Blues | Sept 2021

Memphis Blues

Known as ‘Southern Rag’

‘Composed, by W. C. Handy’

It was not until Victor Recording Company’s house band (Victor Military Band, Victor 17619, July 15, 1914) and Columbia’s house band (Prince’s Band, Columbia A-5591, July 24) recorded the song in 1914 that “The Memphis Blues” began to do well. The Memphis Blues. (2021, May 16).

W. C. Handy

(Born) November 16, 1873 – March 28, 1958 (Died aged 84)

  • Subtitled “Mr. Crump”, “The Memphis Blues” is said to be based on a campaign song written by Handy for Edward Crump, a mayoral candidate in Memphis, Tennessee. Handy claimed credit for writing “Mr. Crump”, but Memphis musicians say it was written by Hendy’s clarinetist, Paul Wyer. Many musicologists question how much “Mr. Crump” actually shared with “The Memphis Blues”, since the words, taken from an old folk song, “Mama Don’ ‘low”, do not match up with the melody of “The Memphis Blues”. Many think “Mr. Crump” was probably the same song as “Mr. Crump Don’t Like It”, later recorded by Frank Stokes of the Beale Street Sheiks (Paramount Race series, September 1927).
  • It was not until Victor Recording Company’s house band (Victor Military Band, Victor 17619, July 15, 1914) and Columbia’s house band (Prince’s Band, Columbia A-5591, July 24) recorded the song in 1914 that “The Memphis Blues” began to do well. The Memphis Blues. (2021, May 16).

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