Update On Links

March 18, 2013 - I'm now using various file sites with varying success. With over 200 albums listed here, obviously I cannot upload everything at once. So if you're dying to hear something, please post a comment on that particular post and I will move it up in the priority queue. Enjoy!

Any posts taken down as a result of the sniveling coward will be re-upped. Check the link below for where to find them in the event that this site is unable to repost them. Don't forget to bookmark http://whereismrvolstead.blogspot.com/ in the event that the internet terrorists shut this page down.

05 December 2013

Happy Repeal Day (pt. II)

This is a bit of a repeat post (the first!) because I wanted to mark two occasions, albeit with different music to share.

First off, it's Happy Repeal Day! This day, 80 years ago, the United States Congress repealed the 18th Amendment - known as the Volstead Act - when Utah became the 36th state to ratify what is now the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution. This restored control of alcohol to the states. Although Andrew Volstead sponsored the bill, the 18th Amendment was the work of the Anti-Saloon League's Wayne Wheeler who conceived and drafted the bill.

Elsewhere in this blog is a copy of Bob Miller's "Page Mr. Volstead" (the flip side is "Five Cent Glass of Beer"), the namesake for this blog. I've been neglecting this site, though not out of desire. In my work (self-employed) one has to take any and all jobs that come down the pike, so I have. "No excuse, Chester!" I agree. There are still quite a number of great albums to be uploaded, as well as Chick Bullock. I believe that I left off in early 1933, and he recorded into 1940. So rest assured that there is more to come.

The other occasion is that this blog has survived 5 years. Gadzooks! Who'd a thunk it? Know that rumours of this blog's demise are premature. Today's share is a surprise because I have never yet shared anything from this label. I have several others, but I really do encourage people to order cd's from the label (the link is on the main page of this blog). It is an excellent company that has reissued a lot of music that we fans of the genre would be without otherwise. So, enjoy it while it lasts. I may not even reactivate the link once it is expired. So get it while you can. Enjoy! And Happy Repeal Day! +

(photo of a bartender 80 years ago today, serving the first two legal beers at a bar in Minneapolis, MN)

02 November 2013

See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have

Another set of Teddy Grace for those who didn't get enough with the last one. It's really a shame that her career was so short. Grace joined the WACs in WWII and strained her voice so much in bond and political rallies, that for years after she could barely even speak. "Even veteran swing collectors might be unaware of the enjoyable recordings that the unfortunately obscure but very talented Teddy Grace made during her relatively brief career. This valuable CD has 22 of the 30 selections that she made as a leader (leaving off two sessions) and finds Grace very much at ease, whether interpreting swinging, lesser-known material, a series of high-quality blues, or period pieces. The supporting cast -- which includes such notables as cornetist Bobby Hackett, trumpeters Charlie Shavers and Max Kaminsky, trombonist Jack Teagarden, clarinetist Pee Wee Russell, tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman, and pianist Billy Kyle, among others -- speaks for the high esteem in which she was held during the era." (Allmusic.com) Enjoy! +


01. I've Taken a Fancy to You
02. I'll Never Let You Cry
03. Goodbye, Jona
04. Tears in My Heart
05. Love Me or Leave Me
06. Downhearted Blues
07. Crazy Blues
08. Monday Morning
09. Betty and Dupree
10. Arkansas Blues
11. Down Home Blues
12. Gulf Coast Blues
13. Oh Daddy Blues (You Don't Have No Mamma at All)
14. You Don't Know My Mind
15. Low Down Blues
16. Graveyard Blues
17. Hey Lawdy Papa
18. Mama Doo-Shee
19. Gee, But I Hate to Go Home Alone
20. Sing (It's Good for Ya)
21. See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have
22. I'm the Lonesomest Gal in Tow

09 October 2013

Turn On That Red Hot Heat

What can I say, it's been that busy. Here's one that may be a little more obscure to many, with info from the liner notes. "Back in the 1930s and 40s, the "girl singer" (as they were then called) perched on the bandstand, usually next to the "boy singer" - keeping time with the music with her hands, feet and shoulders, rising every so often to do a vocal chorus or two at the microphone at centre stage. When she was through, she went back to her seat. Rarely, if ever, was she allowed to sing an entire song. The bandleader was the star, and singers had secondary roles: sometimes, it seems, they were hired as an afterthought, or as a decoration. There were literally hundreds of female band singers. They made countless personal appearances, often traveling by bus, which was where they often ate, slept, and put on their makeup. It wasn't unusual to be the sole female in a whole troupe of musicians. ....

Teddy Grace, from Arcadia, Loo-zee-anna, joined the Mal Hallett Orchestra in 1934, after a brief sting with the bands of Al Katz and Tommy Christian. The response to her personal appearances with Hallett were sensational, to put it mildly! She made the cover of Orchestra World in June of that year. Very few women pushed bandleaders off the covers of music magazines in those early days. The Hallett Orchestra was chiefly a "territory" band based out of Boston, with Hallett himself known as "New England's Dance King."

Teddy Grace, who could sing ballads as well as swing tunes with a country, bluesy tinge (added with an occasional growl or yodel) often stopped the show cold - making dancers forget their swinging steps and crowd around the bandstand just to simply watch her, mesmerized." (David McCain). Enjoy! +


01 - Rockin' Chair Swing
02 - I've Got Rain In My Eyes
03 - The Trouble With Me Is You
04 - Turn Off The Moon
05 - (Have You Forgotten) The You And Me That Used To Be
06 - Alibi Baby
07 - The Life Of The Party
08 - Turn On That Red Hot Heat
09 - You're Out Of This World To Me
10 - I Want A New Romance
11 - (I've Been) Dispossessed By You
12 - Rock It For Me
13 - I'm Losing My Mind Over You
14 - I'm So In Love With You
15 - I'll Never Let You Cry
16 - You And Your Love
17 - Over The Rainbow
18 - Blue Orchids
19 - What Used To Was Used To Was
20 - The Little Man Who Wasn't There
21 - I Thought About You
22 - Happy Birthday To Love
23 - It's A Whole New Thing
24 - Angry
25 - I Wanna Wrap You Up
26 - Red Wagon

31 August 2013

Annie Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Here's the last cd of this set. What Have We Got To Lose? Stringing Along On A Shoestring, When My Ship Comes In and If I Had A Million Dollars all echo what a lot of people were thinking.  Our Penthouse On Third Avenue features one of my favorite singers, who to my ear just seems to sing perfectly. Almost as good as the Bea Wain vocal on Our Penthouse On Third Avenue is the photo of her (sorry, no scan). The editors chose Ramona's version of Raising The Rent because it includes the verse lyrics. Roy Bargy (p), Benny Bonacio (cl) and Bunny Berigan (tr) accompany here. Ramona also sings Now I'm A Lady, which is a tune Mae West sang in a film but never recorded. Gotta Go To Work Again from Ted Wallace is a tune that was used as instrumental background music in the film My Man Godfrey. This version features an unknown male vocal. Chick Bullock makes his appearance on the 3rd of 4 of these cds, so obviously the editors have good taste. Are You Making Any Money? (is all I want to know) was written by Herman Hupfield, of As Time Goes By fame. Even without Chick singing, it's a great tune and is the first song of his I'd ever heard (on another Depression collection found early in this blog). I'm not a big Disney fan, but Artie Shaw really made Whistle While You Work swing. Closing out the decade, the Mills Brothers and Louis Armstrong recorded WPA in 1940, and to close out the entire set is the extremely pollyanish, premature and rather insulting tune (considering it was recorded on February 3, 1930 just 3 months after Black Thursday) Happy Days Are Here Again. According to the liner notes, the song was taken to George Olsen, who was playing the Hotel Pennsylvania, who told his band to "play it to the corpses". It took a few choruses for the audience to warm to the tune. This version is by Ben Selvin and an all but anonymous studio orchestra. The book to this box set features a lot of great pictures of artists, sheet music, magazines, record sleeves, etc. It also has a selected bibliography for reading about the Great Depression, and an even bigger filmography. All in all, this set deserves its place as a resource for any study of the era. Very well done. Enjoy! +


01 - Phil Harris Coconut Grove Orchestra - What Have We Got To Lose?
02 - Henry 'Red' Allen - Stringin' Along On A Shoe String
03 - Eddie Cantor - When My Ship Comes In
04 - The Boswell Sisters - If I Had A Million Dollars
05 - Gene Kardos Orchestra - Our Penthouse On Third Avenue
06 - Ramona & Roy Bargy - Raising The Rent
07 - Chick Bullock's Levee Loungers - Annie Doesn't Live Here Anymore
08 - Connie Boswell - The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
09 - Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra - Now I'm A Lady
10 - Adrian Rollini & Orchestra - I Gotta Get Up And Go To Work
11 - Ted Wallace Orchestra - Gotta Go To Work Again
12 - Chick Bullock's Levee Loungers - Are You Making Any Money?
13 - Ozzie Nelson Orchestra - Got The Jitters
14 - Don Bestor Orchestra - Rain
15 - The Ink Spots - With Plenty Of Money And You
16 - Teddy Hill - I'm Feeling Like A Million
17 - Red Norvo Orchestra - Slummin' On Park Avenue
18 - Artie Shaw New Music - Whistle While You Work
19 - Louis-Mills Armstrong Brothers - WPA
20 - Kay Kyser & His Orchestra - Hey Pop! I Don't Wanna Go To Work
21 - Horace Heidt & Orchestra - Dawn Of A New Day
22 - Ben Selvin & His Orchestra - Happy Days Are Here Again

30 August 2013

I'd Rather Be A Beggar With You

As the liner notes suggest, Supper Time (by Irving Berlin) from the satirical revue 'As Thousands Cheer' might  be taken for a deserted woman's lament", but it was performed by Ethel Waters wearing rags with newspaper headlines declaring onstage: "Unknown negro lynched by a mob!" Not only was the poverty and the depression hurting people, but the show gave a "glimpse of ugliness behind the ornate safety curtain of theatrical make-believe" that was very real for many in the South. Track 2 here is from Russ Carlson, and is one of my favorite tunes of the era. Be sure to check out the fantastic TOM cds of Crown Records recordings. Banks were fair game, and so was Hoover. A Shanty In Old Shanty Town was recorded by several artists, including Chick Bullock (on another post). Chick steps up with a fine version of I'd Rather Be A Beggar With You. Guarded optimism marks the next few titles including Rome Wasn't Built In A Day, and If I Ever Get A Job Again. Ben Selvin suggests that good times are indeed on the way, although his entry here was recorded on March 8, 1932 when the country was anywhere but headed for recovery. Six of these tracks were recorded in 1932, three in 1934 and the rest in 1933. After the havoc of 1932 things were looking up, right? Ben Bernie, Ted Lewis, Ruth Etting and another Chick Bullock tune promise that the Grass Is Getting Greener (the latter with Bunny Berigan with the Victor Young Orchestra). The theme continues with the Boswells and We're In The Money. Yes, I believe! For all the effort to cheer up and convince people that it really was just a matter of 'confidence', but then Emil Coleman brings us down to earth with Let 'Em Eat Cake. And with that, we're back to a one-room flat. Enjoy! +


01 - Leo Reisman & His Orchestra - Super Time
02 - Russ Carlson High Steppers - Banking On The Weather
03 - Gene Kardos Orchestra - A Shanty In Old Shantytown
04 - Joe Morrison - (Here We Are) Rolling In Love
05 - Chick Bullock's Levee Loungers - I'd Rather Be A Beggar With Love
06 - Freddy Martin Orchestra - Here You Come With Love
07 - Bing Crosby - Let's Put Out The Lights And Go To Sleep
08 - Graham Prince Orchestra - The Clouds Will Soon Roll By
09 - Abe Lyman Orchestra - Rome Wasn't Built In A Day
10 - Gene Kardos Orchestra - If I Ever Get A Job Again
11 - Ben Selvin & His Orchestra - Them Good Old Times Are Coming Back Again
12 - Ben Bernie Orchestra - Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?
13 - Ted Lewis Orchestra - There's A New Day Coming
14 - Ted Lewis Orchestra - Buy American!
15 - Ruth Etting - Hey! Young Fella
16 - Victor Young Orchestra - The Grass Is Getting Greener
17 - Ted Fio Rito Orchestra - (I Went Hunting) And The Big Bad Wolf Was Dead
18 - Ramona With The Park Avenue Boys - We're Out Of The Red
19 - The Boswell Sisters - We're In The Money
20 - Dick Powell - The Road Is Open Again
21 - Emil Coleman's Riviera Orchestra - Let 'Em Eat Cake
22 - Freddy Martin Orchestra - In A One Room Flat

26 August 2013

Here It Is Monday And I've Still Got A Dollar

It's 1931 and Tin Pan Alley is working overtime trying to psyche America out of the Great Depression, but there were rebuttals. There's No Depression In Love and Now's The Time To Fall In Love were countered with I'm An Unemployed Sweetheart and Last Dollar. Unlike the current Depression, in the 1930s America wore its heart on its sleeve. I think the people who chose the tunes for this set must have had fun - following Lee Morse's contribution, the next four tracks feature the elusive 'Dollar' before giving in to the fatalistic resignation of Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams, followed by darkness and ultimately Alone Together (sans sous, people tended to stay home more). Coinciding with Hoover's attempts at injecting optimism as a panacea, not even Ted Lewis was convincing enough as Let's Have Another Cup Of Coffee slams the remedy with biting satire followed by Sittin' On A Rubbish Can and Underneath The Arches (a roof was a luxury, no doubt). Two desperate pleas follow before ending with It Must Be Swell To Be Laying Out Dead - and this was popular music! According to the book (again, pick up a copy of this set), an "RCA Victor executive heard the tune and ordered its immediate withdrawal from the market, and all existing copies and masters were destroyed. Even the blue file cards at the company's archives in Manhattan have no listing of the song." The record was re-released with another song in its place. As if denying reality could change it! Not all of the sides here are listed chronologically, but the playlist tells an interesting tale nonetheless. Not to be overlooked, of course, is the fantastic music. Enjoy! +


01 - Vincent Rose Orchestra - There's No Depression In Love
02 - Victor Young Orchestra - Now's The Time To Fall In Love
03 - Lee Morse - I'm An Unemployed Sweetheart
04 - Emil Coleman's Orchestra - I Got Five Dollars
05 - Paul Specht Orchestra - I Found A Million Dollar Baby
06 - Eddie Droesch Orchestra - Last Dollar
07 - Chick Bullock's Levee Loungers - Here It Is Monday And I've Still Got A Dollar
08 - Mildred Bailey - Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams
09 - Sam Lanin's Orchestra - Whistling In The Dark
10 - Ben Selvin & His Orchestra - Dancing In The Dark
11 - Victor Young Orchestra - Alone Together
12 - The Mills Brothers, The Boswells, Bing Crosby - Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries
13 - The Boswell Sisters - (We've Got To) Put That Sun Back In The Sky
14 - Ambrose Orchestra - Shoo The Hoodoo Away
15 - Ben Selvin & His Orchestra - Whistle And Blow Your Blues Away
16 - Ted Lewis Orchestra - Headin' For Better Times
17 - Enric Madriguera's Hotel Biltmore Orchestra - Let's Have Another Cup Of Coffee
18 - Julia Gerity - Sittin' On A Rubbish Can
19 - Henry Hall & The BBC Dance Orchestra - Underneath The Arches
20 - Bing Crosby - Brother Can You Spare A Dime?
21 - Freddy Martin Orchestra - Remember My Forgotten Man
22 - Alex Bartha's Hotel Traymore Orchestra - It Must Be Swell To Be Laying Out Dead

24 August 2013

Hittin' The Ceiling

I've wanted to post this for a long time, and now it's been a full 15 years since it was first released and this blog is nearly 5 years old. It feels like a good time. Not enough can be said about this box set, in my view. And that's not merely for the several Chick Bullock sides, though that surely only boosts the overall value. The track and artist selection is exceptional, the sides are very clean, and the book is very informative as well as pure eye candy for audiophiles of this era. I heartily recommend picking up a copy for yourself, you won't be disappointed. "Bear Family Records presents an 88-track anthology of what are now termed Depression Era phonograph recordings cut between May 31, 1929, and April 10, 1940. This stretch of time takes in the last few months of the U.S.A.'s already flawed and disintegrating prosperity, the devastating Wall Street crash of October 29, 1929, and the nation's agonizingly gradual economic recovery throughout the 1930s. Musically, this massive compilation maps the mainstream mingling of real jazz with the predominant dance band and pop vocal aesthetic of the decade. Even months before the day when, as visiting Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca put it, the New York Stock Exchange "...lost various billions of dollars, a rabble of dead money that slid off into the sea," Tin Pan Alley composers were already fixating upon what was to become the ever more elusive pursuit of happiness by penning an almost alarming number of "happy" songs, such as "Get Happy" and "Happy Days Are Here Again." As the social fabric of a nation came apart at the seams and swiftly began to unravel, a subgenre of melodies with conspicuously comforting and persistently optimistic lyrics filled the air with phrases like "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams," "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries," and "Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee." Sobering responses to the disparity between harsh realities and sugary reassurances included "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?," "Remember My Forgotten Man," "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum," "Cheer Up! Smile! Nertz!" (almost angrily delivered by an exasperated Eddie Cantor), and a remarkably cynical opus entitled "It Must Be Swell to Be Laying Out Dead." With the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933 and the implementation of his New Deal programs (see Louis Armstrong's "W.P.A."), a series of frustratingly slow-paced improvements inspired monetarily motivated ditties with giddy titles like "We're in the Money," "We're Out of the Red," "What Have We Got to Lose?," "Buy America!," and the quaintly romantic "With Plenty of Money and You," sung to perfection near the end of this collection by the Ink Spots. The Great Depression has inspired a number of fascinating musicological retrospectives; this one belongs among the best of the lot." (Allmusic.com). Enjoy! +


01 - Smith Ballew Orchestra - Hittin' The Ceiling
02 - Ambrose Orchestra - I'm In The Market For You
03 - Glen Gray & The Casa Loma Orchestra - Happy Days Are Here Again
04 - Marion Hardy Alabamians - Song Of The Bayou
05 - Eddie Cantor - Eddie Cantor's Tips On The Stock Market
06 - Hotel Pennsylvania Music - A Cottage For Sale
07 - Ted Wallace & His Campus Boys - Get Happy
08 - Glen Gray & The Casa Loma Orchestra - Sweeping The Clouds Away
09 - McKinney's Cotton Pickers - Laughing At Life
10 - Sam Lanin's Orchestra - It's A Great Life (If You Don't Weaken)
11 - Hotel Pennsylvania Music - Cheer Up Good Times Are Coming!
12 - Eddie Cantor With Phil Spitalny's Music - Cheer Up!
13 - Ted Lewis Orchestra - Singing A Vagabond Song
14 - Jack Teagarden Orchestra - Son Of The Son
15 - Al Jolson - Hallelujah! Im A Bum
16 - Annette Hanshaw - Big City Blues
17 - Blue Steele Orchestra - There's A Tear For Every Smile In Hollywood
18 - Ruth Etting - Ten Cents A Dance
19 - Ruth Etting - Cigarettes Cigars
20 - Johnny Marvin - Just A Gigolo
21 - Libby Holman - Love For Sale
22 - Smith Ballew Orchestra - We Can Live On Love

31 July 2013

Leave Us Leap

* Thanks to "rm" for finding the right cover!

This is in a hurry, given that I'm about to miss a second consecutive month. No, this blog is not dead. I still have much to share, it's just that life and work is consuming a lot of my focus at the moment. Still, ... This is a cd I've been meaning to share for some time, though most of the tracks are widely available. The reason I waited is because I can could no longer find the original cd, nor the original cover on the internet. I tried. It was green stripping, if I recall correctly, with an image of Krupa banging away. More than likely it was a fly-by-night European release, since I bought it out there nearly two decades ago. In any case, Krupa is probably the finest drummer that ever was, and these tracks show off that talent fairly well, touching ever so slightly further into his later career than most single cd issues seem to do. The name of the cd is Drummin' Man, which has been used numerous times for various releases (hence the difficulty in finding the right cover), including an LP of Krupa's back in the late 50s or early 60s. With that, I'll see you all next month. Promise. Enjoy! +


01 - Nagasaki
02 - Jeepers Creepers
03 - Do You Wanna Jump Children?
04 - Symphony In Riffs
05 - Drummin' Man
06 - Drum Boogie
07 - Let Me Off Uptown
08 - After You've Gone
09 - Rockin' Chair
10 - Bolero At The Savoy
11 - Massachusetts
12 - Leave Us Leap
13 - Dark Eyes
14 - Stompin' At The Savoy
15 - Opus 1
16 - Lover
17 - How High The Moon
18 - Disk Jockey Jump
19 - Calling Dr. Gillespie

31 May 2013

House Rent Rag

Just in the nick of time! It's been a busy month, fortunately, but watching the Ken Burns documentary on Prohibition reminded me to get something posted. This should fit the bill well. "One of the all-time great clarinetists and arguably the most significant of the 1920s, Johnny Dodds (whose younger brother Baby Dodds was among the first important drummers) had a memorable tone in both the lower and upper registers, was a superb blues player, and held his own with Louis Armstrong (no mean feat) on his classic Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings. He did not start on clarinet until he was 17 but caught on fast, being mostly self-taught. Dodds was with Kid Ory's band during most of 1912-1919, played on riverboats with Fate Marable in 1917, and joined King Oliver in Chicago in 1921. During the next decade, he recorded with Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and on his own heated sessions, often utilizing trumpeter Natty Dominique. He worked regularly at Kelly's Stables during 1924-1930. Although Dodds continued playing in Chicago during the 1930s, part of the time was spent running a cab company. The clarinetist led recording sessions in 1938 and 1940, but died just before the New Orleans revival movement began." (Allmusic.com) Enjoy! +


01. Bohunkus Blues
02. Buddy Burtons Jazz
03. Perdido Street Blues
04. Gate Mouth
05. Too Tight
06. Papa Dip
07. Mixed Salad
08. I Can't Say
09. Flat Foot
10. Mad Dog
11. Messin' Around
12. Adams Apple
13. East Coast Trot
14. Chicago Buzz
15. Idle Hour Special
16. 47th Street Stomp
17. Stock Yards Strut
18. Salty Dog
19. Ape Man
20. Your Folks
21. House Rent Rag
22. Memphis Shake
23. Carpet Alley - Breakdown
24. Hen Party Blues

22 April 2013

Sud Bustin' Blues

Here's another good one from smack dab in the middle of Prohibition. I find the span of the Fletcher Henderson series  fascinating because it shows both Henderson's growth and changes in popular music at the time. That, and it is just darned good music. "Originally appearing on the Pathe Actuelle, Brunswick, Ajax, Vocalion, Emerson, Columbia, and Banner phonograph labels, Fletcher Henderson's recordings from early 1924 make for peculiarly pleasant listening. It is possible to face up to these heavily arranged dance band records from the early '20s and actually enjoy the rickety arrangements. All you need to do is shed any preconceptions of what jazz is or ever was supposed to sound like. Anatol Schenker's liner notes point out that this music was intended to accompany theatrical performances. Even without that kind of historical perspective, this stuff sounds good with no context whatsoever, provided the listener surrenders to the weirdly wonderful world of thoroughly outmoded popular music. At the very least, these are funny old records. From the standpoint of early jazz, Coleman Hawkins and Don Redman are in here slogging away on their clarinets and saxophones, treading where few had ever set foot before them. Teddy Nixon periodically asserts himself with the slide trombone, and Kaiser Marshall proves to have been a spicy, resourceful percussionist. "Ghost of the Blues" appears to have been co-composed by Sidney Bechet, and sounds a lot like a product of that fine musician's mind. Redman's "Teapot Dome Blues" contains a rare example of Howard Scott soloing on the cornet. "Mobile Blues" allows room for a muffled solo by an unidentified kazoo player. Redman contributes a fine and sassy scat vocal on "My Papa Doesn't Two-Time No Time," which also exists elsewhere as a Rosa Henderson vocal backed only by Fletcher Henderson (no blood relation) at the piano. "Somebody Stole My Gal" bumps along marvelously and has a bass sax solo by Coleman Hawkins with Don Redman playing a weepy clarinet, even removing the mouthpiece from the instrument to achieve maximum cornball effects. "After the Storm" actually has segments of Rossini's William Tell Overture grafted into the chart, with someone blowing a siren whistle and Redman taking a solo on oboe. Nixon opens "Feeling the Way I Do" with growling trombone and Charlie Dixon demonstrates how a banjo could be used to propel nine other instruments by executing a series of well-timed blows across the strings. Together with piano and drums, the banjo was an agitator in these early ensembles. "Red Hot Mama" is an exciting illustration of how, during the first half of 1924, Henderson's band began to settle down and play something like real jazz." (Allmusic.com) Enjoy! +


01. Chicago Blues
02. Why Put The Blame On You
03. Sud Bustin' Blues
04. War Horse Mama
05. Wish I Had You (And I'm Gonna Get You Blues)
06. Just Blues
07. I'm Crazy Over You
08. I Wish I Could Make You Cry
09. Say Say Sadie
10. Chicago Blues
11. Feelin' The Way I Do
12. Chattanooga (Down In Tennessee)
13. Ghost Of The Blues
14. Tea Pot Dome Blues
15. Mobile Blues
16. My Papa Doesn't Two-Time No Time
17. Somebody Stole My Gal
18. After The Storm
19. Driftwood
20. Feeling The Way I Do
21. Red Hot Mama

21 April 2013

That Rhythm Man

Back on track again with something that should be in the collection of anyone who appreciates the era represented here. "Chick Webb represented the triumph of the human spirit in jazz and life. Hunchbacked, small in stature, almost a dwarf with a large face and broad shoulders, Webb fought off congenital tuberculosis of the spine in order to become one of the most competitive drummers and bandleaders of the big band era. Perched high upon a platform, he used custom-made pedals, goose-neck cymbal holders, a 28-inch bass drum and a wide variety of other percussion instruments to create thundering solos of a complexity and energy that paved the way for Buddy Rich (who studied Webb intensely) and Louie Bellson. Alas, Webb did not get a fair shake on records; Decca's primitive recording techniques could not adequately capture his spectacular technique and wide dynamic range. He could not read music, but that didn't stop him either, for he memorized each arrangement flawlessly. Although his band did not become as influential and revered in the long run as some of its contemporaries, it nevertheless was feared in its time for its battles of the bands in Harlem's Savoy Ballroom; a famous encounter with the high-flying Benny Goodman outfit at its peak (with Gene Krupa in the drummer's chair) left the latter band drained and defeated.

The perfect way to acquire drummer Chick Webb's recordings is to get his two Classics CDs which contain all of his performances as a leader, other than Ella Fitzgerald's features (which are in a separate Ella series) and a few numbers from Webb's final dates. On the first of the CDs, Webb leads a pickup band in 1929 (for "Dog Bottom" and "Jungle Mama"), an early orchestra in 1931 (highlighted by the first version ever of Benny Carter's "Blues in My Heart"), two numbers from 1933, and all of his classic swing sides of 1934. With arranger/altoist Edgar Sampson providing such compositions as "When Dreams Come True," "Don't Be That Way," "Blue Lou," and "Stompin' at the Savoy" (all of which would become better-known for their slightly later Benny Goodman recordings), trumpeter Taft Jordan taking some vocals purposely influenced by Louis Armstrong, Jordan, trombonist Sandy Williams, and tenor saxophonist Elmer Williams coming up with consistently hot solos, and the drummer/leader driving the orchestra, this was one of the top jazz big bands of the era." (Allmusic.com) Enjoy! +


01. Dog Bottom
02. Jungle Mama
03. Heebie Jeebies
04. Blues In My Heart
05. Soft And Sweet
06. On The Sunny Side Of The Street
07. Darktown Strutters' Ball
08. When Dreams Come True
09. Let's Get Together
10. I Can't Dance I Got Ant In My Pants
11. Imagination
12. Why Should I Beg For Love
13. Stompin' At The Savoy
14. Blue Minor
15. True
16. Lonesome Moments
17. If It Ain't Love
18. That Rhythm Man
19. On The Sunny Side Of The Street
20. Lona
21. Blue Minor
22. It's All Over Because We're Through
23. Don't Be That Way
24. What A Shuffle
25. Blue You

31 March 2013

Let Yourself Go

Closing out the month with a bang! For all the excellent work that Classics did in compiling this great music, there were sometimes complaints about missing and erroneous tracks. I can't speak to the former, but the Bunny Berigan 1935-36 disc was issued with the unforgivable sin of deleting Chick Bullock's vocals. They were why I had bought the cd in the first place! Thanks to a fellow collector, I'm able to share this. All is well now, as Classics made up for the inclusion of those tracks (which I believe had come from a 1960s Berigan LP - so beware should you be record browsing and contemplate purchasing it). The Berigan / Bullock combination on Let Yourself Go is alone worth picking up the entire 3-cd set, in my opinion. Both are in fine form. ... The set starts off with a couple of Chick Webb instrumentals, the last before Ella Fitzgerald joined the band. In addition to these, there are some really interesting and / or alternative tracks here from many of the artists familiar to listeners of this series. Band title of the set goes to Louis Armstrong and Buster Bailey for their Red Onion Jazz Babies. Enjoy! + + +


Disc 1
01 - Who Ya Hunchin'
02 - In The Groove At The Grove
03 - Night Wind
04 - If The Moon Turns Green
05 - Devil In The Moon
06 - Louisiana Fairy Tale
07 - Boats
08 - Fish For Supper
09 - 'Ats In There
10 - Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide
11 - Rain, Rain, Go Away
12 - Summertime
13 - Pistol Packin' Mama
14 - Redman Blues
15 - Great Day In The Morning
16 - Midnite Mood
17 - Dark Glasses
18 - Mickey Finn
19 - Carrie Mae Blues
20 - Clementine
21 - I've Found A New Baby
22 - After Hour Creep
23 - Garbage Man Blues
24 - Chickasaw Stomp
25 - Memphis Rag

Disc 2
01 - I Got Rhythm
02 - St. Louis Blues
03 - Lazy Bones
04 - Dinah
05 - King Porter Stomp
06 - Moten Swing
07 - Minor Riff
08 - Satchel Mouth Baby
09 - Close Your Eyes
10 - This Is Everything I Prayed For
11 - Again
12 - Ain't I Losing You
13 - Of All The Wrongs You Done To Me
14 - Terrible Blues
15 - Santa Claus Blues
16 - Cake Walking Babies From Home
17 - Lucy Long
18 - I Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle
19 - If You Can't Hold The Man You Love
20 - Blue Devil Blues
21 - Squabblin'
22 - Smoke-House Blues
23 - Beau-Koo Jack
24 - Exactly Like You
25 - Froglegs And Bourbon

Disc 3
01 - I Would Do Anything For You
02 - Tiger Rag
03 - Bugs Parade
04 - Wall Street Wail
05 - Poor Lil' Me
06 - Are You Hep To The Jive
07 - All The Time
08 - On The Sentimental Side
09 - Pete's Lonesome Blues
10 - Mr. Drums Meets Mr. Piano
11 - Mutiny In The Doghouse
12 - Mr. Clarinet Knocks Twice
13 - Ben Rides Out
14 - Page Mr. Trumpet
15 - J.C. From K.C.
16 - Pete's Housewarming Blues
17 - It's Been So Long
18 - I'd Rather Lead A Band
19 - Let Yourself Go
20 - A Melody From The Sky
21 - Rhythm Saved The World
22 - I Nearly Let Love Go Slipping Thru' My Fingers
23 - But Definitely
24 - If I Had My Way

30 March 2013


Often a sideman on many of the recordings here, Freeman also recorded several sides under his own name (albeit they were few and far between). "When Bud Freeman first matured, his was the only strong alternative approach on the tenor to the harder-toned style of Coleman Hawkins and he was an inspiration for Lester Young. Freeman, one of the top tenors of the 1930s, was also one of the few saxophonists (along with the slightly later Eddie Miller) to be accepted in the Dixieland world, and his oddly angular but consistently swinging solos were an asset to a countless number of hot sessions.

Freeman, excited (as were the other members of the Austin High School Gang in Chicago) by the music of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, took up the C-melody sax in 1923, switching to tenor two years later. It took him time to develop his playing, which was still pretty primitive in 1927 when he made his recording debut with the McKenzie-Condon Chicagoans. Freeman moved to New York later that year and worked with Red Nichols' Five Pennies, Roger Wolfe Kahn, Ben Pollack, Joe Venuti, Gene Kardos, and others. He starred on Eddie Condon's memorable 1933 recording "The Eel." After stints with Joe Haymes and Ray Noble, Freeman was a star with Tommy Dorsey's Orchestra and Clambake Seven (1936-1938) before having a short unhappy stint with Benny Goodman (1938). He led his short-lived but legendary Summe Cum Laude Orchestra (1939-1940) which was actually an octet, spent two years in the military, and then from 1945 on, alternated between being a bandleader and working with Eddie Condon's freewheeling Chicago jazz groups. Freeman traveled the world, made scores of fine recordings, and stuck to the same basic style that he had developed by the mid-'30s (untouched by a brief period spent studying with Lennie Tristano)." (Allmusic.com) Enjoy! +


01 - Craze-O-Logy
02 - Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man
03 - What Is There To Say 
04 - The Buzzard
05 - Tillie's Downtown Now
06 - Keep Smilin' At Trouble
07 - You Took Advantage Of Me
08 - Three's No Crowd
09 - I Got Rhythm
10 - Keep Smilin' At Trouble
11 - At Sundown
12 - My Honey's Lovin' Arms
13 - I Don't Believe It
14 - Trappin' The Commodore Till
15 - Memories Of You
16 - 'Life' Spears A Jitterbug
17 - What's The Use 
18 - Three Little Words
19 - Swingin' Without Mezz
20 - The Blue Room
21 - Exactly Like You
22 - Private Jives

29 March 2013

White Lightnin' Blues

Here's an extra one for having goofed on the last one. "Bennie Moten is today best-remembered as the leader of a band that partly became the nucleus of the original Count Basie Orchestra, but Moten deserves better. He was a fine ragtime-oriented pianist who led the top territory band of the 1920s, an orchestra that really set the standard for Kansas City jazz. In fact it was so dominant that Moten was able to swallow up some of his competitors' groups including Walter Page's Blue Devils, most of whom eventually became members of Moten's big band.

Moten formed his group (originally a sextet) in 1922 and the following year they made their first recordings. Among Moten's 1923-1925 sides for Okeh was the original version of his greatest hit "South." During 1926-1932, Moten's Orchestra recorded for Victor and, although none of his original musicians became famous, the later additions included his brother Buster on occasional jazz accordion, Harlan Leonard, Jack Washington, Eddie Durham, Jimmy Rushing, Hot Lips Page, and (starting in 1929) Count Basie. So impressed was Moten by Basie's playing that Count assumed the piano chair for recordings from that point on (although in clubs Moten would generally play a feature or two). The most famous Bennie Moten recording session was also his last, ten songs cut on December 13, 1932 that found the ensemble strongly resembling Basie's five years later. In addition to Hot Lips Page, Durham, Washington, and Basie, the band at that point also starred Ben Webster, Eddie Barefield, and Walter Page and one of the high points was the debut of "Moten Swing." (Allmusic.com). Enjoy! +


01 - Elephant's Wobble
02 - Crawdad Blues
03 - South
04 - Vine Street Blues
05 - Tulsa Blues
06 - Goofy Dust
07 - Baby Dear
08 - She's Sweeter Than Sugar
09 - South Street Blues
10 - Sister Honky Tonk
11 - As I Like It
12 - Things Seem So Blue To Me
13 - 18th Street Strut
14 - Kater Street Rag
15 - Thick Up Stomp
16 - Harmony Blues
17 - Kansas City Shuffle
18 - Yazoo Blues
19 - White Lightnin' Blues
20 - Muscle Shoals Blues
21 - Midnight Mama
22 - Missouri Wobble
23 - Sugar
24 - Dear Heart

Soothin' Syrup Stomp

(*Oops, wrong cover originally - it's correct now and the link has been changed. Thanks to Enoch, a higher encode is now available.)

Back a few years for some tunes from smack dab in the middle of Prohibition. These are some of Waller's solo recordings, which most people simply never get to hear. These show another side of Waller, in contrast to the well-known clown. "Not only was Fats Waller one of the greatest pianists jazz has ever known, he was also one of its most exuberantly funny entertainers -- and as so often happens, one facet tends to obscure the other. His extraordinarily light and flexible touch belied his ample physical girth; he could swing as hard as any pianist alive or dead in his classic James P. Johnson-derived stride manner, with a powerful left hand delivering the octaves and tenths in a tireless, rapid, seamless stream. Waller also pioneered the use of the pipe organ and Hammond organ in jazz -- he called the pipe organ the "God box" -- adapting his irresistible sense of swing to the pedals and a staccato right hand while making imaginative changes of the registration.

Waller started making records for Victor in 1926; his most significant early records for that label were a series of brilliant 1929 solo piano sides of his own compositions like "Handful of Keys" and "Smashing Thirds." After finally signing an exclusive Victor contract in 1934, he began the long-running, prolific series of records with His Rhythm, which won him great fame and produced several hits, including "Your Feet's Too Big," "The Joint Is Jumpin'" and "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter." He began to appear in films like Hooray for Love and King of Burlesque in 1935 while continuing regular appearances on radio that dated back to 1923. He toured Europe in 1938, made organ recordings in London for HMV, and appeared on one of the first television broadcasts. He returned to London the following spring to record his most extensive composition, "London Suite" for piano and percussion, and embark on an extensive continental tour (which, alas, was canceled by fears of impending war with Germany). Well aware of the popularity of big bands in the '30s, Waller tried to form his own, but they were short-lived." (Allmusic.com) Enjoy! +


01 - St. Louis Blues
02 - Lenox Avenue Blues (The Church Organ Blues)
03 - Soothin' Syrup Stomp
04 - Sloppy Water Blues
05 - Loveless Love
06 - Messin' Around with the Blues
07 - The Rusty Pail
08 - Stompin' the Bug
09 - Hog Maw Stomp
10 - Blue Black Bottom
11 - Sugar (instrumental)
12 - Sugar
13 - Beale Street Blues
14 - Beale Street Blues (instrumental)
15 - I'm Goin' to See My Ma
16 - Fats Waller Stomp
17 - Savannah Blues
18 - Won't You Take Me Home
19 - Anything That Happens Just Pleases Me
20 - My Old Daddy's Got a Brand-New Way to Love
21 - Black Snake Blues
22 - I've Got the Joogle Blues

28 March 2013

Panassie Stomp

Another name that deserves more recognition, here's what an abridged Allmusic.com bio says about Alix Combelle. "Despite the continuing popularity of Django Reinhardt, Stéphane Grappelli, and Gypsy swing, Alix Combelle has yet to be recognized in the U.S. for his steadfast contributions to the development and establishment of that tradition. An accomplished saxophonist, clarinetist, arranger, and bandleader, Combelle was a vital figure in the development of European jazz during the 1930s who made dozens of recordings with Reinhardt and members of the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, and it is with Reinhardt that his reputation was established. Unlike Django, Combelle adhered stubbornly to straightforward swing and does not seem to have felt it necessary to modernize into the style and methodology of bop. Most of his best recordings date from the years 1935-1943 and were released on the appropriately named Swing label.

Beginning with a historic multinational session led by Coleman Hawkins in 1937, Combelle's unwavering devotion to jazz brought him into close contact with many visiting and emigrating U.S. swing masters, including multi-instrumentalist Benny Carter, clarinetist Danny Polo & His Swing Stars, pianist Freddy Johnson, vocalist Adelaide Hall, and trumpeter Bill Coleman, in whose orchestra he worked alongside Argentine guitarist Oscar Alemán. He also made a number of fine recordings with groups led by trumpeter Philippe Brun, gigged with altoist Andre Ekyan, and backed popular French vocalists Jean Sablon and Charles Trenet.

Combelle visited the U.S. twice in 1937-1938. Tommy Dorsey was impressed enough to make him an offer but the Parisian opted for a return to home turf, where he joined an orchestra led by pianist Ray Ventura. A session with Reinhardt that took place in December 1940 featured Combelle shoulder to shoulder with fellow saxophonists Christian Wagner and Hubert Rostaing. After the outbreak of war, he led a cooperative big band known as Le Jazz de Paris, and stayed at the helm for several years before turning it over to drummer Jerry Mengo. Somehow, Combelle and his partners in swing managed to continue performing jazz during the nightmare years of the Occupation, despite their obvious association with Jews, African-Americans, and Gypsies, three ethnic groups singled out by Nazi ideologists as racially inferior. The simplest expedient involved camouflaging the titles of jazz standards, but it took a lot more than that to fool or deter the Gestapo. And Combelle was definitely a cultural "Enemy of the Reich," for his African-American heroes included Chu Berry, Herschel Evans, Coleman Hawkins, Fats Waller, Jimmie Lunceford, and Count Basie." (Allmusic.com)

Enjoy! +


01 - Crazy Rhythm
02 - The Sheik Of Araby
03 - Exactly Like You
04 - Alexander's Ragtime Band
05 - Hang Over Blues
06 - Avalon
07 - I Can't Give You Anything But Love
08 - When You're Smiling
09 - If I Had You
10 - Al's Idea
11 - Don't Get Tired
12 - Morning Feeling
13 - Daphne
14 - Swingin' At The Sugar Bowl
15 - Every Tub
16 - Jumpin' At The Woodside
17 - Weekend Stomp
18 - Nerves And Fever
19 - Fast, Slow, Medium Tempo
20 - Panassie Stomp
21 - Rock-A-Bye Basie
22 - Tel quel (en plein sur le nez)
23 - Deux pieds gauches

27 March 2013

Moanin' In The Mornin'

Taking a side trip from the hotter music (which we'll get right back to), here's another set of simply one of the best singers ever, in my opinion. This LP put together Lee Wiley's recordings of Rodgers & Hart and Harold Arlen compositions. Tracks 1, 3, 4, and 6 are with Joe Bushkin and His Orchestra. Tracks 2, 5, 7 and 8 are with Max Kaminsky and His Orchestra. Tracks 9-16 are with Eddie Condon, either with his Orchestra, the Quintet or the Sextet. As often happens, when LPs and CDs are rereleased by another distributor they felt compelled to change the cover, so I included both (the white one didn't scan too well apparently). Anyway, Enjoy! +


01 - Baby's Awake Now (1940)
02 - Here In My Arms (1940)
03 - You Took Advantage Of Me (1940)
04 - A Little Birdie Told Me So (1940)
05 - A Ship Without A Sail (1940)
06 - I've Got Five Dollars (1940)
07 - Glad To Be Unhappy (1940)
08 - As Though You Were There (1940)
09 - Let's Fall In Love (1943)
10 - Moanin' In The Mornin' (1943)
11 - Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea (1943)
12 - Stormy Weather (1943)
13 - Down With Love (1943)
14 - I've Got The World On A String (1943)
15 - Fun To Be Fooled (1943)
16 - You Said It (1943)

26 March 2013

In A Little Gipsy Tea Room

March madness rolls along! I'm willing to bet that most people have never heard of Bob Howard, which is a shame. He was fairly prolific in the 1930s and put out some very nice sides. From the first, it is obvious how much these recordings were influenced by Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong. As the liner notes suggest, when Victor began publishing Waller, Decca rushed to sign Howard in an attempt to cash in on Waller's popularity. Despite the similarity of style, Howard was talented in his own right and these recordings deserve to be heard on their own merit. Among those who performed on these sessions (January, 1932 - July 1935) are Benny Carter, Buster Bailey, Teddy Wilson, Cozy Cole, Rex Stewart, and Billy Taylor. Not bad company to keep! I've got three more Bob Howards to share in future posts (courtesy of another collector). Enjoy! +


01. You Rascal, You
02. All Of Me
03. It's Unbelievable
04. Whisper Sweet
05. Throwin' Stones At The Sun
06. You Fit Into The Picture
07. You're The Top (contd.)
08. The Ghost Of Dinah
09. Pardon My Love
10. Stay Out Of Love
11. I'll Never Change
12. On The Night Of June The Third
13. Breakin' The Ice
14. Corrine Corrina
15. Ev'ry Day
16. A Porter's Love Song To A Chambermaid
17. I Can't Dance
18. If The Moon Turns Green
19. Lulu's Back In Town
20. In A Little Gipsy Tea Room
21. I Never Saw A Better Night

25 March 2013


In the quest to make up for lost ground, here is some jazz by several bands, showing that Spike Jones was not the only one with a sense of humor. Some of these aren't really that funny, but the bands ad a lighter side to the recording. Barnacle Bill the Sailor should be well-known, and In A Shanty In Old Shanty Town has even been covered by Chick Bullock. But Red Allen's version is anything but crooning. Track 8, For Musicians Only, might sound familiar to fans of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. This cd sounds like several of the tracks were transferred without much noise reduction, and it makes me want to reach for a good dust cloth before playing. Oh, well. In any case the music shows that bands could have some fun as well as being top-notch musicians. Enjoy! +


01. Laughing In Rhythm - Sidney Bechet & His New Orleans Footwarmers
02. Barnacle Bill The Sailor - Hoagy Carmichael And His Orchestra
03. Maybe Not At All - Ethel Waters & Her Ebony Four
04. It's A Great World After All - Don Redman & His Orchestra
05. The Mosquito Song (Where Do The Mosquitos Go In The Winter Time?) - Wingy Manone & His Orchestra
06. In A Shanty In Old Shanty Town - Red Allen And His Orchestra
07. The Latest Thing In Hot Jazz - Eight Squares And A Critic
08. For Musicians Only - Bud Freeman And His V-Disc Jumpers
09. Kidney Stew - Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra
10. Chicken (Chicken Ain't Nothin' But A Bird) - George Lewis Band
11. The Duck's Yas Yas Yas - Eddie Johnson's Crackerjacks
12. Pussy (My Girl's Pussy) - Harry Roy And His Bat Club Boys
13. Beedle-Um-Bum - McKinney's Cotton Pickers
14. Wah-Dee-Dah - Three Keys
15. Cement Mixer - The Slim Gaillard Trio
16. Keep Smiling, Keep Laughing - John Kirby & His Orchestra
17. You're Bound To Look Like A Monkey When You Get Old - Clarence Williams' Novelty Band
18. Goofus - Red Nichols & His Five Pennies
19. Ikey And Mikey - The Washboard Rhythm Kings
20. Laughing Boy Blues - Woody Herman & His Orchestra
21. You Run Your Mouth (I'll Run My Business) - Fats Waller & His Rhythm
22. Home On The Range - Ted Weems & His Orchestra with Gary Moore (announcer)
23. It's The Tune That Counts - Leo Watson & His Orchestra
24. Laughin' Louis - Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra

24 March 2013

Jeep Jockey Jump

Although the Glenn Miller Orchestra has been criticized and/or derided by jazz critics, it was nonetheless a part of the era. Myself, I prefer the live airchecks that are floating around more than any of the studio recordings, and though I do like several of his biggest hits, I think the Army Airforce recordings were rather uninspiring. But that is merely my opinion, and others may enjoy this last part of Miller's career. "In 1942, at the peak of his civilian career, Miller decided to join the war effort. At 38, Miller was too old to be drafted, and first volunteered for the Navy but was told that they did not need his services. Miller then wrote to Army Brigadier General Charles Young. He persuaded the United States Army to accept him so he could, in his own words, "be placed in charge of a modernized Army band." After being accepted into the Army, Miller's civilian band played its last concert in Passaic, New Jersey, on September 27, 1942. His patriotic intention of entertaining the Allied Forces with the fusion of virtuosity and dance rhythms in his music earned him the rank of captain and was soon promoted to major by August 1944.

At first placed in the United States Army, Miller was transferred to the Army Air Force. Captain Glenn Miller served initially as assistant special services officer for the Army Air Forces Southeast Training Center at Maxwell Field, Montgomery, Alabama, in December 1942. He played trombone with the Rhythmaires, a 15-piece dance band, in both Montgomery and in service clubs and recreation halls on Maxwell. Miller also appeared on both WAPI (Birmingham, Alabama) and WSFA radio (Montgomery), promoting the activities of civil service women aircraft mechanics employed at Maxwell.

Miller initially formed a large marching band that was to be the core of a network of service orchestras. Miller's attempts at modernizing military music were met with some resistance from tradition-minded career officers. For example, Miller's arrangement of "St. Louis Blues March", combined blues and jazz with the traditional military march. Miller's weekly radio broadcast "I Sustain the Wings", for which he co-wrote the eponymous theme song, moved from New Haven to New York City and was very popular. This led to permission for Miller to form his 50-piece Army Air Force Band and take it to England in the summer of 1944, where he gave 800 performances. While in England, now Major Miller recorded a series of records at EMI owned Abbey Road Studios. EMI at this time was the British and European distributor for RCA Victor. The recordings the AAF band made in 1944 at Abbey Road were propaganda broadcasts for the Office of War Information. Many songs are sung in German by Johnny Desmond and Glenn Miller speaks in German about the war effort." (Wikipedia). Enjoy! +


Disc One
01 - Over There
02 - Anvil Chorus
03 - Stardust
04 - Song Of The Volga Boat Men
05 - Farewell Blues
06 - They Are All Yanks
07 - My Ideal
08 - Mission To Moscow
09 - Sun Valley Jump
10 - Tuxedo Junction
11 - I'll Be Around
12 - Poinciana
13 - I Hear You Screamin'
14 - Juke Box Saturday Night
15 - My Blue Heaven

Disc Two
01 - Saint Louis Blues March
02 - It Must Be Jelly
03 - Blues In My Heart
04 - Everybody Lover My Baby
05 - Medley
06 - Victory Polka
07 - There'll Be A Hot Time In The Town Od Berlin
08 - Flying Home
09 - Here We Go Again
10 - Glenn  Miller - Jeep Jockey Jump
11 - Enlisted Men's Mess
12 - Begin The Beguine
13 - In The Mood

23 March 2013

Last Cent

I'm challenging myself to see how many I can share this month, and Red Nichols is always a good choice (courtesy of a fellow collector). "Overrated in Europe in the early '30s when his records (but not those of his black contemporaries) were widely available and then later underrated and often unfairly called a Bix imitator, Red Nichols was actually one of the finest cornetists to emerge from the '20s. An expert improviser whose emotional depth did not reach as deep as Bix or Louis Armstrong, Nichols was in many ways a hustler, participating in as many recording sessions (often under pseudonyms) as any other horn player of the era, cutting sessions as Red Nichols & His Five Pennies, the Arkansas Travelers, the Red Heads, the Louisiana Rhythm Kings, and the Charleston Chasers, among others, usually with similar personnel. Nichols studied cornet with his father, a college music teacher. After moving from Utah to New York in 1923, Nichols, an excellent sight-reader who could always be relied upon to add a bit of jazz to a dance band recording, quickly became in great demand. His own sessions at first featured trombonist Miff Mole and Jimmy Dorsey on alto and clarinet, playing advanced music that utilized unusual intervals, whole-tone scales, and often the timpani of Vic Berton along with hot ensembles. Later on in the decade his sidemen included such young greats as Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Jack Teagarden, Pee Wee Russell, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Adrian Rollini, Gene Krupa, and the wonderful mellophone specialist Dudley Fosdick, among others; their version of "Ida" was a surprise hit.

Although still using the main name of the Five Pennies, Nichols' bands were often quite a bit larger, and by 1929 he was alternating sessions featuring bigger commercial orchestras with small combos. At first Nichols weathered the Depression well with work in shows, but by 1932 his long string of recordings came to an end. He headed a so-so swing band up until 1942, left music for a couple of years, and for a few months in 1944 was with Glen Gray's Casa Loma Orchestra. Later that year he re-formed the Five Pennies as a Dixieland sextet and, particularly after bass saxophonist Joe Rushton became a permanent member, it was one of the finer traditional jazz bands of the next 20 years. Nichols recorded several memorable hot versions of "Battle Hymn of the Republic," the best being in 1959. That same year a highly enjoyable if rather fictional Hollywood movie called The Five Pennies (and featuring Nichols' cornet solos and Danny Kaye's acting) made Red into a national celebrity at the twilight of his long career. Nichols' earlier sessions have been reissued in piecemeal fashion during the digital era, with later albums remaining unavailable." (Allmusic.com). Enjoy! +


01 - Indiana
02 - Dinah
03 - On The Alamo
04 - Sally, Won't You Come Back
05 - It Had To Be You
06 - I'll See You In My Dreams
07 - Some Of These Days
08 - That Da Da Strain
09 - Basin Street Blues
10 - Last Cent
11 - Rose Of Washington Square
12 - I May Be Wrong
13 - The New Yorkers
14 - They Didn't Believe Me
15 - Wait For The Happy Ending
16 - Can't We Be Friends
17 - Nobody Knows
18 - Smiles
19 - Marianne
20 - Get Happy
21 - Somebody To Love Me

18 March 2013

Crazy People

Back to the roots of this blog, at long last another selection completely dedicated to Chick Bullock. At one point I had skipped 1932 entirely due to a move, so that is where this and the next two posts (covering at least another fifty tunes) will focus. To get things in chrono(lo)gical order, the first track is from Bullock's final recording session of 1931, on December 24. From there we go to January 12, with a song recorded more than three weeks prior to the Boswell Sisters' version. The girls make an appearance on one track, so listen closely. Most of these tracks were released as Chick Bullock and His Levee Loungers, with some exceptions that are noted in the tags, along with the record labels and number. Recording dates are below (which covers what I have through April 19, 1932). Most of these are from my own 78s, but a handful are courtesy of other collectors who have generously shared their collections with me. I've given each of these a listen, compared my original rips with post-restoration versions, and opted to back down on the editing on the theory that perhaps my ears aren't the best judge. On one track I noticed that the cleaned version had obscured some of the instrumentation, so hiss & static is back. Enjoy! +


24 December 1931
01. She Didn't Say Yes

12 January 1932
1.   Was That The Human Thing To Do?
2.   How Long Will It Last

13 January
3.   Can't We Talk It Over

14 January
4.   You're My Everything
5.   Of Thee I Sing
6.   Who Cares?

5 February
7.   Kiss Me Goodnight

24 February
8.   Sing A New Song
9.   Stop The Sun, Stop The Moon
10. Soft Lights And Sweet Music
11. Let's Have Another Cup Of Coffee

29 February
12. Keepin' Out Of Mischief Now
13. I Know You're Lying, But I Love It

8 March
14. Somebody Loves You
15. You're Dancing On My Heart
16. Everything Must Have An Ending

14 March
17. You're The One
18. If It Ain't Love

15 March
19. I Can't Believe That It's You
20. Lawd, You Made The Night Too Long

26 March
21. California Medley, Part 2

31 March
22. My Gal Sal
23. Darktown Strutters Ball

4 April
24. I'd Rather Be A Beggar With You
25. My Extraordinary Girl
26. When The Lights Are Soft And Low
27. I'm So Alone With The Crowd

19 April
28. Crazy People

01 March 2013

Si Sabes Que Te Quiero

Since I missed all of February, the first month in more than 4 years that I failed to at least post one selection, this month will be chock-full in comparison. Although this blog prefers music from the Prohibition era and on into the 1940s, one thing it is not is North-America centric. Some fantastic music came from beyond US borders. And I love Latin American music. With that, here is Miguelito Valdes who was famous worldwide.

Miguelito began his musical career in the Sexteto Habanero Infantil, where he played, variously, the guitar, tres, double bass, timbal and sometimes sang. Soon, his capability as a singer was realized, and from that moment he was constantly in demand. After a brief spell with María Teresa Vera's Sexteto Occidente, he was one of the founding members of the Septeto Jóvenes del Cayo in 1929. In 1933 he moved to the charanga of Ismael Díaz, and then to the Charanga Gris, directed by the pianist and composer Armando Valdés Torres, and to the Orquesta Habana, directed by Estanislao Serviá.

In 1934 he made his first journey abroad, to Panama, and on his return joined the Orquesta Hermanos Castro, which was a leading band of the day. He was their lead singer until 1936. In 1937 he joined a group of top musicians who formed the Orquesta Casino de la Playa. He was now perhaps the top singer in Cuba, on the verge of international fame. In 1939 the La Playa toured South and Central America, and started a series of recordings for RCA Victor which would make them famous throughout the world.

In 1940 Valdés briefly joined the Orquesta Riverside (another of the big Cuban bands) before emigrating to New York, which became his home base for the rest of his career. In New York City he worked for Orquesta Siboney de Alberto Iznaga, Xavier Cugat, Tito Rodríguez and Machito. He directed his own orchestra for a few years, and made some successful recordings with it in 1949/50. He appeared in a number of films, and was known as "Mr. Babalú" after his performance of Marguerita Lecuona's Babalú. Miguelito recorded this number with three top orchestras: Casino de la Playa in Havana, and Xavier Cugat and Machito in New York. He recorded with the renowned band Conjunto Sonora Matancera in 1951, 1977 and 1978.

Miguelito was regarded as one of the greatest soneros and guaracheros in Cuban music. Although non-African, his interpretation of Afro-Cuban lyrics was remarkable. Numbers he composed include Mondongo, Rumba rumbero, Loco de amor, Los tambores, Oh, mi tambó, Bongó, Dolor cobarde. He died from a heart attack during a performance in Bogotá. (from Wiki). Enjoy! +


01 - Pa' La Risuena
02 - Los Venecianos
03 - El Manisero
04 - Tu
05 - Elube Chango
06 - El Reino De Tus Ojos
07 - No Hay Como Nadie Como Tu
08 - Los Componedores
09 - Yo Son Macua
10 - Jose Isabel
11 - La Bata De Olla
12 - Si Sabes Que Te Quiero
13 - Adios Africa
14 - La Conga Negra
15 - El Perro Y El Gato
16 - Yo 'Ta Namora
17 - La Cancion Del Guajiro
18 - Funfunando
19 - Mi Comparsa
20 - Dejate Enganar
21 - La Conga De Quirina

20 January 2013

I'm Goin' Huntin'

It's time to get back to some real good Prohibition-era music to kick of the year, and one of the best is Johnny Dodds. Dodds and his younger brother, drummer Baby Dodds are well known. However, pianist Jimmy Blythe is usually overlooked despite performing on a lot of recordings during the twenties. The sides presented here include some alternative takes, and Louis Armstrong makes a cornet appearance on four tracks. Full info is in the scans. "Johnny Dodds was one of the greatest clarinetist of the 1920's. Although both Jimmie Noone and Sidney Bechet had better technique, Dodds had a very soulful, bluesy style of playing that was often emotionally powerful. He was a master of the New Orleans' ensemble style of collective improvisation. He didn't have the flash of Louis Armstrong, but often provided the perfect environment for Armstrong to shine. He worked with most of the major Hot Jazz bands of the era. Dodds was in Kid Ory's band in New Orleans from 1912 to 1919. He played on riverboats with Fate Marable in 1917 and moved to Chicago in 1921 to play with King Oliver. Johnny and his brother Baby Dodds were an important part of Louis Armstrong's classic Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings for Okeh. During the 1920's he also recorded with Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, Jelly Roll Morton and on most of Lil Hardin-Armstrong's sessions. Unlike many of his famous contemporaries, Dodds and his brother stayed in Chicago and were pretty much forgotten as Jazz moved East to New York in the Thirties. He recorded several records under his own name in the Twenties, often with Natty Dominique on trumpet, and worked regularly at Kelly's Stables from 1924 to 1930. Dodds continued to play and record in Chicago throughout the Thirties, and also ran a cab company with his brothers." (redhotjazz.com). Enjoy! +


01 - Little Bits
02 - Struggling
03 - Struggling
04 - Easy Come Easy Go Blues
05 - The Blues Stampede
06 - I'm Goin' Huntin'
07 - If You Want To Be My Sugar Papa
08 - Bohunkus Blues
09 - Idle Hour Special
10 - 47th Street Stomp
11 - 47th Street Stomp
12 - Buddy Burton's Jazz
13 - Messin' Around - Take 1
14 - Messin' Around - Take 2
15 - Adams Apple
16 - Ape Man
17 - Your Folks
18 - Weary Way Blues
19 - Poutin' Papa
20 - Hot Stuff
21 - Have Mercy!
22 - My Baby
23 - Oriental Man