The Playlist • Pipe-Organ Jazz (1926–1927)

MSP_vic-20492-bSome of the best of Thomas “Fats” Waller’s innovative pipe-organ recordings. Although these recordings were classified as “Race” releases in the Victor files, some were also listed in the standard catalog. All were made in the former Camden Trinity Church (114 N. Fifth Street), which Victor purchased and converted to a studio in early 1918. The Church studio was originally intended for recording full symphony orchestras, but it saw some more interesting uses over the years, and beginning in early 1928 it was employed in the production of movie sound-tracks for Vitaphone, Pathé News, and others. Pious reporters clucked from time to time over such secular use of “the old organ to which hymns were once sung,” but they needn’t have bothered — Victor replaced the original church organ with a more robust instrument long before these recordings were made.

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THOMAS WALLER: Sloppy Water — Blues

Camden NJ (Church studio): January 14, 1927
Released: May 13, 1927 — Deleted: 1929
Victor 20492 (mx. BVE 37358 – 3)

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THOMAS WALLER: Lenox Avenue Blues

Camden NJ (Church studio): November 17, 1926
Released: November 26, 1926 [sic?] — Deleted: 1932
Victor 20357 (mx. BVE 36774 – 4)
Entered as “The Church Organ Blues” in the Victor ledger. All of the November 1926 “Race” release dates (Waller’s and others) given in the Victor documentation are suspect — some are the same day of the recording session, others just a few days away. Normal turnaround time during this period was two to three months or more, except in the case of an anticipated major pop hit (which these records assuredly were not).

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THOMAS WALLER: Soothin’ Syrup — Stomp

Camden NJ (Church studio): January 14, 1927
Released: April 8, 1927 — Deleted: 1929
Victor 20470 (mx. BVE 37357 – 2)

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THOMAS WALLER: Messin’ Around with the Blues

Camden NJ (Church studio): January 14, 1927
Released: August 12, 1927 — Deleted: 1929
Victor 20655 (mx. BVE 37361 – 3)

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THOMAS MORRIS & HIS HOT BABIES: Red Hot Dan

Camden NJ (Church studio): December 1, 1927
Released: February 17, 1928 — Deleted: 1930
Victor 21127 (mx. BVE 40096 – 2)
Other than Morris and Waller, no personnel are given for this session in the Victor files. Personnel shown in various discographies are speculative, although not always disclosed as such.

 

Original file data for Fats Waller’s many other pipe-organ recordings can be found in John Bolig’s Victor Black Label Discography series and Bluebird Discography, available from Mainspring Press and many major libraries.

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Discography Update • Victor Orchestra Personnel (1904)

The Victor Talking Machine Company files prior to 1938 rarely list band and orchestra personnel, including its own (the pre-1938 Victor personnel listings in discographies like American Dance Bands are not from the recording ledgers, for the most part) — but this Victor roster offers valuable documentation of the Victor house orchestra’s chief members in 1904. This group was responsible for most of Victor’s orchestral accompaniments (which had just begun to replace the usual piano accompaniments at the time) in addition to the recordings it made under its own name. Arthur Pryor, who originally conducted the studio orchestra according to recording engineer Harry Sooy, had recently resigned to form his own band, leaving the group in Walter B. Rogers’ capable hands.

This group was originally assigned to Victor’s Philadelphia studio, then moved across the river when the Camden studio opened in 1907. (Despite what many discographies say, Victor did not operate a studio in Camden from late September 1901 until November 6, 1907; see Camden, Philadelphia, or New York? The Victor Studio Conundrum for details.) Victor’s New York studio orchestra, which didn’t become a permanent fixture until some years later, used different personnel and conductors, occasionally supplemented by “Camden men” (as the recording ledgers referred to them).

Some of the musicians pictured here, including C.H.H. Booth, were already nearing the end of their time with Victor. Others, including Theodore Levy (who later became a Victor studio conductor), remained with the company into the 1920s. Walter B. Rogers left Victor in 1916 to work for Paroquette and then, after that company’s collapse, the New York Recording Laboratories (Paramount), before joining the Brunswick staff in late 1919.

Discography Update • Correct Personnel for Ted Wallace’s Campus Boys (1930 Columbia Sessions)

We continue with corrections to the Ed Kirkeby personnel listings found in Jazz Records (Rust) and American Dance Bands (Johnson & Shirley). The corrected data below, for the 1930 “Ted Wallace” dates at Columbia, are all from Kirkeby’s Payroll Book #4.

(For those not familiar with Kirkeby’s papers, there are two main components of discographical interest — the “dairies” (which we refer to in these postings as “session logs”) and the payroll books. “Diary” entries often made were before the actual sessions took place, and as such, they are not always reliable. The payroll books show which musicians were paid after each date, and thus can be taken as authoritative. Brian Rust (JR) apparently did have access to some of the “diaries” as claimed (and that information was recycled in ADB), but obviously neither he nor the Johnson-Shirley group consulted some of the payroll books.)

For comparison’s sake, we’ve also shown the JR and ADB personnel listings, with the erroneous guesses crossed-out. ADB gives very specific (albeit often incorrect) personnel, with no sources cited, although obviously not from the Kirkeby files. On the other hand, JR shows only a “collective personnel,” consisting of forty-one names comprising anyone even marginally connected with Kirkeby at the time (while managing to miss a number of musicians who actually were present) — proof of the axiom that if you throw enough crap at the wall, some of it’s bound to stick.

Here are our previous postings correcting the bad JR-ADB data using Kirkeby’s session logs and payroll books:

Correct Personnel and Dates for the California Ramblers’ 1929–1930 Grey Gull Sessions
Correct Personnel and Dates for the California Ramblers’ 1927–1928 Cameo Sessions
Correct Personnel for Grey Gull’s July 1926 “Little Pilgrims” Session (California Ramblers)
Correct Personnel for Gennett’s 1926 “Vagabonds” Sessions (California Ramblers)
Correct Personnel and Date for Crown’s 1930 “Lloyd Newton Varsity Eleven” Session
The Missing May 1931 Ed Kirkeby – Billy Murray Sessions (American Record Corp.)


TED WALLACE & HIS CAMPUS BOYS: Columbia, 1930 — Part 1

 New York: January 18, 1930

When You’re Smiling (mx. W 149782)
What Do I Care? (mx. W 149783)

Fred Van Eps, Jr. (trumpet)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Jack Purvis]

Frank Cush (trumpet)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Chelsea Quealy]

Carl Loeffler (trombone)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Ted Raph]

Pete Pumiglio (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Pete Pumiglio]

Paul Mason (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Paul Mason]

Carl Orrick [Orech] (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Harold Marcus]

Chauncey Gray (piano)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Chauncey Gray]

Tommy Felline (guitar)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Tommy Felline]

Ward Lay (bass)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Ward Lay]

Stan King (drums)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Stan King]


 

 New York: February 19, 1930

Get Happy  (mxs. W 149999 [Columbia], W 195080 [export], W 100366 [budget   labels], W 495022 [American Odeon-Parlophone])
Sweetheart Trail  (mx. W 150000 [Columbia], W 195083 [export], W 100363 [budget labels], W 405023 [American Odeon-Parlophone])

Don McCarter (trumpet)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Jack Purvis]

(?) Condon (trumpet)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Chelsea Quealy]

Herb Winfield (trombone)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Al Philburn]

Paul Mason (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Paul Mason]

Tommy Bohn (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Sam Ruby]

(?) Herbert (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Pete Pumiglio]

Tony Zangh (crossed out, with Zonchi substituted) (piano)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Chauncey Gray]

Mike Poveromo (guitar)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Tommy Felline]

Tex Hurst (bass)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Ward Lay]

Herb Weil (drums)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Stan King]

One of the Feldkamps was also paid $25 for this session (which Feldkamp, and in what capacity, are not noted)


 

New York: March 14, 1930

The Stein Song (mx. W 150088)
Telling It to the Daisies (mx. W 150089)

Don McCarter (trumpet)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Leo McConville]

Tony Giannelli (trumpet)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Fuzzy Farrar or Tommy Gott]

Carl Loeffler (trombone)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Tommy Dorsey]

Pete Pumiglio (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Pete Pumiglio]

Paul Mason (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: no second reed man listed]

Tommy Bohn (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: No third reed man listed]

Irving Brodsky (piano)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Chauncey Gray]

Tommy Felline (guitar)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Tommy Felline]

Tex Hurst (bass)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Joe Tarto]

Herb Weil (drums)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Stan King]


 

New York: July 10, 1930

Hittin’ the Bottle (mx. W 150643)
Little White Lies (mx. W 150644)

Fred Van Eps, Jr. (trumpet)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Jack Purvis]

Tony Giannelli (trumpet)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: no second trumpet listed]

Carl Loeffler (trombone)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Carl Loeffler]

Joe Gillespie (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Pete Pumiglio]

Ed Blanchard (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Tommy Bohn]

Elmer Feldkamp (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Elmer Feldkamp]

Lew Cobey (piano)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Lew Cobey]

Ed Sexton (guitar)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Ed Sexton]

Ward Lay (bass)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Ward Lay]

Jack Powers (drums)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Jack Powers]


New York: August 12, 1930

Tomorrow Is Another Day (mx. W 150701)
Don’t Tell Her (What’s Happened to Me) (mx. W 150702, also dubbed to W 91937 and W 91938 as part of two radio-program transcriptions)

Jack Purvis (trumpet)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Jack Purvis]

(?) Osborne (trumpet)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: no second trumpet listed]

Carl Loeffler (trombone)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Carl Loeffler]

Bobby Davis (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Pete Pumiglio]

Paul Mason (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Tommy Bohn]

Elmer Feldkamp (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Elmer Feldkamp]

Lew Cobey (piano)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Lew Cobey]

Ed Sexton (guitar)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Ed Sexton]

Ward Lay (bass)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Ward Lay]

Jack Powers (drums)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Jack Powers]


 

New York: September 23, 1930

My Baby Just Cares for Me (mx. W 150837)
Sweet Jennie Lee (mx. W 150838)

Jack Purvis (trumpet)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Jack Purvis]

Don McCarter (trumpet)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: no second trumpet listed]

Carl Loeffler (trombone)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Carl Loeffler]

Bobby Davis (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Bobby Davis]

Tommy Bohn (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Tommy Bohn]

Pete Pumiglio (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Pete Pumiglio]

Lew Cobey (piano)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Lew Cobey]

Ed Sexton (guitar)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Ed Sexton]

Ward Lay (bass)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Ward Lay]

Jack Powers (drums)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Jack Powers]

The payroll book also lists “D. Dixon” without further identification.


New York: October 21, 1930 [no session log; date listed in payroll book only]

Fraternity Blues (mx. W 150894)
Football Medley (My Collegiate Man) (mx. W 150895)

Jack Purvis (trumpet)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Jack Purvis]

— (second trumpet: none in payroll list)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Fred Van Eps, Jr.]

Carl Loeffler (trombone)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Carl Loeffler]

Bobby Davis (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Dick Dixon*]

Joe Gillespie (reeds)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: Joe Gillespie]

M. Dickson (violin)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Sam Hoffman and Sidney Harris]

Lew Cobey (piano)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Lew Cobey]

Ed Sexton (guitar)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Ed Sexton]

Ward Lay (bass)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Ward Lay]

Jack Powers (drums)
[JR: “Collective” / ADB: probably Jack Powers]

*The last line of the payroll book entry, where singers usually were listed when used, shows “Dixon” (no first name), which normally was a pseudonym for vocalist Dick Robertson.


To be continued…

 

The Playlist • Slapstick Ragtime: Fred Van Eps’ Banjo Orchestra & Trio (1914 – 1916)

MSP_silvertone-39503-2.

VAN EPS BANJO ORCHESTRA: Some Baby

New York — Master shipment date: July 24, 1914 (Columbia release: November 1914)
Silvertone 39503 (Columbia mx. 39503 – 2)

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VAN EPS BANJO ORCHESTRA: Old Folks Rag

New York: September 25, 1914 (Released: February 1915)
Columbia A5618 (mx. 37042 – 2)

Usual Banjo Orchestra personnel at this time, from various trade-paper reports, were Fred Van Eps (banjo); William Van Eps (banjo / guitar); Felix Arndt (piano); Howard Kopp (percussion and effects)

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VAN EPS TRIO: Chinese Picnic, introducing: The Oriental Dance of Wonderland

New York: March 19, 1914 (Released September 1914 — Deleted January 1923)
Victor 17601 (mx. B 14589 – 1)
Personnel from Victor ledger: Fred Van Eps (banjo); Felix Arndt (piano); Edward King (drums). Correct titles shown above are from the Victor files; the records are labeled “Chinese Picnic and Oriental Dance Medley.”

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VAN EPS TRIO: Teasin’ the Cat

New York: December 20, 1916   (Released March 1917 — Deleted 1922)
Victor 18226 (mx. B 18860 – 2)
Personnel from Victor ledger: Fred Van Eps (banjo); Nathan Glantz (saxophone); Frank E. Banta (piano)

 

Victor discographic data courtesy of John Bolig

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DISCOGRAPHY UPDATE • Personnel for Grey Gull’s July 1926 “Little Pilgrims” Session (California Ramblers)

This morning we add another “lost” session to the California Ramblers’ confirmed output, thanks to further foraging in Ed Kirkeby’s payroll books. This information does not appear in Jazz Records or the new edition of American Dance Bands — Kirkeby’s session log for this date seems to be missing (it’s absent from our copy, anyway), and the compilers of JR and ADB  apparently didn’t access the corresponding payroll book.

Oh, the dangers of “aural identification” — Jazz Records cites no instrumental personnel other than trumpeter Red Nichols who, as it turns out, was not present. Kirkeby paid his featured soloists extra, so at least based upon the pay rates shown below, it appears likely that Roy Johnston plays the trumpet solos  on these sides.


New York: Friday, July 23, 1926 — Grey Gull *

The Girl Friend (mx. 2023)
Hi Diddle Diddle (mx. 2025)
When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along (mx. 2024)
(Titles are shown above in the order listed by EK, not in mx-number order)

Personnel and payments, per Ed Kirkeby’s payroll book:

Ed Kirkeby — $44
Roy Johnston (trumpet) — $22
Frank Cush (trumpet) — $15
George Troup (trombone) — $15
Freddy Cusick (saxophone) — $15
Bobby Davis (saxophone) — $22
Sam Ruby (saxophone) — $15
Jimmy Pugliese (bass saxophone) — $15
Tommy Felline (banjo) — $20
Jack Russin (piano) — $15
Herb Weil (percussion) — $15

*Grey Gull was finally recording in its own studio by this time, after several years with Emerson.


 

Discography Update • Correct Identification and Personnel for “Lloyd Newton & his Varsity Eleven” (Crown, 1930)

Another long-standing mystery solved, thanks to band contractor Ed Kirkeby’s files. The guesswork personnel listings for “Lloyd Newton & his Varsity Eleven”  in Jazz Records and the new edition of American Dance Bands — the latter being basically just a re-run of the undocumented JR listing — should be disregarded. The group is actually Ed Kirkeby’s Orchestra; here are the correct personnel, studio location, and recording date (JR’s and ADB’s guesses are off by a month), from Mr. Kirkeby’s session and payroll files:

New York: November 17, 1930
Crown — Sol Kronberg — 122 5 [Fifth] Ave. — Date O.K.”

Mx. 1066 (St. Louis Blues)
Mx. 1067 (Sweet Jennie Lee)
Mx. 1068 (I Got Rhythm)

Personnel per Ed Kirkeby’s files: Jack Purvis, Fred Van Eps Jr. (trumpets); Carl Loeffler (trombone); Bobby Davis, Joe Gillespie (reeds); (M.?) Dickson, Sidney Harris, Sam Hoffman (violins); Ed Sexton (guitar); Lew Cobey (piano); Ward Lay (bass); Jack Powers (percussion); Dick Dixon (usually a pseudonym for Dick Robertson), unidentified trio (vocals).

(Kirkeby listed this as a “Banner” session in his payroll book, perhaps from force of habit. Sol Kronberg, who is credited in the session log as shown above, was co-owner of the Plaza Music Company, which marketed Banner records until it was left out of the American Record Corporation merger in 1929. ARC kept the Banner brand, however, and Kronberg went on to launch Crown with several other Plaza executives.)


 

Discography Update • Personnel for the May 1931 Ed Kirkeby – Billy Murray Sessions

Jazz Records and American Dance Bands both lack personnel listings for Ed Kirkeby’s May 1931 American Record Corporation sessions with singer Billy Murray, so we present them here, as logged in Mr. Kirkeby’s session files. Unfortunately, the jazz content is negligible to non-existent, despite the presence of some excellent hot musicians.

Titles from the first date were issued under Kirkeby’s venerable “Varsity Eight” (California Ramblers) pseudonym, with vocal chorus credited to Murray. Titles from the May 22 session are vocal duets credited to Billy Murray & Walter Scanlan (the latter being Walter Van Brunt’s stage name), with a small group accompanying. The latter date marks Adrian Rollini’s return to the Kirkeby fold after a long absence.


 

New York: May 8, 1931 — American Record Corporation

Mickey Mouse (We All Love You So)  (mx. 10614)
Popeye (The Sailor Man)  (mx. 10615)
I Wanna Sing About You  (mx. 10616)

Personnel per Ed Kirkeby’s log: Jack Purvis, Fred Van Eps Jr. (trumpets); Carl Loeffler (trombone); Tommy Bohn, Paul Mason, Bobby Davis (reeds); Lew Cobey (piano); Ed Sexton (guitar); Ward Lay (bass); Jack Powers (percussion); Billy Murray (vocal)


New York: May 22, 1931 — American Record Corporation

Skippy  (mx. 10670)
Let a Little Pleasure Interfere with Business  (mx. 10671)

Personnel per Ed Kirkeby’s log: Jack Purvis (trumpet); Bobby Davis (alto saxophone); Adrian Rollini (bass saxophone); Lew Cobey (piano); Jack Powers (percussion); Billy Murray and Walter Van Brunt (as Walter Scanlan) (vocal)