The Playlist • Harlem Bands on Grey Gull (1929–1930)

More hot black groups from the notoriously cheap Grey Gull label. Actual identities of these pseudonymous groups and their members remain unknown; some personnel listed in Jazz Records and derivative or similar works (including the tin-eared notion that several of GG’s usual white studio hacks are present) have been pretty well debunked in recent years. However, it does seem likely that J.C. Johnson, Porter Grainger, and Claude Austin were at least peripherally involved with the August 1929, November 1929, and January 1930 recordings, respectively, as they composed all titles recorded at those sessions.

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MSP_GG-1767-1803-comp.

MOONLIGHT REVELERS: Memphis Stomp

New York: c. August 1929
Grey Gull 1786  (mx. 3607– A)

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MOONLIGHT REVELERS: Baby Knows How

New York: c. August 1929
Grey Gull 1767 (mx. 3608 – B)

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JAZZOPATORS: Don’t Know and Don’t Care

New York: c. November 1929
Grey Gull 1803  (mx. 3741-A)

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MEMPHIS JAZZERS: Ev’rybody Dance

New York: c. November 1929
Grey Gull 1816 (mx. 3742 – B)

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MEMPHIS JAZZERS: Miss Golden Brown

New York: c. November 1929
Grey Gull 1805 (mx. 3743 – B)

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MEMPHIS JAZZERS: In Harlem’s Araby

New York: c. November 1929
Grey Gull 1804 (mx. 3744 – B)

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LEVEE SYNCOPATORS: The Rackett

New York: c. January 1930
Grey Gull 1843 (mx. 3843 – B)

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NEW ORLEANS PEPSTERS: The Harlem Stomp Down

New York: c. January 1930
Van Dyke 81836 [ = Grey Gull 1836]  (mx. 3844 – A)

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The Playlist • Helen Rowland on “Hit Of The Week” Records (1931)

Not the popular New York World columnist of the same name and period, but a now largely forgotten radio singer and actress. At the time these recordings were made, Helen Rowland was being featured with Don Voorhees’ Maxwell House Ensemble over station WJZ. In December 1932, she was hired to replace Rosalyn Silber in “The Rise of the Goldbergs” radio show, only to be unceremoniously dismissed after Silber reclaimed her spot several months later. A nasty legal scuffle ensued, spearheaded by Rowland’s mother, and in July 1933 she was called back to replace a reportedly ailing Silber. But it was a Pyrrhic victory at best, with word of the Rowlands’ strong-arm tactics quickly spreading among radio executives, and her career largely stalled in the later 1930s.

These selections are from 15¢ Hit of the Week records, the history of which is covered in detail in Recording the ‘Thirties, available from Mainspring Press and many major libraries.

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MSP_HOW-m5-front

ERNO RAPEE’S ORCHESTRA w/ HELEN ROWLAND: River, Stay ’Way from My Door & Some Of These Days

New York: c. December 1931
Hit of the Week M-5-A-1 (mx. 1135 – C)

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PHIL SPITALNY’S MUSIC w/ HELEN ROWLAND: When It’s Sleepy Time
Down South

New York: c. December 1931
Hit of the Week A-1-2 (mx. 1186 – B)
Note: This transfer deletes the second track (“Sailing”), on which Rowland is not present.

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FREDDIE RICH’S RADIO BAND w/ HELEN ROWLAND: You Call It Madness

New York: c. November–December 1931
Hit of the Week M-2 (mx: see note)
Note: This transfer deletes the second track (“Auld Lang Syne”), on which Rowland is not present. All copies we’ve seen show M-218 (which probably is just a control number) in the mx-number position; mxs. 336, 364, and 1237 have all been reported in various works!