Romeo Nelson

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.

Recordings

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 instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Brunswick C4629 10-in. 10/9/1929 Gettin’ dirty just shakin’ that thing Romeo Nelson Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, composer, lyricist, instrumentalist, piano  
Brunswick C4752 10-in. 11/26/1929 Dyin’ rider blues Romeo Nelson Male vocal solo, with piano instrumentalist, piano, vocalist, lyricist, composer  
Brunswick C4753 10-in. 11/26/1929 1129 blues (The Midnight Special) Romeo Nelson Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, instrumentalist, piano, lyricist, composer  
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 vocalist, instrumentalist, piano, lyricist, composer  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Nelson, Romeo," accessed March 2, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/333608.

Nelson, Romeo. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved March 2, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/333608.

"Nelson, Romeo." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 2 March 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/333608

Wikipedia content provided under the terms of the Creative Commons BY-SA license

Feedback

Send the Editors a message about this record.