26 - Another Early Sheet-Music Publication of a Boogie Woogie Bass Figure

by John Tennison — History of Boogie Woogie

Another early sheet-music publication of a Boogie Woogie bass figure can be found in 1916 in George Thomas’s “New Orleans Hop Scop Blues.”  Paul Oliver has noted that George Thomas based his “New Orleans Hop Scop Blues” on music that he had heard being played in East Texas.5

George W. Thomas, Jr. was born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1883.  (According to one account, George Thomas, Jr. died in March of 1930.)  (I don’t know the place of his burial.)  George Thomas, Jr. was the older brother of sister Beulah Thomas (later known as Sippie Wallace) and younger brother Hersal Thomas.  The Thomas siblings often sang in the choir and played at the Shiloh Baptist Church.  Hociel Thomas was the daugther of George W. Thomas, Jr.

George Thomas’s sister, Beulah Thomas (AKA Sippie Wallace), was born in 1898 in Houston.  Thus, the Thomas family had arrived in Houston no later than 1898.  Consequently, George Thomas, Jr. likely heard Boogie Woogie music on which he based his “Hop Scop Blues” during the migratory travels of the Thomas family from Little Rock Arkansas to Houston Texas, or possibly from a re-tracing of that pathway after having arrived in Houston.  Such a migratory pathway would have most likely taken the family through Texarkana and Marshall, Texas, the headquarters of the Texas & Pacific Railroad, which had the most dense African American population in Texas.  Moreover, not only did Marshall contain the repair shops for Texas & Pacific Locomotives, the Texas & Pacific Railroad also manufactured its own steam locomotives in Marshall, TX.  Thus, the ostinato, musical sound of the steam locomotives would have been prominent in Texarkana and Marshall .  However, Houston was also developing as the other early railroad hub in Texas.

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© 2004-2009 John Tennison — All Rights Reserved

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