Dan Sane (September 22, 1896 – February
18, 1956) was an American Memphis and country blues guitarist and
songwriter. He was a working associate of Frank Stokes and, according to
Allmusic journalist, Jason Ankeny, 'they had emerged among the most
complementary duos in all of the blues, with Sane's flatpicking ideally
embellished by Stokes' fluid rhythms.' The best known of Sane's penned songs
were 'Downtown Blues' and 'Mr. Crump Don't Like It.' His surname was
alternatively spelt as 'Sain'.
Sane was born in Hernando, Mississippi. He moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and
played in Will Batts' string band, before meeting guitar player Frank
Stokes. Sane and Stokes busked together around Memphis' Beale Street at
weekends. During the 1920s the pair performed on Beale Street as a duo
billed as the Beale Street Sheiks and played in white venues, including
country clubs, parties and dances, as members of Jack Kelly's Jug Busters.
Their first recording was for Paramount Records in August 1927, under the
Beale Street Sheiks name. A National Park Service's tourist guide to the
blues heritage of the Mississippi Delta says: 'The fluid guitar interplay
between Stokes and Sane, combined with a propulsive beat, witty lyrics, and
Stokes's stentorian voice, make their recordings irresistible.'
They moved to Victor Records in 1928, where the recordings were under
Stokes' own name. They recorded a two-part version of 'Tain't Nobody's
Business If I Do', a song well known in later versions by Bessie Smith and
Jimmy Witherspoon, but whose origin lies somewhere in the pre-blues era. A
locally popular song was 'Mr. Crump Don't Like It,' whose lyrics referred to
Memphis mayor E. H. Crump and his campaign to clean up Memphis' less
salubrious areas. That song may have been based on an earlier song on the
same topic by W. C. Handy. The Sheiks also continued to busk the streets,
and play informally at parties.
In 1929, Stokes and Sane recorded again for Paramount, resuming their 'Beale
Street Sheiks' billing for a few cuts. These 1929 sides were their last
together, although Sane and Stokes continued their intermittent performing
partnership up to the latter's retirement from music in 1952.
In 1933, Sane and Batts (1904–1956), alongside Kelly, recorded as the South
Memphis Jug Band.
Sane died in Memphis in February 1956, aged 59.
His guitar playing contributions have appeared on numerous compilation
albums, including The Best of Frank Stokes (Yazoo Records, 2005).