Pickaninny Blues



Title: Pickaninny Blues, Lyrics By: Harold G. Frost, Music By: F. Henri Klickmann, Published By: McKinley Music Co., Location: Chicago/New York, Year: 1919

Due to his extremely early presence in the recording industry, F. Henri Klickmann is sometimes mistaken for a pre-technology human version of the “click track.” Sometimes credited with the full Frank Henri Klickmann, this artist took care of the full package, not just the rhythm. He composed, arranged, and orchestrated pop music well before the term was invented, a detail that helps explain the lack of information available about Klickmann in proportion to the works he published. He was well established as a peddler of songs by the Roaring Twenties, having already cashed in on the sinking of the Titanic with “My Sweetheart Went Down with the Ship” in 1912. Of course, Klickmann had been in on ragtime as early as 1910, showing a flair for titles bordering on the downright inebriated: “Knockout Drops: A Trombone Jag” and “Delirium Tremens Rag: A Trombone Spasm” are good examples. The early development of jazz was an interest he helped document with efforts such as a 1915 publication of “Jelly Roll Blues.” Some of this artist’s work was quite ambitious. Klickmann scribbled a set of pieces for accordion and completed a concerto for tenor saxophone soloist in a style blending Sousa and Debussy. Ragtime maestro Zez Confrey used Klickmann as an arranger for his own complex set of piano pieces. During the ’40s and ’50s, Klickmann co-led combos with trombonist and arranger Fred Norman, backing singers Irene Redfield and Millie Bosman.