HUDSON WOODBRIDGE.
( Tampa Red )
1903 - 1981.


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Hudson Woodbridge is born on 8 January in Smithville, a small town in southwest Georgia, between Albany and Americus (where Blind Willie McTell sometimes hung out), his birth date is uncertain, partly because in later years he kept changing it, but it seems to have been between 1903 or 1904.

Tom Dorsey, born in 1899, thought of Hudson as about five years his junior.

On hearing Marrie Smith singing 'Crazy Blues' in 1920, the teenager is inspired to think in terms of a life in music.

In 1925 now based in Chicago, singer and guitarist Hudson, nicknamed Tampa Red, joins forces with Thomas Dorsey, a fellow Georgian.

Tampa makes his first recordings, for Paramount in May 1928, 'Through Train Blues'. It fails to attract attention but 'It's Tight Like That', a duet with Dorsey recorded in October that year for Vocalion, is a massive hit.

Several covers of 'It's Tight Like That' circulate in 1929, Tampa records with his Hokum Jug Band, featuring singer Frankie 'Half Pint' Jaxon.

Georgia Tom Dorsey finally turns his back on the blues in 1932 to concentrate his energies on hymns and gospel.

In the spring of 1934 after two years absence from recording studios, Tampa joins the Bluebird label, his first release was 'I'll Find My Way'. Two years later he forms the jazz combo the Chicago Five.

1938 finds Tampa concentrating on recording in a trio format, with Blind John Davis as his pianist, a year on he his the resident bluesman at the H&T club in Chicago.

He records three songs which will become blues classics in 1940, 'Anna Lou Blues', 'Don't You Lie to Me' and 'It Hurts Me Too'. In 1942 his 'Let Me Play with Your Poodle' is widely imitated, even by hillbilly musicians.

Tampa records 'Crying Won't Help You' in 1946, which is later covered by Robert Nighthawk, a musician hugely influenced by Tampa's work.

Tampa suffers a massive blow when his wife Frances dies in 1954.

Don't Tampa with the Blues released in 1960 on Bluesville and is followed up the next year by Don't Jive Me.

Tampa Red dies at the Central Nursing Home in Chicago on 19 March 1981.


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Tampa Red.


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