Andrew "Smokey" Hogg (January 27, 1914 – May 1, 1960) was an American post-war Texas blues and country blues musician navigating a post-war era infatuated by R&B, but he got along quite nicely nonetheless, scoring a pair of major R&B hits in 1948 and 1950 and cutting a thick catalogue for a slew of labels.
Hogg was born near Westconnie, Texas, and grew up on a farm. He was taught to play the guitar by his father, Frank Hogg. In 1927 he fell in love with his “little schoolgirl”, 15 year old Bertha Blanton. They married in 1932. A son was born in 1933, but they split up the following year. While still in his teens he teamed up with the slide guitarist and vocalist B. K. Turner, also known as Black Ace, and the pair travelled together, playing a circuit of turpentine and logging camps, country dance halls and juke joints around Kilgore, Tyler, Greenville and Palestine, in East Texas.
In 1937, Decca Records brought Hogg and Black Ace to Chicago to record. Hogg's first record, "Family Trouble Blues" backed with "Kind Hearted Blues", was released under the name of Andrew Hogg. It was an isolated occurrence — he did not make it back into a recording studio for over a decade. By the early 1940s, Hogg was married and making a good living busking around the Deep Ellum area of Dallas, Texas. While in Dallas he met his second wife, Doris Louise McMillan, who gave birth to his second son and last child in 1944.
Hogg was drafted in the mid-1940s. After a brief spell with the U.S. military, he continued working in the Dallas area, where he was becoming well known. In 1947 he came to the attention of Herbert T. Rippa Sr., the head of the Dallas-based record label Bluebonnet Records, who recorded several sides with him and leased the masters to Modern Records.
The first release on Modern was the Big Bill Broonzy song "Too Many Drivers". It sold well enough that Modern brought Hogg to Los Angeles to cut more sides with their team of studio musicians. These songs included his two biggest hits, "Long Tall Mama" in 1949 and another Broonzy tune, "Little School Girl."
In January 1950, "Little School Girl" reached number 5 on the Billboard Retail R&B chart and number 9 on the Most Played Juke Box R&B chart. His two-part "Penitentiary Blues" (1952) was a remake of the prison song "Ain't No More Cane on the Brazos". Hogg recorded a good many songs by blues singers who were popular in his and their day.
Big Bill Broonzy and Peetie Wheatstraw and Black Ace were clearly the artists he most admired, but most of his recordings were his own compositions, with lyrics that often appear to be created spontaneously. Hogg’s playing tended to be rhythmically inconsistent; author and critic Peter Guralnick observed that “there is never any beat as such to Smokey Hogg’s music, though a pulse can sometimes be detected”. His music was popular with record buyers in the South during the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Between 1947 and 1957 Hogg recorded prolifically for a host of labels, mostly West Coast, such as Combo, Ebb, Exclusive, Fidelity, Imperial, Jade, Meteor, Ray’s, Recorded in Hollywood, Show Time and Specialty, but also Bullet in Nashville and Macy’s, Mercury and Sittin’ In With in Houston. The company which recorded him most heavily was Los Angeles-based Modern Records, which meant that he had to spend long periods on the West Coast, leaving his wife and son in Dallas. The stresses of this way of life probably contributed to the failure of his second marriage around 1951.
By his own account, Hogg had a girlfriend in all the major cities that he frequented, but nevertheless considered himself unlucky in love, no doubt because of the failure of his two marriages. He became an alcoholic but continued to work the party and juke joint circuit in Texas and the west coast of California until he died in McKinney, Texas of a haemorrhaging ulcer, on 1 May 1960, at the age of 46.
Hogg was reputed to be a cousin of Lightnin' Hopkins and to be distantly related to Alger "Texas" Alexander, but both claims are ambiguous. However he did have a cousin named John Hogg who was also a blues musician; he recorded for Mercury Records in 1951.Smokey Hogg should is not to be confused with Willie "Smokey" Hogg, a musician based in New York City in the 1960s.
(Edited from Wikipedia, Ace Records, AllMusic & The Blues Trail)