Cow Cow Davenport

Cow Cow Davenport is remembered most for his famous song "Cow Cow Blues" which is one of the earliest recorded examples of the Boogie-Woogie or Barrelhouse, as it's sometimes called. Davenport learned to play piano and organ in his father's church from his mother who was the organist and it looked like he was going to follow in the family footsteps until he was expelled from the Alabama Theological Seminary in 1911 for playing Ragtime at a church function. Davenport's early career revolved around carnivals and vaudeville. He toured TOBA with an act called Davenport and Company with Blues singer Dora Carr and they recorded together in 1925 and 1926. The act broke up when Carr got married. Davenport briefly teamed up with Blues singer Ivy Smith in 1928 and worked as a talent scout for Brunswick and Vocalion records in the late 1920s and played rent parties in Chicago. He moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1930 and toured the TOBA vaudeville circuit and recorded with Sam Price. In 1938 he suffered a stroke that left his right hand somewhat paralyzed and affected his piano playing for the rest of his life, but he remained active as a vocalist until he regained enough strength in his hand to play again. In the early 1940s Cow Cow briefly left the music business and worked as a washroom attendant at the Onyx Club on 52nd Street in New York. In 1942 Freddie Slack's Orchestra scored a huge hit with "Cow Cow Boogie" with vocals by seventeen year old Ella Mae Morse which sparked the Boogie-Woogie craze of the early 1940s; this led to a revival of interest in Davenport's music. He tried to make a "comeback" in the forties and fifties but his career was often interrupted by sickness. He died in 1955 of heart problems in Cleveland.

Davenport and Carr Cow Cow Davenport and Sam Theard
Cow Cow Davenport and Ivy Smith

Title Recording Date Recording Location Company
Alabama Mistreater
(Cow Cow Davenport)
10-25-1928 Chicago, Illinois Vocalion
1227
Alabama Strut
(Cow Cow Davenport)
7-16-1928 Chicago, Illinois Vocalion
1253
Atlanta Rag 3-1-1929 Richmond, Indiana Gennett
Back In The Alley
(Cow Cow Davenport)
5-1-1929 Chicago, Illinois Vocalion
1282
Chimes Blues
(Fletcher Henderson)
4-1-1929 Richmond, Indiana Paramount
12800-A
Broadway
5046-A
Chimin' The Blues
(Cow Cow Davenport)
10-2-1928 Chicago, Illinois Vocalion
1253
Cow Cow Blues (A)
(Cow Cow Davenport)
7-16-1928 Chicago, Illinois Vocalion
1198
Cow Cow Blues (B)
(Cow Cow Davenport)
7-16-1928 Chicago, Illinois Brunswick
Cow Cow's Stomp
(Cow Cow Davenport)
1945 Chicago, Illinois Comet
Don't You Loud Mouth Me
(Cow Cow Davenport)
5-12-1938 New York, New York Decca
7486 A
Brunswick
03509-A
Dirty Ground Hog Blues (A) 10-25-1928 Chicago, Illinois Vocalion
1227
Gin Mill Stomp 1945 Chicago, Illinois Comet
Givin It Away 4-1-1929 Richmond, Indiana Gennett
Goin' Home Blues
B.T. Wingfield - Cornet

(Cow Cow Davenport)
1-1927 Chicago, Illinois Paramount
12439-A
He Don't Mean Me No Harm 8-27-1929 New York, New York Champion
15836
Hobson City Stomp
(Cow Cow Davenport)
1945 Chicago, Illinois Comet
C38
I Ain't No Ice Man
(Cow Cow Davenport)
5-12-1938 New York, New York Decca
7462 A
I'm Gonna Tell You In Front So You Won't Feel Hurt
with Sam Thread on Guitar

(Cow Cow Davenport / Sam Thread)
4-10-1929 Chicago, Illinois Vocalion
1408
Jim Crow Blues
B.T. Wingfield - Cornet

(Cow Cow Davenport)
1-1927 Chicago, Illinois Paramount
12439-B
Mama Don't Allow No Easy Riders Around Here
(Cow Cow Davenport)
6-22-1929 Chicago, Illinois Vocalion
1434
Mootch Piddle
(Cow Cow Davenport)
5-1-1929 Chicago, Illinois Vocalion
1282
New Cow Cow Blues
B.T. Wingfield - Cornet

(Cow Cow Davenport)
1-1927 Chicago, Illinois Paramount
12452-A
Railroad Blues
(Cow Cow Davenport)
5-12-1938 New York, New York Decca
7462 B
Run Into Me
(Cow Cow Davenport)
1945 Chicago, Illinois Comet
C38
Slow Drag
(Cow Cow Davenport)
4-1-1929 Richmond, Indiana Paramount
12800-B
Broadway 5046-B
Slum Gullion Stomp
(Cow Cow Davenport)
6-22-1929 Chicago, Illinois Vocalion
1434
State Street Jive (B)
(Cow Cow Davenport)
7-16-1928 Chicago, Illinois Vocalion
1198
Stealin' Blues
(Cow Cow Davenport)
1-1927 Chicago, Illinois Paramount
12452-B
Struttin' The Blues 4-1-1929 Richmond, Indiana Gennett
Texas Shout
(Cow Cow Davenport)
5-22-1929 Chicago, Illinois Vocalion
1291
That'll Get It
with Sam Thread on Guitar

(Cow Cow Davenport / Sam Thread)
5-12-1938 New York, New York Vocalion
1408
Decca
7486 B
Brunswick
03509-B
The Mess Is Here
(Cow Cow Davenport)
5-12-1938 New York, New York Decca
7813 B
We Gonna Rub It
(Cow Cow Davenport)
5-22-1929 Chicago, Illinois Vocalion
1291
You Got Another Thought Comin' To You 8-27-1929 New York, New York Champion
15836
Artist Instrument
Joe Bishop Flugel Horn
Teddy Bunn Piano, Speech
Walter Fennell Guitar
Richard Fulbright Bass
Sammy Price Piano
Buster Johnson Guitar
Bayless Rose Guitar
Ivy Smith Speech, Vocals

Title Recording Date Recording Location Company
Cow Cow Blues
(Cow Cow Davenport)
10-1925 New York, New York Vocalstyle 13415
Cow Cow Blues
(Cow Cow Davenport)
4-1927 New York, New York QRS 3865
Imperial 06509
Cow Cow Blues
(Cow Cow Davenport)
4-1927 New York, New York US Music 44312
Fifth Street Blues
(Cow Cow Davenport)
1-1926 New York, New York Vocalstyle 13520
Get It Fixed Blues
(Spencer Williams)
6-1926 New York, New York Vocalstyle 13???
He Sho' Don't Mean No Harm
(Cow Cow Davenport)
5-1926 New York, New York Vocalstyle 13602
Hurry And Bring It Home Blues
(Cow Cow Davenport)
11-1925 New York, New York Vocalstyle 13482
I Am Going To Steal Somebody's Man
(Cow Cow Davenport)
5-1926 New York, New York Vocalstyle 13601