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Smokey Hogg biography



Andrew 'Smokey' Hogg (January 27, 1914 - May 1, 1960) was one of the most popular of the post-war Texan country blues artists. Life and career Hogg was born near Westconnie, Texas, and grew up on the farm and was taught to play guitar by his father Frank Hogg. While still in his teens he teamed up with a the slide guitarist and vocalist, B.K. Turner aka Black Ace and the pair travelled together playing the turpentine and logging camp circuit of country dance halls and juke joints that surrounded Kilgore, Tyler, Greenville and Palestine in East Texas. In 1937 Smokey and Black Ace were brought to Chicago, Illinois by Decca Records to record, and Smokey had his first gramophone record ("Family Trouble Blues"/"Kind Hearted Blues") released, as by Andrew Hogg. It was an isolated occurrence - he did not make it back into a recording studio for over a decade. By the early 1940s Hogg was married and making a good living busking around the Deep Ellum area of Dallas, Texas. Hogg was drafted in the mid 1940s and after a brief spell with the U.S. military, he continued working in the Dallas area where he was becoming well known. In 1947 he came to the attention of Herbert T. Rippa Sr, boss of the Dallas based record label, Bluebonnet Records, who recorded several sides with him and leased the masters to Modern Records. The first release on Modern was the Big Bill Broonzy song "Too Many Drivers", and this racked up sufficient sales to encourage Modern Records to bring Hogg out to Los Angeles, California to cut more sides with their team of studio musicians. These songs included his two biggest hits, "Long Tall Mama" in 1949 and another Broonzy tune "Little School Girl" (#9 U.S. R&B chart) in 1950. Some blues fans tend to revere his two-part "Penitentiary Blues" (1952), which was a remake of the prison song, "Ain't No More Cane on the Brazos". Hogg's country blues style, influenced by Broonzy, Peetie Wheatstraw and Black Ace was popular with record buyers in the South during the late 1940s and early 1950s. He continued to work and record until the end of the 1950s, but died of cancer, or possibly a ruptured ulcer, in McKinney, Texas in 1960. Relations and confusion Smokey's cousin, John Hogg, also played the blues, recording for Mercury in 1951. Smokey was reputed to be a cousin of Lightnin' Hopkins, and distantly related to Alger "Texas" Alexander, although both claims are ambiguous. He is not to be confused with Willie "Smokey" Hogg, an imposter who was based in New York and recorded mostly after 1960, taking the name of "Smokey" after Andrew had died. He recorded mostly for Spivey Records, and his work is primarily a poor imitation of Lowell Fulson. Although Andrew was the younger man, his sound represented an older style in Texas blues.