Cousin Joe (December 20, 1907 — October 2, 1989) was an American blues and jazz singer, later famous for his 1940s recordings with clarinetist Sidney Bechet and saxophonist Mezz Mezzrow. His birth name was Pleasant Joseph and he was born in Wallace, Louisiana, United States. He died in his sleep from natural causes in New Orleans, at the age of 81.
This CD consists of two separate live solo performances, recorded in New Orleans in 1984, with Louisiana pianist/composer/singers Cousin Joe and Henry Gray. Both were born around New Orleans, learned to play their instruments at a very early age, left town for many years (Joe to New York, Henry to Chicago) and wound up living and playing in Louisiana. On this CD both musicians display a hard-driving, rhythmic piano style, and their vocals contain some pretty funny lyrics. Five of the nine tunes by Henry Gray are original compositions, plus tunes by Fats Domino and Jimmy Reed (with whom he played in Chicago). The session with Cousin Joe includes some of his best-known compositions, like "Beggin’ Woman" and "Ain’t So Such A Much" which feature very clever, ironic lyrics. Henry Gray plays a wonderful, tough, two-fisted Chicago-style piano, blended with New Orleans r & b exuberance. Listening to the music of these two men, there’s no doubt you’re hearing honest, authentic, down-home blues from two cats who have really been around and seen a lot.