J. T. Smith
|Birth name||John T. Smith|
|Also known as||The Howling Wolf|
"Funny Paper" Smith
"Funny Papa" Smith
probably Texas, United States
|Genres||Texas blues, blues|
|Occupation(s)||Guitarist, singer, songwriter|
|Instruments||Guitar, human voice|
|Associated acts||Bernice Edwards|
John T. Smith (c. 1890 – c. 1940), variously known as the Howling Wolf, "Funny Paper" Smith, "Funny Papa" Smith, and Howling Smith, was an American blues guitarist, singer and songwriter.He released around ten singles in his own name or variants thereof. He also recorded with Bernice Edwards, Black Boy Shine, Magnolia Harris, and Dessa Foster. His best-known song was "Howling Wolf Blues", of which several variants were recorded. Many of his original recordings were unreleased at the time. All are now available on compilation albums. Little is known about Smith, and some reported details of his life may be apocryphal.
Bernice Edwards was an American classic female blues singer, pianist and songwriter. She recorded a total of 21 tracks between 1926 and 1935. Unusually for a female blues performer at the time, Robinson composed some of her songs. Details of her life outside the recording studio are sketchy.
A compilation album comprises tracks, which may be previously released or unreleased, usually from several separate recordings by either one or several performers. If by one artist, then generally the tracks were not originally intended for release together as a single work, but may be collected together as a greatest hits album or box set. If from several performers, there may be a theme, topic, time period, or genre which links the tracks, or they may have been intended for release as a single work—such as a tribute album. When the tracks are by the same recording artist, the album may be referred to as a retrospective album or an anthology.
Smith's music has been compared to that of Blind Lemon Jefferson,and his guitar playing was similar in style to that of other Texas guitarists around in his lifetime. One factor that set him apart from his contemporaries was his lyrical compositions, which were highly original. On more than one occasion, his verses were so full that he had to split the song between both sides of the three-minute limitation imposed by the standard 78-rpm disc.
Lemon Henry "Blind Lemon" Jefferson was an American blues and gospel singer, songwriter, and musician. He was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s and has been called the "Father of the Texas Blues".
Smith was probably born in Texas. Details of his early life are not known. His first professional role involved him working at the Lincoln Theater in New York City.He married in the 1920s and spent most of the decade as an itinerant musician, travelling around Texas and Oklahoma, performing at parties, fish fries and juke joints, often in the company of Thomas Shaw, Alger "Texas" Alexander, and Little Hat Jones. He also was seen in the Dallas, Texas, area in the 1920s and 1930s, but he never recorded there. His first recordings were made in Chicago on September 18 and 19, 1930. "Howling Wolf Blues" (parts one and two) was issued by Vocalion (Vocalion 1558) as his first single. Several sources have noted that his guitar was often out of tune, even on some of his recordings, and Shaw commented that Smith was not an accomplished guitarist. Another oddity was that although Smith called himself "Funny Papa", his record label Vocalion managed to mistake this for "Funny Paper" Smith, and that is how he was billed on his earliest releases. He recorded almost twenty songs for Vocalion in 1930 and 1931, including the aforementioned "Howling Wolf Blues", from which he acquired another pseudonym, "The Howling Wolf".
Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.
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Smith reportedly wore a stovepipe hat with "Funny Papa Smith" stitched upon it.Between September 1930 and April 1935, he recorded forty-one songs, but only half that number were released at that time. Around this time he performed on weekends with Thomas Shaw.
A top hat, beaver hat, high hat, silk hat, cylinder hat, chimney pot hat or stove pipe hat, sometimes also known by the nickname "topper", is a tall, flat-crowned, broad-brimmed hat, worn by men from the latter part of the 18th to the middle of the 20th century. By the end of World War II, it had become a rarity in ordinary dress, though it continued to be worn in specific instances, such as state funerals, also by those occupying prominent positions in the Bank of England, by certain City stock exchange officials and occasionally when passing between the Law Courts and Lincoln's Inn, London by judges of the Chancery Division and Queen's Counsel.
In 1931, Smith was arrested after being involved in a fight in a gambling establishmentand allegedly killing a man in an argument over a woman. He was jailed on a charge of murder and spent a few years in a Texas penitentiary. In 1935, he recorded some songs for the Vocalion label in Fort Worth, Texas, but they were not released. Along the way he recorded with Bernice Edwards, Black Boy Shine, Magnolia Harris, and Dessa Foster. More than one source noted that Magnolia Harris was probably a pseudonym for the contractually obliged Victoria Spivey. In 1939, he toured with Alger "Texas" Alexander. Smith's subsequent whereabouts are unknown. It has been reported that he died in 1940, but the blues historians Bob Eagle and Eric S. LeBlanc reckoned from their research that it was "after 1947".
Fort Worth is a city in the U.S. state of Texas. It is the 15th-largest city in the United States and fifth-largest city in Texas. It is the county seat of Tarrant County, covering nearly 350 square miles (910 km2) into four other counties: Denton, Johnson, Parker, and Wise. According to the 2017 census estimates, Fort Worth's population is 874,168. Fort Worth is the second-largest city in the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area, which is the 4th most populous metropolitan area in the United States.
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John T. Smith was an American Texas blues musician, who had a short lived recording session with Vocalion Records. Little is known about his life, although he was a busking street musician in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. He was believed to have been born sometime between 1880 and 1890. Smith played at parties, juke joints, and fish fries. In a two-year period, from 1930 to 1931 he made close to twenty recordings. Among the songs he recorded was his trademark song, "Howlin Wolf Blues". On occasion the recording company would call him "The Howlin Wolf", and he may have had a musical influence on the young Chester Burnett who in the late 1940s and 1950s, was billed as Howlin' Wolf. Smith's style of playing was reminiscent to Blind Lemon Jefferson.
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.