Tag Archives: Henry Mason

THE MYSTERIOUS CLEO GIBSON’S MOST EXCELLENT HIPS

It’s always startling to find a new artist — especially when that artist made one record in Atlanta in 1929, left behind no tangible evidence, and apparently vanished.  Even the blues scholar Paul Oliver found little about Cleo Gibson, born “Cleothus,” except that she had worked with her husband in vaudeville as “Gibson and Gibson,” and had obviously been influenced by Bessie Smith.

But oh! how she can sing — and deliver the song, which has less to do with automobile mechanics or hip replacements than the title would suggest.

Thank you, Miss (or Mrs.) Gibson!  We continue to marvel at your hips. In a nice way, you understand:

For the detail-oriented: Cleothus Gibson Acc By Her Hot Three : Cleo Gibson, vocal; Henry Mason, trumpet; J. Neal Montgomery, piano; unknown, guitar.  Atlanta, Georgia, March 14, 1929.

Flip it over and you have this — another bonus:

I don’t think art has to prove or show anything — it just IS — but these records once again suggest that there were, are, and always will be creators who don’t get the praise and publicity that the established “stars” do. In jazz, if you were performing somewhere and didn’t get recorded, you might have been consigned to local fame. But there is and always will be music, notable music, that the critics never pay attention to, and creative musicians who never get interviewed or chronicled. We are grateful that Cleo Gibson left us six or so minutes of fine deep music!

May your happiness increase!