24 June 2017

Post 520: WHERE IS DECATUR STREET?

Have you heard Decatur Street Blues? I expect you have. If not, you can enjoy a lively 1922 performance of it made by Leonia Williams and Her Dixie Band BY CLICKING HERE.

Leonie was a native of New Orleans and her 'Dixie Band' comprised five musicians, - Phil Napoleon on trumpet, Frank Signorelli on piano, Miff Mole on trombone, Johnny Costello on clarinet, and Jack Roth on drums.

The song was composed in 1922 by Tausha 'Tosh' A. Hammed and Clarence Williams, with words by Mercedes Gilbert.

I thought until today that the title of the song referred to Decatur Street in New Orleans. (By the way, they pronounce it Di - CAYY - ter, with the stress on the second syllable.) This is one of the favourite roads of every visitor to the French Quarter - this road, in fact:
But today, giving close attention to the words of the song, I found it's actually Decatur Street in Atlanta, Georgia! We're even told to hear a gentleman called Eddie Heywood 'whip those ivories' down 'at eighty-one'. This would be the Atlanta jazz pianist Eddie Heywood, whose son - also called Eddie Heywood - became even more famous and ran a sextet in the 1940s.

I guess the scene has changed beyond recognition since Eddie played there.
Decatur Street, Atlanta - today.