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Stovepipe No. 1

"Stovepipe No. 1" was one-man band and Jug Band musician Sam Jones, who was born sometime before 1900. He was a well-known figure on the George Street red light district in Cincinnati as a street musician who billed himself as "Daddy Stovepipe." He probably did not know of the existence of the Maxwell Street one-man band "Daddy Stovepipe", aka Johnny Watson, until he went to Richmond, Indiana to record for Gennett on May 16, 1924. Doubtless the Gennett staffers would have informed Jones that they had already recorded the Chicago "Daddy Stovepipe" just six days before. Although the Gennett ledgers betray compromise entries such as "Stovepipe Jazz Band" and "Stovepipe Jones", it appears that "Stovepipe No. 1" is what Jones finally settled on, to assert his claim that he was the "original" Stovepipe.



Jones had a good reason for using this odd moniker, as his main musical instrument was, in fact, a real stovepipe, modified and used like a jug. He made use of it on 6 titles for Gennett, and then in the Summer of 1924 for 20 titles for Columbia in New York, of which only six ultimately were issued. These sessions are in an extremely primitive folk idiom, mixing up Gospel tunes with numbers such as "Turkey in the Straw" and "Arkansas Traveler". Sam Jones was a performer who straddled the fence between Blues, Gospel and the Country string band tradition.



Given his unusual choice of instrument, Sam Jones was a natural for Jug bands, and in April 1927 he and David Crockett of the King David Jug Band recorded for Okeh in St. Louis. In 1928 Jones traveled to Chicago with a George Street associate, Bob Coleman, to accompany the latter in his first Paramount recordings as "Kid Cole". Jones probably participated in the Cincinnati Jug Band session for Paramount the following January. His final date was in Atlanta with the King David Jug Band in December 1930, again for Okeh. After that, nothing more is known of the man who called himself "Stovepipe No. 1." ~ Uncle Dave Lewis
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