other audiences and jobs with the onset of the Great Depression. Buster Smith and Herbie Cownes followed the big bands to Kansas City and then to New York, but eventually retired in Dallas. Bill Neely hitchhiked to Dallas as a teenager and, after traveling around the country as a hobo, settled in Austin. Hal Baker became a businessman and continued to perform locally the Dixieland style he learned as a youth. Alex Moore stayed in Dallas and worked odd jobs, playing his barrelhouse piano on the side in clubs and restaurants and at blues festivals in the United States and abroad. Robert Shaw and "Dr. Hepcat," Lavada Durst, did not play in Deep Ellum, although they are the contemporaries of the other musicians and show important variations in the Texas barrelhouse piano style. These recordings were produced by Alan Govenar on location in Austin and Dallas between 1983 and 1986, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and Documentary Arts, Inc. The Heat Waves of Swing and Hal Baker and the Gloomchasers were recorded live at the 1983 Dallas Folk Festival.