02 September 2011
ERNEST RODGERS VS HALF PiNT JAXON ~ WiLLiE THE CHiMNEY SWEEPER VS WiLLiE THE WEEPER
I originally posted this several months ago. But I was reading an article by Nick Tosches this week (thx April Fecca) and Tosches mentioned that this is the first opium song. As opposed to "reefer" song, as I reported in my original post below. Splittin' hairs I suppose but if you can't be trusted with the small details you can't trusted with the big ones. So there you go.
MP3s of both songs below. Enjoy.
"Recorded in 1927. This same tune was recorded at about the same time by Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon, well known at the time for his tunes full of innuendo (not to mention his parallel career as a female impersonator), as "Willie The Weeper." These tunes may be the earliest known "reefer" tunes in American popular culture (with the exception of "La Cucaracha").
The references to "smoking pills" in these "Willie" tunes isn't that strange when it is taken into consideration that drug vernacular at the time referred to balls of opium as "pills." Ernest Rodgers was a "citybilly" type who also was an established journalist in Atlanta."
Ernest Rodgers ~ Willie The Chimney Sweeper - mp3
Frankie "Halfpint" Jaxon ~ Willie The Weeper - mp3