Tin Roof Blues

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"Tin Roof Blues"
Tin Roof Blues 1923 Melrose.jpg
1923 sheet music cover
Single by New Orleans Rhythm Kings
B-side "That's a Plenty"
Recorded Richmond, Indiana, March 23, 1923
Genre Jazz
Label Gennett

"Tin Roof Blues" is a jazz composition by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings first recorded in 1923. It was written by band members Paul Mares, Ben Pollack, Mel Stitzel, George Brunies and Leon Roppolo.[1] The tune has become a jazz standard and is one of the most recorded and often played New Orleans jazz compositions.[2]


The New Orleans Rhythm Kings first recorded the number on 13 March 1923 for Gennett Records in Richmand, Indiana. The recording was released as a Gennett 78 single as 5105-A, Matrix #11359, as by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, "Formerly Friar's Society Orch."[3] The B side was "That's a Plenty".[4] There are three surviving alternative takes of the number from this session. The alternative takes were created as part of the phonograph recording and manufacture process; the musicians did not expect there to be different versions released which would be compared later. The Solos on the original records contained less improvisation than much of later jazz, and more than earlier jazz. Brunies's and Roppolo's solos were played similar but noticeably different on each of the three takes. Brunies continued to play the solo from the most famous take of the NORK recording for the rest of his career.[5][6]

The sheet music was published by the Melrose Brothers Music Company in Chicago, established by Walter Melrose, who wrote lyrics for the song, and his brother, Lester Melrose, known as "The House That Blues Built". The sheet music cover featured an illustration of the "Famous New Orleans" Tin Roof Café dance hall on Washington Avenue in New Orleans listing the composers as band members Paul Mares, Ben Pollack, Mel Stitzel, George Brunies and Leon Roppolo.

1923 release on Gennett Records.

Notable Recordings[edit]

"Tin Roof Blues" is one of the most recorded jazz standards. Louis Armstrong and the All Stars recorded the song on Columbia Records, which re-released it on the Columbia Hall of Fame series. Other notable recordings were made by Jelly Roll Morton in 1924, Ted Lewis, Joe "King" Oliver and His Dixie Syncopators in 1928, Wingy Manone, Sidney Bechet, Ray Anthony, Al Hirt, Johnny Mince, Ray Price, Roy Eldridge, Phil Napoleon, Herb Ellis, Ted Heath, Floyd Cramer, and Harry Connick, Jr.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jazz Standards Songs and Instrumentals (Tin Roof Blues)". JazzStandards.com. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  2. ^ Kernfeld 1995, p. 7
  3. ^ Gennett Records: New Orleans Rhythm Kings "Tin Roof Blues". Gennett 5105. soundcloud.com.
  4. ^ The New Orleans Rhythm Kings. Red Hot Jazz.
  5. ^ Charters, Samuel Barclay (2008). A Trumpet Around the Corner: The Story of New Orleans Jazz. University Press of Mississippi, pp. 198–199.
  6. ^ Kernfeld 1995, p. 6
  7. ^ Tin Roof Blues. Second Hand Songs.


  • Charters, Samuel Barclay (2008). A Trumpet Around the Corner: The Story of New Orleans Jazz. Univ. Press of Mississippi. ISBN 1-57806-898-3. 
  • Kennedy, Rick (1994). Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy: Gennett Studios and the Birth of Recorded Jazz. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-21315-0. 
  • Kernfeld, Barry Dean (1995). The Blackwell Guide to Recorded Jazz. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19552-1. 
  • Williams, Martin (1991). Jazz in Its Time. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 0-19-506904-8.