Album:Jaybird Coleman & The Birmingham Jug Band 1927-1930
Burl "Jaybird" Coleman played blues harmonica and sang in the late 1920s. His recording career was very brief and that's why he is very obscure. He also worked with legendary blues singer Big Joe Williams in The Birmingham Jug Band. He was born May 20, 1896 in Gainesville, AL. He learned to play harmonica as a child and was an entertainer when he served in the US Army in WWI. The nickname Jaybird was given to him by army officers who found him not mindful of army rules. After the war, Coleman moved to Bessemer, AL and was very popular in local clubs. Apparently he was not a member of the early 20s version of The Birmingham Jug Band. Coleman first recorded for the local label Gennett which was owned by the Starr Piano Company in 1926. His best known recording is probably Man Trouble Blues. Coleman wasn't paid for those recordings but he did tour and according to his brother he was managed by the local Ku Klux Klan. I know that seems weird but I guess business is business. Mistreatin' Mama was Coleman's first recording for Black Patti Records owned by pioneer black record producer J. Mayo Williams. It was released in 1927 under the pseudonym Rabbits Foot Williams. Sometimes record companies would use phony names on recordings to avoid paying royalties. Supposedly Coleman also recorded as Frank Palmes. The Birmingham Jug Band reformed and recorded for Okeh in 1930. Though Coleman did perform with them, it is questionable that he appeared on these recordings. Big Joe Williams said he did but his memory was not good. Some experts don't believe Coleman is playing harmonica. You can get all these recordings on this Document Records CD. Coleman's final recording was Coffee Grinder Blues for Columbia in 1930. It seems he disagreed with the label over recording fees and that was the end of that. Jaybird Coleman continued to perform in Alabama. But he never recorded again and died of cancer on Jan. 28, 1950 at age 53. Here's a video for Mistreatin' Mama by Jaybird Coleman.