YasYasYas are a hokum/blues band that play mostly for fun and sometimes for money, in East Anglia. We are based at the mouth of the Colne River, in North Essex, England (which has no delta) but as old white Europeans we still appreciate the music and jokes of the composers and musicians of Beale Street, Memphis and the Mississippi area of the USA in the 1920s and 1930s.
Our name comes from an old 1920s song ‘The Duck’s Yas Yas Yas’ which was covered by Tampa Red in 1928.
A young Mississipi girl was given a guitar at the age of ten, by 1910 she had runaway to Memphis and was busking on the streets, she was 13. By 1929, while playing for dimes outside a barbershop with her first husband, Joe McCoy, she was discovered by Colombia Records and they made a series of hits under the names, Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe. They divorced in 1935 and she moved to Chicago where she took up the electric guitar in 1941. She still worked with Joe McCoy, his mandolin-playing brother Papa Charlie McCoy (who was in the Mississippi Sheiks) and her last husband Earnest Lawlers (Little Son Joe). She only stopped recording in the 1950s. Tampa Red moved to Chicago in the 1920s and specialised in slide solos on a resonator guitar. Blanche Calloway was a New Yorker, but was also performing jazz in Chicago in the 1920s. Tampa Red and the MacCoy brothers also played in Southern US jug bands. By contrast, Blanche Calloway, daughter of a respectable New York lawyer, ran away to Chicago to play jazz. These successful musicians were black and their music was restricted to segregated audiences and were on ‘race records’, but they produced great blues and satirically funny hokum music.