Leothus Lee Green

Leothus Lee Green, also known as Pork Chops, was an early contemporary of Little Brother Montgomery and a mentor to Roosevelt Sykes. Born in Mississippi around 1900, Green worked as a clothes presser in Vicksburg while perfecting his piano technique. Soon Leothus was traveling throughout the Lower Mississippi River Basin, earning a living by playing piano for the people. Montgomery knew him in Vicksburg, and claimed to have taught him the "44 Blues" in Sondheimer, LA, back in 1922. Sykes first heard Green in 1925 playing his own loosely improvised ragtime, waltz, blues, and jazz accompaniments for silent movies at Miller's Theatre in West Helena, AR. Green taught the then jazz-oriented Sykes how to really play the blues, and the two men became traveling and gigging companions, circulating throughout the region for several years, often simultaneously performing on opposite sides of the same town. Green made his first four recordings in Richmond, IN, for Gennett and Supertone on July 10, 1929, just weeks after Sykes cut his first sides for OKeh in New York. Excepting for a brief excursion to New York in August 1937, Green performed and recorded mainly in or near Chicago. He cut 24 sides for Vocalion in 1929 and 1930, and 14 titles for Decca between August 1934 and September 1937. His last records were made for the Bluebird label in Aurora, IL, on October 11, 1937. Although primarily a bluesman, he was capable of quoting ragtime novelties, shifting into boogie-woogie, and running stride-like jazz passages. Little is known about the life of Leothus Lee Green; his death is believed to have occurred around 1945. All of his known recordings have been reissued in chronological sequence by the Document label. ~ arwulf arwulf

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