“Forty and Tight” by the Beale Street Washboard Band

When I set out years ago to find some inspirational washboard music from the Olden Days, this is one of the first tunes I encountered. A jazz drummer who pays any attention at all to the classical forms has to acknowledge the contribution of Baby Dodds, and that includes his work with the board. In fact, it’s the washboard he’s playing on this track by the Beale Street Washboard band, recorded in 1929. Nothing fancy, but it’s solid, and I like how the board cuts through the mix. I’ve always wondered what Dodds was using as a scraper–a drumstick, maybe? The world may never know. The great gods of Google Image Search yield no clues.

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