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Jaybird Coleman

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Jaybird Coleman was an early blues harmonica player. Although he only recorded a handful of sides and his technique wasn't particularly groundbreaking, his music was strong and a good representation of the sound of country-blues harmonica in the early '30s. Coleman was the son of sharecroppers. As a child, he taught himself how to play harmonica. He would perform at parties, both for his family and friends. Coleman served in the Army during World War I. After his discharge, he moved to the Birmingham, AL area. While he lived in Birmingham, he would perform on street corners and occasionally play with the Birmingham Jug Band. Jaybird made his first recordings in 1927 -- the results were released on Gennett, Silvertone, and Black Patti. For the next few years, he simply played on street corners. Coleman cut his final sessions in 1930, supported by the Birmingham Jug Band. These recordings appeared on the OKeh record label. During the '30s and '40s, Coleman played on street corners throughout Alabama. By the end of the '40s, he had disappeared from the state's blues scene. In 1950, Jaybird Coleman died of cancer. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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