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J. Russel Robinson
Joseph Russel(l) Robinson (July 8, 1892 – September 30, 1963) was an American ragtime and dixieland jazz pianist and a composer of jazz, blues, and popular tunes.
Robinson, whose name appeared as “J. Russel Robinson”, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He started publishing ragtime compositions in his teens; his early hits included “Sapho Rag” and “Eccentric”. With his drummer brother John he toured the Southern United States in the early 1910s including an extended stay in New Orleans. He also turned out hundreds of piano roll recordings for the US Music Company in Chicago and later the QRS Company in New York. He was known for his heavily blues and jazz influenced playing style. His style has been described as having a swinging, shimmying style with many right hand only blues breaks.
In October 1918, he joined W. C. Handy’s publishing company Pace and Handy, supplying new arrangements and lyrics for popular editions of tunes like “The Memphis Blues” in the 1920s. Robinson joined the Original Dixieland Jazz Band when pianist Henry Ragas died in the Spanish Flu Pandemic in 1919. Also in 1919, he co-wrote the song “Though We’re Miles and Miles Apart” with W.C. Handy and Charles H. Hillman. He also played piano with various popular and blues singers in phonograph recording sessions, accompanying singers such as Annette Hanshaw, Lucille Hegamin, Marion Harris, and Lizzie Miles. On some of his accompaniments to African American singers the accompaniment was listed on the record labels as being by Spencer Williams (with Williams’ permission).
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J. Russel Robinson/Roy Turk Aggravatin’ Papa (Don’t you try to two-time me) Notenausgabe 1922
Among Robinson’s compositions are the jazz standard “Eccentric” (“That Eccentric Rag” from 1912), and his compositions for the ODJB in 1920, which were among the most popular and best-selling hits of that year: the classic “Margie”, “Singin’ the Blues”, and “Palesteena”. “Margie” has been recorded by Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Benny Goodman, Jim Reeves, Al Jolson, Cab Calloway, Gene Krupa, and Fats Domino, among others. According to Lewis Porter in