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The Minstrel Man from Georgia


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Audio CD, August 21, 2001
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$39.99 $14.99

Editorial Reviews

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Emmett Miller--bandleader, minstrel, and yodeling crooner--is a true music legend. His version of "Lovesick Blues" was covered by Hank Williams, Merle Haggard recorded an entire Miller tribute album, Leon Redbone cites him as an influence, and author Nick Tosches has devoted an entire book to his fascination with the forgotten Georgian. What makes an obscure blackface musician who recorded just two dozen or so tunes in the late '20s so special? A lot. Miller existed at one of those magical crossroads in American history. His music is a bridge between the sounds of hot jazz and the as-yet-discovered "country music," and his crooning sound would be copied by Jimmie Rodgers and others, but never quite so compellingly. His music sounds like no one else's and, despite the minstrel shtick he refused to shed long after it became unfashionable, his songs are absolutely, perfectly timeless. Miller's backing band, the Georgia Crackers, was comprised of some of the best jazz musicians of his day (Eddie Lang, the Dorsey Brothers, Gene Krupa, Jack Teagarden), and they're in top form on these tunes, including "Lovesick Blues," "I Ain't Got Nobody," and "Anytime." Included are a few of Miller's recorded minstrel routines--archaic relics that can't compare to his tunes. Anyway you look at it, he led a controversial lifestyle, but his recordings are just too influential to forget. --Jason Verlinde

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. God's River (Album Version)Emmett Miller 3:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. I Ain't Got Nobody (Album Version)Emmett Miller 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Lovesick Blues (Album Version)Emmett Miller & His Georgia Crackers 2:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. The Lion Tamers (Album Version)Emmett Miller 3:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Anytime (Album Version)Emmett Miller 3:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. St. Louis Blues (Album Version)Emmett Miller 3:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Take Your Tomorrow (Album Version)Emmett Miller 3:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Dusky Stevedore (Album Version)Emmett Miller 2:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None O' This Jelly Roll (Album Version)Emmett Miller 2:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. (I Got A Woman Crazy For Me) She's Funny That Way (Album Version)Emmett Miller 3:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. You Lose (Album Version)Emmett Miller 2:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Right Or Wrong (Album Version)Emmett Miller 3:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. That's The Good Old Sunny South (Album Version)Emmett Miller 2:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. You'reThe Cream In My Coffee (Album Version)Emmett Miller 3:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Lovin' Sam (The Sheik Of Alabam') (Album Version)Emmett Miller 2:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Big Bad Bill Is Sweet William Now (Album Version)Emmett Miller 3:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. The Ghost Of The St. Louis Blues (Album Version)Emmett Miller 2:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. Sweet Mama (Papa's Getting Mad) (Album Version)Emmett Miller 3:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. The Pickaninnies' Paradise (Album Version)Emmett Miller 3:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen20. The Blues Singer (From Alabam') (Album Version)Emmett Miller 2:59$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 21, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Columbia Records/Sony
  • ASIN: B000002B10
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,756 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Tony Thomas on June 16, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is simply good music to listen to and enjoy, although it is very historically important. Emmet Miller was a weird, cool, jive performer, who is fun to listen to. If you listen to him, you know where Leon Redbone really comes from. Listen to him, and realize that when Bob Wills hired singers, he auditioned them by requesting they sing Miller songs usually "I ain't got Nobody," a tune that Miller obviously takes from Louis Armstrong's great version. Listen to him and you will see a lot of him in Tommy Duncan and Leon Rausch. Probably Hank Williams never heard Miller, or his version of the lovesick blues. Williams copied a copy of Miller's performance. To my opinion, Miller's is just as good or better.

People raised on the fiction of modern "country" music may object. That isn't what this is, thank goodness. It hasn't been white-washed, formulaed, and restricted to a group of easily borrowingly repeated tunes. Instead this is the meeting of the last of the great ministrels with pre-Swing Jazz, and above all one of the many ways the masterful musical innovations of Louis Armstrong penetrated white music.
I am sure that just like Bob Wills or Hank Penny or any of Miller's real descendants, Miller did NOT consider himself part of country music. He was a jazz man of the first generation as well as the last of the great minstrel performers, two of the great strains in the history of American culture. The musicianship on his records is that of the basic Jazz combos that Columbia's predescessors maintained at the Union Square Hotel and other Manhattan studios.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 30, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Cool people have known about Emmett Miller for years, I mean the guy performed in blackface with a bluesy feeling, and yodeling in such an appealing country blues style. He was backed by Jimmy & Tommy Dorsey, Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, Bunny Barigan, and many other jazz allstars on the recordings on this cd. All the tracks are jazz standards and have classic dixieland arrangents. The best sides are the ones with doalouges, where he does sort of an early Amon'N'Andy thing. Emmett is cool and a blues legend. Even jazz critic Will Friedwald wrote in his book Stardust Melodies, that Milelr recorded a very credible version of St. Louis Blues. Every cut on this is a classi, and if you hear his version of I Ain't Got Nobody, you will understand why Miller was such a big influence on Leon Redbone(also listen to Lovesick Blues, and you'll know that Hank Willaims was also influenced by Miller). This is an essential cd for fans of vintage jazz, western swing. country blues, and yodeling. A great disc full of classic jazz and country blues, for an eclectic dixielandish style! Buy one for yourself and for a friend who has a good sense of humor(musicly taht is). A gem of a cd.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Prometheus on February 8, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Emmett Miller was a forgotten influence on such greats as Jimmy Rodgers, Gene Autry and Hank Williams until writer Nick Tosches rediscovered him. Now he is an American Original, and so is his sound. His Georgia Crackers is made up of Jazz greats Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, and Guitarist Eddie Lang. Hank Williams learned his "Lovesick Blues" from listening to Miller's recording of the same. Merle Haggard and Leon Redbone have both done tribute albums in honor of Miller's musical legacy. You can listen to a Thousand Frogs on a Log, but Miller will still sound unique, haunting and memorable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Barry McCanna on December 6, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I first heard Emmett Miller some forty years ago, on the English Parlophone First Rhythm Style Series, which included two of his September 1929 recordings. He began recording around 1924, and he had one later session for Bluebird in September 1936, but this compilation concentrates on the 1928/29 Okeh sides on which he was backed by his Georgia Crackers, a studio group which included the Dorsey brothers, Eddie Lang, and on the final session Gene Krupa.

This bizarre marriage between Miller's minstrelsy tradition and the cream of New York's session musicians has to be heard to be believed, almost as if Gus Ellen, say, had sung with Ray Noble. His nasal voice is high-pitched, and shifts effortlessly into the falsetto to which his yodel is a natural corollary (he was billed, inaccurately, as the "Clarinet Voiced Comedian"). Elements of his style would be picked up and adopted by country singers like Jimmie Rodgers, surfacing most identifiably in Hank Williams version of "Lovesick Blues".

Some of these songs were standards already, others became so later thanks to their championship by Bob Wills, Eddy Arnold, and Leon Redbone, to name but three. Also included are examples of blackface dialect skits, which give a flavour of this long gone genre, which sadly fell into disrepute and is now largely forgotten.

This is a classy production; the CD face is a facsimile of the Okeh label, and the 20-page illustrated liner booklet sets out the salient details of his career which is prefaced by a detailed discography. Remastering is exemplary.
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