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The sheet of manuscript paper below — with thanks to Norman Field and David Weiner, rescuers and researchers both — is my idea of Holy Writ: the lead sheet for Joe Oliver’s composition DIPPER MOUTH BLUES, registered with the Library of Congress in 1923. Does it get more magical than that? And Norman thinks that “by Joseph Oliver” in the upper right is in the King’s hand. (All that is missing is the royal seal, methinks.)
This page originally belonged to or passed through the hands of Turk Murphy — who knew something about playing the blues in a style the King would have liked — thus the signature in the bottom right corner, in a handwriting that isn’t the same as that found top right. JAZZ LIVES readers should consider themselves encouraged to play, sing, or hum along. As for rehearsals, you’re on your own.