Friday, September 08, 2006

Emmett Miller (1900-1962)

Emmett Miller was a minstrel show singer with an extraordinary yodel-like falsetto voice. Born in Macon, Georgia 1902 he started his career early touring widely with various minstrel shows, however, today he is only remembered for his recordings. Miller made several recordings for Okeh Records between 1924 and 1929, his final recording session was for Bluebird Records in 1936.
His records for the Okeh company made between June of 1928 and September of 1929 were labeled Emmett Miller accompanied by his Georgia Crackers and are of Jazz interest. Among the accompanying musicians are the Dorsey Brothers, Eddie Lang and Gene Krupa, and all recordings by the Georgia Crackers add excellent accompaniment to the sessions.
You may listen to a sample of Emmett Miller and his Georgia Crackers by clicking here
Emmett Miller's influence on early country music has been discussed by others. A detailed career profile headlining this aspect may be reached here
Writer Nick Tosches has written extensively about Miller since the 1970s, and his 2001 book "Where Dead Voices Gather" serves as both a biography of Miller and a history of minstrelsy. You may read an excerpt of his book following this link
The minstrel tradition faded drastically in popularity after 1930, but Emmett Miller continued to perform in minstrel shows until the early 1950's. He finally returned to Macon, Georgia where he died in 1962.
Twenty of Emmett Miller's Okeh recordings have been released on a cd in 1996, shown above. Most of this material is also available in full length RealAudio at The Red Hot Jazz web archive, click here to reach the webpage.


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