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Cousin Joe, "Everything Made of Wood Was Once a Tree", 1984

Cousin Joe
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Pleasant Joseph (1907-1989), better known as Cousin Joe, was an blues and jazz singer, born in Wallace, Louisiana. Per his autobiography, he began singing in church before crossing over to the blues, first playing guitar and ukulele, and later switching to piano. He played in New Orleans clubs and on riverboats; he moved to New York in 1942 where he gained entry into the city's  jazz scene. He played with Dizzy Gillespie, Sidney Bechet, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, among others. Cousin Joe is most famous for recordings made with Bechet and Mezz Mezzrow: the King Jazz sides from 1945.

Here's a clip from a 1984 solo live show, which is the way he played a lot of shows late in his career, according to Storyville Records. "Everything Made of Wood Was Once a Tree"  is an original composition, one in which both Cousin Joe's wisdom and sense of humor are on display.

 

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