All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Papa Charlie Jackson

Papa Charlie Jackson

Papa Charlie Jackson was the first blues singer to record while accompanying himself on six string banjo. His first session was for Paramount in 1924 where he cut “Papa's Lawdy Blues” and “Airy Man Blues.”

Born in New Orleans in 1885, Jackson moved to Chicago in 1924, when Paramount’s J. Mayo Williams saw him singing in the street and recruited him for the label. Between 1924 and 1934 he cut around 70 sides.

Jackson was the first really successful self accompanied performer and he has the distinction of being one of the creators of “Hokum”, a spicy form of popular song that made repeated and continual references to sex, his most popular composition being “Shake That Thing.” He also recorded with Ma Rainey and Ida Cox before his subsequent death around 1938.

Jackson’s style as a soloist was unique and sophisticated for the period. It ran the gamut from hot chordal solos and single-note plectrum runs a la Lonnie Johnson or Eddie Lang, to the finger picking styles of the rural blues guitarist. He often used fast chordal runs behind his vocals following the melody closely, which gave his songs more bounce and swing. Due to his early death Jackson seems to have fallen through the cracks and is all but forgotten today by critics and historians.

Source: Red Hot Jazz


Tags

Albums

Complete Recorded...

Document Records
2005

buy

Complete Recorded...

Atlantic Records
1991

buy

Similar

B.B. King
guitar, electric
Big Bill Broonzy
guitar, acoustic
Sleepy John Estes
guitar, acoustic
Elizabeth Cotten
guitar, acoustic
Mississippi Sheiks
band/orchestra
Blind Willie McTell
guitar, 12-string
Mance Lipscomb
guitar, acoustic

Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.