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Noah Lewis

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Biography

Noah Lewis (September 3, 1890 or 1895 – February 7, 1961) was an American jug band and country blues musician, generally known for playing the harmonica.

Lewis was born a “woodcall” (no known father) in Henning, Tennessee, United States, his birth year being variously cited as 1890 or 1895. Lewis learnt to play harmonica as a child and moved to Memphis, Tennessee in his early teens. By the time he first met Gus Cannon in Memphis in 1907, he was already a respected original stylist on the instrument, noted for his liquid tone and breath control, which allowed him to generate enormous volume from the instrument. By then he was also noted for his ability to play two harmonicas at once – one through his mouth and one through his nose, a trick he probably taught to Big Walter Horton, who recorded briefly as a teenager with the Memphis Jug Band some 20 years later. Lewis developed his unusual levels of breath control and volume from playing in local string and brass marching bands on the streets of Memphis. At the 1907 meeting Lewis introduced Cannon to the 13 year-old guitarist and singer, Ashley Thompson, with whom Lewis had been playing in the streets of Ripley and Memphis for some time and the three of them worked together over the next 20 years whenever Cannon was in Memphis, and not away working medicine and tent shows. When Will Shade’s Memphis Jugband recorded and became popular in the late-1920s, Cannon added a coal-oil can on a rack round his neck and renamed the trio (Cannon, Lewis and Thompson) Cannon’s Jug Stompers, and it was this line-up that recorded for the first time on Victor Records in Memphis on 30 January 1928.

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  • Marxism1

    cool shit

    11 Feb 11:38pm Reply
  • earbleed

    "Devil in the Woodpile" makes me do the fucking turkey dance. EVERY GOD DAMN TIME.

    30 Mar 2010 Reply

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