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James "Stump" Johnson (January 17, 1902 December 5, 1969) was an American blues pianist and singer from St. Louis.

Biography

James "Stump" Johnson was the brother of Jesse Johnson, "a prominent black business man," who around 1909 had moved the family from Clarksville, Tennessee, to St. Louis, where he ran a music store and was a promoter. James, a self-taught piano player, he made a career playing the city's brothels. He had an instant hit with the "whorehouse tune" "The Duck's Yas-Yas-Yas," "a popular St. Louis party song." The song's title is explained by quoting the lyrics more fully: "Shake your shoulders, shake 'em fast, if you can't shake your shoulders, shake your yas-yas-yas."

He made a number of other recordings (some mildly pornographic) under various pseudonyms. One of the more obscene tunes was a version of "Steady Grinding'," true to the original of the song, which he recorded with Dorothea Trowbridge on August 2, 1933.

james stump johnson