Collector’s Corner • Some New Record Arrivals for October – November
A few favorite new additions to the jazz collection, for your listening pleasure. (Opera fans, we’ve not forgotten about you. In a few weeks, we’ll be posting some interesting Fonotipia and Russian Amour recordings that were recently added to the collection.)
WILL EZELL: West Coast Rag (V++)
Chicago (Marsh Laboratories): c. September 1927
Paramount 12549 (mx. 4787 – 2)
GEORGE H. TREMER: Spirit of ’49 Rag (EE–)
Birmingham (Starr Piano Co. store): August , 1927
Gennett 6242 (mx. GEX 779 – A)
Take A was received at the Richmond, Indiana, plant on August 6, 1927 (the rejected plain take followed on August 8).
SAVOY BEARCATS: Bearcat Stomp (E)
New York: August 23, 1926
Victor 20307 (mx. BVE 36060 – 3)
January 1927 Race release, deleted in 1928. Don Redman’s name is misspelled “Radman” on the labels and in the Victor files.
FESS WILLIAMS’ ROYAL FLUSH ORCHESTRA: Alligator Crawl (EE+)
New York: June 15, 1927
Brunswick 3589 (mx. E 23633)
Originally marked as a Race release in the recording ledger, which was subsequently crossed-out.
JIMMIE NOONE’S APEX CLUB ORCHESTRA: Apex Blues (E–)
Chicago: August 23, 1928
Vocalion 1207 (mx. C 2258 – B)
GEORGE E. LEE & HIS ORCHESTRA: Ruff Scufflin’ (EE+)
Kansas City: November 6, 1929
Brunswick 4684 (mx. KC 585 -A or B)
The selected take is not indicated in the Brunswick files or on the pressing.
Why don’t we list personnel?
Simple. The 1920s band personnel listed in works like Brian Rust’s or Tom Lords’ discographies generally are not from the original company recording files or other reliable primary-source documentation. Just where they are from is a question to which we rarely get an answer. When we do, all too often it turns out to be anecdotal or speculative (or just plain bat-shit crazy).
Most record companies didn’t start regularly documenting personnel until the later 1930s, when new union regulations made that necessary. Exactly where most of those 1920s and early 1930s personnel listings in the discographies came from — who knows? They rarely cite sources (which, according to Rust associate Malcolm Shaw, was sometimes just friends getting together over pints and playing “I hear so-and-so.”) That’s a shame, because some of the information in those books probably is from reliable sources; but without citations, there’s no way to separate the good from the bad.
Unfortunately, even when Rust had access to reliable primary-source materials, like Ed Kirkeby’s California Ramblers ledgers, he couldn’t resist meddling with the facts — for example, stating that Tommy Dorsey or Glenn Miller were present on sessions for which Kirkeby’s files clearly show they were not. So, take it all with the proverbial gain of salt. We certainly do.