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Nap Hayes

In Feb of 1928, guitarist Napoleon “Nap” Hayes and mandolinist Matthew Prater, two dark musicians from Vicksburg, MSi, documented 4 instrumental tunes in Memphis. The music — “Somethin’ Doin’,” “Easy Champion,” “Nothin’ Doin’,” and “Prater Blues” — display the clean musicianship of both players, with Hayes’ electric guitar providing a reliable rhythmic accompaniment for the skilled mandolin lead. The shows, while comprising just a little body of documented work, reveal a distinctive and thoroughly stylized repertoire, fusing components of string music group, ragtime, and blues forms: the initial two sides straight borrow designs and phrasings from Scott Joplin rags, “Something Carrying out” and “The Entertainer,” respectively. Small biographical information is well known relating to Hayes and Prater, who documented as the Johnson Young boys as well as the Blue Young boys. The duo also documented two amounts with well-known bluesman Lonnie Johnson on violin, but those edges were not released (they have just become obtainable in modern times). The four duet recordings of Nap Hayes and Matthew Prater are gathered on Document’s String Rings (1926-1929).

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