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Curtis Jones

The origins of the blues standard "Tin Pan Alley" can be traced directly back to pianist Curtis Jones, who also enjoyed considerable success in 1937 with his "Lonesome Bedroom Blues" for Vocalion (a song inspired by a breakup with his wife). Jones started out on guitar but switched to the 88s after moving to Dallas. He arrived in Chicago in 1936 and recorded for Vocalion, Bluebird, and OKeh from 1937 to 1941. But the war ended his recording career until 1953, when powerful DJ Al Benson issued a one-off single by Jones, "Wrong Blues"/"Cool Playing Blues," on his Parrot label with L.C. McKinley on guitar. In 1960, Jones waxed his debut album, Trouble Blues, for Prestige's Bluesville subsidiary with a classy crew of New York session aces and Chicagoan Johnny "Big Moose" Walker on guitar. By then, his audience was shifting drastically, as he became a fixture on the Chicago folk circuit. His next LP, Lonesome Bedroom Blues, was a 1962 solo affair for Delmark offering definitive renditions of the title cut and "Tin Pan Alley." Jones left Chicago permanently in January of 1962, settling in Europe and extensively touring the Continent until his 1971 death. ~ Bill Dahl
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