Tag Archives: Beale Street

Song of the Day: Frank Stokes – “How Long”

Song of the Day: Frank Stokes –  “How Long”

He was very popular in Memphis in the early twentieth century and some see him as the father of the Memphis blues guitar style. He made fame alongside Dan Sane with his band the Beale Street Sheiks, but also as a solo artist. His last recording dated from 1929. In “How Long” Frank Stokes show his enormous guitar talent en soulful vocals.

Memhis Ragtime Guitar Blues Song

Frank Stokes played mostly ragtime guitar blues with his deep  forceful voice Frank knew how to reach people. You will recognise that in “How Long”. His perfect guitar melody gives this song a soft touch. On the other hand the lyrics are rhythmic and strong: I never never : baby I can’t see anymore, When you called me baby : how long how long,

photo credit: Beale Street via photopin (license)

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One Man Band: Blues of Joe Hill Louis

One Man Band Blues of Joe Hill Louis

During the forties and fifties Memphis developed into a city with one of the best music scenes around the world.  The city where Rock ‘n Roll was born, soul and funk established worldwide sales, and  Beale Street was the musical entertainment center of it all. The city was growing because  the migration from Mississippi to Memphis developed and among the talented musicians that came along I recently came across Joe Hill Louis.

Joe Hill Louis on Beale Street

In Memphis Joe Hill would travel around the circuit of Beale Street clubs, performing in places as Haney’s Big House alongside other Memphis Blues musicians. Haney’s Big House was a wooden club owned by Big Will Haney and the only club that allowed white and black people. It was the place the best bluesman would go to.

Nickname: Be-Bop Boy


He had like many other bluesmen different nicknames my favourite is Be-Bop-Boy. Many musicians recall: Be-Bop Boy was an excellent performer together with Docter Ross he was the best one-man band in town. Imagine: Joe  Hill Louis would sit behind his drum-kit, playing guitar switching over to harmonica and swing the boogie woogie while Big Will Haney’s club goes crazy.

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