Prince Albert Hunt

Archie "Prince" Albert Hunt (December 20, 1896 - March 21, 1931) from Denton, Texas was an American country blues fiddle player. He was one of the founders of the musical genre later defined as Western swing.

Hunt was born as Archie Albert Hunt in Terrell, Texas to Archibald Hunt and Manasa Emma Lee Skates, both of whom were blues musicians. As a child, he learned to play the fiddle by stealing his father's instrument and self-teaching himself in a nearby graveyard. Though much of Hunt's personal life is obscure, it is known he served in the First World War, and his first professional work as a musician was as a member in a traveling minstrel show, in the early 1920s. On March 28, 1928, Hunt and his group, the Texas Ramblers, which included violinist Harmon Clem and an unknown guitarist, recorded in San Antonio for Okeh Records. Of the sides the group laid down, "Blues in the Bottle" was arguably his most accomplished for its diverse assortment of country blues, ragtime and old-time music. It was later included in Rich Nevins' compilation album, Times Ain’t Like They Used to Be, Volume 1 along with other contemporaries.

In addition to being a recording artist, Hunt regularly performed on local radio stations and venues, usually in blackface, with his neighbors Doc and Oscar Harper. Hunt particularly favored the neighborhood known as Deep Ellum, which was also frequented by other blues musicians, but notorious for its red-light district. On June 26, 1929, Hunt and the Texas Ramblers recorded for the last time, with the session taking place in Dallas. Among the six songs recorded was "Wake Up, Jacob" which was featured on the renowned compilation created by Harry Everett Smith, Anthology of American Folk Music, in 1952. An unknown composition was cut, but was either never released or no original copies exist. The song, "Oklahoma Rag" was released as under Prince Albert Hunt and Hermon Clem. The recordings were later seen as a primary influence in Western swing and country music in general.

On 31 March 1931 Hunt was shot to death outside Confederate Hall. His assailant, William M. Douglas, reported that he murdered Hunt out of jealousy for dancing with his wife. In 1974, a documentary titled Memories of Prince Albert Hunt was released and was centered on the musician's life.

Birth and Death Data: Born December 20th, 1896, Died March 21st, 1931

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1928 - 1929

Roles Represented in DAHR: leader, violin, vocalist, guitar, speaker

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
OKeh W400434 10-in. 3/8/1928 Katy on time Prince Albert Hunt ; Texas Ramblers Instrumental trio, with male vocal solo vocalist, instrumentalist, violin, leader  
OKeh W400435 10-in. 3/8/1928 Blues in a bottle Prince Albert Hunt ; Texas Ramblers Instrumental trio, with male vocal solo vocalist, leader, instrumentalist, violin  
OKeh W400436 10-in. 3/8/1928 Traveling man Prince Albert Hunt ; Texas Ramblers Instrumental trio, with male vocal solo vocalist, leader, instrumentalist, violin  
OKeh W402726 10-in. 6/26/1929 Canada waltz Harmon Clem ; Prince Albert Hunt Fiddle (violin) and guitar duet instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W402727 10-in. 6/26/1929 Oklahoma rag Harmon Clem ; Prince Albert Hunt Fiddle (violin) and guitar duet instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh W402728 10-in. 6/26/1929 Wake up, Jacob Prince Albert Hunt ; Texas Ramblers Fiddle (violin) and 2 guitars instrumentalist, violin, leader  
OKeh W402729 10-in. 6/26/1929 Ragtime Annie Prince Albert Hunt ; Texas Ramblers Fiddle (violin) and 2 guitars leader, instrumentalist, violin  
OKeh W402730 10-in. 6/26/1929 Waltz of roses Prince Albert Hunt ; Texas Ramblers Fiddle (violin) and 2 guitars, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, violin, leader  
OKeh W402731 10-in. 6/26/1929 Houston slide Prince Albert Hunt ; Texas Ramblers Instrumental trio, with talk leader, speaker, instrumentalist, violin  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Hunt, Prince Albert," accessed May 7, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/111353.

Hunt, Prince Albert. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 7, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/111353.

"Hunt, Prince Albert." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 7 May 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/111353

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