One hundred years ago, in 1912, the first Blues song was published—though, of course, the Blues was born long before that. In celebration of the centennial of this epic historical event, Brad Vickers & His Vestapolitans have released a digital single of Hart Wand’s “Dallas Blues” to benefit The Blues Foundation’s H.A.R.T. Fund. All proceeds from downloads of this single will go to the fund on an ongoing basis – how cool is that – you can have a copy of this ground breaking song, and help assist artists in their time of need.
According to Samuel Charters’ 1959 book “The Country Blues”, the first published blues was Hart Wand’s “Dallas Blues,” published (as sheet music) in March, 1912. This was not only the first published blues, with “Blues” in its title, but it was actually written in the now standard accepted blues form.
Sheet music held the same place as 45′s, albums’, CD’s and digital downloads back in those days, so it was truly an epic event. Brad Vickers on the popularity of the song states “It’s popularity spread from Oklahoma (where Hart lived), naturally down to Texas, and down into Louisiana, it was really a big hit….a truly historic song, it named the music Blues and paved the way for all other Blues tunes to follow that form.” Margey Peters adds, “…and people jumped on the Blues bandwagon, that impact is still going strong today as people still adhere to the twelve bar Blues format. When we first heard learned about the song’s history we researched it and fell in love with it, so we decided to do our version of it. All this just shows how tremendously the form resonated with everybody.”
Lloyd Garrett added lyrics in 1918 keeping the song contemporary and vital for an ever expanding audience.
There two other songs with Blues in their titles published in 1912; “Baby Seals Blues” (August 1912), a vaudeville tune written by Arthur “Baby” Seales, and “The Memphis Blues“, written by W.C. Handy(September 1912). Neither of these others were written in the blues form. They followed the popular cake-walk form of the era.
For this recording The Vestapolitans welcome special guest, Charles Burnham on violin (Hart Wand was a violinist). So this makes for a wonderful addition and also serves as a keen historical insight as to the sound and style of the song.
Also playing are:
Brad Vickers – guitar, vocals
Margey Peters – vocals, 2nd fiddle
Jim Davis – clarinet
Matt Cowan – baritone sax
Michael Bram – mandolin
Dave Gross – upright bass
Bill Rankin – drums
Produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Dave Gross, engineered by V.D. King at Fat Rabbit Studios, Glen Ridge, NJ.
Special thanks goes out to Frank Roszak Promotions for their generous donation of time and services.
The H.A.R.T. Fund (Handy Artists Relief Trust) provides for blues musicians and their families who are in financial need due to a broad range of health concerns including acute, chronic, and preventive medical and dental care, as well as funeral and burial expenses. For more information jump on this hyperlink http://www.blues.org/#ref=hart_index . Got to love the “Hart” “H.A.R.T.” coincidence!
You can learn more about Hart Wand and “Dallas Blues” in Charters’ book, and in Hart Wand’s entry on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hart_Wand . Also ‘Dallas Blues’ entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dallas_Blues .
While surfing you might well check out Brad Vickers & His Vestopolitans at: http://www.BradVickers.co
“Dallas Blues” is widely available on the internet, including CDBaby and iTunes (iTunes has a nice long preview) not only will you get a really cool recording, but you will be assisting others by contributing to a very worthy cause:
Blues411 would like to say a special thanks to Brad & Margey for taking the time to discuss this project and fascinating bit of history with us.
Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
photos: courtesy of artists