Born in 1904 in Troy, Alabama, Clarence ‘Pinetop’ Smith was the piano player who is most associated with the boogie woogie style of piano playing, his fame resting primarily on his recording of “Pine Top's Boogie Woogie” in 1928. He spent his youth in Birmingham, Alabama, and he was largely self-taught on the piano. He began performing in his teenage years as a vaudeville artist, working with touring tent shows and in small theatres as a dancer and pianist. In his twenties he first moved to Pittsburgh where he linked up with Ma Rainey, eventually moving on to Chicago in 1928. There he met up with Albert Ammons, Meade ‘Lux’ Lewis and, critically, Cow Cow Davenport, and began performing on the city’s party and club circuit. It was Davenport who was instrumental in Smith’s recording session with Vocalion that led to the release of “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie”. Whilst Smith cannot be acknowledged as the ‘inventor’ of boogie woogie, this was the first known use of the term on a recording. He recorded again for Vocalion early in 1929, but tragically he was killed a few weeks later when he was accidentally shot during a dance hall fracas by a man named David Bell. He was just twenty-five years old, leaving a young widow and two children, and having recorded less than a dozen tracks.