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Mean Baby Blues

Robinson's Knights of Rest


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Feat. Jimmy Blythe


Recorded in Richmond, Indiana on February 4th 1930 featuring Bob Robinson clarinet, Jimmy Blythe piano, and Scrapper Blackwell guitar.

Joining the forces of high-register clarinetist Bob Robinson and guitarist Scrapper Blackwell, the duet partner of celebrated blues pianist Leroy Carr, this unlikely trio was assembled for one solitary recording produced at their first and only session for the Gennett label. It was released as Champion 16607. The group's leader Bob Robinson was already a well established figure in the bars and clubs of Chicago's notorious South Side. A shadowy figured thought to be a generation older than many of his contemporaries, Robinson joined Big Bill Broonzy on his newer "Hokum Boys'" sides produced in the 1930's and is also thought to have been featured (billed as Alex Robinson) on some of the group's earlier efforts.

Far removed from those carefree days of the early 1920's when he frequented house parties at the low rent South Side apartment complex known as "Mecca Flat" by the time this record was made Jimmy Blythe's recorded output had dwindled considerably. With the onset of The Great Depression in the Fall of 1929 record companies were willing to invest far less time in the production of "Race Records" (a name commonly used in reference to recordings made by black artists of the day).

At the time Blythe was undoubtedly not immune to feeling the socioeconomic effects as a lack of paying gigs had recently forced the celebrated pianist to move in with his sister and her husband. It was during this period that he would contract the rare bacterial infection that would ultimately be his end. -Matt Chauvin

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