Otis Cook:

John T. "Funny Papa/Paper/ Howling Wolf" Smith

Vocals, Guitar

Date of Birth:  April 1, 1910    Bastrop County, TX

Date of Death: Unknown

Place of Burial:  Unknown

Has Marker:  Unknown

Grave Location:  Unknown

J.T. "Funny Paper" Smith, Fool's Blues, Document Records.

Evidence presented in The Blues Come to Texas, Paul Oliver/Mack McCormick's unfinished book on Texas blues, now suggests that Otis Cook is actually "Funny Papa Smith/Funny Paper Smith/John T. Smith." The John T. Smith pseudonym came as a result of Cook's swift departure from the Smithville area to Chicago following trouble with local law enforcement. He later wrote his family and told them to contact him there by the name John Smith. The authors think he took the most obvious of aliases and as a possible nod toward his hometown. Cook/Smith may have been the first recording artist to refer to himself as "Howling Wolf."
 

SELECTED RECORDINGS

Funny Papa Smith: The Original Howling Wolf 1930-31, Yazoo (L-1031)

Texas Blues Guitar (1929-1935), Story of Blues (CD 3532)

J. T. 'Funny Paper' Smith (The Howling Wolf): Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, 1930 - 1931, Document

     Records (BDCD 6016)

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Larkin, Colin. Virgin Encyclopedia Of The Blues. London: Virgin Books, 1998.

Leadbitter, Michael (Ed.). Nothin’ But the Blues. London: Hanover Books Ltd., 1971.

Oliver, Paul. Blues Off the Record. New York: Da Capo Press, 1984.

______. The Story of The Blues. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1997.

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______. Barrelhouse Blues. Philadelphia: BasicCivitas Books, 2009.

Oliver, Paul and Mack McCormick (Alan Govenar, ed.). The Blues Come to Texas. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2019.

Santelli, Robert. The Big Book Of Blues. New York: Penguin Books, 2001 (revised).

Uzzel, Robert L. Blind Lemon Jefferson. Fort Worth: Eakin Press, 2002.

© 2019 Texas Blues Project

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