Iromeio "Romeo" Nelson (March 12, 1902 – May 17, 1974) was an American boogie woogie pianist whose recordings from 1929 are regarded as some of the finest, and certainly the fastest, boogie woogie showpieces on record.
Born in Springfield, Tennessee, he moved to Chicago at the age of six. For most of his life he played piano at rent parties in the city, although he also lived in East St. Louis for a while in the early 1920s.
In 1929, he made his only series of recordings for Vocalion Records. These included "Gettin' Dirty Just Shakin' That Thing", renowned for its raunchy "signifying" lyrics, and "Head Rag Hop", featuring talking by Tampa Red and Frankie Jaxon.
"Head Rag Hop" also was released on the Brunswick Collector Series label, which read: "Head Rag Hop", Romeo Nelson, recorded September 1929. On the b-side of this 78 rpm record is "Wilkins Street Stomp", by Speckled Red. The record was part of a Brunswick album titled: Boogie Woogie Piano, Historic Recordings by Pioneer Piano Men. Also featured were: Montana Taylor, Speckled Red, and Cow Cow Davenport.
Nelson died of renal failure in May 1974.
Birth and Death Data: Born March 12, 1902, Died May 17, 1974
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1929 - 1930
Roles Represented in DAHR: piano, composer, vocalist, lyricist
= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Brunswick||C4300||10-in.||9/5/1929||Head rag hop||Romeo Nelson||Piano solo, with talk||composer, instrumentalist, piano|
|Brunswick||C4629||10-in.||10/9/1929||Gettin’ dirty just shakin’ that thing||Romeo Nelson||Male vocal solo, with piano||instrumentalist, piano, vocalist, composer, lyricist|
|Brunswick||C4752||10-in.||11/26/1929||Dyin’ rider blues||Romeo Nelson||Male vocal solo, with piano||composer, instrumentalist, piano, vocalist, lyricist|
|Brunswick||C4753||10-in.||11/26/1929||1129 blues (The Midnight Special)||Romeo Nelson||Male vocal solo, with piano||composer, vocalist, instrumentalist, piano, lyricist|
|Brunswick||C5256||10-in.||Feb. 1930||[Unknown title(s)]||Romeo Nelson||Male vocal solo, with piano||vocalist, instrumentalist, piano|
|Brunswick||C5257||10-in.||Feb. 1930||1129 blues (The Midnight Special)||Romeo Nelson||Male vocal solo, with piano||composer, vocalist, instrumentalist, piano, lyricist|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Nelson, Romeo," accessed December 9, 2023, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/333608.
Nelson, Romeo. (2023). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved December 9, 2023, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/333608.
"Nelson, Romeo." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2023. Web. 9 December 2023.
DAHR Persistent Identifier
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