The Kingfish Files

Sep 25

Written by: host
9/25/2011 5:54 AM  RssIcon

There is no question Jelly Roll Morton was one of the most prolific and original composers of the Jazz Age.  His tunes were recorded by many other artists such as Benny Goodman whose recording of "King Porter Stomp" ushered in the swing era.

Despite his obvious contributions, ASCAP refused to recognize his right to receive royalties on his music.  That was ASCAP's attitude towards black composers as a rule.  But Jelly tenaciously fought ASCAP for years and finally won the recognition he deserved.  Unfortunately, ASCAP agreed to pay him the lowest possible rate of $120 per year (white composers got up to $6,000 per year)..

Though the pay was low, Jelly was poor and he needed the money badly.  So he went back into the recording studio and, while suffering from bad health, knocked out some of the best recordings he ever made.  What makes these recordings unique for him is that he sings on them, something he never did on his early recordings because he felt he had a very bad voice.  I hope you will agree that Jelly's voice is terrific as is this tune.

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