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Four Eleven 44

"Papa" Charlie Jackson


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From Traveling Minstrel
to Pop Sensation


Recorded in Chicago during May 1926 featuring Papa Charlie Jackson six-string banjo & vocals.

Born William Henry Jackson in New Orleans, Papa Charlie originally performed with traveling minstrel and medicine shows. From the early 1920's into the 1930's, Jackson played frequent club dates in Chicago, and was noted for busking at Chicago's Maxwell Street Market. In August 1924 he recorded "Papa's Lawdy Lawdy Blues" and "Airy Man Blues" for Paramount Records, recognized as the very first commercially successful self-accompanied recordings by a male blues singer.

The numbers game (aka the Italian lottery or the policy racket) was an illegal lottery played mostly in poor neighborhoods in the United States. The way this game was played, the bettor would attempt to pick three digits to match numbers that were randomly drawn the following day. These games were operated by organized crime with the bets usually being placed with a bookie operating discreetly out of bars and cafes.

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