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Jazz Gillum

One of the pre-eminent Chicago harpists of the pre-war era, Bill "Jazz" Gillum was born September 11, 1904 in Indianola, Mississippi. He picked up the harmonica at the age of six, and five years later ran away from home to live with relatives in nearby Charleston. After spending his formative years playing street corners and house parties for spare change, Gillum moved to Chicago in 1923, and before long he hooked up with guitarist Big Bill Broonzy, who often played together as a duo in area clubs. Following a few sideman dates for ARC, he signed with RCA Victor's Bluebird imprint in 1934 to record as a solo artist. His strong relationship with producer Lester Melrose also resulted in a steady stream of session work, and he was a fixture of the "Bluebird Beat" house band. Gillum was drafted into the Army in 1942, and when he returned from duty, his high, reedy harmonica sound had been largely eclipsed by the harder-edged style of John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson. He recorded a few more sides for Bluebird, but drifted into obscurity by the '50s, dying after a gunshot wound to the head on March 29, 1966. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Blues By Jazz Gillum Singing And Playing His Harmonica: With Arbee Stidham And Memphis Slim

1. The Race Of The Jim Lee And The Katy Adam

2. Small Town They Call Bessemer, A

3. Walkin' The Blues Away

4. My Last Letter

5. Key To The Highway

6. Harmonica Boogie

7. I Wonder Why

8. You've Got To Reap Just What You Sow

9. Let It Be Me

10. I'll Always Remember You

11. You've Got To Meet Me Halfway

12. Gillum Blues

x

Track List: Jazz Gillum Vol. 3 1941-1946

1. I Got Somebody Else

2. Maybe You'll Love Me Too

3. It Looks Bad For You

4. Me And My Buddy

5. It's All Over Now

6. War Time Blues

7. You Are Doing Me Wrong

8. One Letter Home

9. Down South Blues

10. You Drink Too Much Whiskey

11. No Friend Blues

12. From Now On

13. I'm Gonna Leave You On The Outskirts Of Town

14. I Couldn't Help It Blues

15. My Big Money

16. Woke Up Cold In Hand

17. Water Pipe Blues

18. Tell Me, Mama

19. Deep Water Blues

20. You're Tearing Your Playhouse Down

21. Go Back To The Country

22. Five Feet Four

23. Afraid To Trust Them

24. Whiskey Head Buddies

25. Reckless Rider Blues

x

Track List: Jazz Gillum Vol. 2 1938-1941

1. Let Her Go

2. Get Away Girl

3. Stavin' Chain

4. She Won't Treat Me Kind

5. I'll Get Along Somehow

6. Got To Reap What You Sow

7. Big Katy Adams

8. Against My Will

9. Keyhole Blues

10. Talking To Myself

11. Hard Drivin' Woman

12. Somebody Been Talking To You

13. One Time Blues

14. It Sure Had A Kick

15. She Belongs To Me

16. Longest Train Blues

17. Key To The Highway (2005)

18. I'm Still Walking The Hi-Way

19. Get Your Business Straight

20. Muddy Pond Blues

21. Little Woman

22. Poor Boy Blues

23. Is That A Monkey You Got?

24. Riley Springs Blues

25. That's What Worries Me

x

Track List: Jazz Gillum Vol. 1 1936-1938

1. Sarah Jane

2. I Want You By My Side

3. Jockey Blues

4. Don't You Scandalize My Name

5. She Keeps On Rickin'

6. I Went To The Gypsy

7. My Old Lizzie

8. Alberta Blues

9. My Old Suitcase

10. Birmingham Blues

11. Just Like Jesse James

12. Reefer Head Woman

13. Gillum's Windy Blues

14. New "Sail On, Little Girl"

15. Sweet Sweet Woman

16. Boar Hog Blues

17. Worried And Bothered

18. I'm That Man Down In The Mine

19. Uncertain Blues

20. Good Old 51 Highway

21. You're Laughing Now

22. I'm Gonna Get It

23. Mule Blues

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