PLAYING THE MELANCHOLY BLUES 80 years of Blue Note records
Another very auspicious anniversary. 2019 is one of those years. 60 years since Ronnie Scott’s opened, 50 since ECM was founded.
Albert Ammons and Meade “Lux” Lewis 80 years ago were booked into a studio by Alfred Lion for his new at that time unnamed label Blue Note on 6 January 1939 at the radio station WMGM in New York. Lewis four years earlier had been found by producer John Hammond working at a car wash and soon placed Lewis and his earlier song ‘Honky Tonk Train Blues’ at the heart of a craze for boogie-woogie.
Lion provided whiskey and tunes included ‘Boogie Woogie Stomp’ and Ammons and Lewis played 19 takes in all.
In March Blue Note 1 came out featuring two of those takes: Lewis playing ‘Melancholy Blues’ and ‘Solitude’. Blue Note 2 issued at the same time had Ammons playing ‘Boogie Woogie Stomp’ and ‘Boogie Woogie Blues’. Only 25 of each 10-inch disc were made and they were sold by mail order.