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Jabo Williams

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St. Louis-based barrelhouse pianist Jabo Williams is known only by the eight sides he cut in Paramount's Grafton, WI studio in May 1932. This was towards the end of the Paramount concern; Williams' records were circulated in low quantities and didn't have very wide distribution. The assumption that Williams was born in Pratt City, AL is based on references in his "Pratt City Blues," but the only thing definitely known about him outside of his recordings is that he was referred to Paramount by Jesse Johnson, a record store owner based in St. Louis. Recognition of the singularity of his playing among collectors was noted early; in the '40s and early '50s some of his tracks were re-released on the American Music, Steiner-Davis, and Jazz Information labels, all concerns directed at collectors. However this recognition apparently did not come early enough for Jabo Williams himself to be rediscovered, or even for his true first name to be known. ~ Uncle Dave Lewis

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