Who was/is Silas Hogan ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

Silas Hogan

Although he did not get onto records until later in life, Silas Hogan was part of an older generation of blues- men. Born in Westover in west Baton Rouge in 1911, Hogan was raised as a farmer in Irene, north of the city. Hogan's father had a reputation as something of a musician in the local community: "My daddy played guitar, cross tuning and Spanish, and used a knife. No- body could play much like that except the man that taught my father – Frank Meddy," his uncle. Hogan said, "I used to play them old house parties. A dollar and a half was what you got.

Start early and play all night. Course it wasn't electric then." Like most blues- men starting out after the mid-1920s, he took much of his music from the Victrola or the jukebox. "I'd take them old records, Blind Lemon [Jefferson] and Kokomo [Arnold] records, and put 'em on. I learned a lot from them records." Hogan moved in 1939 to Scotlandville and in the early 1940s he took a job at the Esso Refinery, keeping it until his retirement in 1974. When he was around forty-five years old, in the mid-1950s, Silas Hogan formed his own regular band for the first time. His Rhythm Ramblers were Sylvester Buckley on harp, Jimmy Dotson or Sammy Hogan on drums, and gui- tarist Isaiah Chattman.

They played in Baton Rouge clubs at night, while Hogan maintained his day job, and according to Jimmy Dotson they were renowned for being able to play anyone else's blues music. "That was the Rhythm Ramblers' trademark, we would copy a record note for note." If Silas Hogan had ever learned any kind of original, unrecorded style of play- ing from the Meddy brothers or others, it is clear that he had long since ditched that for the more commer- cial forms of blues heard on records. Nevertheless, the trouble at home Hogan sings of in this song, the first of his eight singles on EXCELLO, is taken from a num- ber of blues songs popular two and three decades be- fore he started recording. Like several pre-war bluesmen from Mississippi and Memphis, the rats, mice and roaches in his kitchen threaten to drive him out of home.


© Bear Family Records
Extract from: Various Artists - Blues Kings Of Baton Rouge (2-CD) - BCD17512

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