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Birthday of Kokomo Arnold, 15 Feb 1901

Leadbelly 13 Feb 07 - 04:14 PM
mickburke 13 Feb 07 - 08:15 PM
Leadbelly 14 Feb 07 - 04:55 AM
fat B****rd 14 Feb 07 - 05:03 AM
Leadbelly 14 Feb 07 - 05:15 AM
fat B****rd 14 Feb 07 - 05:26 AM
Leadbelly 14 Feb 07 - 05:48 AM
Roger the Skiffler 14 Feb 07 - 10:01 AM
Scrump 14 Feb 07 - 11:46 AM
Stefan Wirz 14 Feb 07 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,leeneia 14 Feb 07 - 01:02 PM
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Subject: Birthday of Kokomo
From: Leadbelly
Date: 13 Feb 07 - 04:14 PM

106 years ago, Kokomo Arnold (James Arnold) was born on febr. 15, 1901.
This left-handed blues musician has had similar strong influence on Robert Johnson such as Lonnie Johnson, Leroy Carr, Skip James and others.

He died in Chicago on nov. 8, 1968.

Kokomo was a very good one.

Manfred


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Subject: RE: Birthday of Kokomo
From: mickburke
Date: 13 Feb 07 - 08:15 PM

Manfred ,I've heard the word Kokomo used in Chuck Berry songs e.g."We parked way up on the Kokomo ". I assume that must be where James Arnold got his nickname from . Do you know what it means ?


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Subject: RE: Birthday of Kokomo
From: Leadbelly
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 04:55 AM

Mick,
Kokomo was a brand-name of coffee and this nick-name of Arnold traces back to his recording of "Old Original Kokomo Blues" in 1934.

Thanks to the only reply on my subject so far. Seems that there are few people interested in early blues singers,

Manfred


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Subject: RE: Birthday of Kokomo
From: fat B****rd
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 05:03 AM

Manfred, there are a great many 'Catters interested in blues singers of all eras.
Just put any familiar (or even obscure)name in the search box and you'll find loads of threads on this subject.
Best regards from Charlie.


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Subject: RE: Birthday of Kokomo
From: Leadbelly
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 05:15 AM

That's true, Charley. I just made this note to stimulate 'Catters.

Manfred


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Subject: RE: Birthday of Kokomo
From: fat B****rd
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 05:26 AM

Stimulating the good folks of Mudcat can be dangerous,Manfred.                                                    Actually I logged on here from Google years ago looking for a Leadbelly site and I've been here ever since (obviously) Charlie.


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Subject: RE: Birthday of Kokomo
From: Leadbelly
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 05:48 AM

Here's a competent feature by Dave Lewis for all people not really aware of Kokomo Arnold.

Kokomo Arnold
·        Birth Name: James Arnold
·        Genre: Blues
·        Active: '30s, '40s
·        Instruments: Vocals, Guitar
Biography
"Kokomo" was a popular brand of coffee early in the 20th century, and was the subject of Francis "Scrapper" Blackwell's first recorded blues in 1928. When slide guitar specialist James Arnold revamped this number as "Old Original Kokomo Blues" for Decca in 1934, little did he know that this would soon become his permanent handle -- Kokomo Arnold.

Kokomo Arnold was born in Georgia, and began his musical career in Buffalo, New York in the early '20s. During prohibition, Kokomo Arnold worked primarily as a bootlegger, and performing music was a only sideline to him. Nonetheless he worked out a distinctive style of bottleneck slide guitar and blues singing that set him apart from his contemporaries. In the late '20s, Arnold settled for a short time in Mississippi, making his first recordings in May 1930 for Victor in Memphis under the name of "Gitfiddle Jim." Arnold moved to Chicago in order to be near to where the action was as a bootlegger, but the repeal of the Volstead Act put him out of business, so he turned instead to music as a full-time vocation.

From his first Decca session of September 10, 1934 until he finally called it quits after his session of May 12, 1938, Kokomo Arnold made 88 sides under his own name for Decca, which rejected only nine of them -- two of the rejected titles have since been recovered. On some sides he was joined on piano by Peetie Wheatstraw, although most of Kokomo Arnold's records were made solo. Arnold also played guitar on two tunes cut in July 1936 by Oscar's Chicago Swingers, a dance band led by singer Sam Theard. Judging from the overall size of his recorded output, you might suspect that he was a success as a recording artist, and this was true; along with Peetie Wheatstraw and Amos Easton (Bumble Bee Slim), Kokomo Arnold was a predominant figure among blues singers in the Decca Race catalogues of the 1930s. He was also well-known as a live performer as well, appearing mainly in Chicago, but also on at least a couple of occasions in New York.

Some of Kokomo Arnold's songs proved highly influential on other musicians. His first issued coupling on Decca 7026 paired "Old Original Kokomo Blues" with "Milk Cow Blues." Delta Blues legend Robert Johnson must've known this record, as he re-invented both sides of it into songs for his own use -- "Old Original Kokomo Blues" became "Sweet Home Chicago," and "Milk Cow Blues" became "Milkcow's Calf Blues." "Milk Cow Blues" ultimately proved of use, more or less, in its original form with some "real gone" modifications, to another artist a little further down the line: Elvis Presley.

As for Kokomo Arnold himself, he quit the music business in disgust in 1938 and went into factory work in Chicago. He was rediscovered there by blues researchers in 1962, but didn't show much enthusiasm for reviving his musical career, and certainly did not resume recording. Kokomo Arnold died of a heart attack at the age of 67.

Some blues pundits have drawn a direct qualitative value between Peetie Wheatstraw and Kokomo Arnold, with Arnold coming out on top. There was a popular re-issue album in the 1960s featuring eight songs by each artist which seemed to support this conclusion. This has no real relevance however; although they were personally acquainted and recorded together, Kokomo Arnold and Peetie Wheatstraw were really working different ends of the 1930s blues spectrum. Their main connection to one another is their combined influence on Robert Johnson, and in this respect Wheatstraw seems to have had the upper hand. ~ Uncle Dave Lewis, All Music Guide


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Subject: RE: Birthday of Kokomo
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 10:01 AM

So he wasn't named after Kokomo Indiana ?(is that the "love light city" referred to in the song or are there other US Kokomos?) I always imagined it in the South.

RtS


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Subject: RE: Birthday of Kokomo
From: Scrump
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 11:46 AM

So presumably this is not the Kokomo who had a US hit in 1961 with "Asia Minor" (piano instrumental)?

Seems a popular name - the Beach Boys had a song with that title.


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Subject: RE: Birthday of Kokomo
From: Stefan Wirz
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 12:39 PM

Kokomo Arnold discography
Additions/corrections welcome !!!
Stefan


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Subject: RE: Birthday of Kokomo
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 01:02 PM

"We parked way up on the Kokomo"

Mike, it sounds to me like there is a river named the Kokomo somewhere. Probably, but not necessarily, near Kokomo, Indiana.

Some of those native names got around. Last night I came across Miami, Arizona for the first time.


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