Pine Top Smith: Pine Top's Boogie Woogie


Pine Top's Boogie Woogie


Pine Top Smith (piano, speech)


The Best of Boogie Woogie, Vol. 1: 1928-1930
(Epm Musique 157402)

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Pine Top Smith (piano, speech).

Composed by Pine Top Smith


Recorded: Chicago, December 29, 1928


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Mystery hangs like a dusty, fraying shroud upon pianist Clarence Smith. (As Dashiell Hammett observed, the cheaper the reviewer, the gaudier the patter.) Most sources agree that Smith was born in Alabama (1904) and died in Chicago—variously knifed (1928) in a barroom brawl, shot (1929) by a stray bullet during a dancehall fracas or crushed (1930) in a fraternal lodge melee. Poet Langston Hughes claims Smith popularized boogie woogie "about 1930," making an earlier demise unlikely but not altogether impossible. Even his nickname, derived from cranial resemblance to a pine tree, is sometimes one, sometimes two words. All that's certain is this track's everlasting enjoyment as a party record.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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