I have been having difficulty beginning a new post so I decided to search for ideas and I found the above quote that seemed to speak just to me. I thought, man, that is deep. Turn the faucet on. Start writing. Write anything.
So, I decided to write about a song my father, Eddie Green, wrote in 1923 titled “King Tut Blues”. I found out that for this song, Eddie was responsible for words and melody, and arrangement was by W. Benton Overstreet. W. Benton Overstreet was an African-American pianist, composer and bandleader, who, in 1917 composed the song “There’ll Be Some Changes Made”, along with a man named Billy Higgins.
I wondered why my father would write a song about King Tut and the blues. so I researched 1923 and discovered a newspaper article stating that on February 16, 1923 Howard Carter finally uncovered King Tut’s tomb, which he had been trying to discover with the help of his British benefactor, Lord Carnarvon,
Of course, I know about King Tut, but I am not really interested in the field of Archaeology. I have always thought it was rather a shame to dig up the treasurers of those long ago people who had such a belief in their after-life, just so us modern folks could display their wealth in museums. Lord Carnarvon, the British benefactor, died about six weeks after this discovery, which gave rise to rumors of a curse. Maybe that is why Eddie wrote the song. He heard about the curse and figured King Tut was having the blues because someone invaded his tomb. The copyright information for King Tut Blues reads like this: Words and melody by Eddie Green, arrangement by W. Benton Overstreet, March 30, 1923, right around the time Lord Carnarvon died.
This has nothing to do with King Tut, but I also found out that In 1929, six years after working with W. Benton Overstreet, Eddie composed a song with Billy Higgins titled “Big Business”, that was performed in the Broadway production “Hot Chocolates”. Billy Higgins, wrote the words to “There’ll Be Some Changes Made”, to which W. Benton Overstreet wrote the music. Billy Higgins was an African-American who was born in 1888 in Columbia, South Carolina, and became a singer and comedian. By the late 1910s, he was a top performer in a string of vaudeville shows, traveling troupes and burlesque revues. I actually own a copy of a recording of “Big Business”. The production “Hot Chocolates” also showcased such performers as Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller and Andy Razaff.
Some of the names on this recording are still recognized today, but Eddie’s name has sunk into obscurity. Maybe because Eddie died in 1950. Or, maybe it’s like my mom said, Eddie was low-key. One of the reasons I have begun writing a book about my father, is that I want Eddie to be remembered for his contribution to the entertainment industry that flourishes today. Because he was there.
You know, it’s hard to stop once you get started. I guess Louis L’Amour was right. You have to turn the faucet on.
“Entering King Tut’s Tomb, 1922,” EyeWitness to History http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2000).