James Blythe, Supertone Piano Roll Artist
By Tom DeLay
Some time ago I purchased an 88-note recording at a local antique
store. It is on the Supertone label which I believe was sold by
Sears Roebuck. Today I finally made repairs to the leader and found
a really jazzy recording.
The roll is number 5332, "I've Got the Yes! We Have No Bananas Blues",
Tempo 90, played by James Blythe. The copyright on the roll says 1923.
I have a hard time believing this roll is from 1923. When did Supertone
cease producing rolls? Who was James Blythe?
If this roll is indeed from 1923, it has to be some of the earliest
boogie-woogie. It is great!
[ Supertone piano rolls were sold by Sears Roebuck & Co. from
[ before 1920 until early 1934. "... No Banana Blues" was
[ first published in September 1923 as Columbia 660, see
[ http://www.mmdigest.com/Gallery/MMMedia/CoCap/cocap.html and
[ James Blythe was a pianist and band leader (as Jimmy Blythe)
[ of South Side Chicago. Historian Mike Montgomery believes
[ Blythe's piano rolls are the earliest recordings of what
[ later became known as the boogie woogie style. See
[ http://www.bluesrolls.com/Blues.Blythe.html and
[ http://www.redhotjazz.com/blythe.html --Robbie
(Message sent Fri 6 Mar 2009, 00:17:23 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)