The jaunty pick-me-up "Dallas Rag" by the Dallas String Band appears on a number of compilations, among them the easy-to-find Texas Black Country Dance Music (1927-1935) and Before the Blues Vol. 2 and the hard-to-get American Pop: An Audio History - From Minstrel To Mojo: On Record, 1893-1946. By most accounts, it was recorded here in 1927, though I've seen mention of a '28 recording date as well. But as the great Eugene Chadbourne's Allmusic entry on the band suggests, a proper history of the great Coley Jones's band -- the link between Blind Lemon Jefferson and Aaron T-Bone Walker, more or less -- is hard to come by: "Enough lies are told about the group to resemble another great cover-up in Dallas history, the one with the grassy knoll and the book depository."
A long time ago I contemplated a book on the Dallas String Band, or at least a cover story for the paper version of Unfair Park. (I once wrote by way of summary: "Local band signs to major label; lead singer gets own solo deal and probably ends up more famous. Good God, but that sounds familiar.") After all, the band did record for Columbia and scored at least two significant hits, among them the incredibly influential "Dallas Rag," which mandolin players and guitar pickers still love to tackle. Matter o' fact, Bad Liver Mark Rubin performed the song last week in the KNON-FM studios. And now comes word there's a (downloadable!) jug band version from Devine's Jug Band on its due-next-month Terrible Operation Blues. Below you'll find another Dallas String Band classic: "Sugar Blues." An old-timey howdy-do on this lovely morning.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.